How to find the perfect coffee blend for your friends and family this Christmas
December 09, 2021

How to find the perfect coffee blend for your friends and family this Christmas

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world and although the UK consumes low amounts of coffee compared to the rest of the Europe, coffee consumption in the UK is quickly rising. 70 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the UK. So, in a market like the UK that is nascent but quickly growing, one of the best gift ideas this Christmas is a coffee blend that is unique, heartfelt, and personalised.

We’ve put together an innovative tool, Build-a-Blend, that enables you to do just that. You can craft a unique coffee blend, selecting from four high quality single origin coffees, for that special person. You can also assign a unique name to the blend. And, because of our Spiller & Tait know how, you can be confident the blend will taste great, no matter what ratio of single origin coffees you choose.

But, “how do I know people’s tastes and preferences?” you may ask. Well, the answer is quite simple. Everyone’s tastes are indeed different, so the best way forward is to do some detective work to find out their taste and then build a blend around it. Here are three questions you can ask to get you started on building the perfect coffee blend for your friends or family this Christmas.

Step 1: Ask the Right Questions

Q1: Do you prefer light or dark chocolate?

The Sumatra Mandheling has notes of dark chocolate, and the Colombia Huila has notes of lighter chocolate.

Q2. Grapefruits, mangos or raspberries?

The Ethiopia Sidamo has flavours of tropical fruit such as mango; whereas, the Sumatra Mandheling has citrus flavours, and the Colombia Huila has hints of berry fruits.

Q3. Dry roasted or regular peanuts?

The Brazil Mogiana has a dark roasted nut flavour, and the Colombia Huila has notes of lighter nuts.

Extra Investigations:

  1. Take note of the strength/colour of the coffee they currently have; for anything medium or light we would recommend a medium coffee roast and for anything dark or marked 5 or 6 strength, we would recommend a dark coffee roast.
  2. What type of coffee are they making? For bean to cup, espresso machines, or Moka pots (stove tops) we suggest a higher percentage of Brazil Mogiana as this makes a great base. Sumatra Mandheling is also good for full-bodied coffee as often found in short drinks. For everything else, Ethiopia Sidamo & Colombia Huila are great beans for a lighter, longer brewing method.

 With your detective work done, it’s time to build a personalised blend for your friends and family via our build a blend tool.

When Building A Blend You’ll Be Choosing Between The Following Four Single Origin Coffees:

  1. Brazilian Mogiana

    • Taste: Hints of dark chocolate, molasses and roasted nut in the finish
    • Blend Impact: Brazilian coffees provide an excellent base to a coffee blend and are often used in high percentages for espresso based recipes. Typically they are used to develop body/mouthfeel in a blend and to add ‘base’ notes such as roasted nut and chocolate. Roasters will then often add brighter coffees to Brazilian Beans to add complexity and high notes.

  2. Colombia Huila

    • Taste: Hints of almond, citrus and berry fruit and chocolate in the finish
    • Blend Impact: Colombian coffees are extremely versatile and complex and can be used as a single origin or within a blend. In a blend, this coffee will brighten and sweeten the taste profile, often imparting fruity and chocolatey characteristics.

  3. Ethiopia Sidamo

    • Taste: Prominent notes of jasmine, bergamot and array of citrus and stone fruits
    • Blend Impact: Ethiopian coffees are typically used by roasters to develop floral/ high notes and increase complexity within a blend. Naturally high in acidity this coffee will brighten and lift the flavour profile of the blend and develop floral citrus fruit characteristics.

  4. Sumatra Mandheling

    • Taste: Tropical fruit, dark chocolate, spice, tobacco and subtle earthy and herbaceous notes in the finish.
    • Blend Impact: Sumatran coffee is highly versatile and can a adapt to number of roasting styles and are typically used by roasters as an alternative to robusta beans in espresso blends, to develop body and flavour intensity. This coffee will always add another dimension of flavour to a blend and impart base notes such as spice, chocolate and tobacco

    Step 2: Choose Your Roast and Grind



    Medium Roast: Bring the best characteristics out of each coffee and enhance their taste profiles. They are popular because they work well in most common brewing methods.

    Dark Roast: Normally increase Aroma & Body but decrease Acidity & Sweetness, they are favoured by those who prefer a smokey ‘roasted’ flavour. They are popular for espresso and milk-based coffee drinks



    Whole Beans:  Whole beans keeps the coffee fresh and makes the flavor last longer. If you prefer the full sensory experience of a black coffee, whole beans are the answer. The downside of using whole beans is that a cup of coffee takes longer to make and you’ll need the appropriate equipment to ground the beans into a fresh cup of coffee.

    Ground for Cafetiere/Filter: Roasted to a lower final temperature and for a shorter period of time. esents a clearer picture of a coffee’s taste as there is far less “roast” flavour interfering. Creates a sweeter cup of coffee (the coffee is less caramelized and white sugar is sweeter than caramel). Can be brewed in a drip machine, french press, etc., but is not recommended for use in an espresso machine (filter roast pulled on an espresso machine can result in a very sour cup)

    Ground for Espresso: Roasted slightly hotter and for a longer period of time. Easier to dissolve the right amount of coffee into the water because it’s roasted to be more soluble.  The espresso roasts are great for people looking for more body and less acidity in their regular coffee.

    Ground for Moka/Stove Top: For stovetop espresso makers, use a fine coffee grind. A fine grind will be similar in size and feel to that of sugar. It should also be slightly coarser than a grind used for a regular espresso maker. Fine grind is required because of the short time the coffee grind comes in contact with water. Pressure builds up in the espresso maker which forces the water through the fine grinds.


    Step 3:  Name Your Blend


    Now comes the fun part of giving your unique blend a unique name. One common naming convention is to name your creative blend after the person you are gifting the blend to. In this way your gift can have a unique blend, with a unique story, topped off with a unique name.

    Build your unique blend of coffee here.