Traditionally, the Italian coffee culture is based on the blend, therefore on the union of several single-origin coffees. On the contrary, a culture of single-origin espresso drinking has emerged in various countries of the world.
However, something is changing. In Italian coffee shops, customers usually have coffee blends and decaffeinated coffee available, but baristas are more and more easily found offering one or more single origins. The price of the latter is higher than that of the espresso blend and the customer must explicitly request them from the barista, otherwise the blend will be served.
The blend still plays a leading role today for a number of reasons. First of all, the average Italian customer always looks for the same sensory profile in the cup. In other words, habit wins: the blend allows the roaster to always be able to obtain a certain profile by slightly varying the single origins or their quantity based on what is available on the market.
It is also said that a great cup of espresso responds to the 3 P's rule: it must be perfect, powerful and profound. A single origin can certainly be perfect and powerful, but it hardly manages to be as profound as a blend, that is, to reach a certain level of complexity of aromas which is instead an important quality for the Italian customer.
If you have any questions about coffee in Italy, leave them in the comments and we will be happy to answer them!