Blonde Espresso Vs Regular Espresso: Is There Any Difference?

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two espresso coffees

Got too bored of the same ol’ cup of coffee every day?

Even if all you ever drink is espresso, there’s a way you can add a bit of diversity to your drink.

How about switching to a different type of roast – blonde espresso precisely?

This type of roast has become the talk of the town recently, but do you know what makes it so popular? 

You’ve come to the right place to find out. In this article, I’ll share with you the ultimate blonde espresso vs regular espresso showdown. 

Let’s see how these two coffees compare!

What Is A Blonde Espresso?

cup of espresso and coffee beans on table

Blond espresso is a new roast profile everyone’s been raving about in recent years. In 2012, Starbucks came up with this signature espresso light roast coffee, and it wasn’t long before coffee lovers went crazy about it.

What makes Starbucks blonde espresso so amazing, you might ask? 

It’s a smooth, balanced, easy-to-drink coffee that both new and seasoned coffee drinkers will enjoy.  

According to Starbucks, the new blend is great for introducing espresso to new coffee drinkers. It’s sweeter and more subtle compared to the original version. This means they won’t have to add tons of sugar and creamer to make it more drinkable.

For the same reason, blonde espresso pairs exceptionally well with milk-based drinks. So whether you’re making a mocha, latte, or a macchiato, a blonde roast is a great choice.

Now let’s get into details – what exactly is a blonde espresso roast?

As you may know, coffee beans taste different depending on the region where they’re growing. Factors like altitude, type of soil, and climate can have quite a big impact on how the coffee turns out.

Blonde coffee roast is actually a blend, meaning it includes beans from different areas to achieve a specific flavor and aroma. 

In this case, the coffee beans come from both Latin America and East Africa. Together, they’re responsible for making a creamy cup of espresso with a slightly milder and sweeter flavor.

With that being said, don’t think that blonde espresso is a weak shot that can’t keep you awake even after drinking 5 cups.

Even though it has a lighter taste than a regular espresso, the blonde roast has a high caffeine level. That means you’ll still get your energy kick after drinking it. 

You should know that the blonde roast coffee isn’t exclusively just a Starbucks espresso roast – the brand just made it more popular than ever. 

Blonde roast has been around for a long time, usually known as Half City, Cinnamon, New England Roast, or Light City Roast. It’s light brown in color and has very little oil on the bean surface. 

Compared to other types, these beans are roasted at low temperatures for a much shorter period. We’ll get into more details about the whole process later in the article. But at this point, you should be aware that it’s the roasting method that makes the most significant difference.

Blonde Espresso Brewing Process

Making espresso with a blonde roast is no rocket science. The process is the same as with any other roast: you need to grind beans, pack and tamp your grounds and pull the shot.

With that being said, there are a few tweaks here and there to get a perfect espresso shot with a blonde roast.

Starting with the ground-to-water ratio. When brewing blond espresso, you want to aim between 1:2.4 and 1:3. Longer shots are less concentrated, which makes lowers the acidity and enhances floral and citrus notes.

As for pulling the shot, aim for a slightly longer brew time. A good place to start is between 40 and 60 seconds. With practice, you’ll find your true parameters.

What Is A Regular Espresso?

coffee beans and espresso coffee

Regular espresso is typically made of the darkest roasted coffee. This means it’s full-bodied,  has a rich flavor and it’s slightly bitter. 

We might argue that this is how the true espresso should be, but the truth is – not everyone’s stomach can easily process regular espresso. 

Now, I’m not saying that regular espresso is bad for you. In fact, studies have shown there are many health benefits of this drink. Still, a shot of regular espresso can cause some stomach aches if your gut is sensitive. In that case, a blonde coffee is probably a better option.

Regular Espresso Brewing Process

At this point, you probably already know the steps to make espresso. It starts with proper packing and tamping the ground coffee and ends in pulling the perfect shot.

Seems easy, but it requires a bit of practice – well, unless you’re using a super-automatic espresso machine that does it all for you.

Aside from the skill, proper measurements are also important for making a good cup of espresso. In the case of regular espresso grounds, the right ratio should be between 1:1.5 and 1:2.5. For a ristretto, you should aim for 1:1 to 1:1.5.

As for the brewing time, you should aim for a shot that’s between 20 and 30 seconds to get that rich, black cup of happiness. 

Blonde Espresso VS Regular Espresso Compared

two cups of espresso coffee

Starbucks blonde espresso is different from a regular kind in terms of the color, roasting process, and, of course, flavor. 

But there’s much more to it than just these obvious cues. In this section, we’ll focus on details that make these two types of roast so different.

Level Of Caffeine

It’s a common misconception that darker beans contain more caffeine. 

The link between the length of the roasting process and the level of caffeine is nonexistent. Caffeine is a pretty stable ingredient, so it remains unaffected by the temperature the beans are exposed to.

And while regular espresso has a stronger flavor than the blonde variety, the latter has a higher level of caffeine. That’s simply because the blonde espresso beans are naturally slightly higher in this compound. 

Let’s look at the numbers:

Since the blonde roast by Starbucks is the one that started this whole craze, we’ll use it for comparison. A grande cup, which is 16 ounces, contains about 360 milligrams of caffeine. Dark roast, on the other hand, has only 260 milligrams.  

With these numbers in mind, you might not want to drink blonde espresso a few hours before going to bed. 


Many people drink coffee not for its caffeine kick, but for its taste. And that’s where these two varieties are rather different.

Regular espresso is well known and loved for its bold, strong taste with a full-bodied, earthy caramel flavor. After taking a sip, regular espresso leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers for a short while.

Blonde espresso, on the other hand, is smooth, mellow, and mildly sweet. You can sense a hint of floral and citrusy notes, which gives the espresso drink a rather refreshing flavor. 

And while it might not be as obvious, blonde espresso is higher in acidity than the regular one. Those natural acids in coffee beans really enhance the bright flavor and aroma of the coffee.


Finally, the main difference between regular and blonde espresso lies in the type of roast. As we previously mentioned, blonde is made from light roast, while a regular espresso is made with dark roasted coffee beans. 

But what does that mean?

There are two main factors that affect the type of the roast – time and temperature

Lightly roasted coffee, like blonde espresso, is roasted at a temperature under 400 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s only until you heat the “first crack.” It is a sound coffee makes when it starts expanding from heat – kind of like popcorn. 

Coffee roasted only until this point stays light in color and has a mild, sweet flavor. Still, some fresh, citrusy notes are also quite noticeable.

Darker roasts, on the other hand, are roasted for a longer time, at temperatures up to 460 degrees Fahrenheit. After the first crack, the espresso bean starts to get darker in color, getting that well-known deep dark hue we all know very well.


selection of different coffee types

Still confused about the difference between these two roasts? Here are some answers to questions you might have about the subject.

Is Blonde Espresso Healthier?

To be completely fair, worrying about which type of espresso is healthier only matters if you drink, let’s say, five shots a day. 

But if we were to compare the two in terms of how healthy they are, saying that blonde espresso is better for your health is not true. 

This might seem weird, given the fact that blonde espresso is so easy to drink. But it has higher caffeine content, and we’re all very aware that having too much caffeine isn’t exactly healthy.

What’s more, blonde espresso has a higher amount of sugar. The roasting process kills natural sugars found in a coffee bean. But since this type of coffee only goes through one part of the process, there’s plenty of sugar left inside. 

What Can I Add To Blonde Espresso?

Because it has a lighter body and flavor, blonde espresso is great for pairing with milk. This means it’s a much better option for making beverages such as latte or macchiato than a regular espresso.

If you are a fan of sweet, delicious drinks, try the blonde vanilla latte Starbucks coffee, and you should get the idea of the smooth taste of the blonde roast coffee beans that I talk about.

The Final Word

Blonde espresso is a great way to add a bit of variety to your daily coffee drinking session. Its sweet flavor and subtle citrus aroma make this light roast perfect for milk-based drinks or on its own.

And if you have a friend that doesn’t like regular espresso – make them a cup with blonde roast. You can bet they’ll convert into an espresso coffee lover after a single cup.

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.