This year Starbucks has released a Thanksgiving Blend for the first time. Meant to be paired with the dishes of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, this Sumatra/Guatemala Antigua blend is labeled as “Spicy [and] full-bodied”. The story behind the creation of this new blend is available here.
This coffee was sold for $12.95 per pound when I picked it up at my local Starbucks. The coffee smelled very fresh when I opened it. It was probably roasted within a week or two, which is pretty decent when compared to most big coffee retailers. As expected from Starbucks, the coffee is a pretty dark roast with oils visible all over the beans.
In the nose, this coffee is very rich and full, with a sort of sweet cedar scent coming through. My nose was reassured on the first sip; this coffee is all about body. The Sumatra beans and dark nature of the roast seem to be working together to create a significantly heavy coffee. Those afraid of Starbucks habitual dark roasting need not worry; there is plenty of flavor here beyond the roast-y qualities. Spicy notes ranging from clove to cacao dance on the tongue while a subtle acidity from the Guatemalan beans pulls through behind the scenes. As with most coffees, the acidity becomes more pronounced as it cools. After enjoying a mug of this coffee I also noticed the dark roasted flavor staying with me for quite awhile.
Food pairings are where this coffee really shines. I paired the coffee with some Edy’s Pumpkin ice cream. Delicious! The ice cream rounded out the darker tones and when combined with the spicy flavors of the coffee I was in seasonal bliss.
Thanksgiving Blend would be a great choice for the upcoming holiday. It’s easy to see everyone sitting around the table enjoying this full bodied, semi-complex coffee with a slice of pumpkin pie — and Starbucks’ vast chain of distribution puts this coffee within reach almost anywhere.
UPDATE: Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend 2010
A year later Starbucks has re-released this coffee and it still tastes great. Compared to my notes from last year, the herbal accents seemed to be more pronounced over the spice notes. In fact this coffee smelled so herbal that the scent in the brew basket (after the brewing process had been completed) reminded me of the “Mary Jane” scents that fill the air at Dave Matthews Band concerts in the summer time. The mouthfeel was quite intense when brewed at full strength, as thought it was driving through the center of my tongue. I would still recommend trying Thanksgiving Blend from Starbucks during the 2010 season. It rises above other offerings from the Starbucks and is quite pleasing all around.