With 60 million visitors a week, Starbucks is the world's most popular business, yet some 50 million people don't ever buy coffee at Starbucks because they think--rightly or wrongly--that it's "over-roasted." And for decades, Starbucks has been blowing them off (just as they refused to make lattes with two percent milk) and watched almost half the nation's coffee drinkers buy less aggressive java from competitors.
Now, finally, the Mermaid's handlers have seen the light. The light roast, that is. Two of them, actually: a South American blend called Veranda and an East African blend named Willow, both of which will be packaged as "Blonde."
Two darker roasts will also get new packaging: Medium (like the Pike Place Roast introduced three years ago), and Bold (like the traditional Italian and French roasts). The Blonde may be lighter in body but retains a lot of "nutty" character, while its older siblings have more chocolate and woody notes.
It took 18 months for Starbucks to perfect the lighter roasting technique and to coordinate the new wardrobe. For the first time, all its coffees will wear one of the three new color-coordinated uniforms, in the Starbucks cafes and in grocery stores. Decaf and VIA instant will wear similar colors. It's the sort of thing you'd expect to learn in Marketing 101, but Starbucks has grown so big that its products were literally all over the map (with country-of-origin labelling, Fair Trade, varietal designations, premium beans, etc. etc.) that a quarter of the supermarket shoppers would get so confused they'd walk away from the coffee aisle without buying anything at all. So, back to basics.
Uncle Howie is trotting out all three sisters for sampling, in every Starbucks across the country this week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, January 12th, 13th & 14th). The shy Blonde, of course, is the sassy, mellow one, yet so sweet and approachable that she doesn't even need to add cream or sugar to win your heart.