Coffee

Thanksgiving Blend

Happy #WellTailoredWednesday! Although it’s been months since Thanksgiving of course, I’ve decided to review the Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend, which I received as a gift from my family member who works at the company. The Thanksgiving Blend has been a perennial roast since 2008, with the goal of creating a coffee that pairs well with the holiday’s traditional feast. Let’s dive in!

Hearty Aroma & Taste

Upon first…er…sniff, this blend has a deep aroma that really fills you up. I’ll be honest and say that I can’t detect a spice scent to it, but apparently there is one. The beans hail from the Antigua region of Guatemala, where the ample rain and sun, nutrient-rich soil, and consistent temperatures year-round give the beans their spicy flavor. Additionally, there are some herbal notes from Sumatra in this blend that give its intense, yet palatable taste. If you like Sumatran coffees that aren’t as strong, I’d recommend the Single Origin East Timor.

When and How To Drink It

I recommend drinking the Thanksgiving Blend coffee either in the morning as a start to the day or at night with dessert. Yes, I said at night. For those of you coffee fiends who are immune to the caffeine like I am, this blend is a great example of a coffee that you can have at all times of the day that will not affect your sleep. And if you are a bit more sensitive to caffeine, that’s fine too! My point is that this blend pairs well with a sweet dessert or fruit. I tried drinking it with some dark chocolate and, separately, with some sliced apples and the different tastes played very well with one another.

See the source image
The Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend, which started in 2008

And since this blend is quite rich, I’d recommend either a 1:1 or even a 3/4:1 grounds-to-water ratio. If you’re thinking about drinking it on the rocks or with milk/cream and sugar, you may want to add more grounds, so to balance the ice.

From Starbucks

Here’s the original description of the Thanksgiving Blend from Starbucks:

This full -bodied favorite features herbal notes from Sumatran beans and distinctive soft spice from the coffee of Guatemala’s Antigua region. It’s a blend created to pair beautifully with dishes savory and sweet–perfect for this season of thanks and giving.

Aroma
Bitterness
Strength
Taste

If you enjoy your cup of Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend, you might also like our Organic Yukon Blend® [Which I plan to sample and review in the coming months!].

I’d highly encourage anyone to try this coffee, and if you do, please let me know what you think of it in the Comments’ section below! Thanks for reading!

Coffee

Single Origin: Ethiopia

Happy #WellTailoredWednesday! A family member of mine just recently got a great gig at Starbucks, so I’ll most likely be taking a break from other coffees to sample exclusively Starbucks blends (at least for now!). I’ve always respected Starbucks’ variety of coffees but even more so because of their commitment to ethical sourcing. The latest blend that I’ve had the privilege of sampling is the Single Origin blend from Ethiopia. Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of “arabica” coffee, so I was very excited to give this blend a try. Let’s jump in!

[Dark Chocolate]-N-Pepa

Single Origin: Ethiopia
Single Origin: Ethiopia

I know what you’re thinking: “Do dark chocolate and pepper really mix well together?” And also, “Did he really just try to make a play on words with Salt-N-Pepa?” To both points, my answer would be an emphatic “yes!”. To be fair, it’s not like you’re eating pepper-chocolate, which by the way I’ve tried and is quite…interesting to say the least. The key here is that there is just a faint trace of the dark chocolate and that the pepper lies in the aftertaste. This taste is very subtle, and I almost missed it during my first sampling.

 

Orange You Glad I Sampled This Coffee?

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m a HUGE fans of puns, so an “orange” joke was definitely in the works! This is one flavor that I definitely missed the first time I tried this coffee. It’s most likely due to the fact that one of my favorite coffee mugs is known to mask some of the flavor in my coffee, which yes I know, is a big no-no. Anyway, the Ethiopia blend has a slight citrus taste to it, though it’s something you’ll most likely pick up after your first cup. This citrus-y tinge DOES appear in this blend’s aroma however, which was a very pleasant surprise the first time I brewed it—it filled my apartment with the freshest scent in the morning!

All About Balance

All in all, what I really liked about this coffee was just its simplicity. To me, there were no complex tastes or aromas that needed a lot of attention. Sure, the dark chocolate and citrus is worth looking out for, but I think the strengths of this coffee lie in its balanced flavor and taste. It’s a great morning brew—who wouldn’t want their home smelling like orange and coffee when they wake up? I’d actually recommend it as a morning brew over the East Timor blend, which I think would be better suited as an evening pick-me-up.

From Starbucks

Here’s the original story of the Ethiopia Single-Origin from Starbucks:

On the ancient slopes flanking Africa’s Great Rift Valley, coffee trees first emerged from the rich, volcanic soil. From these ninth-century highlands, arabica coffee beans began their long journey from Ethiopia to the rest of the world. Today our master roasters have created an entirely new way to experience these treasured beans. An exquisite blend with a reverence for the ritual of coffee, honoring Ethiopia’s bountiful legacy. With a velvety soft texture and floral, peppery spice notes, this is our tribute to the birthplace of coffee.

I’d highly encourage anyone to try this coffee, and if you do, please let me know what you think of it in the Comments’ section below! Thanks for reading!

Coffee

Single Origin: East Timor

Happy #WellTailoredWednesday! I recently tried the East Timor single origin coffee from Starbucks.

Okay I’ll be honest—I initially judge a coffee by its cover. As soon as I walked in to my local ‘Bucks, I noticed this bright red cover with a black alligator down the middle. And so I decided to give it a shot!

Chocolatey and Earthy Delight

Upon first opening the bag, I was greeted by an almost-chocolatey aroma. To me, it was half cocoa and half “earthy”. You know, like the smell of fertile soil in late May? And as it is with most coffees, taking that first sip of this brew revealed so much about this one. There was definitely a crispness to it, but a smoothness as well. Though it hails from the same region as their famous dark Sumatra roast, the Timor blend isn’t as strong or “bold”. If you’re looking for that, then I would highly recommend the coffee I previously reviewed: the Café du Monde.

When and How To Drink It

The East Timor blend is great coffee to have in the AM. It provided just enough flavor and character to jump start the day without sending my taste buds into a frenzy. Though I’d recommend a stronger blend for an afternoon pick-me-up (see the Café du Monde or even the Medium Colombia Blend), I wouldn’t be opposed to drinking the East Timor in the evening either. Since this blend is very well-balanced, I’d recommend sticking to the standard 1:1 ground-to-water ratio. If you’re thinking about drinking it on the rocks, you may want to add more grounds, so to balance the ice.

From Starbucks

Here’s the official writeup about the East Timor Blend:

Coffee from the Malay Archipelago is known for its exceptional qualities, a smooth cup with distinctive flavors and notes of herbs and spice. The first coffee plants arrived there with Dutch traders in the17th century. The early plantations thrived in the equatorial climate and rich volcanic soil. Coffee grown on the island of Java even lent the beverage a new nickname.

Starbucks had sourced coffee from the archipelago’s larger islands such as Sumatra and Sulawesi since the 1970s, but the company did not buy beans from Timor until decades later. That island’s eastern mountains produced only a small quantity of coffee that was grown wild and processed completely by hand; its lack of infrastructure was exacerbated by decades of conflict. In 1996, Starbucks helped put East Timor on the coffee map when coffee buyer Dave Olsen made the company’s first purchase from Cooperativa Café Timor, which had been working with the nation’s smallholder farmers to improve the quality and yield of their harvests.

“When I first went there, they had about half a container of coffee – that’s say 120 bags of green coffee – which is nothing, especially now,” said Olsen, who retired from the company in 2013. “But it was all they could muster. So, I bought it as a show of faith that it could be better.”

Starbucks continued to buy coffee from East Timor each harvest as its quality improved, and it became an important component of some of Starbucks most popular blends. In 2002 the region gained independence and officially became Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, ushering in an era of stability and growth for the new nation and its emerging specialty coffee industry.

Now customers can experience coffee from this singular region with Starbucks® Single Origin East Timor Tatamailau whole-bean coffee, available for a limited time in Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada. The coffee takes its name from East Timor’s highest peak of Mount Ramelau, known as Tatamailau, “grandfather of all” in local language. The mountain has deep cultural significance – its silhouette is the shape of a crocodile that legend says gave birth to the island.

“This coffee has these nice dark chocolatey flavors and notes of wild cardamom,” said Mackenzie Karr from Starbucks Coffee team. “It is balanced and approachable, a very drinkable cup that shows up nicely in a variety of brewing methods both hot and iced.”

The offering continues the Starbucks Single Origin series, launched in March, which invites customers to discover whole-bean coffees to try at home from origins around the world.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase rare and unique coffees that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” Karr said.

Olsen looks back on the two decades since he tasted his first cup of East Timor coffee.

“It went from this meager beginning, buying a partial container of coffee that we couldn’t really use anyway, to then Timor coffee becoming an important coffee for blending,” he said. “Now the quality has risen to a level where it belongs on the marquee in bright lights, and its name is on the package and its story is being told.”

If you end up trying this coffee, please let me know what you think of it in the Comments’ section below! Thanks for reading!

Cafe Du Monde
Coffee

Café Du Monde

It’s been a while since I posted about the coffee I’m drinking, and since I just gulped down my last cup, I decided to get back to it! I just finished drinking the Café Du Monde brew, which is from the fabulous city of New Orleans, Louisiana (Who Dat?). My parents introduced me to this coffee and ever since I moved out, I decided to steal politely ask for a can to take to my apartment.

Bold And Beautiful

This is a dark roast, almost a “midnight” roast, if such a thing existed. With the first sip, I was able to taste just how dark the coffee was. It’s not subtle by any means—I felt like I was hit with a punch of boldness as soon as the flavor hit my tongue. This coffee is what you think about when you hear the words “full-bodied” and you can feel the flavor travel throughout your system after every sip.

According to the Café Du Monde website, the Acadians bought chicory to NOLA when they emigrated from Nova Scotia in the 1860s. Since then, New Orleans became the birthplace of French coffee in America. You can certainly see the coffee’s French roots, as it’s crisp and strong, much like coffee from France itself. The French started adding chicory, a plant that’s native to their country, to their coffee since their Napoleonic days, as they believed it enhanced the flavor of the drink. 

When and How To Drink It

Cafe Du Monde Coffees

I would definitely recommend this coffee as an early morning start to one’s day or as a late afternoon pick-me-up because of its intense flavor and boldness. Due to the coffee’s intensity, I wouldn’t recommend the standard 1-to-1 grounds-to-water ratio, but rather more of a 1-to-1 ½ ratio instead. This is not the kind of coffee you’d drink for a casual sip. Instead, I would recommend a lighter roast that goes easy on the taste buds—perhaps a blonde or medium roast. Nevertheless, this coffee is worth a try and I want to have a Café Au Lait at the Café Du Monde.

Here’s the official description from behind the can:

“This is the exclusive Coffee and Chicory blend served at the CAFÉ DU MONDE, the Original French Market Coffee Stand, serving Cafe Au Lair and Hot Beignets (French Doughnuts) 24 hours a day, year round. This popular New Orleans landmark has been located in the French Market since the early 1860’s.”

If you give this coffee a shot, please let me know in the Comments’ below! Thanks for reading!

Coffee

Medium Colombia Blend

Photo on 2013-04-04 at 16.49 #2Currently, I’ve been drinking Starbucks’ Medium Colombia Blend. For those of you who have read my post about when I was trying their Blonde Veranda Blend, I wanted to continue with Starbucks and try one of their medium roasts as well.

This is obviously a little darker, but it has more of a bitter aftertaste. I like it though because it goes down very smoothly but also has a strong, lingering taste on my tongue. Supposedly, this roast is “balanced and nutty”, and though I can see the balanced part—it’s not over-the-top with flavor but I can still taste the bean—I cannot taste any traces of a nuttiness. I want to try another medium roast from Starbucks and then maybe move on to their dark roast before exploring some international flavors. I’ll be going to Paris for a study abroad this fall semester (!) so I’m sure I’ll be able to experiment with many flavors of coffee there.

Here’s what Starbucks officially says on their website:

Six thousand feet – straight up. Sounds extreme, we know. But high atop the majestic Andes, in a rugged landscape of simmering volcanoes, is where the finest coffee beans in Colombia like to grow. And just as there are no shortcuts through the dirt paths that crisscross the sheer slopes, we take none when it comes to nurturing these treasured cherries to gourmet perfection.
This Colombian marvel erupts on the palate with a juicy feel and robust flavors, a testament to the hearty riches of volcanic soils. Its remarkable finish, dry with hints of walnut, lifts this superior coffee into a class of its own. One sip and you’ll agree it’s worth every step of the climb.