Do you ever wonder, “What exactly is this ‘blonde espresso’ I keep hearing about?” You’re not alone. Millions of coffee lovers, Starbucks devotees, espresso enthusiasts, and coffee bean fans of all stripes are sometimes lost defining the term.
The confusion happens for many reasons, mainly because of the way companies market blonde espressos and coffees in general. So, if you like to know what kind of coffee beans are in your favorite hot drinks, lay awake at night pondering the question of caffeine content in lighter roasts vs. dark roasts. Rest easy.
The following questions and answers should give you all the delicious data your brain craves about those little beans from Latin America, Canada, Africa, Hawaii, and other places that bring so much pleasure to your life.
What’s in the fabled “Starbucks blonde espresso?”
The entire line of blonde roast espressos and lighter roast offerings from Starbucks is enjoying a new wave of popularity.
The famed coffee chain sells many different espresso roasts, but the one they call blonde espresso has a taste all its own. It contains filtered water espresso made with lightly roasted beans. There’s also a dash of vanilla syrup and almond milk mixed in.
When you taste blonde espresso for the first time, you’ll likely take it for a more mellow drink that has a light taste and fruitier impression than typical dark roast coffee.
Is blonde espresso stronger than “regular espresso”?
What people mean by “stronger” is ambiguous. If you’re talking about taste, then the answer is no. Most of the blonde roasts tend to taste less intense than ordinary, darker espresso roasts sold in the big coffee chains worldwide.
It’s because light roast coffees don’t have that signature “roasted” flavor that comes from roasting the beans until they’re either dark brown or black. The new blonde espresso and others that keep popping up on menus everywhere have a less acidic taste than standard roast coffee and espresso.
Can I make blonde espresso roast coffee at home?
You sure can, and it doesn’t matter whether you use a French press to make espresso or a standard drip process for regular coffee. All you have to do is buy some blonde roast beans from Starbucks, First Crack, or your local grocery store.
After that, if you want to imitate the taste of the big chains’ blonde roasts, remember to add vanilla syrup and preferably use almond milk.
Do light roasts have less or more caffeine than darker roasts?
Generally, all blonde roast coffee, whether drip-made or espresso, has more caffeine than any other roast. Why? The roasting process dictates how much caffeine a coffee beverage has in it. The longer the beans are roasted, the less caffeine in the final product.
This is true whether you start out with a Latin American bean, use French presses, or any other method of creating the hot drink. Less roasting time means more caffeine. More roasting means less caffeine.
What’s up with the terminology?
Want to be puzzled? Check out the menus of competing coffee shops, or just read a few articles on the significant internet sites about coffee roasts. For example, you might notice that the same thing is called by several names, blonde espresso roast, lighter roast, blonde espresso, blonde coffee, light espresso, blonde java, and dozens more.
If you’re over the age of 40, you probably remember something called “cinnamon roast” coffee. It was widely sold in coffee shops in the 1970s and 1980s. It was nothing more and nothing less than blonde roast coffee that is now undergoing a second significant wave of faddishness.
Is the Starbucks version of blonde roast espresso different?
Yes, it is. For starters, because it’s from Starbucks, you’re guaranteed to get that higher price that comes with all the chain’s products. But, what’s even more relevant for coffee lovers, the drink that Starbucks calls “blonde espresso” has a more robust flavor due to a bit more roasting time.
Compared to its competitors, Starbucks has always left their beans in the roaster a little longer, which is why the anti-Starbucks crowd often complains that the seller’s drinks are too strong. So, if you buy your “blonde espresso” from a local, mom-and-pop shop or a non-Starbucks chain, expect a lighter taste.
Why do they call it “blonde”?
The whole blonde thing is about marketing, pure and simple. In the early part of the 1900s, before people had lost their minds over coffee, wholesalers and retailers called the stuff “light roast” or “lighter roast” coffee.
As noted above, in the 70s and 80s, the coffee corporations discovered that they could sell more by renaming light roast “cinnamon roast.” Now, you hear several terms thrown around, like “light,” “lighter,” and “blonde.”
The truth behind the naming is about what the beans look like before and after roasting. So-called blonde roast espresso beans look a bit lighter in color than average roast beans, deeper brown. Dark roast is honestly named because those beans are the darkest, produce the most robust coffee, and have the lowest amount of caffeine per gram.
What goes best with blonde espresso?
The ideal food to pair with blonde espresso includes a light sandwich or salad with Parmesan or Gouda cheeses. The so-called sweet cheeses all work well as a snack, on crackers or bread, alongside a tall glass of blonde espresso.
What else is there to know about blonde espresso?
Here are some random “pro tips” about the popular drink. Make it at home and save a ton of money. The chains are notorious for charging insane prices for the stuff because it happens to be in the midst of a popularity streak.
Final tip: if you’re watching your caffeine intake, know that blonde espresso has about 20 percent more caffeine, ounce-for-ounce, compared to a regular espresso. Then again, if you’re avoiding caffeine, it’s probably a good idea not to hang around espresso bars in the first place. Find a new hobby. But, if you love coffee, and are an espresso fan, try the blonde variety and see if it becomes your new favorite.