Blonde Espresso: Overview, Steps to Make It, and How to Order It at Starbucks

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Blonde espresso is a lightly roasted coffee and it’s one of the espresso options at Starbucks. See the difference between blonde roast and dark roast and how to make it at home.

What is Blonde Espresso?

  • Blonde espresso (also known as blonde espresso roast, blonde roast, and light roast) is the name given to lightly roasted coffee.
  • It’s called blonde since you can usually tell how long a coffee has been roasted by looking at the color and the light roast is lighter in color compared to dark roasted coffee.
  • The shorter roast time with blonde espresso roast gives it a slightly sweeter, smoother, more mellow coffee taste.
  • Any drink that is made with espresso can be made with blonde espresso.

More coffee guides: Lungo, Ristretto, Cortado, Mocha, Flat White, Macchiato

Differences Between Blonde Espresso Roast and Dark Espresso Roast

Blonde espresso roast and dark espresso roast coffee beans.

Color
Blonde roasted coffees are light in color while dark coffee roast are a few shades darker. Very dark roasted coffee will have an oily layer around them, giving it a shiny appearance. You won’t see oil around a blonde roast, so it has a matte look.

Roast Level
Coffee starts out green before it’s roasted, and will go from green to brown as the roaster applies heat. A blonde roast will be roasted for a shorter period of time at a lower temperature while a dark roast will be roasted for longer.  

Caffeine Level
The lighter the color of the coffee bean, the more caffeine it has. At Starbucks, a grande blonde espresso drink has 360 mg of caffeine, while their dark roast has 260 mg. 

Taste
Blonde espresso tends to taste more softer, slightly sweeter and mellower. Dark roasts are more roasty, with a bold flavor. 

Blonde Espresso at Starbucks

When Starbucks added blonde espresso to their menu in 2018, it was the first time in 40 years Starbucks has added a new espresso to their menu. Starbucks roasts their coffee darker, so their blonde espresso is closer to a medium roast.

Any drink that’s made with regular espresso can be made with blonde espresso so an Iced Vanilla Latte can be made into an Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte. Blonde roast is also offered as brewed coffee.

Blonde espresso drinks are the same price as any of the regular espresso drinks. There’s no extra charge for replacing espresso with blonde espresso.

If you find espresso to be too strong or bitter, but you want the caffeine, replace espresso with blonde espresso the next time you’re at Starbucks.

You can order any espresso or brewed coffee drink with blonde espresso or blonde roast, but Starbucks has a few that are made specifically using this lighter roasted coffee:

  • Blonde Roast
    Brewed coffee in a drip coffee machine using lightly roasted coffee beans.
  • Honey Almondmilk Flat White
    Blonde espresso, almondmilk, and honey blend create this creamy drink.
  • Iced Honey Almondmilk Flat White
    Iced version of the hot coffee drink, also made with blonde espresso.
  • Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte
    Blonde espresso, 2% milk, and vanilla syrup creates a twist on the popular Vanilla Latte.
  • Iced Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte
    An iced version of the classic Vanilla Latte made with blonde espresso.
  • Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso
    Ice, blonde espresso, and chocolate malt powder are shaken, then topped with almondmilk.
Blonde espresso beans in a pile.

What You’ll Need to Make a Blonde Espresso

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How to Make Blonde Espresso at Home

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

  1. Fill and tamp your portafilter with finely ground blonde roast coffee.
  2. Pull 1-2 shots of blonde espresso.
    Serve and drink immediately.

Expert Tips

  • Blonde espresso goes well with almond milk and vanilla syrup, which is why Starbucks makes the blonde drinks on the menu with those ingredients.
  • Aside from espresso, use blonde espresso roast in drip coffee machines to make brewed blonde coffee for a smoother and more caffeinated cup. Whole blonde espresso coffee beans can be used in drip machines even though it says espresso. Just make sure to grind beans for drip machines, not for espresso.
  • Blonde roast coffees can be difficult to grind. If you have a hand grinder, you’ll notice that the beans are more dense than dark roasted beans. 

Questions You May Have

Is blonde roast the same thing as light roast?

Yup. Blonde espresso roast is just a way they’re marketing light roast. Light roast used to be called ‘cinnamon roast’ due to the color of the beans, not from the taste, but it never caught on, so it was changed to blonde roast.

What espresso options are there at Starbucks?

You have 3 espresso options: signature espresso, blonde espresso, and decaf espresso.

Does blonde espresso roast have more caffeine than dark roast?

Yup, the longer coffee is roasted, the less caffeine it has. The same goes for tea! Blonde roast is lightly roasted so it will contain more caffeine than a dark roast which is roasted for longer.

Can I get blonde espresso at any coffee shop?

No, usually a coffee shop will only have dark roast espresso but you can ask if they do have a light roast.

Related

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How to Make Blonde Espresso

Author: Jee Choe
A smoother, milder version of an espresso.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove portafiter and run the water through the machine (grouphead) to remove any leftover coffee grounds from the machine.
  • Grind and fill portafilter with finely ground blonde roast coffee. Level and tamp filled portafilter. Clean loose ground coffee off the portafilter.
  • Put portafilter into the grouphead and pull shots. Place cup under the portafilter.
  • After pulling shots of blonde espresso, remove the portafilter and flush grouphead.

NOTES

  • Blonde espresso (also known as blonde espresso roast, blonde roast, and light roast) is the name given to lightly roasted coffee.
  • Blonde espresso goes well with almond milk and vanilla syrup, which is why Starbucks makes the blonde drinks on the menu with those ingredients.
  • Aside from espresso, use blonde espresso roast in drip coffee machines to make brewed blonde coffee for a smoother and more caffeinated cup. Whole blonde espresso coffee beans can be used in drip machines even though it says espresso. Just make sure to grind beans for drip machines, not for espresso.
  • Blonde roast coffees can be difficult to grind. If you have a hand grinder, you’ll notice that the beans are more dense than dark roasted beans. 
  • Any drink that is made with espresso can be made with blonde espresso.

NUTRITION

Sodium: 4mg | Calcium: 3mg
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