Blonde Roast has become one of the most fashionable items in the coffee world within the last few years. As with many other fashionable terms, it tends to confuse people, especially those who aren’t following the coffee industry that closely. Suddenly, Blonde Roast is on everyone’s lips and people are ordering it left and right, leaving those not-in-the-know bewildered and wondering what did they miss. You would be hard-pressed to find a roaster that doesn’t offer their latest Blonde Roast, following the latest trends. Spurred by this, many home roasters have tried light roast and failed miserably, left with an underdeveloped coffee tasting like wet grass. So, what are the secret to a delicious Blonde Roast coffee?
Why So Many Roasts?
Since there is no standardized roasting table for roasting coffee, every roaster is free to design their own roasts and name them to their liking. This can lead to some confusion, especially for people having less experience with coffee. Despite the lack of standardization, four main roasting levels emerged for the sake of better understating. They are light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.
Each of these has several sub-categories. Light City, Half City, and Cinnamon are considered light roasts. American Roast, City Roast, and Breakfast Roast are medium. While Full City Roast, After Dinner Roast, and Vienna Roast are medium-dark. Finally, we have French Roast, New Orleans Roast, and Italian Roast as dark roasts. This list is by no means final and there are probably a dozen more roasts in each of the four main categories, but these are some of the more commonly- known roasts.
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What Is Blonde Roast?
The Blonde Roast is a type of light roast. This type of roast was previously called Cinnamon, but some roasters started using a different name to avoid confusion. Apparently, some of their customers expected coffee with the taste of cinnamon when ordering, which led to some awkward situations. Light roasts, in general, became popular when roasters started procuring green coffee beans directly from farmers, eliminating the middlemen.
This resulted in a sharp increase in the quality of the beans. They now had access and they started to experiment with light roasts to preserve unique coffee flavors. This is usually the first mistake inexperienced home roasters make when trying to produce Blonde roast. The coffee beans have to be of the highest quality to prevent lightly roasted beans turning into an undrinkable brew. Blonde Roast, being one of the lightest roasts, is even more susceptible to this risk. A good Blonde Roast will have high levels of acidity, preserved fruity flavors, and a complex aftertaste, coupled with a nice aroma. A bad Blonde Roast will taste like boiled peanuts, with an aftertaste of raw banana. Sounds dramatic… but true. The trouble is that it is very hard to determine the quality of the roast by simply looking at the beans.
Light roasts are produced by roasting green beans between 356-401°F. Once the first crack appears, it usually lasts from 90 to 120 seconds and those two minutes will determine how good the coffee will be. Some people like to stop roasting in the moment of the first crack. Others won’t even wait for beans to crack and will remove them seconds away from it. More experienced roasters will experiment with those two minutes, trying to obtain the ideal ratio of acidity and taste.
One of the dangers with light roasts is the possibility of underdevelopment, meaning that the beans haven’t been exposed to enough heat to bring out their full potential and we suspect that this is the main reason why the opinions of Blonde Roast are so divided. Perhaps people who hate it simply didn’t have a chance to try a really good one, made by a master roaster. One of the ways to avoid disappointment is to conduct a finger test. Take a roasted bean between your thumb and index finger and squeeze it. If it cracks, it usually means that it was roasted properly. If it feels like trying to squeeze a pebble, don’t buy it. It is the obvious sign of underdevelopment.
How to Brew Blonde Roast
Regardless of how important the roasting process is, it isn’t the only factor that affects the quality of your morning cup of coffee. A simple filter machine and tap water simply won’t do and you will end up on various online coffee forums, bashing Blonde Roast and claiming it is the worst thing that ever happened to you.
The truth is, you will need a good burr grinder, a pour-over cone, and soft water. Grinding Blonde Roast (and other light roasts) in a cheap grinder won’t yield the desired result, because lightly roasted beans are typically very hard and it takes a good grinder to deal with them, not to mention the fact that a cheap grinder won’t last very long grinding light roasts. A pour-over cone is important because it increases the steeping time, allowing coffee to be fully extracted. Light roasts are less soluble than darker ones and need more time to be properly dissolved. Finally, ordinary tap water is usually too hard and soft water is essential for a good cup of Blonde Roast.
Is Blonde Roast the Roast for You?
The truth is, Blonde roast isn’t for everybody. Some coffee aficionados enjoy fruity flavors and rich aftertaste of Blonde Roast. Other, simply don’t care for that and want their coffee tasting like coffee, and that is perfectly fine.
After all, coffee contains over 800 flavor components and there is hardly a person on the planet that enjoys all of them. That is the beauty of coffee because you can get so many different flavors from the same beans. Not liking Blonde Roast is a perfectly valid opinion and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you it is wrong. Perhaps it just isn’t your cup of tea.