Ever since Starbucks started offering their refined blonde espresso roast people have been jumping online to talk about the beans, the roast, and the taste. I was just wondering if blonde espresso was stronger than the normal stuff. I did a little investigating to find out.
A shot of blonde espresso is stronger than the original espresso because it has more caffeine per serving. What makes it stronger are the beans selected for the roast instead of the roasting process itself. Starbucks blonde roast espresso has 85mg of caffeine, 10mg more than the original shot(75mg).
Even though 10mg of caffeine is not a noticeable amount it is enough to make blonde espresso the strongest 1 oz shot on the Starbucks menu. After reading about java, I learned some interesting facts that make blonde roast completely unique. So, I decided to put together this article outlining its qualities and origins to explain what makes blonde espresso so special.
What Makes Blonde Espresso Roast Stronger?
The reason blonde espresso roast is stronger or has more caffeine is due to the unique blend of beans used for the coffee. A new blend requires new beans, right? The original espresso at Starbucks was made from dark roast beans originating from Latin America and the Asian Pacific.
Blonde Espresso is made from beans grown in Latin America and East Africa. It’s the different beans that make this coffee stronger not the roasting technique.
In fact, a common myth in the coffee community is that lighter roasts have a higher caffeine level than dark roasts, which is just not true. The degree, or intensity, of the roast, has nothing to do with the caffeine levels of your cup of coffee.
The reason blonde espresso is stronger than the original espresso is because of the beans from Africa and Asian Pacific. Whoever was responsible for choosing the beans for this roast wasn’t going to pick weaker java, right? Who asked for a weaker espresso?
Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast in Detail
Now that you know where the blonde roast comes from you might be wondering where the name “blonde” originated. It’s just really good marketing more than anything else.
When talking about coffee, the word ‘blonde’ obviously implies light roast coffee. In the case of blonde espresso, it’s really not as light as you may be thinking.
Starbucks likes to advertise their blonde roast espresso as ‘light roast’. In reality, it’s more like a medium roast when you compare it to other coffee. The reason it makes sense for Starbucks to call their medium-roast “light” is that most of their coffee beans are true dark-roast.
The term “Blonde Roast” started being used by Starbucks around 2012 to identify their lighter coffee beans.
Up until then, the coffee industry referred to these beans as cinnamon roast due to the color of the beans. That confused a few people who believed cinnamon roast referred to taste instead of color.
I find that completely understandable since normal people don’t geek out about coffee as we do.
So, introducing the term ‘blonde roast’ was not only an easy way to clear up the confusion, but also a fantastic marketing strategy for Starbucks to separate themselves from the competition.
How Strong Is Blonde Espresso Compared to Other Coffee?
If you want to get deeper into the subject, you’ll be interested to find out how blonde roast stacks up against other coffee.
Let’s compare some of the most popular coffee drinks to see how strong blonde espresso really is. I’ll just pull the amount of caffeine from some of the most popular coffee brands in the country to show you the difference.
Keep in mind that a shot of espresso comes in 1oz portions while coffee can be poured in mugs varying in size from as small as 6oz to as big as 16oz.
For comparison’s sake, let’s match the 1oz blonde espresso against an 8oz, or as Starbucks fans would say a short cup of coffee.
As mentioned before an original Starbucks 1oz shot of espresso has 75mg of caffeine. That’s a bit higher than the average caffeine content for espresso in America, which is 64mg. Both are lower than the 85mg of caffeine in blonde espresso.
An 8oz cup of coffee from Starbucks has 155mg of caffeine, but since there are so many different types of coffee on the market let’s just use a range. Caffeine levels in black coffee can be as low as 90mg and as high as 200mg.
Caffeine in instant coffee tends to be significantly lower than fresh coffee beans. The most famous American instant coffee brand caffeine levels start as low as 57mg and go up to 135mg.
Finally, you should know, the caffeine levels of a latte or cappuccino are equal to espresso because each is just a shot with a different amount of steamed or frothed milk.
Blonde Espresso at Home
Great, now that you’ve learned everything about blonde espresso it’s time for you to try one. Obviously, you can go to your Starbucks and get yourself a single or a double shot to take in the full flavor of the espresso. If you enjoy coffee with milk, a blonde latte or a flat white will suit you well.
What if you want to make the coffee at home? You’ll be surprised to know you don’t need an espresso machine. The java can be brewed and enjoyed using a French press or a Moka pot just as easily. You’ll still need to purchase the beans from their official website or the next time you’re at the store. Although, I like it when pro-baristas make my espresso for me.
People who like to use a Keurig or a Nespresso machine will be happy to know I’ve also seen blonde espresso come packaged in pods. I haven’t tried blonde espresso from a pod before so I can’t speak to the quality of the brew, but if you’ve had a chance to sip it please let me know what you thought of it.
What Does Blonde Espresso Taste Like?
Everyone will have a different experience drinking blonde espresso, especially if you’ve made it at home for the first time. I personally found it to be mildly sweet with a lingering citrusy after-taste. By comparison, the original dark roast shot of espresso has more of an earthy, bolder flavor. It tends to be more bitter than blonde espresso.
I believe this shot works in more ways than one. The unique flavor originating from the beans is a success and the brew provides the energetic kick expected from espresso. Finally, pulling a shot of coffee has always been a pleasure for all coffee enthusiasts.
I could go on and on about my experience with the drink but to get a true idea for the flavor you’ll need to try it yourself.
How Many Calories Does Blonde Espresso Have?
One standard shot of blonde espresso has roughly 5 calories and zero sugar. Many coffee shops offer a double shot which effectively doubles the calorie count. These numbers change significantly when blonde espresso is used as a base for any of these famous coffee drinks like a latte or cappuccino.
Is Blonde Roast the Same as Cinnamon Roast?
Blonde roast used to be referred to as cinnamon roast for many years, mainly because of the color of the beans. Starbucks introduced the term blonde roast because they realized customers were confused by the name. They realized coffee drinkers thought cinnamon roast referred to the taste of the bean instead of the color.
Is Blonde Roast Only for Espresso?
Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast is best suited for brewing in espresso machines. Although it can be brewed in a French press or a Moka pot the java delivers the best results when pressed through an espresso machine.
Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast: https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2122186/whole-bean?parent=%2Fat-home-coffee%2Fwhole-bean%2Fblonde-roast
Caffeine in Espresso: https://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-complete-guide-to-starbucks-caffeine
Dark Vs. Light Roast: https://www.kickinghorsecoffee.com/en/blog/caffeine-myths-dark-vs-light
How Much Caffeine In Coffee: https://www.roastycoffee.com/caffeine/
I’ve always seen coffee as a way of bringing people together. Everywhere I go people seem to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and that’s what drives my passion. There’s always a new brew to master, and there’s always a new face to enjoy it with. Hitch a ride with me on a coffee-fueled adventure to find a perfect cup.