Starbucks gets a bad rap sometimes for tasting “too burnt”. I hear this to this day even though they’ve had a nice range of roasts, even light (they call “blonde”), for years. I’ve been buying and drinking their Reserve beans for about 5 years now. These are usually single origin and priced to match. These are absolutely delicious coffees. I just finished up bags of Malawi and Vietnam Da Lat that were released on 8/24 along with their Fall menu (it’s PSL time baby!).

Malawi Coffee Beans

Malawi Coffee Notes

If you like coffee and you have a store near you that’s selling Reserve beans splurge on a bag of Malawi or Vietnam Da Lat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I have to say though that, as is so typical with large corporations, Starbucks has really managed to screw up the whole Reserve brand. Every bag comes with a card that talks about the coffee with beautiful artwork on the front. For the first few years the art was always different, even on releases of the same coffee year over year. I collected these cards because I loved the artwork. I was not the only one. Now they have “refocused” the brand to only be brewed at their Reserve Roasteries and stopped using unique artwork on the cards, recycling it every year instead.

The “Wall of Shame”

The number of unique coffees has also stopped and they are now on a cadence of the same releases year after year. They truly took a unique thing and have really watered it down (pun intended). I suspect it is not a money-maker for them and they’ve acted in a very corporate manner.

That said they have at least made the major releases available at normal stores whereas in the past you’d have to go one of the few Reserve stores to get the beans. There is at least a ray of light there.