Coffee Facts

What Is Blonde Espresso?

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Do you love a double shot of espresso but sometimes find the flavor a little too strong? If so, then you may want to try blonde espresso! What is blonde espresso, you ask? Well, if you’re a fan of the Starbucks coffee chain, this type of espresso may not be new to you. But, blonde espresso is not just a Starbucks menu item – it is becoming more and more popular among coffee lovers worldwide.

What Is Blonde Espresso

So, let’s talk about what blonde espresso is, the difference between their signature espresso and blonde, and some top tips for making a delicious cup of blonde espresso.

What is blonde espresso?

Blonde espresso is a type of espresso made with a lighter roast coffee bean. This means that the coffee beans used for blonde espresso are roasted for a shorter time than regular espresso coffee beans, resulting in lighter-colored beans and less bitter coffee.

Blonde espresso is characterized by the following traits:

  • Blonde coffee is lighter in color than medium or dark roasted coffee. It’s so named because the color of light-roasted coffee typically suggests how long it has been cooked, and the color of blonde espresso coffee beans is lighter than that of dark-roasted coffee beans.
  • Blonde espresso roast has a slightly sweeter, smoother, and more mellow flavor due to the shorter roasting time.
  • Blonde espresso is growing in popularity due to Starbucks introducing the hot coffee drink to the permanent menu in their coffee shops. However, as well as fans, this type of coffee also has plenty of haters.

What’s the difference between regular espresso and blonde espresso?

So, what’s the difference between regular espresso and blonde espresso? Here are some of the key differences between these two types of espresso drinks:

Roast level

As we’ve mentioned, the main difference is in the roast of the fresh coffee beans. A blonde roast will be roasted for a shorter time at a lower temperature, whereas a medium or dark roast will be roasted for considerably longer. Blonde roast used to be called cinnamon roast because it resembled the spice, but the name didn’t stick.

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The color of the blonde espresso is, well, blonde. Blond roasted coffees are pale in color, while dark coffee roasts have a shade or two darker color. You’ll be able to notice this difference in both the physical coffee bean and how the coffee looks in your cup.

A light roast bean will also be smaller and have less oil on the surface, whereas a dark roast coffee bean will be larger with a shiny surface.

Caffeine level 

In a strange contrast, a light roast coffee can actually have more caffeine than a dark roast because the roasting process breaks down some of the coffee’s caffeine, so a lighter roast will still have most of its original caffeine quantity.

For example, a grande blonde espresso beverage from Starbucks has 360 milligrams of caffeine, whereas their signature dark roast brew has only 260 mg. So, if you’re looking for an espresso option with a bit more of a kick, go for blonde espresso over regular espresso.


The lighter roast results in a less bitter cup of coffee with a sweeter flavor. Blonde espresso also has a more subtle flavor profile than regular espresso, which some people find more palatable.

Of course, this also relates strongly to the strength of the brew. A blonde roast is a lot weaker than a dark or medium roast espresso. This has led some people to describe blonde espresso as ‘coffee for coffee haters’ because of its very mild flavor. And it’s true that if you love a strong cup of dark roast, you’ll probably find blonde espresso to be a bit on the bland side.

Flavor Profile

The flavor of blonde espresso is noticeably different from that of regular espresso. Blonde espresso tastes lighter, sweeter, and less bitter, more mellow coffee taste. It has a much more mellow flavor, and the light roast has more sugar and almost caramelized flavors, which are brought out by the roasting process.

In contrast, a medium roast espresso will have more body, with a darker flavor that is richer and has more complex tastes. The bolder flavor is often described as ‘smokey.’

Is blonde espresso just a Starbucks thing?

While Starbucks was one of the first coffee shops to introduce blonde espresso, it’s not the only place you can find this type of coffee. You can now find blonde espresso beans at many independent coffee shops and even some grocery stores.

The giant coffee chain also sells bags of Veranda Blonde Roast, a blend of South American coffee beans which has notes of chocolate and malt. It is available at many supermarkets and in their coffee shops and allows you to brew a delicious blonde coffee drink from home. 

Plus, any drink usually made with a different roast level (light, medium, or dark) can be made with blonde roast coffee beans. So, if you’re looking for a less bitter and slightly sweeter cup of americano, cappuccino, or even an iced latte, you can ask for a blonde version at your local Starbucks. Blonde is also the same price as the regular espresso, so it’s definitely worth trying out if you’re a fan of light roast coffees.

How to use blonde coffee beans at home

To make a blonde espresso,  or any other blonde coffee drink, at home, you’ll need a coffee maker with an adjustable grind setting – or a separate grinder – and a filter suitable for espresso. You can also use a French press or even a drip machine if you have one.

Adjust the grind size on your grinder to the ideal setting for your espresso machine – this is usually a fine grind. For a french press, you should use a coarser grind somewhere between the size of kosher salt and ground black pepper. And, if you’re using a drip coffee machine, a medium grind is best.

However, you should also note that the beans for a blonde roast coffee may be more difficult to grind than darker roasted beans. If you have a manual grinder, you’ll notice that the beans are thicker than dark roasted beans.

To make the coffee, fill the filter with loose ground coffee and tamp it down gently. If you’re using a French press, add the ground coffee to the carafe and if you’re using a drip machine, add the grounds to the filter basket.

For espresso and drip, fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir with filtered water and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your coffee brewing method. For a French press, let the coffee steep for about four minutes before pressing down on the plunger.

Pour your blonde coffee drink into a mug and enjoy!

Top tips for making blonde espresso

When it comes to making blonde espresso, certain flavors complement this type of coffee particularly well due to the difference in taste profiles.

For instance, blonde espresso works especially well with creamy milks like almond milk or oat milk, sweet flavors like honey, vanilla, or caramel, and even spiced syrups. A mocha made with blonde espresso also has a nice balance of sweetness with mild coffee and chocolate flavors.

You’ll also find that because these flavors work so well together, you’ll frequently find them on Starbucks’ menu. For instance, a Blonde Vanilla Latte.

Of course, while these drinks are mild tasting, creamy, light, and quite frankly delicious, remember that they have a higher caffeine content than regular espresso – so don’t go downing too many at once!

The bottom line

Overall, blonde espresso is a great choice if you’re looking for a coffee that’s not as bitter and has slightly more sweetness but still gives you a pretty hefty caffeine kick. It’s also perfect for those who want to try light roast beans without making the switch to an entirely different type of coffee.

You can find blonde espresso at most Starbucks locations or make one at home with ease. Just adjust your grind, and follow the instructions for your coffee maker. And, to make a truly delicious cup of blonde espresso, don’t forget to add in some creamy steamed milk, sweetener, and even a flavoring syrup. Enjoy!

Happy Caffeinating!

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