Blend building is one of the forgotten arts in coffee, and that's why i want to write a small post on it while we launch our new seasonal LGB blend.
As you have read in my posts on the history of 'Roast ED' and 'Mister LGB' there is a lot to say about coffee blends.
In Flanders we never saw many single origin or single variety coffees on the menu. A maragogype (as variety) or very expensive Jamaica Blue Mountain were probably the most occurrent and appreciated by a lot of people, but a minority in the total offer.
When we go back to the beginning of the century while i started this business we found a lot of fantasy blends on the shelf or silos at the local roasteries or shops. The best known were 'Mokka-Java-Santos', 'Italian Roast', 'Meestermengeling', 'Mokka', 'Dessert', 'Mild', 'Ambassador', 'Mysore', 'House Blend', 'Prima', 'Super' and the funniest of all 'Feestmengeling'.
Most of times was the exact mix a secret of the house. Well, i worked and talked with many of those traditional roasters and can tell you there's not so much art or unknown used by so-called master blenders, which is the subline underneath Douwe Egberts, market leader in these low countries.
Most beans you find back in these traditional blends are cupping very low (say between 80 and 84) and made from often old, dusty greens and dark roasted on top. The fact 90% of the beans will be ground before landing in the hands of their clients is neglectable.
When starting off Caffenation i didn't know a lot about coffee, but for the first day on i understood that single origin coffee was a much better story than these blends. The fact that we kept on blending was for financial reasons and ease of use. When blending smartly you can make from two good beans one very good blend. You can imagine that the most expensive and best coffees on earth don't need something to improve the already fantastic and well balanced flavor, but with the Mister LGB we wanted to offer something a bit more economic and were managing to do so while blending two or three specialty beans. In the LGB case we talk washed coffee, very often African in combination with Central or South American.
On top of that you need some power to fight the dominant fat and rich milk you use in your cappuccino or other milky beverages. And blending enforces your coffee part; very often we find a more solid base in a blend than in a single bean coffee.
And last but not least we notice that a blend is easier - read 'more stable' - to use than a single origin coffee. If we want our coffee to taste the same every shot, from the morning till the evening, then we need stability! For our milk drinks we notice the LGB is a very big help for the barista behind the bar.
And a new Mister LGB is on their way and listens to the name: SOMBRERO: