Starbucks launching “everyday” coffee in U.S.
By Lisa BaertleinTue Apr 8, 5:51 AM ET
In a bid to reinvigorate lackluster U.S. traffic, Starbucks Corp will introduce a new, everyday brew called Pike Place Roast on Tuesday and for 30 minutes will hand out free 8-ounce (240 ml) samples.
Free cups of the new coffee, which the company said has a smoother flavor and finish, will be available starting at 9 a.m. on the West Coast and noon on the East Coast at all its roughly 7,100 company-operated U.S. stores.
“It is the best coffee that we have created, maybe, in our history,” Chief Executive Howard Schultz said on a call with reporters on Monday.
Andrew Linnemann, Starbucks master coffee blender, said in a separate call that Pike Place and Pike Place decaffeinated would be offered daily, along with a third bold-style brew from a rotating list.
Starbucks had previously served a different coffee each week, which Linnemann said was confusing to some customers. With Pike Place, Starbucks will deliver drip coffee that is the same, regardless of the day or location.
The company is also focusing on freshness, using freshly ground beans and brewing coffee in smaller batches, with the coffee getting from roaster to sale in seven days.
Linnemann declined to reveal the source of the beans used in Pike Place, named for the company’s original outlet in Seattle and which will sell for $9.95 per pound (450 grams).
The new brew will roll out in domestic markets only and Linnemann said Starbucks was evaluating what brews would be best for international markets.
Traffic in U.S. Starbucks stores has slowed in recent months amid a broader economic downturn and stiffer competition from companies such as McDonald’s Corp, which is aggressively targeting the specialty-brewed coffee market that Starbucks helped establish.
Last year, the efforts of McDonald’s got a boost when Consumer Reports rated the hamburger joint’s drip coffee best.
Tasters from the consumer magazine said of McDonald’s brew: “Decent and moderately strong. Although it lacked the subtle top notes needed to make it rise and shine, it had no flaws.”
Starbucks got a harsher review, with tasters calling its coffee “strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open.”
Schultz said Starbucks was going back to its roots with Pike Place after years of focusing on espresso.
“This is not about competition, this is about Starbucks. What others are doing is not the story,” Schultz said.
Starbucks shares fell 19 cents, or 1 percent, to close at $18.31 on the Nasdaq.
Yahoo News article
It is becoming quite apparent that Starbucks is no longer the only game in town if you are looking for a good cup of coffee and they are beginning to feel the pressure. I am biased against Starubucks but not for any other reason than the fact that their coffee is bad(and overpriced).
If Starbucks is touting their new coffee blend as being smoother both in the taste and finish, as well possibly being their best blend yet, then they are way behind the curve.
Allow me to give a brief presentation on roasting coffee:
There are several factors that go into the final taste of cup of coffee. The main ingredients being the water, the brew method and the most important is the coffee itself. The coffee bean is harvested as a cherry, the “fruit” hull is then removed by any number of methods, each of which will affect the flavor of the coffee. The two major processes being a wet-process and a dry-process. Coffee grown in different regions will have different flavors, not just from country to country but even from farm to farm in the same region. Not just that, there are different varietals that will have a different flavor from one to the other.
As if that wasn’t enough, once the coffee cherry has been harvested and the hull has been removed and the bean has been allowed to ferment, the next major process is the roasting itself. Here is where the rubber meats the road. This where one can take the best coffee harvested that season and turn it into something undrinkable. There is no magic time and temperature for every kind of coffee. An island coffee like Jamaica Blue Mountain or Hawaiian Kona will NOT take the same amount of heat that a coffee from Yemen can take. If the coffee is roasted too fast it will not have developed any complexity, if it is roasted too long it tastes baked. There are stages of roast, or color that a roaster becomes familiar with, phrases like City, City+, Full City, Vienna, etc. are part of the trade. Some roasters even roast specifically for the type of brewing method one uses.
So… why all the hullabaloo with Starbucks? Starbucks coffee tends to be over-roasted, no matter what it is. Once the coffee has been over-roasted it looses it’s characteristic flavors and it all begins to taste the same. When that happens, you loose all the blueberry or dried fruit notes of the Harar, or the citrusy finish of a Yirgachaffe or the… you get the picture? Coffee is an amazing and complex drink that should not be mistreated.
Not just that, coffee is pretty much stale after two weeks of being roasted and is only good for less than two hours after having been ground.
So what is the serious connoisseur of coffee to do? Roast your own coffee!