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Is a Blonde Espresso Stronger than a Regular Espresso?

The new Starbucks blonde roast that is the foundation to blonde espressos at Starbucks. But are they stronger than a regular espresso?

Blonde espresso can be said as a variant of espresso and has been popular since Starbucks introduced it in 2018. However, how does it compare to regular espresso? Is blonde espresso stronger than regular espresso?

Blonde espresso is not stronger than regular espresso in taste, as it uses lightly roasted beans. This means it is not as bold and intense in flavor compared to regular espresso. However, blonde espresso may have higher caffeine since it uses lightly roasted beans.

In this post, let’s explore what blonde espresso is and if it is stronger than regular espresso. We also try to explore how different it is from regular espresso.

What Is Blonde Espresso?

Most baristas will use dark coffee roasts to make espresso, as they produce a stronger, more intense flavor.

However, the biggest issue with regular dark roasts or espresso beans is the loss of natural, lighter flavors. This is because dark roasting introduces smoke and enhances the darker woody flavors in the beans. 

As a result, if the original bean has milder floral, fruity, or berry-like flavors, it may be lost if you roast the beans dark. Observe light or medium roast coffee, and observe how this coffee tends to show lighter flavors. 

A blonde espresso uses lightly roasted coffee beans to deal with the issue. The drink itself was first introduced and then popularized by Starbucks in 2018. 

These light roasts are also called blonde espresso beans since the beans are not roasted dark but have a light brown appearance, similar to a blonde. 

When you sip some blonde espresso, you may notice that the coffee has an intense flavor, similar to espresso. However, you seem to be able to taste more floral, fruity, or berry flavors too.

“Starbucks Blonde Roast Review – barista express” by Joe Varacalli on YouTube.

Blonde vs Regular Espresso

Blonde EspressoRegular Espresso
Coffee BeansLight roastsDark roasts
Bean ColorLighterDarker
FlavorSlightly sweet, less intenseMay have citrus, floral or fruity notesBold, intenseNutty, earthy, bittersweet notes
Caffeine ContentUsually higherUsually lower
Table overview: Difference between a Blonde Espresso and a Regular Espresso.

Blonde and regular espresso may look similar, but they are different in many ways:

Coffee Beans

Blonde espresso is pulled from lightly roasted beans. These roasts are also called blonde roasts since the bean color is light brown and blonde-like.

These beans are not roasted for a long time inside the roaster. The temperature may also be lower. This is to prevent the beans from becoming too charred.

On the other hand, regular espresso uses darker roasts. This means the coffee beans also spend a long time in the roaster under higher temperatures. 

As a result, dark roast espresso beans usually have a dark brown color. The beans also have a shiny appearance since the longer roasting process brings the oils inside the coffee to the surface of the beans. 


Since blonde espresso uses lightly roasted beans, the beans retain a lighter color and do not have many dark spots. 

As a result, when you pull a shot out of these beans with an espresso machine, the espresso tends to look lighter. It should have a lighter brownish appearance. 

Regular espresso uses darker beans. As a result, the espresso will be darker when you brew the coffee. Expect your espresso to have a dark brown color.


You should notice how different Blonde espresso tastes on the first sip itself. It does not have much smoke or dark heavy flavors. Instead, you may taste more subtle flavors with it. 

Blonde espresso tends to show taste notes common with lightly roasted beans. These include floral, fruity, or berry. Some blonde espresso can also show citrusy, sweet notes.

Regular espresso would come with a bold, intense flavor. It should also taste smokier, with deep, dark, and stronger flavors. Traditional espresso may also taste more bitter than blonde espresso.

When you taste regular espresso, you should note tastes such as chocolate, smoke, wood, leather, tobacco, or spice. 

Depending on where your beans are, you may taste different flavors too. For example, Ethiopian beans may be more floral, while Sumatran beans are more earthy and herbal.

Caffeine Levels

Generally, blonde espresso may have more caffeine than regular espresso. This is because lightly roasted beans retain more caffeine content inside the beans compared to dark roasted ones. 

However, several other factors determine the final caffeine count. These include types of coffee beans, origin, extraction time, and amount of coffee used to pull the espresso shot.

Blonde espresso promo image. Image source: Bustle.com.
Blonde Espresso beans promo image. Image source: Bustle.

Is Blonde Espresso Stronger than regular Espresso?

We may need to start by determining what “strong” is to answer this question. Generally, we think of the taste and caffeine content when it comes to a coffee’s strength.

Within taste and flavor, blonde espresso is weaker than regular espresso. This is because they use lightly roasted beans. As a result, blonde espresso does not contain much smoke, or bold flavors, compared to regular espresso.

However, blonde espresso has more caffeine than regular espresso. This is because blonde espresso beans are not roasted as long as regular espresso, which usually retains more caffeine.

This means caffeine-wise, blonde espresso is stronger than regular espresso. This may be something you want to take note of, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Common Questions About Blonde Espressos

How Does Blonde Espresso Taste?

When you sip a cup of blonde espresso, expect a more mellow experience than regular espresso. It should taste lighter, sweeter and may have fruity, floral, or citrusy-tasting notes.

Is Blonde Espresso Stronger Than Regular Espresso?

Blonde espresso may be stronger than regular espresso in caffeine content, as lightly roasted beans tend to carry more caffeine. However, in terms of taste and flavor, regular espresso is stronger.

Can You Use Blonde Espresso To Make Latte Or Cappuccino?

You can use blonde espresso to make other espresso-based drinks, such as latte, cappuccino, or more. Blonde espresso also has crema, which means making latte art will not be an issue too.


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