Blending of coffee is a life-long art. As a roaster, you never stop learning about the rules for blending coffee beans.
One thing we know for sure is that you can't just throw any beans together and hope for a good result. Even taking great Single Origin beans and mixing them in a blend is no recipe for success.
Balance is key - a blend should achieve complimentary outcomes from the individual beans through harmony and working together.
Examples of poor blending choices are bland, boring or harsh coffees. Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish between the confusion of poor blending decisions with bad roasting or low quality beans.
The screen (size) of a bean, the moisture level and densities all need to be considered when blending. We then look at acidity, overlay roast profile maps and most importantly plenty of testing via cupping.
There are two basic blending approaches - pre-roast and post-roast.
Whilst some people will declare one approach is superior to the other, the reality is that both can work equally well and it takes a World Rated coffee judge to pick the difference if the process is performed correctly.
Pre-roast blending involves mixing up the green beans in the desired ratios and roasting all the beans in the blend together within the same batch. This can have the added benefit of what we call "inter-change" as beans give-off and take-in heat and flavours during the roast batch cycle.
Many roaster employ pre-roast blending as either a time-efficient method or they seek the results from improved blend integration with what we call the "smoothing effect" produced by pre-roast blending.
Post-roast blending is used when a roaster elects to roast each bean on it's own and then mix up the roasted beans in the required ratios prior to packaging.
The supporters of post-roast blending believe this has certain benefits in allowing each of the beans in the blend to be roasted to a profile that best suits the bean. Post-roast blenders believe that beans mixed before roasting will experience some beans being under-roasted and others being over-roasted.
We deploy pre-blend roasting - preferring the interchange effect occurring within the roast chamber evening out any of the under and over-roasted issues. In fact, our testing reveals pre-roast blending achieves a smoother and richer outcome compared to the harsh effects of post-roast blending.
Our blends have won more than a dozen awards and medals over the last decade.