Coffee Tastings

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Two new Starbucks Reserve coffees are here! They’re available in Starbucks Reserve locations or at

Untitled-1 Screen cap - maui mokkaThe first is the Maui Mokka Reserve, which as the name implies, is a mokka varietal coffee, grown in Maui. The website describes it as having flavors of candied fruit and chocolate. I went to a coffee seminar at the East Olive Way Starbucks (on June 16, 2014) and we paired it with the chocolate brownie. What an amazing coffee.

It’s a dense, creamy coffee with just a ton of natural flavor. In the coffee tasting event, people around me stated that they picked up hints of pineapple and nutmeg in the coffee. One thing that makes this Maui Mokka so revered is that it has a one-of-a-kind processing method. (The processing method refers to the farmers process and treatment that involves removing the fleshy coffee cherry from the bean itself). This coffee is allowed to dry in the sun, on the tree itself. In a typical sun-dried coffee process (sometimes called “natural” processing) the coffee cherries are picked from the trees and then laid on tarps to dry.

This is a very limited supply coffee. I’ve heard that many stores are running out already, as demand is high and supply is low. It appears to be still available on

Untitled-2 Malawi on StarbucksStore 25 June 2014 screen capThe second new Reserve is the Malawi Peaberry Sable Farm Reserve coffee.A peaberry is a coffee bean that doesn’t develop into two halves. Normally, coffee beans grow in a form very similar to peanuts. When you look at a peanut, you can see the two halves that can easily be split apart. Each piece has a flattened side and a rounded side. Typically, when you’re looking at coffee beans, you’ll notice that each roasted bean has that shape – a flattened side and a rounded side. This is because the normal form of coffee is like a peanut. A peaberry is an anomaly. It’s one rounded, single bean, and is NOT a coffee bean that spits into two pieces. Usually, peaberry coffee beans are a little smaller than typical coffee beans. I’ve heard it said that below 10% of all coffee grows in the peaberry form. These also tend to be high density beans, withstanding roasting temperatures well.

The Malawi Peaberry brewed coffee has a lot of lime notes to it! The aroma was sweet spice. Coffee Master Megan paired this coffee with key lime pie. The smoothness of the pie complemented the tangy-ness of the coffee. This coffee is a little juicy and tangy.

It was really an enjoyable pairing! I gained a whole new appreciation for a basic Safeway frozen key lime pie too. This coffee tasting made me want to pick one up and take it home.

I want to thank Starbucks partners Megan and Alex for doing a great job at this coffee seminar. You too can join in! They’re free and offered every other Monday night at 6:00 PM at the East Olive Way Starbucks. You should call ahead to verify their schedule.

We really had such a great time. There was a girl sitting next to me who was also named Melody! I heard her say to Alex and Megan (in a very kidding voice – the two of them are already friends) “Hey pretend like you like each other!” and next thing I knew the two of them had burst out laughing. I snapped one very quick, in-the-moment photo and got this amazing picture. Even if I had written nothing else about this Starbucks event, I would have wanted you to seen this picture!

2 - 1 - Alex and Megan having funNow that’s a great coffee seminar!

And here are just a couple more pics:


2 - 1 - IMAG0388 Brownie pairing with Maui Mokka2 - 1 - IMAG0380 Malowi and Maui Mokka beans

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Enjoy your drinkA reader of this site sent in her photos and recipe for Starbucks Brezza Blend made as a cold brew, sangria-like beverage (lots of fruit in it).  I haven’t tried this but the pictures were so stunning and it sounded so delicious that I thought I would share her recipe here.

Starbucks Brezza Blend is a new summer seasonal coffee.

Untitled-1 Brezza Blend on Starbucks storeYou can find Brezza Blend in Starbucks stores or at

To get started, here’s what you will need:

  • 125 grams of coarsely ground Brezza blend.
  • 5 cups of filtered water
  • A large mason jar.

To get started:

Weigh out your coffee. (You want to weigh out the 125 grams as a whole bean coffee. Roughly about one and one-third cup of whole bean coffee.) Coarsely grind the coffee. Combine coffee and cold water into mason jar. Stir it to make sure that all of the grounds are saturated. Screw the lid on, and give it a good shake. Now place the jar on your counter (away from the sun) for 18 hours.

After the 18 hours is up, your coffee is ready. Next, strain the grounds from the coffee. Many people will want to use a paper filter to do this. Try using a Chemex paper filter or standard cone paper filter, as used with a Melitta brewer. Once the coffee is strained, add two cups of ice cubes and let the ice coffee rest. While your coffee is resting, you can start slicing your fruits.

The reader who sent me this recipe used heirloom navel oranges, ruby red grapefruits, Meyer lemons, and limes to garnish. Other fruits that would complement are blood oranges and raspberries. Traditionally, sangria is sweetened with honey or orange juice, so the recipe creator decided to make a Minneola tangelo simple syrup. A Minneola is a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine, and has an incredible sweetness to it.
Minneola simple syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 minneola
Dissolve the water and sugar together on the stove. Add the juice from the Minneola. You can shave the peel of the fruit and add it to the mixture for a little zest. Cook on a medium low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken up. Pour into a squeeze bottle to cool.
Fill your sangria pitcher with ice, add the sliced fruit and then add the cold brew coffee. Let steep for about 5 minutes before serving. Sweeten to your taste. For added fun, garnish each glass with lime slices or fresh grapefruit segments.
(As with every blog post, do not re-use photos or content without permission).
Measure out coffee beans brezzastrain the coffee brezza sangriaadd your cold filtered watergarnish and use plenty of fruit

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IMAG0562 brazil beans 2There is a new Starbucks Reserve coffee now available in stores! I went to a coffee tasting at the East Olive Way Starbucks last night and had the chance to try this new coffee. This is an outstanding new Reserve. It’s so smooth and creamy. I bought a bag of it while I was there, and I will be ordering this in the stores! We had the Brazil Bourbon Clover brewed, which surprised me how round and full-bodied it came out. As many know, the Clover sometimes brings out the acidity in coffee.

Coffee Master Megan paired the Brazil Bourbon with plums and the new Espresso Chocolates. The new Espresso Chocolates are part of the food menu exclusive to the Evenings Starbucks stores. I really enjoyed the new Brazil Bourbon Rio Verde with the chocolate. The milk chocolatey deliciousness of the mini truffle chocolate paired perfectly with the chocolate flavor to the Brazil coffee. At tonight’s coffee tasting, several other participants said they got some of the juiciness from the coffee, but my own tasting was that the chocolate was the more predominate flavor note. I thought the plums were a little bit overwhelming to this coffee, though others loved how it brought out the Brazil’s juicy notes.

IMAG0551 plums and chocolate 2Megan did a great job with the event! Here are a few more pictures:

IMAG0558 Brazil Side of Bag 2IMAG0556 megan leads coffee tasting 2Please come join me at an East Olive Way coffee seminar! All are welcome. They’re open to the public, free and held usually every other Monday at 6:00 PM.  Call ahead and confirm their schedule. This Starbucks is located at 1600 East Olive Way, Seattle,WA 98102. The phone number is 206 568 5185.

If you’re looking for this Brazil Bourbon coffee, look for any Reserve – Clover Starbucks or visit Click here for the Starbucks Brazil Bourbon Rio Verde on

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Anyone who’s been reading this website for a while knows that I genuinely love a good coffee tasting. I thought I’d share a few different events that I’ve been to recently.

On April 26, 2014, at the Seventh and Pike Starbucks, Coffee Master Soo explained the four reasons why Starbucks coffee tastes great. I thought his presentation was really great. He explained that customers often ask him, “Why doesn’t my coffee at home taste like the Starbucks coffee in the stores?”  To answer that, Soo explained the four “R”easons why (which are really the Starbucks four fundamentals of a great cup of coffee): fReshness, gRind, pRoportion, and wateR. Now you have an easy way to remember the four fundamentals of a great cup of coffee.

IMAG0285 Soo talking about the four reasons Starbucks coffee is greatDuring this coffee tasting, Soo answered customer questions about how quickly coffee should be used, once the bag is opened. Use an opened bag of coffee within seven days from the date you opened it.

IMAG0280 Soo at 7th and Pike StarbucksOn April 27, 2014, at the Sixth and Union Starbucks, Coffee Master Aaron also walked customers through a tasting of Veranda prepared via a French press. Aaron did a great job of explaining how to make the perfect cup of coffee!

IMAG0319 - 2 Aaron pouring from a french pressAnd then on May 5, 2014, Coffee Master Jordan at the East Olive Way Starbucks compared Guatemala Antigua prepared by several brew methods, and paired it with the chocolate croissant. This Starbucks is located at 1600 East Olive Way, Seattle, WA, 98102, and the phone number is 206 – 568 – 5185. I hope you’ll join me at a coffee tasting at this store! There are regular coffee tastings every other Monday night at 6:00 PM, and they’re open to the public and free. I always suggest calling ahead to double check their schedule.

It’s always the case, in my experience, that the French press gives you the roundest body, and a big bold flavor. Guatemala Antigua is a core coffee – it’s squarely a medium roast, medium body coffee. It’s kind of an under-rated gem in the lineup. Whether you have it via the Clover (which may bring out more of the acidity) or whether you make it drip-brewed at home with a paper filter, it’s always an enjoyable coffee with lots of cocoa notes and a clean finish.

Come join in at an East Olive Way coffee tasting! Hope to see you at the next one, on Monday, May 19th.

IMAG0431 Jordan French Press Guatemala AntiguaIMAG0436 Guatemala Antigua CoffeeLast but not least, I happen to drop by the Kelso Starbucks not too long ago and noticed this sign on the store’s community board. It’s a listing of planned coffee events at area Starbucks in southwest Washington. Some of the events are still coming up this summer. I thought you might like to join one, if you happen to be in the area:

IMAG0399-1Hope you enjoyed this look at fun coffee events!

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Coffee Tastings This Week: Zambia, Peru Chonti, and Deschutes Inversion IPA.

April 24, 2014

I went to two coffee events this week that I want to tell you about. The first was a coffee seminar at the East Olive Way Starbucks. As a reminder, the East Olive Way Starbucks offers free seminars on Monday evenings at 6:00 PM. They generally have them two Mondays each month, so call ahead […]

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Today is Pike Place Roast Day.

April 8, 2014
Thumbnail image for Today is Pike Place Roast Day.

Today is Pike Place Roast Day. Six years ago today, Starbucks introduced Pike Place Roast into their coffee lineup. In honor of Pike Place Roast Day, I asked Coffee Master Jordan if he would use Pike Place Roast for an East Olive Way coffee tasting. He was happy to do so. We tried this coffee […]

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The Three Coffee Seminar at the Elliott Drive Thru Starbucks.

April 6, 2014

On Monday, March 31st, I went to a coffee seminar at the Starbucks on Elliott in Seattle. Kristina, a coffee master in training, invited me to her event. She did an amazing job of putting on a dynamic seminar. About twenty people appeared. Kristina walked us through trying three coffees: Starbucks Reserve® Finca Nuevo Mexico, […]

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Starbucks Coffee Events in Seattle: East Olive Way and University Village 3

March 27, 2014

If you’re ever in Seattle, come join in a free coffee education seminar at Starbucks. There are two Starbucks locations in Seattle that regularly hold coffee events. EAST OLIVE WAY STARBUCKS The first is the East Olive Way Starbucks, at 1600 East Olive Way, Seattle, WA, 98102, (206) 568 – 5185. East Olive Way holds […]

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NEW: Starbucks Spring Blend Coffee.

March 17, 2014
Thumbnail image for NEW: Starbucks Spring Blend Coffee.

Be on the look out for an all-new Starbucks coffee: Starbucks Spring Blend Coffee. Look for it at grocery stores and at other similar retailers*. I found it at Barnes & Noble recently. This new coffee is described as having flavors of milk chocolate and sweet orange. It’s a blend of East African Beans and some […]

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Jordan at East Olive Way Starbucks Leads a Tribute Blend Coffee Tasting.

February 28, 2014

Tribute Blend will officially arrive in Starbucks stores everywhere on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. It’s a coffee that features beans sourced from Colombia, Papua New Guinea, and combines Aged Sumatra and sun-dried Ethiopian coffees. It is one of only three Starbucks blends to use Aged Sumatran beans. (The three blends that include Aged Sumatra are […]

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