Starbucks Passport Series: Asia Pacific Anniversary Blend

Christmas just finished and Starbucks is not taking a break, a new Passport series has been released in January 2019. Similar to last year’s Guatemala Casi Cielo, January 2019 release focuses single origin from Asia countries; three flavors are released and they are the Sumatra, New Guinea and Anniversary Blend (mix of Sumatra, New Guinea and Sulawesi)

Each of these are being sold for $19.99 at 1lb bags at all Starbucks locations. I will cover each one in this blog.

The first one I tried was the Anniversary Blend, it is a dark roast made up of beans from Sumatra, New Guinea and Sulawesi. Starbucks also sells Reserve beans currently coming from these regions, 🤔 coincident? The bag of beans has an expiration date of June 30, 2019 and since it is new to the store, I supposed it would be fresh.

Upon opening the bag, a rush of aroma from syrup and spice rushed out. The beans are dark brown, not black. They were quite oily, as I held them on my hand, they left some oil on my palm. This would be a good indication a dark or over-roasted beans. I could not tell if the oil was glazed or naturally occurred or flavors were added (we will find out). The size of the beans were consistent, there were quite a bit of broken pieces and it seems to be consistent with other dark roasts I had from Starbucks.

Going through the usual setup in the home lab, using a 1:10 ratio with the Aeropress; my first impression was a surprise: traditionally dark roast in Starbucks were laced with a caramel flavor. The Anniversary Blend smelt syrup-y sweet with a hint of mixed spice or herb. Initial taste was slightly bitter, and it become sweet and mildly peppery. Body and finish were medium and the flavor didn’t linger too much. I think this great when drink as black on a dull Monday morning, it would definitely brighten up the day with the “kick”. I think some might want to add milk/cream to tone down the spiciness. Using pour-over, this coffee produce a much cleaner cup than without.