Starbucks international whole bean: The rare and exotic
Most people don’t know that there are many Starbucks coffees NOT sold inside Starbucks in the United States or Canada. These rare international whole bean coffees are usually only sold in the originating country where their beans are sourced (or mostly sourced in). So for example, if you’re in Brazil and visiting a Starbucks, you’d have the chance to buy Brasil Blend Starbucks Coffee. Brasil blend coffee sources beans from 4 different (or maybe it’s 3?) coffee farms in Brazil, with beans produced by each various processing type: Wash, semi-washed, and sun-dried. (I realize at some point I should do a blog post about these various processing methods.)
Starbucks sources the beans from the home country, and then ships them to Seattle for quality control and coffee cupping. The beans are roasted at the Kent Roasting Plant, and then shipped back to the home country. Although Hawaii is part of the the United States, I count “100% Kona” coffee which is sold year-round at Starbucks in Hawaii, as part of the international blends, but reasonable minds could differ on that one!
I don’t have a complete list of the international blends, nor do I have images for all the coffees. I think I need to travel more. Periodically, the “street level” Starbucks stores receive very small quantities of these rare international coffees, which is how I’ve experienced having some of these. The Clover Starbucks locations have periodically offered 100% Kona, which by the way, rocks in the Clover. Once in a while, I’ve picked up some of these coffees at 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea, and they’re also available at Roy Street Coffee and Tea. Some of the international beans available are as follows:
- Brazil – Brasil Blend Starbucks Coffee
- China – South of the Clouds Starbucks Coffee
- Hawaii – 100% Kona Coffee
- Mexico – Mexico Blend
- Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico Starbucks Coffee
- Philippines – Starbucks Kape Vinta Blend
- Thailand – Muan Jai Starbucks Coffee
I don’t have a lot of information about these rare coffees and would welcome any more photographs or further information on these special “international” blend coffees sold only in very limited locations and countries. Please email me at Sbux206@StarbucksMelody.com if you have anything to add to this blog post.
The “Brasil” blend coffee offering is not the same coffee as Starbucks Brazil Ipanema Bourbon, just to halt any confusion due to the similarity of their names. (However, if you really want to be bewildered by the similarity of coffee names, read my previous blog entry on Pike Place Roast and Pike Place Special Reserve – These are 2 different coffees!). I’ve had the Muan Jai as a pour-over cup of coffee, and it was very bold with distinct peppery notes. Of course, Kona is floral and balanced. The Kona coffee stamp shown below was taken from a random google search of images.
[[Edit on December 6, 2009: A reader writes to me that he is a partner in Australia, and so here’s what he says about international beans in Australia:
I really enjoyed your most recent blog about origin specific whole bean. Our origin specific whole bean here is called ‘Fair Trade Timor Lorosa’e ‘ – since there aren’t any stores in Timor, Indonesia, I’m pretty sure we’re the closest market. Anyway, I think it would taste amazing through the Clover (which we’re yet to get down here). It’s very earthy, but smoother than say, Sumatra or Komodo Dragon Blend. And it’s rare in that it’s an Asia-Pacific coffee that is washed! The best pairing I’ve had with it was chocolate coated roasted almonds – amazing!
What a great insight! I’ve never even heard of Starbucks Timor Lorosa’e coffee! Thank you for emailing me and sharing your coffee knowledge with starbucksmelody.com!]]
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