Single origin coffee, specialty coffee and blended coffee, do you feel confused to differentiate them?

When stepping into any specialty coffee shop, people may find basic types of coffee like Americano, blue mountain, cappucino , latte and civet coffee, which are very familiar to them.

Among them, some have milk foam and some have the pattern of latte art. Except for that, some of them taste sweet or bitter. And some coffee are a little bit expensive. In that way, what are their differences?

Actually, those coffee can be classified into two major categories: single origin coffee and blended coffee.


What is single origin coffee?

The single origin coffee refers to pure coffee brewed by using a single coffee bean grown in the country of origin and usually served without milk or sugar

Single origin coffee is relative to the blended coffee. In simple terms, the word “single” in “single origin coffee” can be the single coffee producing country, single producing region and even the single coffee farms.

An important feature of single origin coffee is that it can be traced back to its origin, allowing coffee lovers to know which farm this high-quality coffee comes from. The flavor of the coffee represents its country of origin, producing region and the bean species.

Such as Blue Mountain Coffee, Kenya, Colombia, Yegasso Coffee, etc. are all single origin coffee, each of which has a unique flavor under the influence of the climate difference of the place of origin. Without milk and sugar, you can fully taste the original flavor of coffee. We call them "black coffee".

With the advent of the third wave of coffee, more and more coffee lovers pay attention to and pursue coffee knowledge such as brewing methods and flavors of different places of origin, etc., which allows single origin coffee to be more prevailing


What is specialty coffee?

Single origin coffee can be further categorized into two types: specialty coffee and commercial-level single origin coffee

There is an exact definition for specialty coffee:

Only under the most favorable micro-climate and water and soil conditions can specialty coffee with unique flavor be grown. Moreover, only if SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) scores 80 points or more, the coffee can be considered as specialty coffee. If the coffee’s score is less than 80 points, it is considered as commercial-level single origin coffee instead of specialty coffee.

The single origin coffee is generally extracted by brewing methods such as siphoning or hand brewing, which is dependent on the personal taste.

The privilege of single origin coffee is that it can maintain the original flavor.


What is blended coffee?

Blended coffee are made by roasters or baristas who blend beans from different places of origin to create a more balanced flavor

For example, if one kind of coffee bean is smooth but lacks fragrance, you can add another coffee bean with rich fragrance to combine their advantages. Sometimes the beans are mixed first and then roasted, and sometimes the coffee beans are mixed after roasting.

On the one hand, blending is not only a technique, but also an art, which is also influenced by the style of a roaster or barista. After blending, the coffee tastes more balanced, smoother and more stable. To put it another way, the taste is more popular.

On the other hand, blending can also reduce costs to a certain extent. Therefore, blended coffee is less expensive compared to single origin coffee.


The style coffee we often drink takes espresso as the base, and is combined with milk, milk foam, various syrup or cream and other raw materials. Style coffee such as Americano, latte, mocha and Caramel Macchiato all are the product of blended coffee beans.


Single origin coffee tastes better than the blended coffee?

Drinking single origin coffee is for savoring the real flavor of coffee, so no milk or sugar will be added.

Some roasters pointed out that if single origin coffee bean is brewed in an espresso machine to make single origin espresso, the various characteristics of coffee, such as acidity, sweetness and bitterness will be amplified under high pressure conditions, which is not acceptable to everyone.

Therefore, not all the single origin coffee taste good.

If the coffee is brewing with hands or Aeropress, its acidity will be lower than the single origin espresso, which is more acceptable to people.

In addition, after light roasting or medium roasting, the coffee flavor is more acceptable. However, you can also try to dilute the high-concentration single origin coffee with water.

Tasting specialty coffee is the same as tasting wine.The knowledge about tasting coffee is extensive and profound, which is the ultimate exploration and challenge for taste buds. People who are interested in it can't help studying more deeply; however, for people with little interest, it's also good to drink it just for fun.

Written by wang chen

Leave a comment

More stories


We have found more coffee lovers are trying to integrate coffee into their life. They start to buy professional coffee making facilities and learn more knowledge in coffee, which genuinely necessitates coffee as daily commodities. For the problems that occur during use, let’s get down to solving some of them today

Difference between Semi-auto and automatic espresso machine

Selecting the first coffee machine in life is a bit similar to selecting the first camera or the first oven. Once you have made a selection, you wi...