The newest Starbucks Reserve coffee – Ka’u from Hawaii. (Coming soon: Oct., 15, 2012)
Tonight was a sneak preview coffee tasting for the new Starbucks Reserve coffee Ka’u. It launches in Clover Starbucks stores everywhere on October 15th.
At the Olive Way Starbucks, Starbucks partners Donna and Megan walked us through a tasting for this new coffee from Hawaii. Donna prepared a French press, and we tried the coffee with several foods. The complementary flavors for this coffee are citrus, nuts, caramel, and chocolate. I have to say, from this tasting tonight, I think that something too caramelly might be overpowering. The citrus and nut pairings may be ideal. The Ka’u has hints of a coconut flavor.
The coffee is a medium body, and is naturally very creamy. The aroma was definitely sweet. I think it’s interesting that this coffee is grown on land that previously was used for sugar cane crops.
Donna loved this coffee. She wanted to make sure that I knew that this coffee would, “Blow your mind away!” and emphatically told me that:
I love it. I got the message. This was one of Donna’s favorite coffees ever. She drinks this one black.
We tried the Ka’u with pineapple first, then the second pairing was macadamia nuts:
The pineapple was just great with this coffee. I definitely think that the citrus flavor is extremely enhanced with the pineapple. The citrus notes are not are pronounced as in many African coffees, but still distinctly there. I think it would be a super interesting tasting to compare Ka’u with a coffee from Kenya.
I always like to have a photo of the beans too:
That photo is a little dark, but basically the Ka’u beans are solidly a medium roast profile. The macadamia nuts were pretty good with it, and gave the coffee a little more backbone, but I liked the pineapple pairing much better.
The last thing we did was pair the coffee with a coconut gelato. The gelato itself was so delicious that it was a bit hard to concentrate on the coffee, but that was indeed the best of all the pairings. This coffee is your go to coffee for all your fruit salads, citrusy foods, and coconut treats. The coconut gelato was a little bit soupy because there was no freezer to store it in, but it was still absolutely delicious:
Last but not least, if I haven’t mentioned it already, you can get this coffee at StarbucksStore.com. The link for the Ka’u coffee is here.
As a bit of a non sequitur, one of the participant’s in tonight’s coffee tasting was a barista from the Shipping Container Starbucks store in Tukwila, Washington. Dawn, the partner from that store, has been there since it’s opened. We talked about how completely unique her drive-thru Starbucks is. It’s made of shipping containers! That store is coming up on its one year anniversary this December. If you’re ever visiting Seattle, the Shipping Container Starbucks is definitely a must see!
Hope you enjoyed the Ka’u coffee tasting – it will “Blow your mind away!”
You can find more coffee seminars and tastings by clicking through the coffee tasting category on this site.
(There is still time to enter into a giveaway to win an iPhone case (or tasting cup), and other Starbucks swag. I am trying to raise money and awareness for my favorite non-profit, Food Lifeline. Please please share that giveaway blog post, and help put food into Washington food banks.)
Coming next week? How is it that my Starbucks has been serving this since the 4th? This along with Sun dried Sumatra and Panama. All three aren’t in the POS but they are advertising it and they just ring it up as blue java and make it for me and other customers.
So now our store has 5 reserve coffees available for clover. I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to be out yet.
@Adam – Yep -your store starting serving this early. It’ll be gone fast. Most stores got just a couple of cases. I think one of the main reasons that Starbucks attempts to have launch dates for coffees is that the Reserve locations are all offering the same coffees at the same time. So how do you like it? Since you’ve tried it, I want to know.
@Shayne – I know that in the past, the stores in Hawaii did regularly offer Kona plus another local coffee. Maybe Starbucks stopped doing that when they launched Reserve stores? Or it could just be that right now there isn’t enough coffee for that? One thing that is interesting about Kona, I’ve heard that there has been a lot of insect damage of recent crops in Hawaii, Supplies of Hawaiii coffees are very scarce right now, so I hear. That probably explains the $25 price tag for the Ka’u!
Melody I will say this again that I wish the Olive Way store would transplant itself here. I hardly know of any coffee tastings at any of the local area stores near me and if they do any coffee tastings it surely is not to this level and with this passion. I have asked one of the stores with reserve coffees and clovers to do it but so far have not seen it done. Tell the partners at Olive Way I wish they would take their tastings on the road!
I work in the busiest store in our district. No clover. They are so fabulous. Each sip is a gift from the Coffee Gods.
Ooooh! I remember them offering Ka’u about a year or so ago, and I never got to have any and I was sad! Hopefully I can grab some this time…not that they have opened a Clover store here yet. But maybe someday! I feel seriously deprived!
@purple1 tell your baristas this! i am dying to be able to do big coffee seminars again, but with reduced labor/non-coverage time, i haven’t been able to. if there is enough customer demand, then stores may test the waters with a seminar or two, and if they become popular, then it could be a regular thing! that is my goal for my store, to have coffee tastings like the ones melody blogs about. hopefully when i’m in seattle this month i’ll be able to attend one 🙂
@Melody yes we did have in the past. About two years ago we had kauai. We no longer carry it because a rival bought the farm. And yes the bugs stopped production. The thing that sucks is that we have never had ka’u or oahu blend.
I really enjoy your blogs, they make the Starbucks experience fun!
@Thank you Matt!
@Shayne – It was the Kauai that I was thinking of – Used to be regularly available in Hawaii, but not anymore. I didn’t realize that the reason was that a rival bought the farm?!?
@melody yes a rival. It’s sad. We also had kopelani but that ended years ago haha.
I am so excited for this coffee! I loved it the first time around and this batch is spectacular. I dream of making some coconut macaroons and having a little party 🙂
Jess, that’s my kind of party. You had me at macaroons.
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Im really sad that here in Hawaii, we don’t get any of the Hawaiian blends. Except for a limited amount of 100%you kona.