Starbucks and Over-roasting

Originally posted March 14th, 2007 by Tim Adamec

As we get ready to record and launch the first Podcast, I’m noticing food-related articles around the Web more often. The Economist recently ran an article about Pepsi and Starbucks trying to revitalize their brands. This response highlights my biggest problems with Starbucks:

In Starbucks’ case, it’s not the ambiance that puts off consumers, it’s the coffee. If only they roasted it a bit less. My colleagues agree that if they had another option they wouldn’t buy Starbucks but, since there is a Starbucks on nearly every block around our office in the District, our options are limited.

I’ve had several questions from people I know asking why Starbucks torches their coffee, and the answer is “Consistency”. Starbucks wants a consistent cup of coffee, just like McDonalds wants the Big Mac to taste the same wherever you go, so they over-roast it to remove any minor flavor variations in the beans. I prefer Seattle’s Best Coffee over Starbucks, as they roast for flavor rather than consistency.

With Starbucks locations on every block, as the commenter points out, it’s a bit difficult not to grab a cup from them. Even though the coffee has some problems, it’s still better than Foldgers.

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