Between about 2004 and 2006, Starbucks sent stores some really interesting materials to use to teach partners how to become coffee masters.  One of the more rare finds these days is the “aroma kit.”  I often say that this blog is not Melody’s diary but rather about Starbucks, but I’ll share a bit on the story behind these pictures.  I am working on tasting a number of coffee pairings that were submitted from a previous blog article that I wrote.

Yesterday (May 30, 2011), I walked down to my own neighborhood Starbucks at 7th and Pike, and ordered about five of the pairing suggestions that had been submitted via email.  I’m not going to be preparing a million French presses of coffee! All of the pairings that I tried had coffee made through the Clover brewer.  Here’s what my coffee tasting task looked like:

I spent at least 45 minutes, if not an hour, slowly trying drink all that coffee and eat all that food.  Meanwhile, at times, I was carrying on a little conversation with the partners who were working too.  Adriana commented how much she really liked Guatemala Antigua through the Clover, and I agreed that  that coffee shines through the Clover.  At one point, as I was drinking and eating, I saw that Adriana and Ricky were pairing lemon loaf and Kenya from the Clover.  They invited me to try some but I had to decline because I felt like I had more than my fill of food and coffee.

As Adri and I were chatting about Yukon Blend, and she commented that she thought it has a bit of a “tobacco” aroma.  I hadn’t really thought of that before.  Actually Yukon Blend is not my favorite coffee.  I know it’s not labeled as an “extra bold” and it’s only considered a “bold” but somehow it always feel to me like that coffee will put hair on your chest.  As we were chatting about coffee and their aromas, lo and behold, next thing I knew Adri appeared at my table with this:


I began to drool a little.  Many stores have used up their kits, or no longer have them.  The “Aroma” kit was one piece in a series of tools sent to stores between about 2004 to 2006 to train baristas.  Obviously I couldn’t take the kit from the store, but I snapped a few photos while I was there visiting.  I have two other articles about these coffee master tools, and I highly recommend them:

Starbucks coffee flashcards – Learning the vocabulary of coffeeCoffee Master tasting book circa 2004

Coffee master tasting book 2004

Also, I have to apologize that I am still working on the coffee pairings blog post and winners from that contest.  I think I might have bit off more than I can chew with that one!

And now here are the rest of the photos of the “Aroma” kit by Starbucks: