The Proof is in the Cup: Starbucks Launches Historic New Pike Place Roast

Tomorrow, Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) will launch its much anticipated new everyday brew, Pike Place Roast™, reinventing brewed coffee while implementing new standards for freshness and sustainable coffee sourcing in all Starbucks company-operated stores. In recognition of this monumental event, Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo, will join partners (employees) and customers, beginning in New York, to celebrate a passion for coffee in a simultaneous, nationwide, coast-to-coast, coffee tasting conducted by Starbucks coffee experts.  Schultz will conclude this historic launch day with an evening ceremony at Seattle's Pike Place Market, home of Starbucks original store and the inspiration for the new coffee blend.

"We are returning to the very best elements of our heritage and bringing back the simple romance and excitement of coffee," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo. "Since 1971, we have sourced, roasted and sold the world's finest coffees. Pike Place Roast™ truly represents the best of who we are, showcasing our new quality standards for freshness: freshly roasted, hand-scooped, freshly ground and brewed with shorter hold times.  Pike Place Roast™ takes us one step closer to achieving our goal of transforming the in-store experience by restoring the connection our customers have with our coffee."

Visit any participating U.S. Starbucks store on Tuesday, April 8 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (12 p.m. Eastern Time) and Starbucks will give all customers a complimentary short (8 oz.) cup of the new Pike Place Roast™ to enjoy as they participate in a simultaneous, nationwide, coast-to-coast, coffee tasting conducted by Starbucks coffee experts. 

Smooth, welcoming taste

This blend was created using input from Starbucks customers and represents our 37 years of coffee roasting experience, knowledge and passion.  Taking the wide range of customer preferences as a guide, this everyday brew is a unique blend featuring Starbucks signature bold flavor with a smoother finish balanced by soft acidity and subtle, rich flavors of cocoa and toasted nuts. 

Fresh, hand-scooped

The Pike Place Roast™ coffee beans will be hand-scooped, freshly ground, and freshly brewed and served, giving the coffee a consistent, pure taste. To further ensure customers enjoy the freshest, high-quality cup of brewed coffee, stores also will brew smaller batches with a hold time of no more than 30 minutes. Licensed stores in the U.S., as well as Starbucks locations outside the U.S., will also transition to a 30-minute hold time over the coming months.

"Our partners (employees) are excited about bringing back the coffeehouse atmosphere," said Schultz. "They really like the physical act of scooping and grinding the beans, they like staying close to the coffee. They've told us that it makes them feel more in touch with our Company's core values. And they like that they can offer their loyal customers such an amazingly fresh cup of coffee."

Customers spoke. Starbucks listened.

The new Pike Place Roast™ was artfully created by Starbucks master blenders and roasters using input from customers and baristas to achieve a bold taste and smooth finish.  Nearly 1,000 customers spent almost 1,500 hours providing input on what's important to them in a cup of coffee.

"It was an exciting opportunity to find the right roast that would produce the flavor customers told us they wanted in a daily coffee," said Andrew Linnemann, Starbucks master coffee blender. "We heard our customers and we were determined to deliver the consistent high-quality cup that they expect every time they walk into one of our stores. We really took our roasting technology and everything we've learned over the years to someplace new."

The Pike Place Roast™ will be available alongside the traditional "Morning Pick" for customers desiring a flavor adventure.

Sourced ethically

Pike Place Roast™ will be the first coffee to bear the new mark symbolizing Starbucks ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability through an expanded relationship with Conservation International (CI).  Coffee bearing the new mark is purchased from C.A.F.E. Practices verified suppliers.  C.A.F.E Practices guarantees not only the highest-quality coffee, but the highest-quality, self-imposed standards for promoting equitable relationships with farmers, workers and communities, as well as protecting the environment.

"We're here so that coffee farms and farmers, and the environment, will thrive in the long term," Peter Torrebiarte, director of the Starbucks Costa Rican Farmer Support Center. "That's how Starbucks will ensure great coffee will always be available for our customers."

"We are excited to grow this relationship with Conservation International, and prouder still to demonstrate our commitment by having Pike Place Roast™ be the first coffee to carry the new mark that symbolizes our renewed commitment," added Schultz.

"Pike Place Roast™ is our way of saying 'thank you,'" Schultz said. "We've come a long way since 1971.  It's because people have always believed in this simple concept we've been working to perfect over the years: roasting and brewing the best cup of coffee you can buy.

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New, more sustainable Starbucks cold cups are made with up to 20 percent less plastic