Starbucks test products

Quietly Testing Cold Brewed Coffee.

by Melody on August 14, 2014

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Bar Sign copyStarbucks is currently quietly testing iced cold brewed coffee. It’s a very small test in one district (in the Boston area) and the test is only slated to run for a few weeks. Partners are brewing core Ethiopia in a Toddy-system for cold brewing coffee. When it runs out for the day, they put stickers on the in-store signage saying that it’s out for the day. Like most traditional cold brew methods, it takes 24 hours to brew the coffee. As many people know, the New England region of the United States tends to have higher iced coffee sales than the rest of the country.

I mention this test largely because I’d love to see it expanded. I love a great cold brewed coffee. I’ve even featured cold brewed coffee recipes on this blog before. I’m a little pessimistic about the test expanding: One large limitation is that it’s hard to scale. You can’t quickly re-brew the coffee. Nonetheless, I see cold brewed coffee as part of an elevated coffee experience. I’ve often mentioned that it would be interesting for Clover – Reserve stores and/or Evenings store to have elevated coffee offerings, and this could be part of that. I’m thinking out loud here, but the bottom line is that this is an interesting test. I’m crossing my fingers, despite that I’m pessimistic about the test’s expansion. The person who wrote me said that their iced cold brewed coffee is doing very well. She’s hearing from customers that they love it.

If you like reading about Starbucks tests, click through this category here. Please keep in mind, Starbucks is constantly testing things and they’ll test many more things than what actually makes it to a national product lunch.

Would you want a cold brewed iced coffee at Starbucks?

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Currently, as part of the lunch food test happening right now in select locations, some Starbucks stores offer a new kind of potato chips. A La Boulange version of potato chips is available in the lunch test locations.

Just as a reminder, the current nationally-offered potato chips at Starbucks comes in two flavors: Smokey Sweet Barbecue and Perfectly Salted. Usually, you’ll find these two flavors of chips in a  basket, somewhere close to the pastry case:

IMAG1254 Current potato chips - 84th and Aurora Starbucks - BBQ and salted - 26Jul14Phoenix, Arizona Starbucks offer three flavors of La Boulange potato chips. (1) Cracked Pepper Popped Potato Crisps, (2) Smoked Barbecue Potato Chips and (3) Sea Salt Potato Chips:

Phoenix Chips Test 3 Flavors July 2014Popped cracked pepper crispsI’ve heard it said that the standard potato chips (the first photo in this article) sell quite well at Starbucks. It’s interesting that they’re testing revamping them. The test locations which offer the three La Boulange flavors, do not offer the Starbucks popcorn.

I myself have a weakness for a great potato chip. I’ve heard it said that potato chips are a platform to put salt and butter into your body, but every now and then, I’ll gladly indulge in that. Interestingly, when I visited the Palo Alto La Boulange Cafe store in May this year, I only saw these “Provencal” potato chips available.

IMAG0691 Provincal chips La Boulange May 2014The Provencal La Boulange Potato Chips were delicious. They were very much a classic potato chip – they tasted fried, with a light dusting of salt. I noticed that they weren’t too heavily salted.

Do you have a favorite potato chips? Some people take their potato chips very seriously! Have you tried any of these in this article? Which was your favorite?

Feel free to discuss any Starbucks food-related topic in this thread.

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2 - 1 - New lunch menu chalk boardStarbucks wants you to swing by for lunch. In order to entice lunch-goers, Starbucks is testing out several new sandwiches in roughly 178 stores, between two cities. If you’re in Phoenix, Arizona, or Richmond, Virginia, you might find these new lunch options.

This Bloomberg news article does a thorough job of covering this lunch test, and lists new items and prices. It mentions that Starbucks hopes to launch new lunch sandwiches nationwide by 2015.

In late March, the test began in Phoenix and has been extended through the summer. Richmond starting testing these items in May. A StarbucksMelody reader sent me a few pictures of the lunch items. I was pretty touched that there was a beef brisket sandwich with my name on it just waiting for me to pick it up in Phoenix! I sure hope someone else got to enjoy it! ;)

2 - 1 - BBQ sandwich box

Notice that the lunch test includes a variety of sauces as options too – pesto and ketchup! The menu says they’re complimentary with “any warmed sandwich.” Now and then, I’ll see idea threads on request ketchup for breakfast sandwiches. This test gives Starbucks the chance to track ketchup use too (assuming that baristas are entering ketchup in the register every single time so that Starbucks can really track which sandwiches customers want to put ketchup on).

This lunch test includes the “Old-Fashioned Grilled Cheese” sandwich which has been a popular item, so I hear. The Old-Fashioned Grilled Cheese Sandwich is scheduled for national launch on June 24, 2014. It’s white cheddar, yellow cheddar, and mozzarella  on multi-grain toast.

Here are just a few more photos: What sounds good to you?

2 - 1 - Lunch menu grab-and-go food2 - 1 - Lunch test in Arizona food menu2 - 1 - Lunch test arizona pastry case shows off lunch sandwiches2





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2 - 1 - IMAG0782 Seaweed snack chips gluten free Chili Lime and Sea Salt chipsI discovered that Starbucks has a small snack food test going on. In hit and miss areas of California, you’ll find three pre-packaged snack food items, all of which are not available in Starbucks stores nationwide.

The three snack food items are all labeled gluten free. It appears to me that these are being tested to trying and provide some new options for customers following a gluten free diet.

The three items are as follows:

1) “That’s It.”  brand snack bars. There are two different flavors. One is apple – mango and the other is apple – blueberry. They appear to be small bars made by a California-based company specializing in fruit bars that are GMO free and gluten free. More information is at

2) Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I’ve have been told that there is a milk chocolate version found in some Starbucks, but I have not seen those yet. The peanut butter cups are organic. For more information, here’s their website.

3) Ocean’s Halo brand seaweed chips. There are two flavors available at Starbucks stores – Chili Lime and Sea Salt. I was digging through their website at and somewhere saw that two percent of their profits go to good-cause organizations involved in protecting the ocean.

If you’ve had the chance to try these snacks, let me know what you think! I always find these small tests pretty interesting and thought you’d like it too. Feel free to weigh in on anything related to these snacks or gluten free options at Starbucks.

IMAG0786 That's it snack bars 22 - 1 - IMAG0771 Justin's peanut butter cup

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Starbucks is Testing Coconut Milk.

May 11, 2014

Starbucks is currently testing Coconut Milk as an alternative milk option. Portland, Oregon customers and Cleveland, Ohio customers will likely find coconut milk available as an option for the beverages, whether hot or cold. The charge for coconut milk is the same as whatever your local soy upcharge is. (Prices can vary a little from […]

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This Sounds Delish: The Layered Frappuccino AKA The Maui, Copacabana, and South Beach.

May 7, 2014

Starbucks is testing something pretty unique: It’s a layered Frappuccino. The bottom layer is a semi-frozen fruit, such as pineapple, mango, or mixed berry, the middle layer is a fruity-mousse layer, and the last layer is a blended Coffee Frappuccino with Coconut Syrup blended in.  The whipped cream is citrus infused. This is a very […]

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Single Origin Espresso Test at Starbucks. Try Colombia in your Latte!

March 24, 2014
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Starbucks is testing offering single-origin espresso for handcrafted espresso beverages. Customers who want an elevated espresso experience can order their espresso beverage with Colombia Nariño Supremo instead of the core Starbucks Espresso Roast. There are three areas of the country currently testing the single origin espresso: Portland, Oregon; Columbus, Ohio; and areas of Riverside county […]

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Cane Sugar Sweetened Starbucks Sweet Tea

March 9, 2014
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If you’re in a sun belt state, you might notice that as of March 4, 2014, you have Starbucks sweet tea available to you. Last fall, Starbucks tested their cane sugar sweetened Sweet Tea in a limited number of places, such as North Carolina. It’s now a regional product offered in numerous cities in warmer […]

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Which Lemon Loaf Do You Like Better at Starbucks?

January 10, 2014
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Starbucks is in the midst of an interesting test in some of their Phoenix and Tucson area stores.  Some stores are offering both the La Boulange loaf and the pre-La-Boulange version of the lemon loaf side by side.  As I understand it, this small lemon loaf test is to figure out which one has the […]

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Chestnut Praline Latte and Cherries Jubilee Mocha: Holiday Test Beverages at Starbucks

November 10, 2013
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Starbucks is testing out two new holiday beverages right now: the Chestnut Praline Latte and the Cherries Jubilee Mocha.  If your local Starbucks has one of those beverages, then it’s likely missing either the Gingerbread Latte or the Eggnog Latte.  These are just “test” beverages, meaning that they are not available nationwide! The Cherries Jubilee […]

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