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.