blurred image of a coffee shop
Coffee Basics

What Is House Blend Coffee? Blends Vs. Single Origin

blurred image of a coffee shop

The world of coffee is complex and varied. The vast range of producers, growing regions, and craftsmanship all make one cup different from the next. Blends muddy the waters even more since they’re not standardized in the industry. That’s why it’s no surprise we often get questions like “what is house blend coffee” and “which coffee blends are the best”. 

Figuring out whether coffee blends or single-origin coffees are best for your taste buds can be difficult. Fortunately, by understanding the basics of roasted coffee, you can make an informed decision. Here, we’ll highlight how the roasting process impacts coffee and make the distinction between blends and single-origin options.

Blends Versus Single Origin Coffees

what is house blend coffee: woman pouring from French press

Before we can answer “what is house blend coffee”, we need to go over blends and single-origin coffees. Blends are the most commonly consumed coffee in the world. They are made up of multiple different coffee beans, often from different regions across the globe. An example of this would be Mocha Java, which is made using beans from Indonesia and Africa. The beans are selected to create a specific flavor profile.  They also tend to come in larger batches and are more affordable for coffee shops.

Blends are generally better balanced compared to single-origin coffees and offer a gentler flavor profile. That makes them suitable for beginner coffee drinkers as well as connoisseurs who prefer consistency in taste.

Single-origin coffee is specialty coffee made using beans from one specific place. This can be a region — like African coffees — or a country or region within a country (like Brazil Cerrado coffee). Since these are typically from one area, they are generally not available year-round. That’s because the coffee harvesting season occurs once per year and the timing can vary from place to place.

The benefit of single-origin coffee is that each one is unique. Just like terroir influences the flavor of wine, the different growing regions, climates, and altitudes lend different tasting notes to each bean. Coffee beans from Latin American countries — like Colombian coffee or Guatemalan coffee — will have different characteristics compared to one grown in Southeast Asian countries like Sumatra. 

The flavors of single-origin coffee are as exclusive and pure as they come. These beans craft a high-quality cup of coffee with varying degrees of acidity and tasting notes like toffee and chocolate. If you love discovering new flavors and want a truly exquisite coffee experience, a single-origin coffee will meet your needs.

What is House Blend Coffee?

what is house blend coffee: barista tasting and analyzing coffee

There are several different types of coffee blends including house blends. House blend coffees are unique to each coffee shop. When done well, patrons will associate a specific flavor profile with the house blend of a coffee shop. It develops its own identity, making patrons feel like they can’t get this coffee anywhere else.

House blends depend on the coffee roaster’s preferences. They select beans based on flavor profiles, aromas, and mouthfeel. They also differentiate between types of coffee beans including arabica coffee and robusta coffee. A roaster will choose beans that work well all day since these beans are staple products for the coffee shop. The house blends are typically available as ground coffee and whole beans, which can be brewed in k-cup machines from brands like Keurig as well as coffee makers like a Chemex or French press. 

The blends are designed to pair well with milk and sugar and should be capable of standing on their own without additives as well. Roasters use coffee cupping — a tasting technique where flavors, aromas, and body are assessed — when selecting the beans for their house blends.

House blend coffees come in different roasts. Light roast coffees tend to highlight one main tasting note and are the strongest. Dark roast coffees offer nuanced flavor profiles and a gentler finish. Medium roast coffees typically land in between the two. In addition, some coffee roasters offer espresso roast blends, French roasts, and breakfast blends that focus on bean qualities that are well-suited for those types of coffee beverages

How To Choose a House Blend Coffee

barista making customers coffee

House blend coffee is a signature blend unique to each coffee roaster. Starbucks house blend at Pike Place is different from the Nespresso house blend and the house blend at your local coffee shop. Choosing the perfect house blend means knowing what type of roast you prefer — darker roasts for nuanced flavor profiles for example — as well as what tasting notes you like.

Understanding the different growing regions can help you make an informed decision. For example, African coffees tend to have bright, acidic tasting notes while Latin American coffees like those made in Colombia and Brazil offer chocolate, spice, and nut flavors. Once you figure out what you like, you can choose blends that feature beans from your favorite regions. Our blog is packed with country guides so you can discover which regions and countries make the types of coffee you love.

House blends are great coffee selections for beginner drinkers. They offer consistent flavor and are well-balanced for a delicious sip every time. For the best coffee, look at the blend and see what type of roast it is, where the beans are from, and double-check the main tasting notes. When in doubt, you can ask your barista to help you make a decision based on your taste preferences.

Discover the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Coffee isn’t just a way to wake yourself up in the morning. It’s an adventure of flavor that allows you to explore your tastes and discover new flavors. House blend coffees are one step in the coffee-tasting journey. Try one at your local coffee shop or pick up a bag of house-blend coffee beans from your local grocery store.

For more ways to enjoy coffee, check out our blog where you’ll find country guides as well as practical advice to enjoying each cup. From guides on how to make coffee to tips on proper coffee storage, you’ll find what you need to continue your exploration of the world of coffee.

After chasing down everything there was to know about tea on the Cup & Leaf blog, I'm now exploring the world of coffee. From different types to countries with the best brews and everything in between, I'll be your guide on this coffee discovery.