Coffee Blends vs Single Origin :: Social Coffee Company Review

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Today I’m going to talk to you about specialty coffee,  and specifically about blends and single origin coffees.  The majority of casual coffee drinkers are not likely to know

that coffee grown in different growing regions will exhibit flavor characteristics which are unique to that particular region.  For example, a Kenyan is likely to possess a sharp citrus acidity (tingle), while a Sumatran often brings an earthy rooty essence.  These are single origin coffees, coffees that are all from the same growing area, and maybe even as specific as a particular farm.  In order for these coffees to display their unique flavors, they must be roasted to a lighter degree.  When coffee is roasted dark, the coffee is stripped of it’s individuality and nearly all of the flavor is derived directly from the roasting process.  That is why you will find that lesser quality coffee is typically dark roasted, an attempt to hide defective coffee.  Specialty coffee however, is coffee that is high quality and not afraid to expose its true self.  Over the past year I have developed a deep appreciation for single origin coffees, but it wasn’t always that way.  I was conditioned to drink dark roast.  My first couple of experiences with a SO coffee was surprising, the bright tangy flavor that I was experiencing was so far removed from what I had been accustomed to that I thought there may be something wrong with the coffee.  Well, needless to say, the single origin experience quickly grew on me and soon I was trying coffees from all parts of the globe while actually preferring the lighter roast! So if single origin coffee is so great then why blend right?  A blended coffee serves a couple of different purposes, first the bad.  Some companies will use coffee blends to hide low quality beans.  The vast majority of store brand coffees are a dark roasted mixture of the cheapest beans.  On the flip-side there are specialty blends.  This is when a roaster will find 2-5 different coffees that compliment each other in order to highlight each coffees strengths, while at the same time compensating for each coffees weaknesses.  I recommend that if you are new to exploring the world of specialty coffee, that you begin with some artisan blends.  This will allow you to experience high quality coffees, but the flavor will be more rounded and balanced. It takes a degree of skill to craft a great blend.  It isn’t a matter of simply tossing together a little of this and a bit of that.  A skilled roaster will cup each coffee individually, and not just once.  Each coffee is evaluated each day after a roast to find that coffee’s particular sweet spot.  In addition, each coffee will be roasted to various levels to find the optimum level to allow its quality shine.  After the roaster knows each coffee intimately, they will begin combining them to find the perfect balance.  This is an art that I would like to dabble in some day.  I have tasted some really great blends that are very complex and offer layers of different flavor profiles.  Which brings me to my next topic… I received some really special coffee last week.  Some coffees are excellent, and I have had my share of great, horrible, and everything in between.  Social Coffee & Tea Company, established in October of 2009, has burst onto the specialty coffee scene.  When Social Coffee attended the SCAA event in Anaheim a couple of months ago, their El Salvador single origin coffee took second place in the Roaster’s Choice awards.  Social has started submitting some of their wares to Coffee Review, where they have received several superior quality scores of 94, 93, and several other 90+, a true indicator of exceptional quality.  I had the pleasure of immersing myself in several of Social’s offerings.  I have been asked to review many coffees over the past year and frequently I’ll get 3-5 different coffees sent by a particular company.  Of those coffees, I rarely like all of them.  I like to share great stuff with my readers/viewers so I’ll pick out my favorite and share it with you.  With Social, it was a first.  While I did not find one that I disliked, I do have a few faves.  For single origin, I thoroughly enjoyed their Natural Ethiopian Sidama.  The natural processing imparts a dried fruit flavor, and the flavor of blackberries, blueberry, and milk chocolate also abound.  If a blend is what you are after, then I recommend the Western Decadence and the Imperialiste Noir Organic French Roast.  Their French Roast was unlike any that I’ve tried before.  It offered a savory essence with a dark chocolate and dried cherry finish.  This is the type of coffee I like to pair with dessert.  I also tried a couple of their espresso blends and I fell in love with the People’s Daily Espresso blend.  Another thing I love about this company is the “Roasted On” dating.  Roasters that put this on their labels are proud of the fact that they are shipping ultra fresh coffee to their customers, and they are not afraid to show it.  In the grocery store, you’ll find a selection of coffees with expiration dates up to a year away…’nasty’ is the only word I can use. 😛  Social Coffee ships to customers in North America and their shipping speed is amazing!  They don’t mess around with standard 3-5 day shipping, its really fast.


The June free coffee contest is sponsored by Social Coffee & Tea Company! They will be giving away 5 prizes of free coffee to visitors of!  I will be drawing and announcing the winners on July 1st. Here’s how you can get the maximum number of entries… • Leave a comment on ANY post at! The comment must contribute to the discussed topic to qualify. • Click the ‘TWEET’ button at the top or bottom of any post at • ReTweet any of my tweets that contain contest information, or a link to • “LIKE” the page on facebook (You will receive an entry into every contest!) • “LIKE” the Social Coffee Company page on facebook • Refer a friend to and have them send me a message saying “___ sent me.” • Ask any coffee question • Simply fill out the free coffee contest form with your name and email (auto entry into EVERY future contest) • Place a link to on your website, or in a blog post. (email me the link to enter)

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