Breaking Down the Terms: Espresso & Blonde
For the caffeine beginners, espresso and coffee are not two distinct drinks. Espresso refers to a specific brewing method discovered in the late 19th century, which Luigi Bezzerra and Desiderio Pavoni later refined.
So what is espresso, exactly? In short all espressos are coffee, but not all coffees are espresso.
That clears up the term espresso. So where does blonde fit into the picture?
Blonde refers to the specific roast profile of the beans. Although, it’s important to note that “blonde” isn’t the actual name of a roasting category.
Categories of Coffee Roasts
Typically, there are four categories you’ll see indicating the roast of your coffee beans: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roast coffee beans. Yet there’s little industry standardization concerning these classifications.
The roasting process influences three major characteristics: color, acidity, and flavor. According to the National Coffee Association, here’s how they break down:
● Light roast – This roast color is golden brown and has a milder flavor and a higher acidity level. The beans typically have not been roasted long enough for the oils to break through the surface, retaining more of their original flavors.
● Medium roast – This roast color is medium brown and slightly stronger but has a well-balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. It’s often referred to as” America’s favorite roast”—the reason why, however, isn’t as clear.
● Medium-dark roast – This roast color is dark brown, and the bitterness outweighs the acidity in this profile. It has a heavier body with some oil left on the bean.
● Dark roast – This roast color is slick and shiny black and is associated with French and Italian-style coffees. All acidity and origin flavor are gone, and it contains high levels of bitterness. If you’ve ever had espresso straight from the cup (no sugar or milk added), you’ll recognize this flavor profile immediately.
Traditionally, espresso is made from darker roasts. Still, the reality is that you can make espresso from whatever roast profile you desire.
Herein lies the distinction of the blonde espresso: a lighter roast profile turned espresso.