What Is Blonde Espresso? The Reincarnation Of The Light Roasted Espresso Blend

Blonde espresso is a Latin American coffee blend that gives us a balanced, easy-to-drink, and good-with-milk type of espresso. The beans in this blend are lightly roasted, and that’s why it’s less acidic.

But we all know that espresso is made with dark-roasted coffee beans. So, blonde espresso sounds contradictory, right? So, coffee lovers were extremely curious to find out about it when Starbucks first launched Blonde Espresso and Blonde Vanilla Latte back in 2017.

But, that’s not it! C’mon, we’ll do the telltale of the blonde espresso.

So What Is Exactly A Blonde Espresso?

Although blonde espresso is a buzzword now, these lightly roasted espresso blends already existed on the market, just with different names. Cinnamon Roast, New England Roast, Half City, and Light City—all these names were used for blonde espresso.

But lightly roasted blends with these names didn’t really see the expected success. And that’s where Starbucks stepped in! After 40 years, Starbucks finally released its new espresso blend, the “blonde espresso”. It was first launched in Starbucks’ Canadian chain shops – and the rest is history.

So, thanks to Starbucks, the light-roasted espresso blends were reincarnated.

How Is It Different From Regular Beans?

Blonde espresso blends are made from lightly roasted coffee beans. But not just any coffee beans. Starbucks uses beans of Latin American and East African origins. The reason is that coffee beans from these regions when roasted lightly, deliver a sweeter flavor with a smoother and creamier mouthfeel.

The regular espresso blends are made with beans from Latin American and East Asian or Pacific regions. Beans from these regions provide that distinct dark chocolaty aroma with a caramel taste.

Yes, nowadays you can go to your local supermarket and buy blonde espresso blends pretty easily. Starbucks’ Veranda blend (with a decaf version) and Sunrise blends are very popular. Also, popular coffee chain shops have included blonde espresso drinks on their daily menus. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for independent café shops yet.

What’s Light Roasting?

Blonde roasted beans are lightly roasted and follow a roasting temperature of 193–204 degrees Celsius (380–400 Fahrenheit). So it offers less intensity but strong espresso flavors. But don’t think for a moment it doesn’t pack a punch – as it has more caffeine content than a regular espresso.

When Starbucks initially introduced the Blonde Roast back in 2012, it had mixed feelings from the customers. The blonde roast was marketed as a softer and mellower blend with notes of toasted malt and baked chocolate. But in 2017, when Starbucks released blonde flat white and latte versions, it took coffee lovers by storm.

How Light Roast Becomes A Blonde Roast?

Starbucks’ light roast typically aligns with a regular medium roast because they’re known to roast their coffee beans way more than other brands. Lightly roasted beans are generally taken off the roaster right around the 1st crack, at a temperature of 380°F–401°F. For blonde roasts, this temperature range can be 380°F to 401°F. The beans are not oily and appear lighter in color.

One important thing to note before we end the section: just because it’s called “blonde espresso” doesn’t mean it’s only ideal for brewing espresso.

Other espresso blends are the same as other coffee beans. So, a blonde espresso blend is just a light roast blend that will also work for your drip machine, French press, or any other method.

Blonde Espresso VS. Regular Espresso

Regular espresso blend fans have a lot to say about why blonde espresso is a bad idea (in terms of taste profile). Blonde espresso’s lack of that intense dark flavor in the final cup seems to be the main talking point for all. Despite their initial hardships, blonde roast and blonde espresso are gaining popularity anyway. So, here’s a straightforward comparison chart for the two for your perusal.

Roast LevelLight – MediumDark
Roast LengthShortLong
Bean OriginLatin America & East AfricaLatin America & Asia-Pacific
Taste & AromaMild & Smooth Mouthfeel. Subtly Sweet, Citrusy, & FloralFull-bodied, Bold, & Bitter Mouthfeel. Smokiness, Cocoa, Rich Caramel Sweet, & Earthy  
AppearanceBeige & MatteOily Dark Brown
Acidity (pH)4.55.5 – 6
Caffeine Content85 mg Per Shot Of Espresso75 mg Per Shot Of Espresso
Ideal ForCold BrewsPressurized Espresso
Pairs Well WithAlmond Milk & VanillaChocolate & All Types Of Dairy

Taste Profile Of Blonde Espresso

Thanks to Starbucks’ blonde espresso and blonde vanilla latte’s popularity, many coffee lovers are now invested in the blend and its distinctive taste profile. It has an ever-present citrusy note, while others have pointed out that it has hints of chocolatey notes as well.

Starbucks’ Veranda Blend (a blonde roast variant) tastes slightly sweeter, thanks to sweet toasted malt notes. So, if you’re worried that blonde roast will be too light for you, you’ll be surprised as it’s still just as delicious as other roasted blends.

Blonde roast is a prime alternative for those who appreciate a mellow and sweet coffee taste in the morning. Starbucks’ Veranda blend offers malt and baked chocolate tastes, whereas the Sunrise blend offers a smooth taste of milk chocolate.

We strongly recommend you give it a try and make coffee with it at home! The blonde espresso blend is ideal for drip brews, cold brews, iced coffee, and flat whites. You can use blonde roasted coffee beans in your coffee grinder to match various brewing methods.

Health Benefits Of Blonde Espresso

  1. Blonde roast has a higher acidity level on the pH scale compared to medium and dark roasted beans. Don’t be misled; it’s still a low-acidic drink when compared to other acidic foods
  2. In the Journal of Medicinal Food, it was revealed that blonde roasted beans carry more antioxidants than dark roasted beans [Source]
  3. Blonde roasts also contain higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid, which aids the human body in fighting against human cell damage and inflammation [Source]
  4. Blonde roasted coffees, along with acrylamide, have fewer polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These two are the prime culprits behind the occurrence of cataracts, kidney damage, liver damage, and even DNA mutations (like cancer)

Blonde Espresso Is Stronger

Blonde espresso is the classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover when it comes to strength. Yes, it tastes relatively mild and appears less dark than a regular cup of espresso. But, blonde espresso has just as much caffeine, if not more, than regular espresso. It is around 150 mg of caffeine in espresso. In contrast, a blonde espresso has 170 mg of caffeine.

That means, per shot, a regular espresso offers 75 mg of caffeine and 85 mg of caffeine from a blonde espresso.

Since dark roasts bring out more intense flavors, one can easily think that they offer more caffeine. But it’s not true. The longer you roast coffee beans, the more robust but less condensed they get—and the more they lose their caffeine content.

Blonde roast (or light roast) has a shorter roasting period. So, they retain more caffeine content in their beans.

Also, blonde-roasted beans are denser due to not losing as much moisture as dark-roasted beans. That means you’ll need fewer beans with more caffeine and moisture to create a shot of espresso. This adds to the overall caffeine count as well.

But, fear not, it won’t make much of a difference if your daily coffee consumption remains under control.

Blonde Espresso And Decaf Espresso Confusion

This is somewhat of a real-life mistake that got bigger on the internet.

A lot of people think that any decaf coffee drink is the same as blonde espresso. Obviously, it’s not true.

There were also customers who ordered decaf blonde coffee at Starbucks. Well, Starbucks doesn’t serve a decaf version of the blonde espresso. The best they can offer is a half-and-half mixture of the two for you. But luckily, they do sell decaf whole beans in their Veranda Blonde Espresso Blend. So, try them at home.

Best Ways To Enjoy Blonde Espresso

  • You can enjoy a marvelous cup of espresso using your favorite blonde espresso blend. Making espresso with it is nothing different from your usual espresso-making steps
  • You can add any milk of your choice to your blonde espresso. So don’t be shy about experimenting with dairy and non-dairy types
  • Just like regular espresso, you can use blonde espresso for your macchiatos, lattes, flat whites, and other similarly sweet beverages
  • You can also do a coarse grind on your blonde espresso beans and make cold brews with them. In fact, its mellower nature is ideal for drip coffee
  • If you want to elevate your drip coffee made with blonde beans, add vanilla or non-dairy milk like almond, oat, etc.
  • Non-pressure coffee-brewing methods like pour-over and cold brew have a longer extraction period. It allows blonde roasted beans to release their mild and gentle flavors without making them too bitter or sour
  • We recommend that you drink blonde espresso on its own. But don’t be afraid to pair it with flavored syrups and steamed milk


Is Blonde Espresso Sweet?

Yes, blonde espresso is said to offer sweeter taste notes in the final cup along with a citrusy aroma and a smoother texture.

Is Blonde Espresso Better For IBS?

IBS can get worse for those who drink highly caffeinated coffee, highly acidic coffee, or finally, coffee with lots of sugar and milk. Now, let’s see what blond espresso offers in this regard. We already know that blond espresso is a moderately acidic single-origin Arabica blend (lower caffeine than Robusta) and is best enjoyed without any dairy additives. So, yes, it’s better for IBS.

Is Blonde Espresso Healthy?

It’s already been scientifically revealed that blonde espresso carries more antioxidants than other darker roasted coffees. Due to its short roasting period, it also contains higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid. These acids work as protectors against cell damage and inflammation in our bodies. Blonde roasts have less acrylamide and PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), which are the main culprits behind cataracts, kidney damage, liver damage, and even DNA mutations (like cancer).

Is Blonde Espresso The Strongest At Starbucks?

The blonde roast filter offers the most caffeine as a drink in Starbucks of any of the drinks so far. Starbucks sells both hot and cold versions of the blonde roast filter in a venti (20 oz. or 600 ml) cup size. And this venti-sized drink offers a whopping 475 mg of caffeine.


The popularity of blonde espresso is hugely down to the ingenuity of Starbucks’ marketing. But that’s a good thing because light roasts were having trouble appealing to the general public. And one of the hilarious things about a blonde roast is that it offers more caffeine but doesn’t have regular espresso’s robust flavor.

Even though we’ve referenced Starbucks a lot when it comes to blonde espresso, you can find other brands and varieties to try at home. Whether it’s a cold brew or a latte, find out which one fits your palate ideally. Enjoy the delicate flavors that offer low acidity and more antioxidants than a regular cup of espresso.

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