Blonde Coffee: What is it and How Does it Compare to Other Roasts?

man and women sitting in a coffee shop drinking blonde coffee

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Walking into your local coffee shop might be a little confusing for some. You look at the menu and there are tons of different options for a simple cup of coffee.

Isn’t coffee…coffee? Not quite! Coffee can be roasted, blended, ground, and flavored in many different ways. 

You may have come across a blonde roast in your quest to get your morning cup of joe.

What does it mean when coffee is described as blonde?

Does that pertain to its color? Its roast? Its flavor?

We are here to help! Let’s explain what blonde coffee is, how it compares to other roasts, and if it’s something you’d like to try out for your next cup.

A blonde espresso brew in a white cup next to a  wooden scoop full of espresso beans on a black table

What is Blonde Coffee?

Blonde coffee is a term that describes a lightly-roasted bean. This type of coffee is made using beans from East Africa and Latin America. Blonde coffee has been called many names, including Half City, Light City, or New England Roast. 

The blonde name originated and became popular in Starbucks stores. (Even though Starbucks blonde is a horrible representation and shouldn’t ever be consumed)

Over the years, the name stuck. Starbucks introduced their blonde coffee in 2017, and it has been a popular blend in coffee shops around the country ever since. 

Why is it called blonde?

Starbucks used the term “blonde” to describe this espresso type because it is a very light roast with a lightly colored bean. Light, like blonde hair!

Blonde roasts were actually once called cinnamon roasts. This led to quite a bit of confusion since people were, understandably, expecting their coffee to have a cinnamon taste.

Unless flavored with cinnamon, blonde roasts don’t typically have a cinnamon flavor. Thus, the name change.

What Makes Blonde Coffee Different?

There are a few key features that make blonde coffees different than other roasts. The roasting process of blonde coffee results in a denser bean than other types.

This is due to the fact that light roasts are removed from the heating process rather quickly. They do not have much time to soften like other beans.

Because of this denseness, lightly roasted beans are harder to grind. This can cause issues if you are grinding your own beans.

Cheap grinders can easily wear out or break if you are grinding these dense, light-roasted beans often. 

It may be worth investing in a higher-quality grinder. Grinding your own beans ensures a fresh brew, but you can always look for a pre-ground coffee blend that suits you if grinding is not your thing. 

A diagram showing you how blonde coffee is more acidic and can cause acid reflux

Is Blonde Coffee More Acidic

Blonde coffee is more acidic compared to other roasts. This, again, is because of the quick roasting process.

Beans that are left on the heat for longer have more time to roast out their acidity. Because light roasts are removed from the heat quicker, they end up with a higher acidic level. 

Blonde Coffee VS. White Coffee

Blonde coffee and white coffee are both light roasts but they are not the same. Although blonde coffee beans have a very quick roasting time, they are still considered fully-roasted.

White coffee beans are taken off the heat a lot sooner and are considered under-roasted.

Dark roasts are left on the heat for longer until the bean cracks a second time. This creates a more oily bean, where blonde coffee beans are typically dry. 

Excited screaming young woman due to drinking too much blonde coffee standing isolated over yellow background. Looking into the camera.

Does It Have More Caffeine

Although most coffee blends are within the same caffeine range, darker roasts slightly decrease in caffeine levels as they heat.

For the most part, caffeine levels remain the same throughout the roasting process. You probably will not notice a difference in caffeine levels between different roasts. 

The amount of caffeine actually depends more on how you brew your coffee. Espresso shots actually have less caffeine and contain about 75 milligrams. A cup of brewed coffee contains more caffeine, coming in at around 200 milligrams.

Roasting Process of Blonde Coffee

Blonde coffee is meant to be light. This light taste is achieved during the roasting process. Light blends are made with green beans that are roasted between 356-401 degrees F. 

Another factor that determines how light or dark a roast is depends on when the beans crack. Light roasts are taken off the heat as soon as or before the beans crack. Darker roasts are left in longer and may crack more than once. 

Perfecting lightly-roasted beans can be a pretty tricky process. First, roasters need to make sure they are using fresh, quality beans. If their beans are not good, their blonde roast will come out tasting awful and won’t sell. 

Trying to achieve the perfect amount of roasting time is the next challenge. Beans only need about 90-120 seconds to reach a perfectly light roast.

If they aren’t exposed to enough heat they may be lacking in flavor. Too much heat results in more of a medium-roast. 

If you want to know if the beans are good before you buy them, try squeezing a bean between your fingers. Good quality beans will crack under this pressure.

If the beans do not crack and are very hard or firm, this probably isn’t something you want to buy.

Pretty woman drinking blonde coffee in her kitchen while standing at her island

What Does Blonde Coffee Taste Like?

Blonde coffees have a light, fruity flavor that is more mellow compared to darker roasts. The flavor of blonde coffee can change depending on a few factors.

The way you brew your coffee can affect its flavor. Light-roasted beans need more time to steep in water as they are not as soluble as darker beans.

The longer you allow it to steep, the more flavorful your coffee will be. 

Beans are very important when it comes to taste. Beans taste different depending on where they are grown and what climate they are in.

Play around with different regions and see what flavor hints you enjoy most. 

As with any type of beans, quality dramatically affects flavor. Research coffee companies to find who has the best beans. Choosing any old bag you see at the super-market might not end in the best results. 

How Acidic Is Blonde Coffee Compared To Other Drinks And Foods

Blonde coffee has a high acidity level. Their pH levels measure acidity levels in food and drinks. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with 7 being neutral. Food and drinks below 7 are considered acidic, and above 7 is considered basic. 

Blonde roasts have a pH level around 4.5. If you are looking to compare, tomatoes and oranges have a similar pH level.

Many sodas and beers also have high acidity. On the opposite side of the spectrum, green tea is very basic and has a pH level of around 9. 

Consuming highly-acidic food or drinks can be harmful to your body. High-consumption can lead to stomach ulcers and other health problems.

It may be a good idea to limit highly-acidic food and drinks in your diet and to balance these items with choices that have lower acidity.

Best Ways to Brew Blonde Coffee

Brewing blonde coffee can be a bit finicky. To get a perfectly brewed blonde coffee, you have to start with grinding the beans correctly.

Blonde coffee beans are a lot harder than other beans. To grind them properly, you’ll need a top-notch grinder. 

Cheap grinders won’t do the trick, and if your beans aren’t ground properly, you probably won’t enjoy your blonde coffee or ever repurchase it. 

The best way to brew blonde coffee is with a pour-over cone. This method allows more steeping time and can draw out more flavor.

Compared to dark roasts, light roasts are not as soluble and need more time for flavor extraction. 

The type of water you use can also affect the taste of blonde coffee. Soft water is best for blonde coffee, as regular tap water can be too hard.

Can You Buy Blond Coffee K Cups

Can you use other methods for brewing blonde coffee like K cups or other pre-packaged pods? Of course you can.

But if you are looking to experience the true taste of blonde coffee, you probably aren’t going to get the best results with a capsule. 

With that said, many coffee companies do make K cups or pods for blonde coffee, including Starbucks, Nespresso, and more. Taste is always a personal preference, and if you’re interested, try one!

Final Thoughts

Everyone is going to have their own coffee preferences. With so many choices out there, it can be hard to decide which is right for you.

Blonde coffee is a great choice if you’re looking for a light taste that is easy to drink. The mellow flavors and fruity after-taste make blonde coffees a pleasant way to start your mornings.

Be sure to look for quality beans and invest in a quality-grinder. Try out different brands and blends until you find a roast you fall in love with!