Lots of people don't know about Fall Blend. It's an unknown Starbucks gem.
I stopped by Target recently and found Fall Blend 2016. This is one of those unknown gems. Lots of partners and customers don't even know this exists. It's a grocery store only coffee, and it is not the same coffee as Thanksgiving Blend.
I've heard partners try to say that Fall Blend is the same as Thanksgiving Blend but that is simply false.
Fall Blend is sometimes offered both on StarbucksStore.com and in grocery retailers, such as Target or other such retailers. However, this year it is only offered in grocery stores. At Target, it's $7.99 a pound. (I have confirmed with Starbucks media relations that this year is a grocery store only coffee).
The Starbucks 2014 description of Fall Blend is follows:
"Welcome the season with a harvest of flavors. Layered and full-bodied, this three-region blend offers the best of all worlds. Sumatran beans lend the warmth of fresh spice notes while coffees from Kenya add citrusy brightness, and beans from Peru provide balance and a subtle nuttiness. This is the first time our master blenders have brought these flavors together, creating a cup that¹s hearty yet refined-- a perfect segue to the brisk days ahead."
It is still a blend of Sumatra, African and Latin American beans and that description is still right on. I have confirmed with media relations at the Starbucks headquarters that it's the same components as its original year, 2014.
Since the coffee is pre-ground, you'll want to lean towards making it with a pour over, or a traditional filter brewer coffee maker. You could also use a Sowden Softbrew, which is a pretty amazing brew method that works with a variety of grinds.
There are 4 fundamentals of a great cup of coffee:
- Water - Use fresh, clean, filtered water.
- Grind - Use the right grind for your brew method. A French press calls for a coarse grind. If you're using a Sowden Softbrew, you don't need to be as precise with the grin.
- Proportion - Use two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water.
- Freshness - Do not use expired coffee. If it's past its expiration date on the back of the bag, toss it out. Once you open a bag of coffee (meaning coffee in Flavorlock plastic packaging), use the whole bag of coffee within 7 days. If you're using freshly-roasted coffee that is not in Flavorlock packaging, allow about five to eight days for de-gassing, and drink your coffee before the 15th day from the date it was roasted. (Flavorlock packaging is the plastic packaging shown here for Fall Blend).
I made a late night cup of coffee at home. Please disregard the mess! I tried it both as a pour over and both as a Softbrew brew method.
(Related: Ethiopia Gedab made with Sowden Softbrew)
Both brew methods were fabulous. The pour over seemed like a slightly cleaner final cup of coffee. This is Sumatra-forward coffee and you do gets lots of warm notes from the semi-washed Sumatra beans.
This year's coffee is very Sumatra forward so it's going to have a lot of flavor. It's not as spicy and bold as this year's Anniversary Blend which is very Aged Sumatra forward this year. (It's an important distinction that Anniversary Blend and Christmas Blend are very bold and spicy coffees which useAged Sumatra. Fall Blend and Thanksgiving Blend are bolder coffees that use Sumatra, not Aged Sumatra. All four of these coffees are distinctly different coffees all offered at various times during the fall and winter time frame.)
Let me make this a little more clear:
Anniversary Blend - A very bold coffee with a lot of spice notes, that uses Aged Sumatra and other growing region coffee beans. Available in Starbucks stores now. (or offered at StarbucksStore.com)
Thanksgiving Blend - A medium (at the medium to bolder edge of the spectrum) coffee that is offered briefly in Starbucks stores around the Thanksgiving seasons. It uses two components: Sumatra and Guatemala Antigua.
Christmas Blend - A very bold coffee with Aged Sumatra and Latin American beans, always offered in stores on at StarbucksStore.com.
Fall Blend - A flavorful coffee (technically Starbucks classifies it as a medium roast coffee with a full body) that uses Sumatra, Kenya, and Peru coffee beans. Complementary flavors are molasses, oatmeal, and citrus according to Starbucks. This is only found in grocery stores, or other such retailers.
Fall Blend is a nearly unknown Starbucks coffee that balances three regions beautiful to create a complex, flavorful, fall cup of coffee! When it's not available during the fall season, you might find that Yukon Blend has a similar body and complexity.
TheModernBarista.comrecommends trying this with the new Pumpkin Cheesecake bars (those bars are pretty versatile!)
Heads up coffee masters! Get to know this coffee!
It's an exceptional, complex coffee that hardly anyone in the Starbucks world talks about!