Starbucks Corp. has introduced a lighter espresso to its more than 8,000 U.S. locations.
Blonde Espresso is Starbucks’ first new “core espresso” option in 43 years, the Seattle-based operator said Tuesday. The new brew, which Starbucks described as “smooth without the roasty edge,” is now an option in all espresso-based beverages, including lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, macchiatos and Americanos.
“Our partners are so passionate about their craft, and now they get to help our customers discover and personalize the foundation of the beverage — an espresso that is either bold and rich or smooth and bright. We want every experience our customers have with us to be perfect for them,” Starbucks president for U.S. retail Kris Engskov said in a statement.
The chain further described Blonde Espresso as having a toasty sweetness and aromas of lemon, orange and caramel. By comparison, Starbucks’ traditional signature espresso has a “roasty caramel sweetness” and aromas of caramel, chocolate, spices and nuts.
The sources for the coffee beans are different as well. While both contain Latin American beans, the signature blend also has beans from the Asia Pacific, while the Blonde has additional beans from East Africa.
“We set the standard for a dark, boldly roasted coffee, and in this case, we broke a few of our own rules by taking a lighter approach to espresso, which created a bright taste with sweet citrus notes and a smooth body,” Starbucks vice president of global coffee Andrew Linnemann said in a statement. “We are really proud of the roast and think customers are going to love experimenting with it.”
Starbucks has offered additional espresso options in international markets since 2013, and it introduced Blonde Espresso in Canada last year. The company also tested the espresso last spring in Austin, Texas, and Tampa, Fla., a company spokeswoman said.
The chain debuted a lighter Blonde Roast coffee in the United States in 2012, which is lighter than the medium-roast Pike Place Blend introduced in 2008.
Blonde Espresso is a permanent addition to the menu.
Correction: Jan. 9, 2018 This story has been updated with information about previous tests of Blonde Espresso in the United States.
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