Blending Confusion

Today, inspired by Wakeknot’s recent batch of blending posts I made a blend of Paradise Roaster’s Expresso Nuevo and Deep Cello’s Black Tie. The result was...well before we get to that I want to make something clear. It was obviously not the fault of the two roasters. These two weren’t designed to be prepared together and they just didn’t synergize together. It wasn’t even bad by any means, it was an average result from the combination of two above average roasts.

But what this did do is make me wonder what is it that makes a blend work? And what makes a blend not work? My general thoughts are as follows:

Here’s why I thought it might work. Both taste very good in milk and both have heavy chocolate overtones, and...well that’s pretty much all I was going with. I admit it isn’t a strong rationale.

Here’s my initial assumptions on why this one didn’t work:

First off, I think the two had way too many disparate origins to make it work.

Black Tie: Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico and Panama
Expresso Nuevo: Brazil, Colombia and Sumatra

Sure, they have Brazil in common, but I think the multiple origins just ended up fighting each other. Certain origins just have such a distinctive taste they dominate the brew.

Second, the roast levels weren’t the same. Expresso Nuevo is a darker roast than Black Tie. I don’t know that this made a huge difference because I think some of Wakeknot’s successes have been different roast levels.

So, that’s my very limited understanding on blending two different coffees. What do you guys think? What makes a blend work? Is it just a matter of trial and error or are there things that immediately make you realize that it just isn't going to work?

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