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Is Blonde Espresso Stronger?

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

Since the 1950s, espresso has become a very popular drink amongst coffee drinkers looking for that extra kick of caffeine. Since then, a lighter and more mild form of espresso has taken the stage, called blonde espresso.

There are a number of differences between regular espresso and blonde espresso, and caffeine is one of them. You may wonder, is blonde espresso stronger than regular espresso?

But is blonde espresso stronger than others, the short answer is yes. Blonde espresso has slightly more caffeine than regular espresso. There are several factors that play into why blonde espresso has more caffeine.

Two of the main reasons that contribute to higher caffeine dosage are the origin of the coffee beans used to make blonde espresso and how the coffee beans are roasted.

Let’s take a look at how blonde espresso is stronger and the main differences between this light espresso and regular espresso.

How Much Caffeine Does Blonde Espresso Have?

The kind of coffee you get with a blonde espresso shot may affect the amount of caffeine in your drink. If we’re looking at a plain blonde espresso shot, regular espresso generally has about 10 mg less of caffeine than blonde espresso.

A single shot of Starbucks’ original espresso has 75 mg of caffeine, while a blonde espresso shot has 85 mg caffeine. The coffee beans that Starbucks uses for their blonde espresso shot come from East Africa and Latin America, which influence its flavor profile and caffeine dosage.

Other coffee shops that make blonde espresso drinks may get their beans from other regions, which could affect the amount of caffeine in their blonde or regular espresso. However, because of the way blonde espresso beans are roasted, blonde espresso drinks will be stronger.

How Is Blonde Espresso Made

how is blonde espresso made

The process of making blonde espresso begins with specifically selected bean varieties from certain regions that have light, citrusy flavor profiles.

Beans from East Africa, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, are known for their fruity flavors. Notes of citrus flavor can also be found in Central and South American countries, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Peru.

The roasting process for blonde espresso is shorter than a regular espresso. Roasting times and brewing methods can vary depending on the seller, which can impact the flavor and caffeine dosage. Blonde espresso beans are roasted until the first crack

Coffee beans crack during roasting because heat is evaporating the moisture out of the bean. Typically, coffee beans for medium to dark roasts go through two cracks before the roasting process is finished.

Since blonde espresso beans are pulled early after the first crack, this causes the drink to have a much milder flavor profile compared to a regular espresso.

Additionally, these coffee beans will be denser since they aren’t roasted as long. As a result, the beans will contain more caffeine than beans that are roasted longer.

The Origin of Blonde Espresso

origin of blonde espresso

Starbucks first introduced its blonde espresso to Canada in 2017 and U.S. stores a year later. The blonde espresso roast was introduced to stores all across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in 2019.

Although blonde espresso gained popularity due to Starbucks’ launch of the drink in the late 2010s, blonde espresso has been around for decades under various names.

Before blonde espresso became a popular term, previous names were used to describe this light roast coffee drink, including:

  • Light City
  • Cinnamon
  • Half City

Espresso began to gain popularity in the 1950s, shortly after the first espresso machine was installed in the U.S. in the late ‘30s. 

Coffee lovers wanted to know more about the harvesting, roasting, and brewing process and the origin of the beans by the end of the second wave of coffee.

This led to more experiments in creating specialty coffee drinks, which grew more in popularity upon the third wave of coffee in the late 1990s.

Blonde espresso has become a popular option for coffee drinkers who want a smooth and light coffee with fruitier notes, compared to darker roasts that tend to have rich notes of caramel, chocolate, and nuttiness.

Differences Between Blonde Espresso and Regular Espresso

blonde espresso and regular espresso

Blonde espresso differs from a regular espresso in several different ways, including:

  • Caffeine dosage
  • Flavor profiles
  • Coffee bean selection
  • Roasting times

Although the difference isn’t too large, blonde espresso has higher caffeine due to the different bean varieties used to make the drink and the roasting time. Coffee beans grown at lower altitudes have been found to contain more caffeine than coffee beans grown at higher altitudes. 

The combination of low-altitude beans from specific countries in East Africa and Latin America and short roasting time causes blonde espresso to contain more caffeine than regular espresso. 

Coffee beans that are grown in different climates and altitudes also affect the flavor profile of the bean. Some countries specialize in growing coffee beans that have rich chocolate and nut flavors, such as Honduras, Bolivia, and Colombia.

Coffee vendors target countries that specialize in growing coffee beans with a mild and citrusy flavor to create blonde espresso. The beans are then delicately roasted to the first crack to brew a lighter drink. 

Regular espresso tastes more bitter because of the longer roasting process. This allows coffee drinkers to experience the flavors that come from roasting the beans more so than lighter roasts.

Final Thoughts: Is Blonde Espresso Stronger?

Blonde espresso is stronger than regular espresso due to the specific beans used and the roasting time.

If you’re looking to try a lighter coffee drink that still has that caffeine kick, blonde espresso is a great alternative if you’re not a fan of the rich and bitter flavors of regular espresso.

If you order a blonde espresso shot from Starbucks, you will get 10 mg more caffeine than if you ordered a regular shot of espresso.

Other coffee shops may get their coffee beans from different regions to make blonde espresso, which could alter the amount of caffeine in a single shot. Nevertheless, blonde espresso is still stronger.

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About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She's taught English as a foreign language, a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide.

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