Starbucks launches the Blonde Roast coffees today: Veranda and Willow blends

Today is launch day for the new Starbucks Blonde Roast coffees.  Feel free to talk about them here, or how customers like them at your store.  I will have a longer blog post up later this week on the same topic.  I will be attending a “Blonde Roast media relations” event later today, along with other Seattle-area journalists, and I’ll write about that later.  (I don’t really consider myself a journalist, but it seems that blogs are now journalism.)  My twitter feed already has several people talking about these new coffees, so I realized that I had to get something up here too quickly! (Silly me that I didn’t plan this until 7:15 am on the 10th).

A Seattle Times article here discusses these new coffees, and references my earlier tasting of Veranda and Willow.

From my twitter feed, Donna’s review of the Veranda is here.

Here is  Rachel’s immediate reaction of Veranda, also from twitter.

And lastly, I got this tweet from Frank about trying the Veranda blend coffee.

I am looking forward to the excitement of today!  As I said, I will write more later in a separate blog post.

Hope everyone is having a great Blonde Roast launch day!

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14 Comments

  • DadCooks

    Nice product display in my favorite Starbucks. The actual bean display so that you can see the difference in the Blonde, Medium, and Dark roasts will be informative for the uninitiated.

    Only Veranda on tap here this morning and they are talking it up. Pike drinkers will probably like the Blonde roasts. Personally not to my taste. There is definitely the high caffeine kick present in the lighter roasts.

    The coffee bags are now all the new style, presents a rather dull impression and you have to look carefully to find what you want The subtle color difference in the print between Blonde, Medium, and Dark is all that stands out, the iconic images that are associated with the blends have been minimized.

    Back to work 😉

  • purple1

    So far at my local SB it seemed the partners were not talking up the new coffees. Last night they were busy finishing up the new displays. My local SB also had the display of the new coffee beans which I think is a nice touch. Will be interesting to see how these new coffees sell and if they overtake the bold coffees.

  • merryncole

    I really liked seeing the 3 different coffee beans to show the difference in roast. There was a carafe of Blonde roast for sampling, but it wasn’t really being pushed at all. I didn’t hear a barista even offer it to any of the other people in line (there were 4 in front of me) or myself when we got to the counter where the samples were. It was just sitting out like any other sample.

  • purple1

    I was curious if it would be different at a different time of day at my local SB with regard to promoting the new coffees so I just went over there and it was packed with people but as with merryncole no partner or the SM promoted the new coffees. There are signs and all and a sign saying tastings begin January 12.

  • CD

    I agree that the new packaging makes it really difficult to find the specific coffee you are looking for.

    (I was surprised to see Kenya as a Medium)

    At a local SBUX yesterday, the manager putting the displays together said the individual coffees would be displayed in order of roast within a roast profile so the Dark roasts would go from dark to darkest – or dark to French as the case may be 😉

  • Supersteives

    I was doing some grocery shopping yesterday at a Von’s & noticed that they were selling it a day early… They gave me a Via Veranda packet to try and I just don’t think I care for VIA still just tastes like instant coffee to me.

    Today, however, I tried Willow at my local and I enjoyed it. Seems to have a little more kick…sorta like the feel last summers Lime Green Coffee cooler. I also tried Veranda and think I like the tartness of the Willow better. Only thing…seems a little more acidic.

    The NEW Packaging I think suck. Nothing artistic about the individual graphic like in the past. Uninspiring. I wish they would at least make the grapic diferent colors instead of gold for the blone roast, brown for he medium , and purple for the dark. Just my opinion. They new bags look like grocery store version packaging? They just all run together. I get the color profile to categorize it…but why not just do that with the TEXT & have a color informator as the graphic instead of the blah one color they now have.

    Also happy to see the New Winter Drinkware is back up though on the site.

  • BaristaBC

    I think it’s great that Starbucks is expanding their line. As an employee of the company, I get a lot of orders for Pike with hot water because people think even the Pike is too strong. This exactly why these new coffees have come out. Personally, I’m a fan of the stronger flavored Bolds, the Italian Blend being my favorite, and don’t really like the Veranda Blend. As a partner, however, I’m glad that Howard listens to what people want and think it’s a great way to satisfy a lot of people who normally wouldn’t come into my store for coffee or who buy the more expensive espresso beverages in lieu of the brewed coffee.

  • denise r

    well, so today I had about 1/2 tall of the the Veranda. I can really only say that to me, totally tasteless. just nothing. (which, for me, is still bettter than the very horrid PPR)
    I agree with almost every one else here…the alllll new packaging is really just a drag. I’m sad that Sbux wants to go this way…all of it. :(

  • Chgo.

    I must have been half asleep when I walked into Starbucks today. I thought today was the 9th and not the 10th. I believe the drips today were PPR and Christmas Blend and not either of the Blondes. I guess I was more concerned with getting an Organic Indonesia Blue Java to notice anything else going on in the store. My mind was focused on that only so early in the morning. Is the OIBJ considered extra bold? I’m not feeling the extra boldness. I may go for a Blonde Roast tomorrow to give it a try, but I’m worried about the high caffeine kick, as DadCooks put’s it.

  • Winter

    Hi Melody, when you tried the Willow blend, did you whip your Blonde hair back and forth?

  • Melody

    @Winter – Ha ha ha! I’m really more of a red-head right now.
    @BaristaBC – I hear that’s a common request – add water to the coffee… That came up as a topic of conversation at a media event I was at today for the blonde roast coffees. The blonde roast is made for that person!

  • pablitoAzul

    Whenever I go in, my local Starbuck has Veranda as the only Blonde on tap. It tastes overextracted and weak. Bitter and bland. Watery though chalky, and a little chocolatey, like bad baker’s unsweetened chocolate, except not as metallic. It tastes like a poorly prepared version of WhiteCastle coffee.
    So I asked for Willow through the pour-over. What a delight! The best Starbuck’s I’ve had: My cup was nutty and umami (imagine the aroma of a freshly opened parmesan); on the palate it was sweet and citrusy with a velvety viscous body. I only wish they could have worked in some more of that chocolatiness from the Vernada (its only merit in the two dripped batches I’ve tried). Unlike the BreakfastBlend, it doesn’t taste like it was run through dirty roasters right after a batch of charred Verona. For those who like Dunkin’Donuts, rate them a six and call Willow a nine. My barista knew to make my cup strong though: I’ve never felt the caffeine come in so strong this side of espresso. A fairer comparison with the other blonde would be to brew them both in a pour-over or the press-pot.
    I’m not a devoted charbuck’s drinker, but frequent them enough to keep a loyalty card. I generally prefer lighter roasts (but love the French roast from Caribou) brewed really strong. Intelligentsia is my favorite coffee shop, Caribou my favorite large chain. Before Willow, my favorite Starbuck was Breakfast in a pour-over. I would drink the Pike if it was on tap. Or get a machiato if I was in a hurry (pour-over takes a few minutes). In the past month I’ve had a lot of coffee from a lot of places (excluding Intelligentsia) and yesterday’s Willow was the best I’ve had in a while. Starbuck’s will get more of my business. The next time I buy a box of joe to take to work it will be Willow.

  • Deidre Norton

    Veranda Blond coffee is the ONLY coffee I will ever drink. My husband, myself & our children moved out to Mesa, AZ from Philly about 26 years ago. I was never a big coffee drinker. Starbucks opened and occassionally I would drop in for a cup of this or a cup of that. Never did find my favorite. Until one day, the young lady Jackie ( at Safeway in East Mesa on Power & McKellips)gave me a cup of Blond Veranda coiffee & she puts 7 shots of hazelnut in it. O M G !!!!!!!! It was to die for ! I’m hooked Whenever I’m running low I go into Star Bucks and get a pound of the Veranda coffee and no one else is allowed to drink it, except occassionally I give my husband a treat. I also take the individual packets to work for a quick pick me upper. :-)

  • Diele

    That’s great! That’s only like 8-10 miles from my store. Today and tomorrow at company stores if you buy a pound of whole bean you receive a free tall beverage of your choice(Tribute is featured but we can ‘just say yes; to other coffes). I enjoy Veranda with 1 pump vanilla, 1 pump hazelnut, 1 pump caramel with an inch of half and half and a pinch of chocolate powder on top. :)

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