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The Rise of Blonde Espresso: A Refreshing Twist on Your Morning Brew

  • by Lorraine Cattell
  • 6 min read

Is it true that blondes have more fun? Blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson, who is best known for her part as a lifeguard on the TV show Baywatch, thought so. “It's great to be a blonde,” she has reportedly said. “With low expectations, it's easy to surprise people”.

The Rise of Blonde Espresso

The same could be said for the Blonde Espresso. As lighter roasts of beans were traditionally associated with being "weak", the smooth, milder blonde roasts, including the 'Blonde Espresso', caught many coffee lovers completely off guard.

Would they switch from their signature classic espresso to the subtly sweet flavors of the lighter roast offerings? Bizarrely, they seemed willing to welcome these innovative brews and taste experiences that traditional espressos didn't offer.

Baristas became more creative with this refreshing alternative to regular espresso, experimenting with blonde vanilla latte, blonde espresso shots, and other nuanced flavors such as the cinnamon roast rather than the classic espresso drinks.

Blonde woman smiling sipping coffee outside leaning against a fence

What is Blonde Espresso Roast Coffee?

Since its 2012 debut, several coffeehouses and roasteries have begun producing the "Blonde Espresso Roast"-- a term made more popular by Starbucks -- so that you may enjoy it at home. As its name suggests, blonde roast espresso introduces a lighter approach to brewed coffee, taking vibrant notes from the usual fuller body, bitter, and smokier taste of regular coffee.

Since the roasting process used for blonde roasts espresso takes less time and the beans keep more of their natural caffeine, the lightly roasted beans retain their natural sugars resulting in a huge difference in flavor.

Blonde Espresso uses coffee beans that fall somewhere on the medium-to-light roasting spectrum to achieve a subtle essence. The result is a signature blend that boasts a flavor profile of chocolate, a hint of citrus or caramel along with flavors of nutty textures and a subtle sweetness.

Paired with creamy steamed milk, the blonde espresso continues to unveil new beverages you have yet to experience such as the pour-over and the flat white. These have become favorites among those who prefer to drink a cup of Joe with milder, sweeter undertones.

White espresso cup half full with spoon showing blonde espresso

Blonde Espresso vs Regular Espresso - Understanding the Differences

Regular espresso is full-bodied, robust, strong, and oily. Because of its bold flavor, many people pair it with a sugary snack, such as cookies, chocolate, or pop-tarts to render the full coffee experience lighter and less intense.

There are various ways to appreciate dark roasts, such as drinking it black, savoring espresso-based drinks like lattes, or even mixing it with cream.

Espresso is a special coffee brewing that differs from the traditional infusion or French Press roasting methods. Instead, it involves applying high pressure to hot water and forcing it quickly through finely-ground coffee beans. This unique technique produces the distinctive espresso cream, or 'crema', from the strong coffee grounds giving it its distinctive rich dark roast flavor.

Any bean or roast level can be used to produce good espresso and you can mix beans and roast settings to balance flavors. Also, several beans have different taste profiles and produce varying flavors, which can be very different.

Espresso pouring into cup

Does Blonde Espresso Have More Caffeine than Regular Espresso?

It is a common misconception that blonde espresso has lower levels of caffeine than regular espresso. The differences between them are comparatively low. There is, however, more caffeine (an additional 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce) in a shot of Starbucks' Blonde Espresso (85mg) compared to a standard espresso.

This is because caffeine levels are more affected by the lightly roasted coffee beans' variety of grind size and quality rather than the roasting process or technique, making a blonde espresso stronger. On the other hand, the serving size is significantly reduced when using an espresso machine. Therefore, multiple espresso shots can soon increase the caffeine content in your cup of blonde roast coffee.

It's all a matter of personal preference. Whether you worry about a lower caffeine content compromising flavor or prefer a strong or a lighter blonde roast, there's a type of coffee for everyone!

Coffee beans on a counter top

The Best Ways to Enjoy Blonde Espresso

Blonde espresso roast is a sweeter, lighter version of regular espresso, and so with citrus and botanic undertones, it is perfect for summertime cocktails and iced espresso. When topped with vanilla or chocolate syrup, these subtle fruity and floral aromas complement the coffee without overpowering it.

Woman in summer clothes/sunglasses holding an espresso in cafe

Blonde espresso is a nice surprise for many coffee enthusiasts because any drink that calls for more flavor than ordinary espresso, including cappuccinos or Americanos, can be made using blonde espresso. It's a fun way to spice up the flavor of your usual coffee routine. Enjoy:

  • One or two straight shots- The finest way to enjoy the tasty refreshing blonde espresso.

  • Americano - Adding hot water to dilute your blonde espresso shot enhances the subtle citrus and flowery flavors while preserving the mellow tastiness.

  • Macchiato - A single or double shot of espresso with a little steaming milk to let you taste the full flavor of blonde espresso and its smoothness.

  • Cappuccino or Latte- Don't pour too much milk over these delicious blonde espresso varieties to ensure a perfectlytextured microfoam.

Blonde Roasts vs Dark Roast Preferences

A coffee cup/saucer, a mug, coffee beans on a table with American flag in background

The simple truth is that espresso is widely regarded as the most popular and convenient coffee brew in the United States, with 28 states ranking it as the top choice. The café au lait comes in second in 14 states with cappuccino ranking third with 11 states favoring it. Broken down:

  1. Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Connecticut are known for their love for cappuccinos,and café con leche. Connecticut also enjoys affogato (vanilla ice cream with a hot espresso shot poured over it).

  2. Louisiana is the only state that enjoys cafe au lait, a French beverage with equal amounts of black coffee and milk without froth.

  3. Georgia coffee enthusiasts love a black brew, preferring it without cream or sugar.

Making Blonde Espresso at Home

If you have a manual espresso machine like the lever-operated Superkop that lets you adjust espresso pressure to taste, then you will have no trouble pulling a perfect daily shot of espresso.

An espresso machine is the ideal brewing method for this lighter, roast coffee, as it allows for precise control over factors like grind size, water temperature, and brewing time. The intense pressure in espresso machines ensures that the flavors are extracted evenly, resulting in a rich, full-bodied cup of blonde espresso.

Superkop manual espresso maker

However, if you don't have an espresso machine at home, relax! You can still enjoy the flavors of blonde espresso beans using alternative brewing methods like the French press or the pour-over method. While these methods might not produce the same intensity as an espresso machine, they can still yield a delicious cup of blonde espresso with a lighter body and exquisite flavors.

Iced Espresso Drinks Recipes to Try at Home

Let's explore some refreshing iced blonde espresso recipes that you can easily make in the comfort of your own home. Not only are they just as delicious as buying them at your local coffee shop, but you can also whip them up at home for far less money.

Check out this espresso drinks guide to spice up your daily grind with more recipes that let you experiment with beans and brewing times.

'Blonde Vanilla Latte'


  • ¼ cup vanilla syrup

  • 2 light roast espresso shots

  • ⅔ cup 2% milk

  • 1 cup ice


Mix blonde espresso, vanilla syrup, and milk in a cup or glass. Prepare two espresso shots and carefully pour them over the refreshing ice.

Tall glass of iced coffee, coffee beans on a table , blurred nature orange background

¼ cup vanilla syrup

  • 2 light roast espresso shots

  • ⅔ cup 2% milk

  • 1 cup ice


Combine blonde espresso, vanilla syrup, and milk in a cup/glass. Pull two shots of espresso and pour them over ice.

'Hazelnut Shaken Espresso'


  • 2 oz espresso 2 shots of espresso

  • 2 oz hazelnut syrup

  • 1 cup ice

  • 2 oz oat milk for foam (optional)

  • 0.5 cup oatmeal


Prepare two espresso shots and allow them to cool for a minute while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Pour 2 ounces of hazelnut syrup into a mason jar or cocktail shaker. Top it off with the espresso shots and a few ice cubes. Shake the espresso and syrup vigorously for 20-30 seconds until a slight froth forms.

The Espresso Roast and Flavor Profile That Suits You Best

Now that you've learned about the enchanting world of blonde espresso beans, it's time to explore personal preferences. Do you prefer the bold, robust flavors of the dark roast coffee beans, or are you intrigued by the smoother, lighter notes of blonde espresso? The choice is yours, and there's no right or wrong answer. After all, the beauty lies in discovering your blonde flavor profile.

People with four glasses of coffees making a toast

Comment below if you have any tips for preparing and tasting blonde espresso. Coffee would be boring without these blonde moments, so feel free to share it with colleagues, friends, and family!

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