I’m a big fan of acidity in coffee. I’m not only looking for acidity but I do love it. Gazebo Summer Blend from Starbucks promises to deliver a crisp, bright cup of coffee with acidity aplenty. I remembered liking it last summer, so I thought I would give it a try and review it now that my palette is a little more adept at tasting coffee. I bought a 1 lb. bag for $11.95 from a Starbucks near my house. The beans are roasted lightly compared to what one comes to expect from the ‘Bucks; I would call it medium-dark. Starbucks ensures its customers that Gazebo Blend is “…crisp and clean, with floral fruity notes…”. Here’s what I thought:
Nose: There’s not a lot to differentiate here. It seems fresh, and smells like it’s laced with a lemon acidity. There’s some roasty sweetness, and a small pepper-like note in the background. So far I’m not floored, and hoping that the coffee brings more to my mouth then it does to my nose.
Mouth: Definitely crisp. First thing to taste is a moderate lemon tinged acidity, which then morphs into a roasted, nutty flavor. This then washes away into an extremely clean finish. As I muse at how clean the finish is I realize I’ve been deceived because a dark, heavily toasted taste fizzles back onto my palette. The acidity dominates the overall mouthfeel, and unfortuntely there isn’t much in the way of body or other flavors that come into play. A simple coffee can be delicious, but Gazebo Blend is lacking something. It’s like drinking Coke from a soda fountain where the syrup is running low; lots of fizzle from the carbonated water (or acidity in our case) but not much else.
The Big Picture: It’s crisp, it can be clean in places, and it’s surely effervescent. Starbucks isn’t lying in their description. But is it good? People looking for lots of tangy acidity may get their fill, but otherwise I think coffee drinkers are going sip and remain unsatisfied. It’s not detestable, but I want to be “wowed” by a coffee.
I actually brewed it on two separate occasions before writing this review; the first time I poured my cup into the sink after only a few sips because it just tasted very empty. I waited a day or two and brewed it again, with renewed hope. It wasn’t as bad the second time and I’m finishing my cup as I write the review. If you can find a decent food to pair it with, the coffee will smooth out, acidity becoming less pronounced, and not leaving much behind.
I would certainly not recommend this coffee. It’s not worth spending $11.95 for a pound of coffee that the majority of coffee lovers won’t enjoy. My parents and siblings like coffee but are less geeky about it than I am, and they didn’t enjoy it. That tells me that most people won’t.
I’ve heard good things about Starbucks’ other new coffee, Ethiopian Limu. I will be reviewing this soon. For now, don’t spend your money on Gazebo Summer Blend!
Note: Starbucks also markets Gazebo Blend as a great option for iced coffee. I reviewed it only has a drip brewed, hot coffee.