What Is Blonde Espresso: Uncovering the Lighter Side of Coffee

By Evelina •  Updated: 04/25/23 •  8 min read

If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard of blonde espresso beans. But what exactly is it? Is it just a lighter roast of the same old coffee beans? Or is there something more to this trendy new brew?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at blonde espresso and uncover its secrets. Get ready to discover a whole new side of coffee!

Blonde Espresso Basics

Origins and Development

Blonde espresso is a coffee drink derived from lightly-roasted beans, originating from Starbucks’ introduction of Blonde roast in 2012.

The Blonde Espresso blend combines Latin American and East African coffee beans, offering a softer and more balanced flavor profile. The growing popularity of Blonde espresso can be attributed to its unique taste and characteristics compared to traditional espresso roasts.

Blonde Espresso Roast vs Traditional Roasts

dark roast coffee beans

When comparing the Blonde roast to other roasts, its lighter color and taste become evident. The difference in the roasting process plays a significant role in this distinction, as the coffee beans used to make Blonde espresso undergo lower temperatures and shorter roast times.

Here are some key features that differentiate Blonde espresso from its counterparts:

Taste and Flavor Profiles

Acidity and Bitterness

Blonde espresso is known for its mild sweetness and subtle acidity. The lighter roast allows for brighter flavors to shine through, presenting citrus notes and a pleasant sharpness on the tongue. The acidity may produce a taste reminiscent of lemon or orange.

The bitterness level in blonde espresso is usually lower than in darker roasts, making it more approachable for those who prefer a milder coffee experience.

Blonde Roast Blend Components

In a blonde roast blend, the origin characteristics of the coffee beans are more pronounced, allowing the drinker to taste the variety of beans and processing techniques used.

The flavor profile of a blonde espresso often features notes of toasted nuts, caramel, and a hint of honey-like sweetness, giving it a well-rounded and balanced taste.

Comparing Blonde and Dark Roast Coffee 

Blonde espresso vs Dark Roast Coffee 

Comparing blonde espresso to darker roasts reveals distinct differences in taste and flavor profiles. While lighter roasts emphasize the natural flavors of the coffee beans, darker roasts tend to mute these flavors in favor of deeper, bolder tastes.

Dark roasts often have higher bitterness levels and lower acidity, resulting in a more robust coffee experience. On the other hand, blonde espresso offers a milder, more nuanced flavor profile that highlights the beans’ origin characteristics and features a brighter, more vibrant tasting experience.

Caffeine Content and Extraction

Blonde roasts tend to have higher caffeine content than darker roasts, with some espresso blends having up to 25 percent more caffeine than their dark counterparts.

This is due in part to the shorter extraction time required for blonde roasts. With a shorter extraction, more caffeine is extracted from the beans in less time, resulting in a stronger brew. 

Factors Influencing Caffeine Levels

There are several factors that can affect the caffeine content in coffee, including the following:

Understanding the factors that influence caffeine content can help you choose a coffee best suited to your personal taste and caffeine preferences.

starbucks blonde vanilla latte

Let’s cover some popular beverages made with light-roasted espresso: the Blonde Vanilla Latte, Blonde Flat White, Blonde Iced Americano, Blonde Cappuccino, and Blonde Mocha.

These drinks can be prepared with regular espresso coffee, but making them with blonde espresso will definitely give you an extra taste kick! 😊

Blonde Vanilla Latte

Blonde Vanilla Latte is a twist on the classic latte, using Blonde Espresso as its base. It is prepared by mixing this light-roasted espresso with steamed milk and vanilla syrup.

This combination creates a smooth and balanced drink, offering a sophisticated yet subtle sweetness. Ideal for those who prefer a less bitter latte, the Blonde Vanilla Latte is a delightful pick-me-up perfect for any time of the day.

Blonde Flat White

Blonde Flat Whites offer a unique twist on the traditional flat white by using Blonde Espresso. This drink consists of light-roasted espresso combined with velvety steamed milk, resulting in a creamy, smooth beverage with a delicate and refined flavor profile.

The use of Blonde Espresso allows for a more mild tasting flat white, appealing to those who enjoy a less intense coffee experience.

Blonde Iced Americano

Blonde Iced Americano is a refreshing and invigorating beverage with Blonde Espresso and cold water served over ice.

The light-roasted espresso adds a brighter and more approachable flavor compared to a traditional iced americano, making it an excellent choice for warm weather or for those looking for a less bitter espresso-based beverage.

The Blonde Iced Americano is also a fantastic choice for anyone seeking a crisp, clean-tasting coffee.

Blonde Cappuccino

A Blonde Cappuccino is a variation of the classic cappuccino, with the key difference being the use of Blonde Espresso.

Made by combining light-roasted espresso with frothed milk, the Blonde Cappuccino produces a velvety and creamy texture with a gentler flavor compared to its traditional counterpart.

The lighter taste of the Blonde Espresso allows the natural sweetness of the milk to shine through, creating a satisfying, well-rounded beverage.

Blonde Mocha

Finally, the Blonde Mocha is a delightful adaptation of the classic mocha, using the light-roasted Blonde Espresso as its foundation. This drink is prepared by combining espresso with steamed milk and chocolate syrup, resulting in a creamy and sweet, yet balanced, coffee beverage.

The use of the Blonde Espresso creates a less bitter and more approachable mocha, perfect for those who appreciate a smoother and more delicate chocolate-infused coffee experience.

Factors Contributing to the Unique Attributes of Blonde Espresso

There are several factors that contribute to the distinct characteristics of blonde espresso.

Coffee Bean Selection

One of the defining factors of a blonde espresso is the type of coffee beans used. Blonde espresso typically utilizes a blend of Latin American and East African coffee beans.

The Latin American coffee beans provide a mild and balanced flavor profile, while the East African beans offer brighter and fruitier notes. These beans, when combined, create a perfect harmony of flavors for a lighter, more enjoyable espresso.

Roasting Process

The roast level is a critical aspect in determining the color, taste, and aroma of the final product. For blonde espresso, the beans are lightly roasted, typically between 356 to 401 degrees Fahrenheit.

This roasting temperature range helps to preserve the inherent flavors of the beans, while also providing a consistent and mellow flavor profile.

Brewing Techniques

Brewing techniques also play a significant role in the characteristics of blonde espresso. Similar to other types of espresso, a fine grind, and precise tamping pressure is essential for optimal extraction.

Using approximately 18 grams of coffee with a tamp pressure of around 30 pounds will ensure a consistent and balanced shot. 

Final Thoughts

Blonde espresso, a medium-light roast blend, offers a more balanced and mellow coffee experience in comparison to the traditional dark roast espresso. Its origins can be traced back to Starbucks in 2012, but many coffee shops offer similar light roast options.

The refined flavor profile of blonde espresso includes hints of citrus, chocolate, or malt, and it has a lower acidity level that is gentle on the stomach.

This makes it an excellent choice for iced drinks or as a refreshing alternative for those looking to explore different latte styles without the overwhelming dark coffee flavor.

In conclusion, blonde espresso presents a unique option for coffee lovers who wish to enjoy a brighter, sweeter, and less intense coffee experience. Whether you’re looking to switch up your daily caffeine fix or simply want to try something new, blonde espresso is worth considering.

Happy Brewing!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.

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