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What Is Blonde Espresso? Everything You Need To Know

Are you tired of the same taste of standard espresso?

I get it. It can be too dark and strong.

A Blonde espresso is the answer. But what is it?

It’s an espresso made with a lighter roast than standard espresso. It has a lighter body and a sweeter taste.

I’ll give you a complete explanation of Blonde espresso, how to make it, and what it’s best used for.

Let’s jump in!

What is a Blonde Espresso?

blonde espresso coffee

A Blonde Espresso is a Starbucks espresso shot made with their Blonde espresso roast.

It is different from their regular espresso blend as it’s lighter in color and taste. 

Blonde Roast Origin

Starbucks’ Blonde roast goes back to 2012. That year, Starbucks started offering Blonde roasts as packaged beans and for brewed coffee drinks.

But it wasn’t until 2018 that they added Blonde espresso.

The addition of Blonde espresso was the first time Starbucks added an signature espresso to their lineup in decades.

It looks like the Starbucks Blonde espresso and Blonde roast are here to stay.

Roasting Process

coffee roasting process

Blonde roast coffee beans are roasted for a shorter time and at a lower temperature than other espresso coffees.

Specialty coffee shops usually call these simply “light roast” instead of “Blonde.” That’s because Starbucks popularized the term “Blonde Roast.”

The reality is that there is no real difference between a light roast and a Blonde roast except for the name.

Flavor

A good way to think about how roasting coffee beans produce different tastes is by comparing it with onions.

I know it sounds a little weird, but hear me out.

When you first add chopped onions to a pan, they are white. That’s your green coffee bean.

After a few minutes in a hot pan, onions start to become translucent and oily. Keep the onions on for even longer, and they start to caramelize.

Caramelized onions become sweet, full-bodied, and turn deep brown.

But you can take onions off the heat once they become translucent to preserve their tangy onion taste.

That’s like coffee beans. When you roast coffee beans for a longer amount of time, they become darker and the oils and sugars start to caramelize. With darker roasts, you get a fuller body and a heartier taste.

With light roasts, including the Starbucks Blonde espresso roast, the sugars and oils don’t caramelize, preserving the complex taste of the coffee itself.

Blonde espresso has a lighter body and more complex flavors.

Appearance

blonde espresso coffee in a white cup

Blonde roast espresso beans will be lighter and less brown than espresso beans you might be used to seeing.

Picture it like pancakes. A hearty pancake cooked for a long time will end up with a dark hue. While a pancake cooked for less time will be a nice golden brown.

That’s the same with espresso roasts. Traditional espresso beans will be dark and almost black.

Light roast coffee beans will be a nice golden brown.

That said, once the coffee is brewed, there really isn’t too much difference in appearance. Blonde espresso will be just a hint lighter in color than traditional espresso.

The big difference is in the taste.

How to Make a Blonde Espresso

It’s actually not too hard to make a Blonde espresso at home. As easy as making a regular espresso, actually.

You will need either Starbucks Blonde roast coffee beans or a similar light roast from your local shop.

But after that, it’s a breeze.

The Best Brewing Method

If you’re used to making espresso shots at home, this will be easy.

  • Finely grind a dose of Blonde roast beans, about 18 grams
  • Fill and tamp portafilter
  • Pull around 4 oz of espresso
  • Enjoy!

The result should be a bright, sweet espresso that is full of flavor and complexity.

If you normally don’t drink espresso straight, try taking a few sips of Blonde espresso. Many folks who don’t like espresso actually enjoy the taste of Blonde espresso.

How to Make a Blonde Vanilla Latte

To make a Blonde vanilla latte, you’re going to need a good syrup. But after you get your hands a tasty vanilla syrup, the rest is easy.

  • Finely grind a full dose of blonde roast coffee, about 18 grams
  • Fill and tamp portafilter 
  • Full around 4 oz of blonde espresso
  • Add about 100 grams of vanilla syrup to your cup
  • Pour the espresso into the syrup
  • Measure out and froth your milk to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Add milk to your espresso and syrup
  • Enjoy

Related Reading: How To Make A Latte At Home

Expert Tips

  • If you normally drink your lattes with a syrup added, try a Blonde latte on its own. Blonde espresso opens a lot of new flavors that you might find really tasty.
  • When pulling Blonde espresso at home, play around with the variables and extraction time. There are a ton of flavors to bring out and finding the ones that you like the most is important.
  • Blonde espresso makes great iced drinks. They are a little sweeter, brighter, and have a lighter body. That means they pair really well with cold milk or juice to create awesome summer coffee drinks.

FAQ

If you still have some questions about Blonde espresso, I’ve got you covered. Here are the answers to some of the common concerns a coffee lover could have.

Is Blonde espresso stronger than a dark roast?

If we are talking in terms of taste, Blonde espresso is less strong than dark roast.

A Blonde espresso will be mellower and brighter than darker espresso.

Is Blonde espresso healthier?

Blond espresso will have more antioxidants than darker espresso. But all coffee has antioxidants, so darker espresso isn’t necessarily unhealthy.

Does Blonde roast have more caffeine than espresso?

It does. Lighter roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts. The beans are denser than a dark roast, so you end up using more coffee.

Blonde espresso has about 85 mg of caffeine, whereas darker espresso has 75 mg of caffeine.

Final Thoughts

A Blonde espresso is a great alternative to standard espresso.

You don’t get the dark and sometimes overwhelming coffee flavor of standard espresso. Instead, you get brightness, sweetness, and complexity.

Blonde espresso is great for iced drinks, for a little extra caffeine boost, or just for trying a different style of latte.

Plus, it’s super easy to make yourself.

Want to get into pulling espresso at home? Check out our article on the best espresso machines for beginners!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.