IMAG9169 Bright Sky Blend packagingStarbucks has introduced a new Blonde Roast coffee into their lineup: It is called Bright Sky Blend.  I found it at a Target store, and of course had to pick up a bag of it to take home.  I wanted to do a fair “taste and compare” style tasting, so I took this coffee to University Village 3 Starbucks this morning.  Jen (the store manager), Steph (a store partner and coffee master), and I tried both Veranda Blend and Bright Sky Blend made with a pour over and compared the two.

We definitely had fun.  Both Jen and Steph were really excited to try something new.  I knew that if I took it to Starbucks to do a coffee tasting, I’d get a much better comparison than if I tried this at home – I’m never as perfect at measuring out the proportion of coffee like Starbucks baristas, and I’m never using wonderful triple-filtered water.  I hate to admit this, but I make coffee at home with tap water.

I’d like to suggest that my readers go back take a look at the Coffee Master article which talks about some basic coffee knowledge that a coffee master should have.

The Bright Sky Blend comes pre-ground, so it made sense to compare via a pour over:

DSC00531 Bright Sky Blend and Veranda Blend brewing with pour overOnce the two cups of coffee were brewed, they looked the same to me:

DSC00532 Veranda side by side with Bright SkyYou can see that the coffee grounds themselves are pretty light:

DSC00533 Bright Sky Blend grounds and coffee 8 Feb 2014As to the tasting: We all noticed that the Bright Sky Blend really did have a lot of nuttiness to the aroma.  It was a high acidity coffee, as most any Blonde Roast will be, but didn’t have quite the same tangy/citrus finish that Veranda Blend has.  All three of us preferred the Bright Sky Blend to Veranda.  It was like a very lightly roasted peanut!  Steph made the comment that as the Bright Sky Blend cools, it seemed to develop some brown sugar flavors!  One friend of mine (via Facebook) mentioned that she thought the Bright Sky Blend tasted as if it was just a hair darker roast than the Veranda Blend.  I don’t think I was able to pick up that kind of subtlety of differences between the two coffee.  Of course what coffee you like is very subjective!

If you are wondering, there are now four Blonde Roast coffees in the Starbucks coffee lineup:

  1. Veranda Blend – Available in Starbucks stores, grocery stores, and at  This comes as a whole bean coffee (or pre-ground at and a variety of other sources), Verismo pod format, Via Ready Brew, and K-Cup format.
  2. Willow Blend – Available in Starbucks stores, grocery stores, and at  Available as a whole bean coffee (or pre-ground in grocery stores).
  3. Aria Blend – This has limited availability and is only available in the K-Cup format in grocery stores.
  4. Bright Sky Blend – Available as pre-ground coffee in Target stores (and possibly other grocery stores, though so far I’ve only seen it show up at Target), and available in the K-cup format.

IMAG9166 Bright Sky K CupsStarbucks has said that they want to increase the number of SKUs available in the grocery story, including K-Cups, so it makes sense they’ve added these new coffees.

As a complete aside, people always ask me questions like ‘what’s so fun about Starbucks?’ or ‘why do you like Starbucks?’ and I was reminded this morning of part of my delight with Starbucks.  Connecting over coffee is where it’s at.  And this morning’s quick coffee tasting with two wonderful partners (I noticed we all had our coffee passports handy!  I brought mine intentionally) and just sitting there talking about various Blonde Roast coffees really was a great way to start my Saturday morning.  It was a great experience! Thank you Jen and Steph!

I love reading your comments, so tell me what you think of the new grocery store Starbucks coffees, or anything else Starbucks-related.

Edit:  Willow Blend and Aria Blend are the same thing.  Willow Blend is being renamed as Aria Blend.