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.
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, this time however my first experience is via drip brew in my office. The French Press came later, and only served to reinforce my experiences. Since its the summer time I also did a cold brewed batch as well.
- Smell: The Start of your journey
- Taste: Obvious and penultimate
- Mouthfeel: Besides the taste how does it feel while drinking
Smell: This coffee smelled strongly of vanilla, and had a very subtle coffee smell as well. I was expecting this to be flipped and to experience a stronger coffee scent.
Taste: Three different brewing methods created three different flavors. 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. I’ll So I’ll take them one at a time.
- French Press brewed Vanilla was strong and a little bit bitter, the vanilla overpowered any other flavors while black but with a bit of cream and sugar it created a very strong but much less bitter cup
- Drip brewed was less bitter, and more balanced. With the addition of cream in sugar
- Cold brewed: This coffee really shined with this brewing method. I have been drinking it cold as part of a fantastic iced coffee since it arrived in the house.
Overall if I had to pick a flavor to be wary of as a coffee lover i would have chosen vanilla, it is quite easy for vanilla to overpower the coffee flavors especially mild Latin american beans like this blend has, however in most cases this is the best flavored coffee iI have ever had. And quite honestly one of the only ones I would every buy.
Mouthfeel: The coffee was full bodied with a smooth feel, the black french press was a bit too bitter to truly enjoy.
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 a flavored coffee I like. That is not a sentence I thought I would ever end up writing. This coffee is a refreshing change of taste scenery, and a wonderful beverage to enjoy as a different experience.
5 out of 5 beans in the Preground Flavored Category
*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.
I never tried this Starbucks specialty. Maybe, I’m a bit conservative about my coffee (I usually like it plain, black with nothing added in it) but I sometimes try something new. I will try it on my next visit to Starbucks. Thanks for the post.
Thanks for stopping by Catalin, I’m not sure fi the Natural fusions are going to be offered brewed in the stores or they may just be an at home product. If I find out I’ll let you know.
Thanks for the awesome article. As much as I dislike Starbucks I must admit they are on to something good with the infused coffee freeze dried process. I am a small coffee roaster from Colorado and we specialize in flavored coffee roasting. I have sampled the Starbucks Flavored line and not bad, I don’t mean to be partial or bias but you can’t beat our roasting technique versus the commercial big batch fiasco. Quality will always diminish in that style of volume roasting. Thanks for your great forum for sharing.