Cafe Kaldi & 700
Statistically speaking, you fall in one of two camps:
- You’ve had our coffee before, and at least one of the cups was Cafe Kaldi or 700.
- You haven’t had our coffee, and you’re not sure how to choose between these two best-selling, most-loved, and year-round blends.
We’ve already written about the history and the ins and outs of these two blends in our “Much More than a Blend: Cafe Kaldi” and “Much More than a Blend: 700” blogs. Those are still very relevant and great odes to our house and espresso blends.
But today we’re going to really focus on roast profiles, components, and taste to more deeply compare and contrast Cafe Kaldi and 700. If you’re already well-versed on the two blends, consider this an updated primer.
Below is a quick guide, but read on for a Cafe Kaldi and 700 Deep Dive!
Our signature house blend is designed to appeal to all types of coffee drinkers. As a post-roast blend, there are two main components that are roasted separately and then combined together to make a final product. We call these “Light Side” and “Dark Side”.
This kind of roasting style offers a couple of advantages. By more effectively dialing in both parts of the roasts, each lives up to their best potential. It also allows us more consistency as the blend components change with the harvest seasons.
Dark side and light side of Cafe Kaldi
“Light Side” and “Dark Side” are how we streamline communication to the roast profiles, but it’s a bit of a misnomer — it’s more like medium-light side and medium-dark side. This smaller gap in roast degrees alleviates issues with roast profiles extracting differently when brewing, and still results in a richly sweet, complex cup.
As our stalwart espresso blend, 700 performs best as a through-and-through medium roast. This roast profile provides consistent extraction in shot after shot of espresso, but still leaves a light acidic pop atop the deep chocolate base. We cup 700 at least twice a week to ensure the roast profile is hitting these marks. Unlike Cafe Kaldi, it is all done as a single roast.
As mentioned, Cafe Kaldi is a post-roast blend. Latin American coffees—Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia—typically provide the sweetness and depth of the more-developed Dark Side. Very often, these are relationship coffees from Colombia Monserrate and El Salvador Manzano.
What we think really sets it apart, however, is what’s in the Light side. Light side almost always contains a significant portion of Ethiopian coffee — usually from our partners at the Gera Estate — that gives the blend its pleasing acidity.
Actually, 700 and Cafe Kaldi very often use similar components! Colombia Monserrate, Nicaraguan coffees from our partners at Gold Mountain, and coffee from the Flanzer family at Brazil Ecoagricola can all be found throughout the year. The key difference is in the proportion that each coffee makes up in the blend and roast profiles. 700 also does not usually have an Ethiopian coffee as one of the components which aids in its chocolate-heavy taste profile.
A picture of the Colombia Monserrate community taken during one of our origin trips.
The beauty of both of these blends is their wide appeal. Each is incredibly sweet and balanced, but the components and roast profiles discussed previously result in decidedly different experiences.
If you or someone you love just wants that good, “bold” cup, the chocolatey, roasty-almost-smoky notes of Cafe Kaldi will hit the spot. Veterans to specialty coffee will appreciate the rich balance the blend offers with the darker, roast-ier notes, but also the light sparkle of citric acidity and florals that comes from the Ethiopian component in the light side.
The dark side of Cafe Kaldi is also specially designed to bring out a rich body, providing the blend a satisfying mouthfeel and richness that any coffee lover will enjoy.
In some ways, 700 is a candy bar in a cup. Chocolate, caramel, and a backdrop of fruitiness allow the blend to be an all day drinker that also stands up incredibly well to milk and cream. More than any perhaps any other blend, we scrutinize 700 for its balance and we specifically roast it to enhance the sweetness you experience in the cup.
Cafe Kaldi and 700 are both available in 2lb bags
How to Choose Between Cafe Kaldi & 700
Honestly, we can’t pick sides here either. Instead, we’ll provide a some scenarios that may resonate with you:
Drip Coffee: Both blends are great as drip, but we use Cafe Kaldi as our main house blend because of its familiar-yet-complex taste profile that shines most as drip. We also like to think of it as a gateway to specialty coffee. So, if you or someone you love is curious about getting into the world of specialty, a cup of Cafe Kaldi from your home drip machine might just be the answer you’re looking for.
Espresso: If you’re primarily an espresso drinker, you will find an optimized experience with 700. Balanced shots, solid extractions, and predictable performance are all major focuses of the blend. And like we mentioned, it pairs remarkably well with any milk, milk alternative, or cream.
Taste preferences - Quick Hits
- Looking for a little complexity: Cafe Kaldi
- Balanced sweetness & heavy chocolate notes: 700
- Used to a darker profile: Cafe Kaldi
- Love to add a little milk & cream: 700
No matter what you like…
Cafe Kaldi and 700 have been parts of countless mornings and we think that longevity says something. In each blend, you will find a specially crafted coffee experience that began with roasting green coffee samples, then meticulously cupping and evaluating, and finally scrutinizing completed roasts to make sure they’re tasting to spec. Each are designed to be consistent, high quality, delicious, and comforting.
So… which should you pick? We’ll just advise you to do what we do:
Don’t pick at all!
Swapping between Cafe Kaldi and 700 gives even more balance to these wonderfully balanced blends. You can get Cafe Kaldi on one order and 700 on the next, back and forth in delicious perpetuity. Our subscription program makes this even easier: you can start one subscription for Cafe Kaldi, and another for 700, and simply stagger them order to order.
Delicious coffee to your door, on your schedule, with some built-in flexibility.
No matter what, we hope you find a blend that you love, because we love roasting it for you.
Watch our Blend Buying Guide video for more info on our blends