Blonde Espresso vs Regular: Is Blonde Roast Stronger?

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If you can’t stomach the robust flavors of coffee, getting a caffeine dose is not so easy. You have no choice but to add sugar and milk to your cup of coffee, right?

But wait, what if you could ditch the sweeteners and for an espresso that is sweeter and even more caffeinated?

Blonde espresso is a mellow and slightly citrus variant of espresso brewed with light roast coffee beans. Its higher caffeine content makes blonde espresso stronger than a regular one — but without all the bitterness.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the differences between blonde espresso vs regular espresso. Grab a latte, and let’s dive right in.

Blonde Espresso vs Espresso: A Quick Comparison

Blonde espressoEspresso
FlavorSweet and mellow, hints of caramel and citrus zestRobust and bitter, subtle caramel-like notes
Coffee beanLight roast beans with a lighter shade and matte finishDark roast with a darker hue and oily finish
Caffeine content (per shot)85 mg65 mg
Roasting condition355–400 °F for 4-6 minutes437–446 °F for 8-9 minutes

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is strong, concentrated coffee made by steeping dark roasted coffee grounds in near-boiling water under pressure for 25 to 30 seconds. This brewing method results in robust, bold flavors of the coffee.

Although espresso can stand alone as a drink, its fuller body and intense flavor make that challenging. And so, different kinds of coffee drinks only use espresso as a base and include other components like milk, water, creamer, and other sweeteners.

What Is Blonde Espresso?

Blonde espresso is an espresso variant brewed from light roast coffee and popularized by coffee giant Starbucks. Due to its sweet, balanced flavor, blonde espresso is perfect for those who want a caffeine dose but can’t stand the robust, bold flavors of strong coffee.

Blonde espresso, also referred to as blonde roast, is a standalone drink, but it also serves as a coffee base. So, when you’re making a latte or cappuccino, you switch out the dark roast beans for a blonde one and brew.

When did Starbucks introduce blonde roast? 

Starbucks introduced blonde roast in 2012, but the espresso variant only made it to the permanent menu by January 2019. Since then, customers may customize the body of their typical cup of joe with the Starbucks signature espresso roast or the trending blonde roast.

Blonde Roast vs Regular Espresso

Now that you know your coffee base options, it’s time to weigh the differences between a regular espresso and a blonde one. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like one over the other!

  • Blonde espresso is sweet and mellow. Blonde espresso has a more balanced flavor than espresso. Its sweet and bright citrus zest is smoother to drink than the bitter and caramelized regular espresso.
  • Blonde espresso has a higher acidity. Blonde and dark roasts have a pH level of around 4.5 and 5.9, respectively. With one being the most acidic, a blonde espresso is more acidic than a regular one.

    While this acidity adds to the citrus flavors, it may trigger trouble for those with underlying health conditions related to acid reflux and other digestive problems.
  • Blonde roast has more caffeine when brewed by volume. Blonde roast is denser than dark roast espresso beans, so it yields a higher caffeine content than the latter when brewed by volume. In other words, more coffee beans are present in the blonde roast for the same number of scoops.

A blonde espresso typically contains about 85 mg per shot, while a regular espresso has about 65 mg of caffeine.

  • Blonde roast has less caffeine when brewed by weight. Since the blonde roast is denser and heavier, it uses fewer coffee beans to achieve the desired weight for brewing. Hence, a blonde roast contains less caffeine by weight than a dark roast.
  • Blonde roast beans are light brown and matte finish. Blonde roast has a fairer hue and matte finish, while dark roast exhibits a darker shade and oily finish due to more oil drawn to its surface. 
  • Blonde roast undergoes a shorter roasting period. Coffee beans roast for 4 to 6 minutes for a blonde roast, while dark roast takes 8 to 9 minutes. However, some people end the process early for a blonde roast as soon as the first crack appears.
  • Blonde roast withstands lower roasting temperature. Blond roast reaches 355 to 400 °F – lower than the roasting temperature of 437 to 446 °F for a dark roast.

How to Make Regular and Blonde Espresso at Home

What you need

  • Whole coffee beans for a double shot
  • Filtered water
  • Coffee grinder – For an accurate and consistent grind size, it’s best to invest in good coffee grinders. They require minimal effort and are especially useful for grinding the tough, less brittle, lightly roasted coffee beans.  
  • Espresso machine – Authentic espresso comes from a quality espresso machine. But if you’re still looking for alternatives, I recommend checking out these pod-based coffee makers.
    • Nespresso dominates the capsule market with its broad range of coffee maker models and prepackaged coffee blends. You can use their espresso capsules for a regular espresso or the Nespresso Blonde Roast Pods for a blonde espresso. 
    • Keurig is another player in the capsule market, with over 400 varieties of coffee blends exclusive to their coffee makers. You may brew using their regular espresso K-cups or try the Starbucks Blonde Roast K-Cups.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Grind coffee beans finely. Regular espresso uses a fine grind, while blonde roast can be slightly finer than the dark roast to counter its lower solubility. Remember that how you grind coffee beans affects the efficiency of extraction and flavor of your coffee.
  1. Wipe portafilter. Clean the portafilter and dry its surface with a towel to prevent any water residue from affecting the quality of your espresso.
  1. Tamp coffee ground in the portafilter evenly. The tightly compacted coffee puck opposes the smooth flow of water, forcing it to soak and extract the flavors. This step also prevents the likelihood of watery coffee.
  1. Secure the portafilter in place. This step is crucial to prevent accidents resulting from possible pressure leakage exerted by espresso machines. Some mid-range espresso makers can even reach up to 19 bars – about nine times more than your car tire pressure!
  1. Pull the lever. A regular espresso takes 25 to 30 seconds of steeping. Typically, light roast leans on the higher side of this steeping range due to its denser package.
  1. Enjoy. Time to bear the fruits of your labor and take a sip of your delicious coffee!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does blonde espresso have more caffeine than espresso?

Blonde roast typically contains 85g of caffeine per ounce of espresso, while a regular shot has about 65 mg. And so, the blonde roast has a higher caffeine count than espresso.

Is blonde roast stronger than espresso?

Let us first put strength into context. Based on caffeine content, blonde roast with 85 g is stronger than espresso having 65 g of caffeine. In terms of flavor, regular espresso is more robust and bolder than blonde roast.

All in all, blonde roast and espresso are both strong coffee drinks. They might even solve your problems with coffee not waking you up.

Blonde Roast: Espresso for the Sweet Coffee Lovers

Bold, robust coffee used to be the easiest option for a quick caffeine dose. However, the rising popularity of blonde espresso is turning the tide. Its mellow flavors and higher caffeine content than espresso means more caffeine and sweetness in one shot!

Wait no more and order the strongest Starbucks coffees with a blonde roast base. Maybe you’ll like it even more than their signature espresso blend! 

If you want to explore other strong coffee options, I recommend checking my nitro cold brew recipe. While the name sounds complex, don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional to brew one.

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