You've surely seen Starbucks coffee featured in countless movies and TV shows since it exploded across the US markets in the 1990's. Everyone remembers Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan playing the roles of Joe "NY152" Fox and Kathleen "Shopgirl" Kelly in You've Got Mail ordering their daily 'regimen' of coffee!
Their famous Cappuccino, Latte, Cafe Mocha, and Espresso coffee, not to mention frappes and other popular drinks, start with high-quality own-brand coffee beans and other fine ingredients, and a little bit of the Starbucks magic that each barista learns in their training.
87,000 combinations vs. just one - yours!
But few people realize that Starbucks started serving its popular coffee drinks way at their first store which was opened in 1971.
Since then millions of people have adopted the Starbucks coffee habit, you can read more about the Starbucks Company story here.
When a customer strolls up to the counter at Starbucks, they are offered a virtual smorgasbord of options for creating their drink: hot or iced, decaff or not, tall or grande, extra shot...?
It would take a while and many cups of coffee to verify the Starbucks' claim that there are 87,000 different permutations of their coffees. I've given up myself, but occasionally I will try a different cup of coffee or syrup flavor.
What's your Starbucks coffee order?
If you're having trouble ordering your favorite Starbucks drink or the following phrases have trouble: "I'll have a 'For Here, Grande, Non-Fat, No Water, Decaff, Latte'", then you may want to Crack the Starbucks Code.
What's most important is that the baristas know how to make the permutation of Starbucks coffee you need or regularly consume. For me, it's tall (occasionally grande), dry Americano with a touch of milk (lo-fat or not) served hot in a real mug. What's your permutation?
But there's more to Starbucks than 87000 permutations. For example, did you know that, starting in 2006, they decided to buy only organic coffee that was cultivated through environmentally sustainable methods. Their coffee can be bought in their stores or in the coffee section of your local supermarket.
Recently, Starbucks has also begun selling a very successful instant coffee called Starbucks Via Ready Brew. While I haven't tried it yet, many people rave about how much better it is than other instant coffees. That may not be exactly true, but changing people's perceptions about coffee isn't something that Starbucks has been reluctant to do in the past.
It's the beans on the shelf!
What interests PurelyCoffeeBeans.com isn't the over the counter frothy or milky coffee market per se, but rather the coffee beans that they sell. They do market a daily blend or brew which features one of the recent brands at a more moderate price.
But if you look a little further you will see the coffee beans from Starbucks are stacked on their shelves: tempting you with the different offerings of blends, roasts, regions and types of coffees so much so that you often wonder why they don't sell these as in-house beverages, too.
Their typical blend is one of the best-selling blends in the States: Starbucks Breakfast Blend Coffee, a fresh and flavorsome roast preferred in the morning. This blend of coffee beans, of all the flavors, roasts and blends available in Starbucks, continues to be one of the most popular.
I particularly like their House Blend or even the Decaf version as the flavor is full-bodied and satisfying. There is even an Espresso roast that is perfect for your Italian style homemade cappuccinos, lattes and espressos. Available, too, as Decaf.
Bold~ Extra Bold Roasts
But you may also find other blends particularly enjoyable, such as Cafe Verona is a bold and rich coffee, a favorite of many people suitable for after dinner enjoyment or the Gold Coast Blend. The Starbucks Italian Roast Coffee is a good example of a darkly roasted coffee bean. Its slightly smoky, sweet flavor makes excellent Italian coffee drinks. These are bold roasts with multi-region sourced beans.
Another contender is the Starbucks Sumatra Coffee which is regarded as intense and aromatic. It's also available in Decaf version. Starbucks' Asia/Pacific coffees are generally earthy, full-bodied and smooth. They include coffees from Sumatra, India, Bali and other tropical climates.
Coffees from Africa boast floral aromas, exotic flavors and one can often taste a hint of fruit or wine in these beans. So, you'll find coffees from Kenya, Arabia, or even regional blends such as 'East Africa Blend' or this year's Tanzania Blend.
Mild ~ Medium Roasts
Since Starbucks coffee features beans from all over the world, each with its own unique flavor and aromas, there are other choices of medium and mild roasts compatible with more North American tastes than the usual darker roasts of Europe.
If you like more unusual specialist coffees, you might find Starbucks' Peru Chanchamayo palatable blend with its subtle, nutty undertones. This coffee is cultivated in the Andes in central Peru where the cooler climes and careful techniques allow the cherries to ripen slowly, this produces a lighter flavor and it's grown with FairTrade Certification, too.
Other limited production and seasonal coffees are also worth trying. One suggested blend is Mexico Chiapas coffee, which is a shade grown coffee from the rich soils of the Southern volcanic mountains. Starbucks' customers look forward to each year to tasting this coffee because of its nuances of chocolate and hazlenut. It is noted for a smooth flavor, even coming across as almost sweet.
You can find a great variety of Latin American coffees from light and well-rounded flavors to smooth and refreshing, such as Colombian Coffee noted for its nutty finish or Costa Rican or Guatemala Antigua.
There are many Starbucks blends, too many to link to here, but you can find more by searching through the Starbucks range of coffee products: including coffee beans, coffee blends and grinds.
Quality, value and more
Starbucks' emphasis on buying good quality coffee beans helps enhance the coffee brand with coffee lovers everywhere!
Search for Starbucks Coffee products courtesy of your favorite online retailer, Amazon Inc.
Drinking Coffee in Starbucks, Flickr.
I do have one request of Starbucks, or rather one wish, that would be to see them make much more of the coffee beans they have on their shelves. How? By actually using them to make coffee for customers in the store. That simple: an order could specify 'Kenya AA' or 'Guatemala Antigua'. How nice!
How nice it would be to try some other flavors or blends of coffees instead of their House Blends. Of course, other preparation methods and customer education would be essential, but that's what they are doing anyway. But at least I can make decent coffee from Starbucks beans at home.
Starbucks Personal Drip Coffee System: How to Make Coffee! A few months ago, I featured a cup of coffee made with this Personal Drip Coffee Filter from Starbucks Japan. Starbucks USA doesn’t feature the product on their website, but you never know. Compared to the Via system, the little sachets of instant coffee, they are more expensive at… Read More »