How are coffee blends made? The inside scoop from Smokin’ Bean’s Head of Coffee

In an overcrowded market place, how does a young coffee brand develop a blend? There are lots of different flavour profiles, aromas, roasts and origins. Then there’s whether to use Arabica or Robusta, or both? So many choices and decisions. So how do you build a unique blend? For the first time, we are going to let you in and share with you our flavour development secrets!

We sat down and had a coffee with our Head of Coffee, Dr Eduarda (we know what you’re thinking, don’t worry she made the coffee).  We asked her those burning questions you’ve all been dying to know…

Creating the magic

So Eduarda, how did you begin creating the blend for Smokin’ Bean signature (and Rocha)?

The first step always starts with a brief. If I was asked to buy a gift for someone I don’t know, it would be a struggle to come up with something meaningful. I like to imagine who the customers are, where they shop, what they drink and, if at all possible, what they look like! Two things resonated with me at the time;

  1. The blend had a young at heart consumer (someone busy, fast paced, confident, determined and interested in new things)
  2. It was important to pick origins that would deliver sweetness and citrus fruit acidity with enough balance to make a great milky drink.

For Rocha blend it was different as the consumer is slightly more mature and demanded power and strength, a seasoned traveller who knew what they like. So the taste profile had to match, with heavy molasses sweetness and toast had to be the starting points so the overall flavour and strength impact delivered a memorable aftertaste.

Smokin' Bean Cupping
Smokin' Bean Cupping

Why do you think it works so well?

That initial first attraction needs to exist for someone to be willing to step inside and try a new coffee. The blend then needs to match the brand perception otherwise consumers will walk away after that initial first purchase. When you watch someone unwrap a gift you put a lot of effort in selecting, you can immediately see the disappointment or pure excitement. With coffee it’s always nerve-racking waiting for the feedback, but it was very quickly apparent that Smokin’ Bean was well received. To me that means the brief was on point allowing the blend and brand execution to complement each other seamlessly.

The passion behind the blend

What do you love most about it?

I love that people love it! Anytime a blend is created the ultimate goal is that people instinctively like it. To me that’s the objective, the whole point of crafting a coffee blend, to construct a product that is a perfect fit for the person it was designed for.

What’s your favourite thing about creating new coffee blends?

Watching people’s reactions during a tasting can be more rewarding than trying to translate their attempts at flavour descriptions which can be amusing. We all know what we like and don’t like, even if we struggle to explain why. People are naturally programmed to react quickly when presented with food or drink. That first reaction, from a raised eyebrow, a muffled sound or a tiny frown can tell you a lot. Unless of course you are dealing with a master at poker faces!

Smokin' Bean tasting

Well, we don’t know about you but we’ve learnt a lot. We didn’t realise so much of the taste profile is built around us – the coffee drinkers! And also, that it was so much like buying a present for someone you don’t know. We know why we love Smokin’ Bean but we want to know why you do – tell us on Instagram using the hashtag #smokinbeanies.


By Robyn Chamberlain-Webber

Smokin’ Bean Marketing Assistant