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.)
There are probably like 400 Clover stores now – you’ve got a few in your state. But you’re right, there are more right here in Seattle, and I’ll definitely give you that there’s something to being in the flagship market. And you’re right, this was somehow different. It was just a small group of customers. Very fun!
I think my fav reserve so far has been the Isla Flores <3 I absolutely love the the flavor changes so much, in a good way (IMHO), as it starts to cool. Ive had a lot of fun pairing this with food.
How would you compare the Tanzania with the Cameroon?
My opinion may differ from Melody’s, but I have found the Cameroon to be boring in flavor, compared to the flavor of the Tanzania. I’m not one who is overly impressed with coffee with citrusy notes in flavor, but I do like the Tanzania very much. I would really like to try this iced. I have a feeling I might enjoy it iced even more.
BTW – I agree with your opinion of the Isla Flores. It is a coffee that I have noticed changes in the flavor as it cools. I find that the flavors are more intense iced before the ice melts and waters it down.
I’ve been talking with other partners who remember the Malawi Lake of Stars and the differences are fascinating. These beans were literally grown on the other side of the lake from where the Lake of Stars was grown but give a whole different coffee experience.
That is such a great point. I’ve always found that amazing about coffee – subgrowing regions exist, and with single-origin coffees, the flavors can be so different. About three years ago, Starbucks offered a Starbucks Aceh, Starbucks Sibrong-Sibrong, and Starbucks Lake Toba coffee – all from Sumatra, and all sourced fairly close to each other near, or close to Lake Toba, as I recall. And all had totally different flavor profiles – It was a very small international only offering.
my favorite reserve release of 2013 (so far) has been maui mokka and sun dried sidamo. last years favorites, this is tough. sun dried sumatra rasuna, aged sumatra lot 593, malawi lake of stars & Nicaragua diamond.
melody, thank you again for always posting the details from the amazing seminars! i always feel like i’m there with you — and soon, i will be!
I must agree that both the Sun Dried Sidamo & Sumatra Rasuna have been 2 of my recent faves. I’m happy that the Sidamo is still too be had at the local Clover location.
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Melody this coffee tasting seems different than others you have attended. I like the description of the tasting. I can tell you that there just does not seem to be the push for Reserve coffees around here that you have in Seattle. Of course, being in the SB corporate neighborhoods helps!