Depends on who you ask
EC: What Is Breakfast Blend Coffee?
Credit: Photo by MakiEni's photo via Getty Images

For most breakfast consumers, coffee is a vital part of their daily routine, even if they know next to nothing about the beverage they're drinking. More than a few might be led to ask, "what is breakfast blend coffee?" scratching their heads in befuddlement as their Keurig sputters out the last bits of crema. What does breakfast blend coffee mean? And why does breakfast blend coffee get its own name? Why isn't there a lunch blend coffee? A dinner blend coffee? A 3 a.m.-and-I've-got-a-paper-to-finish blend? What is it about breakfast blend coffee that's so distinct? Well as it turns out, that might just depend on who you're asking.

There's no hard and fast definition for what a breakfast blend is, as it turns out. Each kind of breakfast blend coffee can be a bit different, and can include different types of coffee beans—known as coffee varietals to experts—and different sorts of roast levels. By and large, most breakfast blend coffees will be mild, balanced, and straightforward. They don't have a ton of body, but they won't be too weak and watery, either. They won't be overly acidic, but will still have a bit of kick if brewed properly. Basically, you can think of breakfast blend coffee as a nice, neutral coffee that helps you begin your day without blowing out your palate.

To better understand what breakfast blend coffee means, it's important to know a thing or two about how coffee roasting works. What ends up in your cup begins as a green, unroasted bean (well, technically it's a seed, but that's not important right now). Green beans then go into a coffee roaster, where they are heat-treated until their inner moisture begins to steam out of the bean. This helps the beans shed their protective outer covering, known as silverskin. Once this step happens (known as "first crack" to coffee geeks), roasters can really begin to dial in the flavor of their coffees based on how long they expose their beans to continual heat. Put simply, the longer the beans stay in a roaster, the darker the coffee gets. And the darker it gets, the more bitter and "strong" tasting it becomes.

So for breakfast blend coffee, most roasters are looking to create an even, balanced roast. Not too light (as this makes for a more bitter cup), and not too dark (because that's a lot to swallow first thing in the morning). And by blending different coffee bean types—known as varietals—into one batch, coffee roasters can take a little bit of every characteristic from the beans they include. This is why there's no hard and fast definition for breakfast blend coffee. Each roaster has a different style and flavor that he or she is looking to introduce to their coffee, meaning that there's plenty of room for variety and experimentation.

The next time you're looking to find the best breakfast blend coffee, remember that there is a ton of subjectivity that goes into creating your next cup of morning joe. Don't be afraid to experiment with multiple breakfast blend varieties, as there's bound to be a fair bit of differentiation between each one of them. Plus, if you really start to take a shine for all of the different flavors you taste in each blend, you can begin to experiment with single-origin coffee to take your coffee palate up a notch. And that's certainly one way to get your mind working in the morning.