Starbucks Debuts New "Mild, Gentle" Blonde Roast Coffee

Starbucks released Blonde Roast, a new coffee with a lighter flavor

There's a new coffee option at your local Starbucks. Debuting today, Blonde Roast is a "flavorful, lighter-bodied coffee that offers a milder taste and a gentle finish," according to the company.

While Starbucks has legions of diehard fans, the coffee chain has long been criticized for its dark-roasted beans, which some find bitter or too intense. (Hence the nickname, “Charbucks.”) In a study conducted by Starbucks, 54 million coffee drinkers in the U.S. said that they prefer a lighter roast coffee.

Blonde Roast will provide that lighter counterpoint to Starbucks’ other two roasts: dark and medium. Blonde Roast comes in two flavors: Veranda Blend, a Latin American blend with hints of “soft cocoa and lightly toasted nuts.” Willow Blend is “bright and clean,” a mix of Latin American and East African coffee that has subtle citrus notes. Willow Blend is also available in decaf.

Zagat Guide tasted the Blonde Roast and called it watery but “a decent alternative for those who find the original blend a little on the strong side.”

Blonde Roast is available as whole bean and ground coffee at grocery stores and brewed coffee at Starbucks. To try before you buy, Starbucks will hold “Find the Roast You Love Most” tasting events at participating stores nationwide January 12 to 14. You’ll be able to taste the new coffee alongside the medium and dark roasts and receive a free sample of Blonde Roast to brew at home or a coupon for $1 off other types of Starbucks coffee.

It’s always nice to make a pot of coffee at home, but then you won’t be able to order a “Tall Blonde” from your local barista. (You can bet that joke will become old pretty quickly among Starbucks employees.)

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