Much of my home-roasted coffee lately finds its way into a blend of one kind or another. That’s not necessarily what I had in mind when I fired up the roaster. I wonder, is blending habit forming? It’s a neat bit of creation, certainly. Coaxing flavors out of the roaster, blending beans with body, beans with aroma, beans with lofty ambitions of citrus and flowers, beans redolent with pepper and clove.
Blending beans is art and craft and luck, inextricably twined. Without them you’re a bizzaro Robin Hood, robbing the rich… and throwing the jewels away. Blend a full-bodied Sumatra with any light bodied bean and you’ll net a medium-bodied brew. Whether it was a fair trade is a matter of what the other bean brought to the cup — zingy high notes? a jazzy midrange? The real question is simple enough… is the blend greater than the sum of its parts?