Starbucks today unveiled its Blonde Espresso blend, representing the company’s first new core espresso option in the United States in more than 40 years.
The lighter-roasted blend is being offered alongside the “Starbucks Signature” espresso blend for all the company’s espresso-based beverages, pitched as a “smooth and bright” alternative to the “bold and rich” profile of the long-running espresso blend.
The company’s signature blend is composed of washed and semi-washed coffees from Latin America and Asia Pacific, while the company says its lighter espresso is composed of fully washed coffees from Latin America and East Africa that offers notes of lemon, orange and caramel.
The company has been testing the lighter espresso in various international markets since 2013, including offering the option in Canadian stores beginning last year to what it called “an overwhelmingly positive response.” The company has been offering lighter roasted coffees in the Blonde line in brewed form or packaged form since 2011.
Starbucks has arguably had more influence than any other coffee company in history in affecting the tastes of coffee drinkers, creating in the minds of many consumers throughout the past decades an association between dark-roasted coffees and high quality. The company’s overall roasting strategy toward the darker end has also been widely perceived as a practical means to maximize consistency and repeatability in its drink offerings by masking potential defects or characteristics of individual coffees through the roasting process.
“We set the standard for a dark, boldly roasted coffee and in this case, we broke a few of our own rules by taking a lighter approach to espresso which created a bright taste with sweet citrus notes and a smooth body,” Andrew Linnemann, vice president of global coffee for Starbucks, said in an announcement of the Blonde Espresso release today. “We are really proud of the roast and think customers are going to love experimenting with it.”
Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. Feedback and story ideas are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.