For most people, the thought of mixing coffee beans together has probably never crossed their minds. Why would you? The local roaster does an excellent job at crafting a decent palatable blend that’s full of flavor.
But if you’re starting to experiment with roasting coffee beans at home, mixing your coffee and creating unique blends is something you might consider doing to further enhance and customize the taste of your cup of coffee.
The art of blending coffee beans before roasting takes years of practice, but once you’ve mastered this art, you can take your brewed coffee to whole new levels with refreshing flavor profiles that store-bought coffee blends can’t deliver.
There are literally dozens of different coffee bean varieties from a vast range of growing climates scattered around the globe, so the coffee blending options are almost limitless.
Can You Blend Coffee Beans?
This question can be interpreted in two different ways.
For example, blending coffee beans in a food blender is a big no – don’t do it, go out and invest in a decent burr grinder.
But, if you mean combining and mixing different types of coffee beans together to create a distinct espresso blend, then the answer is a resounding yes.
Some coffee roasters choose specific single origin coffee beans for a particular house or barista blend. Let’s take a closer look at the process.
The Basics Of Mixing And Blending Coffee
Creating your own coffee blend for any aspiring coffee roaster is a great way to “get your hands dirty” learning and developing your roasting expertise.
It’s worth noting that if you have a limited coffee tasting profile, you should also develop that skill by tasting as many different types of coffee regions as you can.
– this will definitely help you when it comes to mixing coffee later on as you develop your skill.
Picking The Right Beans For Your Custom Coffee Mix
Before you choose the different coffee beans to mix, you first need to determine a flavor base to work off.
This is where developing your taste profile comes into play, as mentioned earlier. However, an extensive range of different guides available online can be a good starting point to work off; just do a quick search, there are plenty.
Without any guide or reference point to start with, picking coffee beans to combine for your personal blend can be challenging.
If you’re stuck, consider trying these popular and established coffee blends listed below to help you get a feel for coffee blending and how specific tastes go together before concocting your blends.
Black And Tan
This coffee bean combination mixes both dark roast and light roasted coffee together to create a medium blended coffee that takes advantage of the qualities brought out at different roast levels.
Typically Colombian light-roasted and dark-roasted coffees are used in the “black and tan” blend.
This is a classic coffee blend that is one of the oldest known that has aged remarkably well and is a favorite with consumers today who can’t get enough of this unique taste.
Mocha Java consists of one-third mocha coffee beans (often from Yemen) and two-thirds Sumatra Mandheling (all at Full City roast). This combination produces a smooth, rich coffee with a full body and deep cocoa notes of mocha.
Filter Drip Melange
Filter drip melange is a 60% blend of Colombian coffee beans roasted at full city with 40% of Kenyan coffee beans roasted at city.
This combination is perfect for the drip coffee maker and typically produces a balanced body with bright acidity and bittersweet flavors.
Other Coffee Mixes And Blends
There are literally hundreds of various coffee combinations that work well paired together.
A ubiquitous blend found in stores is a blend ratio of 80% robusta coffee beans and 20% arabica beans.
The Robusta bean has a good amount of caffeine but lacks flavor; the Arabica softens out the harsh Robusta and helps round out the coffee blend.
Mixing Different Flavor Combinations
Suppose you have limited knowledge of different coffee flavor profiles. In that case, the three high-level points below can be a great help when figuring out flavor combinations that might work well together.
High notes are typically characterized by the acidity or floral aromas that are found in the brewed coffee.
For example, a lighter roasted coffee bean, coffee sourced from Ethiopia, and other beans from the same region such as Kenyans or even Middle Eastern coffees generally have more notable high notes.
In the world of coffee, mid-palate is a way to describe the taste from the very first sip through to the final swallow.
This is more of a personal preference and maybe a particular type of coffee you love drinking yourself. Just try to be mindful of what you enjoy when combining varying coffee flavors to round out and enhance your coffee blend.
Sweet Base Notes
Sweet base notes are formed during the roasting process, more precisely, the Maillard reaction stage at temperatures ranging from 150-200°C.
The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and the natural sugars found inside the coffee that gives the distinctive grainy, toasty, nutty, or caramelly base notes.
Picking coffee beans from regions such as Brazil or Mexico are more susceptible to taking on these intense flavor profiles during the roasting process.
Perfecting The Best Tasting Coffee Ratios
Once you’ve honed in and decided on the types of coffee you want to add to your blend, next is the fun part of trial and error. At this stage, you are trying to figure out the best ratio of each type of coffee.
As a beginner, we suggest that you use balanced amounts of your sweet base and mid-palate coffee beans, and then try to round out the blend with some of your high notes.
But remember, this is your coffee blend, so the exact ratios you use are entirely up to you, and that’s what makes mixing your coffee so enjoyable. There can be a lot of waste during this stage as you try and dial in your preferred coffee blend.
To save some costs, you can roast each type of coffee separately in small batches, grind and then brew each independently and combine at different ratios until you find a combination that works.
Mixing Coffee Beans: Pre-Blend or Post-Blend?
When you gain more experience with the entire process of mixing coffee and improving on your taste profile, you can then work on your roasting skills and decide whether to incorporate the coffee before you roast or after.
Mixing your green coffee beans together prior to roasting ensures a consistent batch size, creating a level of consistency in the roast. But you will have to deal with the differences in each type of coffee.
Because you are combining different regions of coffee, you will have to contend with the varying moisture levels and bean densities which can have adverse effects on your final blend if not carefully monitored during the roasting process.
Blending your coffee beans after they have been roasted separately will give you much more control and allow you to focus on each type of coffee at an individual level to achieve the best roasting results possible.
The downside to choosing this option is your batch size consistency will likely be more challenging to manage due to roasting different-sized batches of each type of coffee.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way, the entire process is entirely down to you, and that’s the best part about creating your own personal coffee blend.
If you’ve gotten this far, you hopefully have a better understanding of mixing and combining different types of coffee beans to create a unique blend.
As with most things in the world of coffee, experimenting and trial and error are the best way to discover what you like and don’t like.
Try to experiment by roasting before or after or by combining coffee beans of different geographic regions, types, and territories until you find a coffee mix that you prefer.
Just like a blended whiskey, coffee varieties differ, and finding combinations that work well together is all part of the fun.