Is Blonde Espresso Stronger? It Depends… Read On

A few years ago, a new lighter roast started entering the coffee shops and had coffee enthusiasts intrigued. Of course, coffee lovers are keen on trying new roasts, and the paler beans come with a promise of citrusy and toasty notes. It sure sounds tempting, but is blonde espresso stronger than regular espresso? Is good enough for a morning pick me up?

Don’t be fooled by its pale color and overall appearance. We explored every aspect of the blonde roast to settle the score on ‘is blonde espresso stronger’ than its darker counterparts.

Topics Explored

  1. What is a Blonde Espresso?
  2. Is It Stronger?
  3. Does It Have More Caffeine?
  4. What Can Affect the Strength of Blonde Espresso?
  5. How is Blonde Espresso Made?
  6. Blonde Espresso vs Regular Espresso
  7. FAQs

What is a Blonde Espresso?

The blonde espresso is pulled from coffee beans that have been just slightly roasted. The roasting process starts with the evaporation of water from the beans and a crack. The blonde roast is finished after the first crack.

The coffee beans for the blonde espresso have a smooth and sweet taste and come from all over the world but especially Latin America and East Africa.

Brewed Blonde Espresso
Brewed Blonde Espresso

The blonde espresso is not a new invention, even though it gained massive popularity after Starbucks promoted it back in 2018. The blonde espresso comes from lightly roasted beans that had always been around, only under different names.

After changing the name, Starbucks drew attention to this roast and had more people excited over the light-bodied coffee.

Other Names for Blonde Espresso

Did you know that you may already had a blonde espresso? You can find the same roast under Light City, Half City, New England Roast, or Cinnamon Roast. However, these names are more commonly used by coffee roasters and have not made it into ‘popular culture’ like Blonde Roast.

So, Is Blonde Espresso Stronger?

Blonde Espresso Crema
Blonde Espresso crema

When it comes to flavor, the blonde roast is not as strong as the dark roast. It’s less smoky and bitter but more acidic. The blonde espresso is ideal for someone who doesn’t enjoy the stronger characteristics of coffee.

Even though the taste is smoother and less intense, the caffeine content in blonde espresso is more than in the darker roasts.

Does It Have More Caffeine?

Various factors can affect how much caffeine a specific type of roast can contain, and the roasting time is one of them.

When compared shot by shot, the Blonde Espresso from Starbucks has more caffeine than their regular espresso. Blonde espresso has 85 mg per shot, while regular espresso contain 10 mg less.

  • Starbucks Blonde Espresso: 85 mg per shot(1)
  • Starbucks Signature Espresso: 75 mg per shot(2)

What Can Affect the Strength of Blonde Espresso?

The strength of a brewed blonde espresso can vary due to several factors such as coffee grind size, roasting time, volume, and brewing method. Of course, the main source of caffeine is the bean variety itself, but even the brewing water’s temperature plays a role in the amount of caffeine you’ll extract.

Let’s explore some of these factors in further detail.

Blonde Espresso Grounds
Blonde Espresso Grounds

1. Using Volume Instead of Weight

During the roasting process, the water in the coffee beans evaporates, leading to a decrease in their overall weight. That’s why blonde roasts weigh more than darker roasts.

So, when pulling a blonde roast shot, using volume (spoonfuls) instead of weight can produce more caffeine. This is because blonde roasts are heavier and denser. Inversely, when using a scale, the dark roast shot will contain more caffeine as you’ll technically be using more of it to achieve the desired weight.

2. Type of Beans in Used

Climate and environment also affect caffeine levels – soil with higher nitrogen content can produce beans with a higher level of caffeine.

The type of beans also affects caffeine levels. For example, brewed robusta contains ~ 2.5 grams/ L, while arabica contains ~1.9 grams/ L.

Starbucks’ Blonde Roast uses a blend of beans from Latin America and East Africa, while other roasters may utilize different types of beans from other regions.

3. Brew Method

Different brewing methods can extract more or less caffeine from the roast.

On the top of the list is the French Press which can extract 80-100 mg of caffeine per 4 oz cup. Next are the pour-over or drip coffee methods that extract 60-100 mg of caffeine per cup. Finally, espresso machines pull coffee with 30-50 mg of caffeine content per cup.

How is Blonde Espresso Made?

Commercial Coffee Roasting

Blonde espresso is made by roasting green coffee beans from 350°F to 400°F. At 400°F, the Maillard reaction is triggered, aiding in taste development. Due to water evaporation inside the beans, after 3 to 5 minutes of roasting, the beans produce an audible and visual crack. Blonde roast is removed from heat after the crack.

The roasting time and temperature are enough to develop over 800 flavor compounds. But they’re not enough to lower the acidity of the coffee beans or convert the sucralose in the beans to caramelized compounds. That’s why the blonde roast has a lighter body, fresh citrus, and floral notes but high acidity.

Blonde Espresso vs Regular Espresso

Plain coffee can get boring after a while, so playing with different roasts can excite your palate. However, different roasts come with different tastes.

So what’s the difference between blonde and regular espresso? Should we make the switch or stay with the well-known taste? Depending on what you’re looking for in a cup of coffee, the blonde espresso can be a hit or miss.

Blonde vs Regular Espresso
Blonde vs regular pulled espresso


The taste is the most prominent contrast between the two kinds. Blonde espresso comes with a specific light flavor and aroma with hints of citrus and florals. It’s smooth and subtly sweet.

Regular espresso is richer, bolder with caramel sweetness. It has a touch of nutty, chocolatey notes.


Let’s start with beans: Blonde espresso beans are beige or light brown, while regular espresso beans can range from medium to dark brown. Blonde espresso beans are dry, while regular beans are more oily due to the longer roast. The pulled blonde espresso shot is lighter, almost honey-brown in color.

Regular espresso is pulled from darker beans resulting in a chocolate-brown coffee.

Different Roasts of Espresso Beans
Blonde espresso vs regular espresso beans


Blonde espresso is light-bodied, so it works best with simple coffee beverages, particularly Americanos and iced coffees.

Regular espresso has more character. It pairs better with strong-flavored beverages as the intense coffee flavor can stand up against other profiles. It’s ideal for use in frappuccinos, mochas, or flavored lattes.

Final Thoughts

Is Blonde Espresso Stronger

Different coffee roasts have been around forever, but a little marketing magic brought the blonde roast to light and triggered everyone to try it. If you like to answer ‘is blonde espresso stronger‘, you have to consider a couple of facts we mentioned above.

Depending on how it’s brewed, it can contain more caffeine per cup, but the taste might not be as robust as regular, dark roast espresso.


Why is it called Blonde Espresso?

After a couple of names failed to promote this light roast, Starbucks introduced Blonde as the new name and a synonym for the color of the espresso. It’s something that sounded familiar and natural, so it resonated with the mass. For example, the previous title, Cinnamon Roast, lead many to think it was a spice-infused roast.

What’s the difference between Blonde Espresso and regular espresso?

Blonde espresso is lighter in color, with a more acidic taste and just a tad sweetness. You can sense some floral and citrus notes, but nothing overpowering. The regular espresso has a smoky, sweet, caramelized taste with deep brown color and hints of nuts. Blonde espresso can contain 10 mg caffeine more than regular espresso per shot.

Is Blonde Espresso more healthy?

There aren’t any claims that suggest that Blonde Espresso is healthier than regular espresso. However, there are a couple of health benefits to drinking light roasts, like the high content of antioxidants and chlorogenic acid, which protects the cells from damage and inflammation. Dark roasts pack a bunch of health benefits, too, so you’re not missing out on much if you don’t like the blonde espresso.

Verified Sources

Wondering where your info comes from? We totally understand. Hey Joe only obtains our information from reputable sources. Contents from this article are sourced from the following publications:

  1. Starbucks.:
  2. Starbucks:
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