What is the difference between Blonde Espresso Vs Regular Espresso

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Johny Morrisson

Blonde espresso is prepared using light-roasted coffee beans, while regular espresso uses dark or medium-dark roast. The light roast makes the drink thinner in body and smoother in taste compared to regular espresso, which has a richer texture and more complex flavors.

Blonde Espresso is becoming more and more popular since Starbucks introduced this drink to the menu.

You’ve likely heard the debate around blonde espresso vs regular. Is one really better than the other?

Neither is necessarily “better” – it really comes down to personal taste preference. But understanding the key differences between blonde and regular espresso can help you appreciate the nuances in flavor.

Blonde Espresso vs regular

What is Blonde Espresso?

Blonde espresso is a shot pulled from lighter roasted coffee beans. It is a lighter, milder, and slightly sweeter version of the traditional espresso you are used to.

Blonde Espresso became popular only recently when Starbucks added it to other menus. Starbucks specifically introduced this new blend of Espresso, for the ones who don’t like the bitter and bold taste of signature espresso.

Light roasts are generally not preferable for traditional espresso, as they can’t extract all the flavors during the very short brewing time. This results in a thinner and less syrupy body lacking the deep flavors.

However, blonde espresso can be a nice change of pace if you want something a bit different from the typical dark, bold shot.

Starbucks defines Blonde Espresso as:

Made up of select Latin American and East African beans, this blend is carefully roasted to coax out sweet, vibrant notes of candied apple and bittersweet chocolate. The result is smooth, well-rounded and versatile, delicious served hot or over ice.


Is Blonde Espresso Stronger?

Blonde espresso is not stronger than regular Espresso both in taste and body. It has a milder and sweeter taste with acidic notes. However, The Caffeine content of the blonde Espresso is a little higher than the regular Espresso shot. A blonde Espresso shot from Starbucks has 85 mg of caffeine while a regular shot has 75 mg.

“Strength of an Espresso drink” is a subjective term and can mean different things to different people. For some, it is the amount of caffeine in the drink, while for others, it is the body and intensity of the drink.

Differences between Blonde and Regular Espresso

Blonde espresso differs greatly from a signature espresso in many ways, such as the roast and origin of the coffee beans, the caffeine and calorie content, as well as the overall taste and texture of the shot.

1) Roast of Coffee beans

Coffee beans for blonde espresso are roasted at a lower temperature for a shorter period of time. The blonde roast is somewhere between a light roast and a medium roast.

The blonde roast is also known as a Cinnamon roast.

For traditional Espresso shots, medium-dark or dark roasted coffee beans are preferred. These coffee beans have a very dark and oily appearance.

Blonde roast and dark roast coffee beans

Read a Guide on Light (Blonde) vs Dark roast Coffee

2) The Origin of Coffee

The term “blonde roast” was introduced by Starbucks in 2012. And Starbucks mainly sources the coffee beans for the blonde roast from East African and Latin American regions.

These coffee beans have a light body and a mild and fruity taste with citrus notes.

Regular Espresso beans mainly come from Latin America or Southeast Asian regions and are usually a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.

3) The difference in taste and flavors

Blonde espresso typically has a sour and sweeter taste with more pronounced acidity. It lacks a rich body, complex flavors, and smokiness which is what real Espresso is known for.

A real espresso shot prepared with dark beans has a bitter, intense, and smoky flavor with notes of nuts and chocolate. It also has a rich aroma because of very dark and oily beans. 

I personally never prefer the taste of Blonde Espresso over regular espresso as it lacks the traditional crema and bold taste.

4) Body and the Crema Layer

In coffee, “body” refers to the mouthfeel or thickness of the coffee and blonde Espresso has a lighter body than regular Espresso.

Similarly, dark roasted beans produce a very thick crema layer, whereas light roasted beans used in Blonde Espresso produce a thin layer of crema.

That’s the main reason why traditional Espresso lovers don’t like Blonde Espresso.

Espresso Crema

5) What types of drinks they are suitable for

Blonde espresso is mainly used in milky espresso drinks. Starbucks has different categories for blonde coffee drinks including blonde roast coffee, blonde cappuccino, blonde caffe latte, Blonde Vanilla latte, etc.

Blonde shots pair very well with nondairy milk such as almond or soy milk.

While regular espresso is taken as a straight shot or can be used for making Lattes or Cappuccinos.

Speaking of my taste, regular Espresso shots are the best choice for milk-based espresso drinks. As the sweet flavors of milk and bitter flavors of Espresso pair nicely and make a well-balanced drink. With Blonde Espresso, Milk usually overpowers the coffee flavor, which I personally don’t like.

Blonde Espresso Drinks


6) Is there a difference in price

At Starbucks, there is no such difference in the pricing of blonde espresso as compared to the regular one.

However, if you buy the beans for making coffee at home there will be a slight difference in prices.

Can you Make Blonde Espresso at Home?

The brewing process for both Blonde Espresso and Regular Espresso is almost the same. You just have to adjust some settings to extract a delicious blonde shot.

Here are some general steps to follow

1- Choose the right coffee beans: To make Blonde Espresso you’ll need light or blonde roasted coffee beans.

2- Measure the Beans: Weigh 7-9 grams of coffee for a solo shot and 14-18 grams for a double shot. For a blonde Espresso, it’s recommended to increase the dose, say 1-2 grams more than you’d use for a regular Espresso.

3- Grind the Beans: You’ll need to grind the coffee ground to a much finer setting than usual to make a blonde espresso shot. Just adjust your grinder to be 1-2 settings finer than you would for a regular dark roasted espresso.

3- Tamp the grounds: Fill the coffee grounds in the portafilter, level off the surface properly and apply some pressure with a tamper to achieve an even extraction.

4- Pull the shot: Insert the portafilter into the machine and start the machine. A blonde Espresso might take 5-10 seconds more for a desired volume compared to dark espresso as light beans extract flavors more slowly.

Enjoy your Freshly brewed Blonde Espresso shot.

Here’s a detailed guide on how to use an Espresso Machine

Blonde vs Regular Espresso | What’s the Best for you?

Well! The easy answer is It depends on personal taste and preferences.

The blonde Espresso has a lighter body, a thin layer of Crema, and a milder taste with Citrus notes.

You might enjoy it if you like sour flavors and don’t like bitterness.

On the other hand, Regular Espresso is an intense drink with a very rich and thick mouthfeel. It also typically has a more substantial body and a thicker crema layer.

And Traditional Coffee lovers like it rough and Strong!

In short, there is no good or bad drink! Some people prefer bold flavors, while others enjoy the subtle taste of blonde espresso.

Regular espresso shots are always my preference over blonde espresso shots but sometimes we just want something different, and that’s where this blonde shot from Starbucks comes in.

Also Read Other Espresso Comparisons


Is Blonde Roast Only Suitable For Espresso Drinks?

You can use Blonde Roast coffee beans for any coffee brewing method. In Fact, the Blonde beans work best with longer brewing techniques like pour-over methods.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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