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Blends and Blending: Introduction

Since blending is the ultimate proof of coffee expertise, and since it gives consumers a chance to participate in the creation of their own pleasure, specialty coffee customers often blend their own coffees. The only drawback to such a rewarding practice is impatience: Consumers may decide to begin blending coffees before they know enough to do it right, and sellers may get frustrated if they have to stop to make a blend of five coffees for a customer when there are ten more customers waiting in line. But few storekeepers will object if they feel the customer is really blending, rather than just showing off or demanding attention.

Different roasts, coffees with different caffeine contents, or single-origin coffees from different countries can be blended. One of the more common practices is to blend dark and light roasts to maximize the complexity of roast taste. Another reason to blend is to cut caffeine content. If you drink only decaffeinated coffee, you may get bored, since specialty shops carry a limited number of caffeine-free coffees. An excellent compromise is to blend a caffeine-free coffee with your favorite single-origin coffees, thus cutting your caffeine intake while fulfilling your sense of coffee adventure.

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Blends and Blending:   | Blending Different Origins  | Personal Blending  | Blending Families  | Blending with Chicory

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Adapted from Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing & Enjoying; Espresso: Ultimate Coffee; and Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival. St. Martin's Press.
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