Last spring, Sergio Alvarez had an opportunity to hear about Italian coffee culture from the partners (employees) at the Starbuck Reserve Milan Roastery: the community that comes together around coffee, the beauty of a single espresso shot, the traditions around coffee.
“We were inspired, and it ignited the idea of creating a special coffee that pays homage to our partners and the Roastery they call home,” says Sergio, a coffee product developer and 14-year Starbucks partner.
That discussion sparked a year-and-a-half product development cycle that’s resulted in six new Starbucks Roastery-inspired Microblends: small-lot, high-quality coffees unique to each of the six global Starbucks Reserve Roasteries – in Chicago, Milan, New York City, Seattle, Shanghai and Tokyo. Each coffee is blended and roasted onsite, and available in its namesake city only.
This Global Coffee Week, Starbucks is proud to celebrate the innovation, craft and people behind this fall’s Microblends launch. These unique coffees are an evolution of Roastery blends first created in 2014.
These new blends reflect the spirit of the cities they’re created in. The New York blend highlights big, global flavors that can be used for mixology, while the Chicago blend invokes a sense of home and invitation. Cherry blossoms, mandarin oranges and golden sesame inspired the Tokyo blend. Coffees from Starbucks heritage were used in the Seattle blend. And the Shanghai blend features taste profiles influenced by local fruits and flowers.
Leslie, a 32-year Starbucks partner and coffee product developer, says she and Sergio mixed and matched coffee from 16 different origins throughout the world, through wet and dry blending, and experimented with different percentages and roasts, to make something that would resonate with what they heard and felt during the listening sessions. More than 50 partners representing all six roasteries participated in the conversations.
The resulting blends are meant to be a source of pride for partners, and designed to be tried in myriad ways: espresso, cold brew, siphon, pour-overs, in cocktails and more.
“The Starbucks Reserve Microblends are a perfect representation of the art and craft of coffee,” Leslie says. “By co-creating these blends with our Roastery partners who roast, craft and brew Starbucks Reserve coffee for our customers around the world, we are showcasing their love of coffee craft and translating it into something we all can be proud of.”