Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Fresh Eats: Starbucks' Blonde Roasts: Swing and a Miss 

Wednesday, Jan 25 2012
Comments

The trend toward light-bodied, floral, fruity coffee has finally registered with the industry's corporate giants. Earlier this month, Starbucks Coffee announced a series of "blonde" roasts. With names like "Veranda" and "Willow," the new coffees come in shiny metallic packaging promising a "mellow, soft and subtle roast" best served "on a sunny day."

In the interest of staying current on all coffee, I sampled a scalding hot cup of Starbucks' Veranda Roast matched against the much darker Starbucks Medium Pike Place Roast and — for comparison's sake — Sightglass's Blue Boon blend.

Where the Blue Boon smelled something like a wispy bit of cotton candy infused with the slightest essence of berry, the Veranda Roast smelled like a tire fire that had been extinguished with a bucket of cat urine. The taste of the Veranda Roast was thin at first, almost watery, quickly followed by a stampede of charred, chemical flavor reminiscent of severely burned popcorn or a piece of grilled cheese that had lingered on a cast-iron skillet too long. In contrast, Sightglass's Blue Boon seemed downright ethereal, a cloud of ripe orange and cocoa that evaporated in to a soothing freshness. Paired against its "medium roast" cousin, the Veranda did seem lighter, but the lightness bore no additional subtlety.

Though it is refreshing to see Starbucks pushing in a different direction for its coffee — the packaging of the Veranda Roast instructs customers about using freshly ground beans and accurate measurement of beans and water — the blonde roast is a failure in terms of taste. Harsh, seemingly roasted alongside a bucket of cleaning chemical, the Veranda Roast does nothing to enlighten the palate, instead announcing itself with all the nuance of a nuclear weapon.

About The Author

Noah Sanders

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"