Starbucks holds a unique place in the minds of many coffee lovers. For the coffee hipsters/purists, it’s too mass-produced and popular. It’s like “the man” of coffee and is doing more harm than good for the overall coffee world. This group would prefer some sustainably sourced, single-origin coffee that is roasted in house and brewed using some technique you’ve never heard of before. (Starbucks Reserve was probably set up for this group.)
For others, Starbucks is on the other end of the spectrum. It’s too ritzy and expensive. Why would you go to Starbucks when you could make some Maxwell House at home? Or, better yet, just go to your local tire shop and drink some of the complimentary coffee from the waiting area. And, of course, there is the group of coffee drinkers that boycotts Starbucks because they love Dunkin’ or because Starbucks started using the word “Holiday” instead of “Christmas.”
But, I love Starbucks. Maybe I’m a sucker. I don’t know. I was raised on the stuff and Starbucks is where I learned to love coffee. I’ll never forget going from hot chocolate to Frappuccinos to Macchiatos to Americanos to whatever dark roast they have on tap to cold brews. So, here are a few of my favorite Starbucks roasts that you should try if you haven’t yet.
(Disclaimer: I love dark roasts. I know that not everyone does and that technically lighter roast coffee is better, but whatever).
1. Starbucks Christmas Blend Vintage 2016
Every year Starbucks roasts a few blends for the holidays. These blends are different every year, but every year I’ve had them they’ve been great. In fact, I drank some 2018 Holiday Blend the morning I wrote this post. But, the vintage 2016 Christmas Blend is one of my favorite coffees EVER. Starbucks or otherwise. The citrus notes and the undertones of spices make it taste straight up like Christmas. I honestly don’t know if it can still be found (maybe on eBay). But, the holiday Blends are always worth a try and the 2018 one is pretty good. I haven’t had the opportunity to try the vintage 2018 Christmas Blend, but it’s probably tasty.
2. Guatemala Casi Cielo
This coffee has been described as “almost heaven.” And, while I would not agree with that statement for theological reasons, it is great coffee. It is more expensive than most Starbucks roasts and isn’t always available, but it’s great. Starbucks describes it as follows: “Casi Cielo’s smooth, light-body delights with a subtle floral aroma and top note, and a dark cocoa finish.” It’s unlike most of my favorite Starbucks coffees because of how bright it is. You can read about it here.
3. French Roast
There’s nothing that special about the French Roast. It’s not single origin or vintage. It’s just good. It’s dark though, just a heads up. For the part of the greater coffee community that claims that Starbucks burns their beans, I can’t imagine what they say about the French Roast. Starbucks describes this roast as being “intense and smoky.” It is Starbucks self-proclaimed darkest and boldest roast. The proof is in the pudding, too. This coffee almost smells like someone is smoking tobacco in your kitchen when you brew it. I know that sounds gross to a lot of people, but the coffee is good.
4. Caffè Verona
Caffè Verona is interesting because it started out as an 80/20 blend of Starbucks’ Yukon Gold and Italian Roast. It was originally developed to be paired with a chocolate dessert at a Seattle restaurant. It still pairs very well with chocolate and has grown into its own delicious roast. Starbucks describes this roast as a “crowd pleaser” and “dinner party coffee.” It’s a dark roast but is pleasing to the masses. I love chocolate, so maybe that has something to do with I love this roast. But it’s good on its own in the morning paired with an open Bible.
So, there you have it. I don’t pretend to be a coffee connoisseur and I’m likely ignorant about a lot of great coffee out there, but here are some of my favorite Starbucks roasts. If you are looking to get some Starbucks coffee and haven’t tried these ones, check them out.