Why Starbucks Coffee Has a Burnt Taste: The Secret Revealed

Image via Pixabay, credit goes to xxolaxx.

I've heard many people complain about the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee. Clearly, we all have our unique flavor preferences when it comes to coffee. Some people enjoy a robust and burnt taste, others find it a bit too intense for their taste buds and prefer a lighter flavor.

If you're wondering how Starbucks coffee attains that distinct burnt taste and why they have never changed it despite so many complaints, then you have come to the right place.

In this blog post, you'll learn the secret behind the burnt flavor of Starbucks coffee.

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So, let's dive right in.

The Reason Behind Starbucks' Burnt Coffee Taste

The secret behind the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee lies in its roasting process.

Many Starbucks baristas and coffee experts claim that the company over-roasts its coffee beans. This means that Starbucks roasts its coffee beans longer than normal, resulting in a burnt and bitter taste.

This occurs because the roasting process causes the sugars within the beans to caramelize and develop a darker color. However, if the beans are roasted for too long, they can become charred and lose their natural sweetness.

This is precisely what happens with Starbucks coffee beans, which are roasted to the extent that they lose their sweetness and acquire a bold, smoky, and burnt flavor.

The Second Reason for Starbucks' Bitter Coffee Taste 

While over-roasting is widely considered the primary reason for the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee, there is another factor that also contributes to this perception.

According to a Starbucks barista's claim in a Consumer Reports magazine article, the brewing method employed by Starbucks also causes the coffee to taste burnt. In fact, the Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends using two full tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water for standard brewing.

However, Starbucks uses a much higher amount of coffee in proportion to water than most other coffee shops, leading their coffee to taste stronger and more bitter than what most casual coffee drinkers are used to. While some people enjoy this bold flavor, others find it too strong. 

Despite the mixed opinions, the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee is still a defining characteristic of the brand. However, it is worth noting that this taste is not technically burnt. So, calling it burnt is not completely right. 

Why Calling Starbucks Coffee “Burnt” Is Wrong 

                                                                                Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

There are generally three levels of roasting coffee beans: light, medium, and dark. And Starbucks uses the dark roasting method to roast their coffee beans, so what you taste in Starbucks coffee isn't actually “burnt” – it's dark roasted.

They roast the beans until they turn a dark brown color or slightly black, which gives the coffee a bitter taste. So Starbucks doesn't burn their coffee when they make it for you but bakes the whole beans to the level of a really dark roast.

So what should you order if you don't like the bitter taste of Starbucks coffee? What are the best other options available?

Best Starbucks Coffee That Doesn't Have a Burnt Taste

1. Blonde Roast

Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee is a light roast that highlights the natural flavors of the coffee beans, without any burnt taste.

It's an excellent choice for those who prefer a milder taste and less bitterness in their coffee. Its flavor profile is delicate and nuanced with hints of citrus and floral notes.

Starbucks baristas recommend asking for the Veranda Blend and simply specify the size (tall, grande, venti) if you're looking for a specific type of Blonde Roast. This ensures you receive a freshly brewed cup of coffee with the best taste possible.

In addition, you can add cream or sugar to enhance the flavor of your coffee, but I suggest you try it black first to experience the natural flavors of the coffee beans.

You can even purchase Starbucks' blonde roast coffee on Amazon through this link and brew it at home. 

2. Sumatra 

Starbucks Sumatra coffee boasts a unique blend that delivers a full-bodied, earthy flavor that finishes smoothly.

To enjoy the best of Sumatra coffee, order a freshly brewed cup and let the barista use the pour-over method or French press to maximize the coffee's flavors and aroma. You will not experience any bitter aftertaste.

What sets Sumatra coffee apart is the unique growing conditions in the region where it's harvested.

The coffee beans are cultivated in the high altitudes of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, giving the coffee a bold, spicy, and earthy flavor.

Overall, Sumatra coffee is an excellent choice for coffee lovers who appreciate rich, earthy flavors with a smooth finish.

Buy Starbucks Sumatra Coffee on Amazon 

3. Ethiopia 

Starbucks' Ethiopia coffee is renowned for its bright, fruity flavors and floral aroma, setting it apart from other coffee varieties that often have a burnt taste.

This is because Starbucks roasts the Ethiopia coffee beans using the medium roast method, which allows the natural flavors of the coffee beans to shine through without overwhelming them with roasting flavors.

When ordering, make sure to ask for the Starbucks Ethiopia coffee beans specifically and request the medium roast.

You can also ask the barista for their recommendation on the brewing method that will best highlight the coffee's unique flavors.

Usually, baristas use the pour-over method or the Clover brewing system to slowly extract the flavors of Ethiopia coffee, resulting in a more even extraction and a richer taste profile.

You”ll definitely get the ultimate taste experience by sipping a freshly brewed cup of Ethiopia coffee.

Get Starbucks Holiday “Sweet Maple & Herbs” Coffee on Amazon 

4. Guatemala Antigua 

Starbucks' Guatemala Antigua coffee boasts a complex flavor profile and is free from the burnt taste often found in other coffee blends.

This is because Starbucks takes great care in roasting the Guatemala Antigua coffee beans, using the “Roast Spectrum” method. 

This method involves carefully monitoring the roasting process and adjusting the temperature and time to ensure that the beans are roasted to perfection. 

For the Guatemala Antigua blend, the beans are roasted to a medium level, which brings out the flavor without burning the beans.

I recommend you to enjoy this coffee black or with just a touch of cream or sugar to let the unique flavors shine through.

Or simply order Starbucks' Guatemala on Amazon by clicking here and try it. 

5. Pike Place Roast

Starbucks' Pike Place Roast coffee is a popular choice among coffee lovers who crave a smooth and rich taste without any bitter or burnt aftertaste.

Its delectable flavor comes from the roasting method used by Starbucks, which is similar to the technique used to roast Guatemala Antigua coffee. 

As a result, Pike Place Roast coffee boasts a smooth and well-balanced taste, infused with subtle notes of chocolate and toasted nuts.

You have the option to order Pike Place Roast as a pour-over or a French press, and it can also be enjoyed as an espresso, latte, or cappuccino. Adding a touch of cream or sugar can enhance its flavor without overpowering it.

Whether you're a coffee enthusiast or simply looking for a scrumptious cup of coffee, Starbucks' Pike Place Roast is an excellent choice for a smooth and flavorsome coffee experience. 

You can even purchase Starbucks' Pike Place Roast coffee on Amazon by clicking here

Now, one question that may be running through your mind is why Starbucks chooses to over-roast their coffee beans to the point where they taste burnt, even though they are capable of medium roasting.

Well, you may be surprised to know the reason behind this. 

Let's discuss it further.

Why Does Starbucks Dark Roast Their Coffee? 

Image by Andi Graf from Pixabay

When Starbucks first started its business, they found that people were enjoying the intense taste that came from over-roasting their coffee beans, and this became their signature taste. 

Today, Starbucks still overroasts its beans to provide the same intense, coffee flavor that people have come to expect from their brand.

Despite criticism that over-roasting can mask the unique flavors of the beans and make them taste bitter, Starbucks has not discontinued the practice of dark roasting their beans because Starbucks has two more significant reasons for their continued use.

And those reasons are: 

  1. Dark roasted beans have a longer shelf life and can be stored for longer periods of time without losing their flavor and aroma.
  2. Dark roasting allows Starbucks to produce larger quantities of coffee beans in a shorter amount of time and supply all of its chain outlets and other retail coffee shops with fresh coffee beans.

The Bottom Line

It is clear that the burnt taste of Starbucks coffee is a result of the dark roasting process. 

While this process makes the coffee slightly bitter, the intense flavor has become the signature taste of Starbucks. But if you don't like the burnt taste, you can try their blonde roast or add milk or cream to your coffee to balance out the flavor.

So, whether you are a fan of the bold and strong flavor of dark roast coffee or prefer a milder taste, Starbucks has something for everyone. 



3 thoughts on “Why Starbucks Coffee Has a Burnt Taste: The Secret Revealed”

  1. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  2. I always thought Starbucks coffee was pure garbage and could never understand its appeal.

    For me, McDonald’s coffee is leagues above their crap. Tim Hortons a distant second.

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