Every day at the Kaldi’s Coffee Roastery is an exercise in coffee-geekery. We get very excited about new single origin coffee rollouts, can’t wait to roast and cup the latest small lot offerings from our producing and importing partners, and sling hand brews like there’s no tomorrow. But there’s a whole other side to this story, and it’s one that we put just as much time and passion into: our blends.
Thus, allow us to shine a much-deserved spotlight on a blend that our regular customers and guests know and love: 700.
A graphic used for Espresso 700 blend before 2015.
History of 700:
700 was designed to taste great as espresso, whether at our cafes or in your home set-up. Our ideal espresso blend is medium-roast, easy to dial in, and gives that great chocolate and caramel taste while leaving in a backdrop of the distinct fruity characteristics of the coffees. When we source the components of 700, these are the tastes we are specifically looking for.
So what’s with the name?
Customers far and wide, but especially in the St. Louis region, know us for our DeMun location, our very first cafe and where we started roasting coffee. Located at 700 Demun Avenue, it was only fitting that our flagship espresso blend adopted a part of its backstory. Additionally, when we moved our roasting operations in 2005, it was to 700 St. Bernard’s Lane, and the rest is history.
For years, 700 was called “Espresso 700”. The label included a note that it tastes “wonderful as drip coffee”, but we found that having ‘espresso’ in the title was making some customers leery about buying for their home coffee machines. 700 is an exceptional everyday coffee no matter how you brew it, so we wanted to ease that apprehension.
Therefore, with our bag redesign in the fall of 2019, we officially dropped ‘espresso’ from the title. Same blend, same love and attention, now with a wider appeal. We love the new name for its simplicity and its connection to our past.
Quality, Quality, Quality:
All of our blends are subject to thorough and routine quality controls for taste and consistency. We cup our lineup of coffees almost every day to ensure tastes are up to par, green coffee is holding up, etc… but 700 gets a little extra attention, or an extra cupping bowl, or an extra roast profile to see what temp and times during the roasting process is bringing out the best flavors.
And we don’t stop there. Every Thursday, our Roasting and Quality Control team spends over an hour dialing in that week’s roast with our espresso grinders and espresso machine, and then shares the best practices with our cafe teams to help them ensure wherever it is served, it is tasting great. It’s safe to say that no other coffee gets consumed and scrutinized more at the Kaldi’s Roastery or by our lead baristas.
Learn more about QC in our blog, "Chasing Quality: A Walk Through Espresso QC"
What does this mean for you? When you get 700 in your cup, you are drinking the product of rigorous attention to detail from start to finish.
A game-changing, crowd-pleasing, everyday kind of coffee
A common tale through the years has been of a person being converted from, let’s say, “other” coffee brands after drinking 700. The profile of 700 is one that tastes familiar to any coffee lover, but the quality, freshness, and attention to detail just shines through. It’s sweet, it’s comforting, it’s got a slight, pleasing acidic tingle, and you can drink cup after cup.
One of those stories comes from our own team. Before joining Kaldi’s, our e-commerce manager used to bring in airpots full of 700 to his office, providing a bit of relief to his coworkers from the usual fare. And he soon turned his father, sister, sister-in-law, and anyone else that would listen over to it. Years (and many other coffees) later, it’s still their go-to.
700 just has that effect on people, and we’ll never get tired of hearing stories like those.
A Blend that’s More than a Blend:
Like all of our blends, the components of 700 change throughout the year based on harvest schedules and crop freshness. But generally speaking, there is always at least one coffee in 700 that represents a long, fruitful relationship with our producing partners.
Colombia Monserrate: Relationship since 2007, visits about once a year (check out our blog here)
Nicaragua Don Roger / Jinotega Community: Relationship since 2011, visits every 2 or 3 years, and a close relationship with the Ben Weiner (check out our IGTV with Ben here)
El Salvador Manzano: Relationship since about 2010 or 2011, visits about every other year. (check out our Feast TV profile here)
Relationships are vital to the way we operate, and great coffee starts with these great relationships. 700 is no different. With each iteration, there is a years long story to be told and the importance of this blend goes well beyond the final taste.
Our team visiting our partners at Monserrate.
700 and beyond
Coffee is a funny thing. It’s an everyday, ubiquitous, oftentimes mindless part of people’s lives, but behind every cup is a long story of human connection, hard work, and dedication. 700 is a part of the much larger coffee story, but it’s one that has meant the world to us and our guests for many, many years, and has come to represent so much of our philosophy and identity.
The next time it’s in your mug as drip coffee, or a latte, or as an espresso shot, know that there’s a story unfolding before you, and enjoy your moment with it. We sure did.