Newest Reserve Coffee: Starbucks Fair Trade Tanzania Southern Highlands.
The newest Starbucks Reserve coffee is the Fair Trade Tanzania Southern Highlands. The StarbucksStore.com site describes it as “citrus and blackberry.” Last week, (on April 15th) I had the chance to attend a coffee tasting seminar, try this coffee prepared by more than one brew method, and pair it with blackberries. By the way, I’ve ordered the Tanzania several times since, and I’m definitely enjoying this Reserve coffee. It’s a bold coffee, and fairly complex for a single-origin offering.
We tried this coffee made by both the Clover brewer and a French press. The French press-made Tanzania had more body, and seemed to have a spicier finish than that of the Clover brewed. I think I preferred the Clover-prepared Tanzania.
One thing I thought was interesting: Take a good look at the two tasting cups side by side. One can look at the empty tasting cups and easily figure out which was the Clover-brewed, and which was the French press Tanzania. Can you tell which is which? (Answer at the bottom of the article)
The blackberries do pair perfectly with either the Clover-brewed or French pressed Tanzania. I thought that it helped cut any bitterness, and bring out the sweetness in the French press version. As I was tasting these coffees, I thought I was getting a little grape flavor too, but others didn’t say that, so maybe that’s a little out on the limb. The initial flavors seemed to hit in the front of the mouth, and the Tanzania had a chocolate mouth-feel. There was a little bit of lingering flavor, but mostly it had a clean finish. The whole bean Tanzania had a lot of cocoa aroma – like a dark chocolate nib.
I thought this was interesting: I didn’t know that the varietals sourced for this coffee came from the Kent and Bourbon varietals of coffee. The actual growing region in Tanzania is the Mbeya and Ruvuma regions, which are in Southern Tanzania and have borders in common with Lake Malowi. All of the smallholder farms producing this coffee are members of the Fair Trade Association, which means that buyers pay a premium for the coffee which in turn is distributed back to the farm cooperative, and often used for the common good of the farmers.
If you are wondering about this coffee iced, we didn’t try it iced during this coffee seminar. A friend (who is a Starbucks Coffee Master) reported back to me that as an iced coffee it was “tasty, surprisingly roasty, smooth, sweet aroma, cocoa mouth feel.” I definitely want to try it iced soon!
By the way, this coffee tasting was especially fun. It’s the first time I’ve seen it be an all-customer group!
You can see from the beans that they’re dark roasted.
(By the way, if you didn’t know which tasting cup had the French press coffee, it was the one on the right, which has more sediment on the bottom.)
This thread is open to any coffee discussion. Starbucks has been launching a new Reserve every month, so there are now a number to pick from in the stores! Which one is your favorite?
Enjoy a few more photos! (If you like reading about coffee seminars, there are more here.)