Starbucks is back with another entry into its ultra-premium beans product line. You may remember about a year ago, the Feisty Foodie herself received a package of the first Starbucks Reserve coffee , from the Galapagos. That was surprisingly good, and for a reasonably dark roast, not burnt or acrid, to my immense relief.
This year’s entry? Guatemala de Flor, gladly accepted from Edelman, Starbucks’ PR firm. Note the same eight-ounce size as before. However, this bag of beans runs $15 on the package, up 20% from the Galapagos of 2010, though “suggested retail” starts at $12.50 once again.
The beans hail from the San Sebastian farm, an estate in the Antigua Valley known for its coffee-growing perfection. Plus, it’s “nestled between three volcanoes,” so I’m guessing the volcanic soil adds some interesting depth to the beans. I wouldn’t consider this a dark roast; this is more middle-of-the-road for Starbucks.
I measured out the appropriate amount of beans to grind and make a small pot of drip coffee. Note the shimmer of the coffee oils on the surface, and the deep, deep brown color. So lovely.
As always, the taste is the thing, and Starbucks’ tasting notes describe the drinking experience thusly: a fusion of deep lavender aromas that are complemented by lemony acidity and intriguing floral and herbal notes. I’m glad I didn’t read that prior to forming my own opinion.
I inhaled deeply, catching a bouquet of flowers and a faint spiciness — like a rosemary or thyme note. It drinks surprisingly smooth and rounded, earthy, faint unsweetened cocoa flavors, and an overall perception of perfumy floral flavors. It’s mostly coffee, but a little tea, and while that sounds weird, it tastes rather good, actually. I don’t know what they’re on about regarding the lemony acidity, but it’s certainly not missed.
I’m really quite impressed with this coffee, even more so that last year’s beans. The Guatemala is definitely smoother than the Galapagos, and not nearly as full-bodied, but I think I could drink this regularly and not feel too bad about being in a Starbucks. I’m used to Central Amiercan beans being somewhat fruity and edgeless, but Guatemala de Flor kind of expands my definition of the region’s coffee.
Please note that this coffee was courtesy of Edelman and Starbucks. I received no monetary compensation for this review, nor was I obliged in any way to post about the beans, positively or otherwise. This is my own opinion and I feel it was unbiased; you are free to take from this what you will.