I am very familiar with adding cinnamon to various stages of brewing coffee, either as a spice at the end, throwing a stick in the grinder in the beginning or dashing a bit over the top of the grounds before brewing. So i was pretty excited to see how this flavor combination worked out.
If you mention flavored coffee to most coffee lovers, myself included I’m usually not interested. But there was something a bit intriguing about the Starbucks Natural Fusions, their flavors are not chemical in nature, they are actually made by including extracts and spices into the blend as the coffee is ground. I myself have thrown a cinnamon stick or a vanilla bean into coffee to punch it up a little bit, I was curious how the flavors would blend into the coffee if done on a larger scale. This time around we are testing out the cinnamon flavored coffee.
As per usual all coffee’s submitted are run through the same process a nice coarse grind and a 4 minute steep in the trusty french press. To be through with the testing I also ran the coffee through the venerable Cuisinart Grind and Brew, as well as cold brewing a batch.
- Smell: The Start of your journey
- Taste: Obvious and penultimate
- Mouthfeel: Besides the taste how does it feel while drinking
Taste: Three different brewing methods created three different flavors. I’ll So I’ll take them one at a time. The literature that came with the coffee suggested tasting it both as a black beverage and then with cream and sugar, as I normally take my coffee black I was happy to have the suggestion.
- French Press, the cinnamon really shined through in a very bold cup, evenly balanced without being overly spicy. With the addition of cream and sugar the cinnamon really brightened up and added a candy like quality to the cup.
- Drip brewed the cinnamon flavor was a bit muted when compared to the french press however the balance of a strong coffee flavor supported by the cinnamon quite nicely. with cream and sugar the cinnamon sweetened up again very noticeably.
- Cold brewed: The cinnamon was much spicier in the cold brewed method. This coffee was not as refreshing as the vanilla but I imagine would be a much more welcome spice for a fall coffee.
Overall I love using cinnamon in coffee, i think that the two flavors compliment each other very well. With this blend i figured the coffee to be a bit spicier than it was, but it was probably toned down for general consumption. I think this would be a very nice coffee for a fall beverage, but a bit heady for the summertime without anything sweet added.
Mouthfeel: The coffee was full bodied with a smooth feel, the cold brew punched up the spice quite a bit.
Notes: Non of the brewing methods created any type of acidic coffee, According to the literature the beans used in this blend were specifically chosen for low acid content, and it showed and played wonderfully well.
More often than not I would prefer to have whole beans coffee at my disposal, in this case that is not an option as the flavors are blended into the beans as they are ground to provide an even distribution. When brewing coffee with natural flavors on my own I would often run into the problem of spices clumping up together to create a super strong pot, this will never happen with these options.
Cost: At $8.99 per 11oz this comes in at a reasonable price for decent coffee. I am a bit disappointed that what was once a 1 pound bag, dropped to a standard 12 oz bag, and is now an 11 oz bag. Keeping the price point the same and dropping the volume is not fun
Conclusion: I have found yet another flavored coffee I like. Starbucks Natural Fusions are doing two things, first they are confirming my gut feeling that chemicals ruin coffee and well matched natural flavors can only enhance.
4 out of 5 beans in the Preground Flavored Category, I would have liked to see a bit stronger flavor
*Full Disclosure: I was sent a lovely care package at no cost by the fine folks at Starbucks for the purpose of writing this review.