What is Blonde Espresso?

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Blonde espresso is a term typically used to describe a lighter-bodied espresso. Starbucks debuted Blonde Roast in 2018 and began marketing it as a lighter and sweeter alternative to their classic espresso roast.

Key Takeaways

  • “Blonde Espresso” is a term coined by Starbucks
  • Much lighter than regular espresso
  • Slightly sweet & creamy
  • Higher caffeine content
  • Also known as “cinnamon” roast
Blonde Espresso Side By Side To Regular Espresso
Blonde Espresso vs. Regular Espresso

Understanding Blonde Espresso

Blonde espresso is a fairly new addition to the coffee landscape, so it makes sense that people are interested in understanding it. But to answer the question, “What is blonde espresso?” we must first understand espresso beans and how they come about.

It’s all in the roast. Each “roast” of coffee beans, e.g., breakfast blend, Italian roast, start out as regular coffee beans. Blonde Espressos are coffee beans that have been roasted at a low temperature and for a short amount of time. Espresso beans are coffee beans roasted at an extremely high temperature for longer.

Flavor-wise, light roast beans have a brighter flavor and floral overtones. Dark roasts, like French and Espresso roasts, have an intense, smokey flavor.

Other Names for Blonde Espresso:

  • Cinnamon Roast
  • Half City Roast
  • New England Roast
  • Light City Roast

Difference between espresso & blonde espresso

Here are the key characteristics that set blonde espresso apart from regular espresso.

1. Roasting Level

The main difference between classic espresso and blonde roast is that blond roast is roasted at a lower temperature and for a shorter amount of time. Medium roast and dark roast are roasted for much longer.

Roasting Coffee Beans
Roasting Coffee Beans | Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Blond espressos are made by roasting coffee beans between 356ΒΊ degrees and 401ΒΊ degrees Fahrenheit. These beans are lighter in color, have a higher acidity level, and have a less oily surface than regular espresso beans.

2. Color

Blonde espresso beans are lighter in color than regular espresso beans. This difference can be seen both in the beans themselves and in the color of a latte when made with them. A latte made with regular espresso will have deep amber hues, while a latte with blonde espresso will have a light golden color.

3. Caffeine Content

Blonde espresso has more caffeine. It has 85mg of caffeine per 1.5 fluid ounces, whereas regular espresso only has 64mg of caffeine.

Caffeine is burned off in roasting, so lighter-roast coffees have more caffeine than medium and darker roasts. Lighter coffees are popular for brewing in the morning since they have more caffeine. Dark roasts are commonly served with dinner or as an accompaniment to dessert.

4. Taste & Flavor Profile

Blonde espresso is less bitter and slightly sweeter than regular espresso. It also has a less intense flavor profile, making it a good choice for coffee drinkers who don’t like strong coffee flavors.

Blonde espresso has a different flavor profile than regular espresso. It is less bitter, lighter, sweeter, and has a slightly caramelly taste. In contrast, dark roast coffee has a smokey, bold, rich flavor.

How to Make Blonde Espresso at Home

There are a handful of ways to make blonde espresso at home.

1. Use an Espresso Machine

The easiest way is to use your espresso machine. You can buy blonde roast espresso beans online or at your local grocery store and then grind them at home in your coffee grinder. Once you’ve got your beans ground, follow the steps you normally would to brew a shot of espresso.

2. Use a Moka Pot

If you don’t have an espresso machine, don’t despair. You can still enjoy blonde espresso without leaving the house. All you need is a Moka Pot. A Moka Pot creates a similar flavor to espresso that you would get from using an espresso machine, but it’s much less expensive and easier to make on your own.

Making Espresso In A Moka Pot
Making espresso in a Moka Pot | Photo by Brent Ninaber on Unsplash

To use a Moka Pot, first, fill the bottom chamber with water, then scoop the blonde espresso into the filter. Place the filter in the water chamber, screw on the top, and place it on your burner. After a minute or so, the steam from the water will force its way through the espresso and percolate up into the top chamber.

3. Use a French Press or Coffee Maker

Blonde roast also makes excellent regular coffee. I’d recommend using a French press, but if you don’t have access to one, your basic at-home coffee maker will work too. Either method will produce sumptuous coffee (if you use the proper coffee-to-water ratio).

Speaking of proper measurements, here’s a post I wrote that teaches you the ideal ratios of coffee to water, no matter how you choose to brew.

Blonde Espresso Pairing Tips

Blonde espresso is a type of espresso that uses a lighter roast, which creates a different flavor profile than traditional espresso. Consequently, the flavors that go well with blonde espresso are those that have a complementary flavor profile.

Blonde espresso is a great addition to drinks that use plant-based milk, such as almond or oat milk. It also pairs well with caramel, vanilla, honey, and chocolate flavors. Blonde Vanilla Lattes and Blonde Mochas are two very popular drinks at Starbucks, and for good reason!


Is blonde espresso only available at Starbucks?

Starbucks has always been a trendsetter and introduced the concept of Blonde espresso first. But nowadays, it’s not unusual to find this popular espresso variant at local coffee shops and grocery stores.

How much caffeine is in blonde espresso?

One shot of blonde roast espresso has 85mg of caffeine. In comparison, one shot of regular espresso has 65mg of caffeine.

How to make blonde espresso at home?

Making blonde espresso at home is simple. Grind your favorite light roast coffee to an espresso-sized grind. Next, brew it using the same techniques you would for regular espresso.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.