There are two major varieties of coffee beans: arabica and robusta.  Robusta coffees are easier and cheaper to grow, but they taste harsher and more bitter.  Arabica coffees, from Mocha, to Java, to a dozen other varieties of more costly “gourmet” beans, have a range of subtle and rich flavors.  However, there is more to coffee’s taste than the type of bean used.  The way the coffee is roasted ultimately determines how it will taste to the drinker.
Coffee is generally either medium roasted, dark roasted, or burned.  (“Light roast” properly refers to a special German and Viennese roast that has little currency.)  When coffee beans are medium roasted, the full range of their abundant and satisfying flavors is brought out.  When coffee beans are dark roasted, they lose much of their subtle flavor but attain a deep richness that some enjoy, for example, in espresso.  When coffee beans are burned, their refined flavor is destroyed.  What remains is bitter and unpleasant.

GOOD COFFEEE! TRY IT NOW: Dunkin Donuts Original Blend Ground Coffee – 12 oz

Most fine coffee beans should be medium roasted.  Junk beans are often burned, because, once you burn the beans, you can no longer tell what sort of quality they might have had if they had been properly roasted.  The fact is, all burned beans taste the same: burned and bitter.  Starbucks coffee is burned and bitter.  You can tell when beans are burned because they take on a black color.  We can only assume that Starbucks starts with the worst possible beans.  After all, burning better beans is just a waste of money.  Unfortunately, through the vagaries of marketing, not only has Starbucks become virtually omnipresent, but nearly every other coffee roaster has jumped on the burned bean band wagon.  That is why, when you visit a shop selling a variety of whole coffee beans, most, if not all, of the beans have been burned black as hell.

Battling Coffees

In the ultimate coffee smackdown, it was yuppie Starbucks vs. Ronald McDonald and the Dunkin’ Kid.  And the clown and the kid won!
Consumer Reports magazine said that in a test conducted at two locations of each emporium, its tasters found McDonald’s coffee to be “decent and moderately strong” with “no flaws.” On the other hand, the Starbucks brew “was strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water instead of open.” The March, 2007 issue of the magazine, advises, “Try McDonald’s, which was cheapest and best.”  Several other more recent blind taste tests have consistently rated Dunkin’ Donuts and MacDonald’s as the best tasting and Starbucks as the worst tasting coffee sampled.

So, if you want to find decent arabica coffee that is properly roasted and that therefore boasts subtle and satisfying flavor, you should shun Starbucks and try Dunkin’ Donuts and MacDonald’s.  And, by the way, blind taste tests, for example, those conducted by Consumer Reports, consistently rate Dunkin’ Donuts and MacDonald’s as the best tasting and Starbucks as the worst tasting coffee sampled.

Dunkin' Donuts: Best Tasting Arabica

To see the valiant efforts of coffee lovers to debunk the myth of Starbucks Coffee, check out The Great Starbucks Coffee Mystery -The Starbucks Free Speech Campaign, a web site in which people who love good coffee explain and discuss the inferiority of the Starbucks product.
In case anybody needs any more proof that Starbucks uses cheap junk robusta beans, you can be sure just because their coffee has twice the caffeine of McDonald’s.  The CSPI study showed that Starbucks coffee has 20mg of caffeine per ounce, compared with McDonald’s that has only 8mg per ounce!  See http://www.foodbeast.com/news/coffee-visuals/

168 Responses

  1. Bennett,
    I liked the story on “burned coffee”:
    “The fact is, all burned beans taste the same: burned and bitter. Starbucks coffee is burned and bitter. You can tell when beans are burned because they take on a black color. We can only assume that Starbucks starts with the worst possible beans. After all, burning better beans is just a waste of money.”
    I have always hated Starbucks coffee and now I know why. While I am not a true coffee connoisseur, I do have my favorites. Two of them are Jamaican coffee and Kona coffee.
    100% Kona coffee is in particular very mild and flavorful. Something to do with the volcanic soil and mountains I guess.
    As far as suggestions, I guess I’d find an article on the best coffees to be interesting. As is obvious, I tend to favor mild coffees. Another one I like is Guatemalan coffee.
    Your friend,

    1. Those are my two favorites also Frank! Blue Mountain Jamaican and Hawaiian, hands down! They are available in an Arabica bean as a blend that is far less expensive and not too bad. My father is a missionary and always brings me a bag or two from wherever he goes and the best to date was from a small village in the mountains of the Philippines that was very smooth and like rocket fuel!

  2. It is of course fine if you prefer the burned flavor of Starbucks coffee. Each to his own, as the saying goes. But Starbucks does burn its beans– that is not a myth! And your snobbish mockery of average American tastes doesn’t alter the fact that almost every one who took the many blind taste tests liked McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and found Starbucks coffee bitter and unpleasant. In my experience, gourmet coffee drinkers invariably agree with these assessments.

    1. I liked the comparison done the other day on ABC where Starbuck’s won with 20 mg per cup; that is not very much caffeine! lol Like the same amount of Coke would have something like 40 and Mountain Due like 60. Now do not hold me to those numbers, those are just examples. Anyone that knows anything about coffee, caffeine, or caffeinated beverages knows how little 20 mgs is. Most eregy drinks nowadays are well into the hundreds..

        1. this is true, because they add artificial caffine (to get you addicted by caffine withdraw headaches) and carmel coloring. they also buy the floater beans, at a fraction of the cost of normal green beans.

      1. Over roasting burns the caffeine out of the beans. Lighter roasts have the most caffeine, using the same beans but a shorter roasting time. Further proof that they are disguising the flavor of either inferior beans or cheap robusta which has much less complex taste than arabica. Since Americans have been conditioned to bland and burnt coffees they don’t even have a baseline with which to compare flavor profiles. Another clue is that robusta has about twice the caffeine of arabica, so if they are dropping the caffeine to absurdly low levels WITH robusta beans, they are not just burning but incinerating their beans. So the argument really boils down to having a sense of what well roasted coffees from superior beans even tastes like. If you like McDonalds Dunkin Donuts etc. then it’s certainly because you have never tasted coffee that tastes what coffee was meant to taste like. If you have a correctly roasted cup and still prefer them over coffees that are roasted correctly then you probably like incinerated toast as well. If that makes any sense LOL.

  3. I have been off coffee for about five years, due to a problem with my colon. I was overjoyed to find that, on my new eating plan, I could drink coffee again, without colon problems. So I started out with an old jar of instant Yuban which had never been opened but which I hadn’t been able to get myself to toss. Omigawd, it was delicious! When I ran out of that jar, I bought another one for backup to a new bag of Peet’s. To make a long story short, the Yuban, the Peet’s, and a bag of Folger’s that I bought in desperation, all taste like burnt beans. Is this the coffee nowadays? I really hate that burned nasty taste and I am so afraid that is all there is. Can you suggest something I could try that isn’t burnt? I know the whole country can be trained to eat (and drink) stuff that I can’t just because I remember when it was good, like the green bananas that the whole country has been retrained to eat. With bananas, I can buy what everybody else eats and let them sit for a couple weeks until they are ready to eat. But how do I unburn coffee beans? Is ANY brand not burning the beans these days? If it possible to get some raw and roast my own without burning?
    Granted I am ignorant. This is my first try at finding something drinkable on the internet. Thank you for any ideas.

    1. There are still some good coffees around. Dunkin’ Donuts and MacDonald’s sell excellent Arabica coffee that is not burned or bitter. Try them! They’re excellent and beat Starbucks burned beans in every taste test that has been conducted.

    2. Although you can roast your own beans at home (I have friends who do this), it is time consuming and takes time to learn. Honestly, I’d recommend getting some Starbucks coffee. Much more recent reviews of Starbucks have shown a great improvement in its flavour in the last few years. It’s what I drink and I can always pick out the subtle flavours of nut in the Columbian blend, and the cocoa and spices in the Guatemala. It’s never bitter or tasteless.
      There are of course others to try, Douwe Egberts does a good pre-ground and I’ve heard good things about Gevalia. Try a few different brands and blends and see what you like.

      1. I don’t think Starbucks coffee will ever lose its burned, bitter character. But, obviously, some people disagree with me and with the many surveys that have confirmed my point. Each to his own!

        1. You’ve yet to provide a survey that’s current but, if that’s your opinion, that’s fine.
          Personally, I go for Starbucks BECAUSE I can’t stand the burned, bitter taste of other (lesser) brands.

      2. That is simply not true, it’s a myth the big boys would like you to believe so you don’t stop buying their stuff. Buy a home roaster, some quality single source green beans, and follow the directions. They’re pretty much idiot proof. Just ignore that bit about French roast and you’ll be just fine. Remember to let then offgas for 8 hours before grinding them (Google it), CO2 does NOT taste good.

    3. Any Arabica beans are going to be smooth and not bitter, which I think is what you are looking for. America as a whole has ruined coffee, I get most of my coffee from foreign lands…

      1. You get your coffee from foreign lands? That’s the only way to ensure that you have gotten even LESS fresh coffee than at Starbucks or any other huge coffee brand. America hasn’t ruined coffee and it is stupid to say so. There are SO many roasters in cities all over the US that make amazing fresh coffee.They just don’t distribute in the massive supermarket chains and they dont have storefronts on every corner. you have to LOOK for the coffee.

    4. The five year old instant Yuban coffee was not good. It was disgusting and you were just excited to drink coffee again. That being said, afterwards, you bought more disgusting coffee. Also, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds make disgusting coffee. Don’t try and make it seem like those coffees aren’t gross. Just because it’s medium roasted doesn’t mean its good. The brewing of the coffee is arguably as important as the roasting of the coffee. None of these places take either seriously.

      1. Let me guess William is a burned coffee Starbucks connoisseur. Dunkin’ is the best. With regard to the 5 year old Yuban, go buy Dunkin’ and you’ll be happy.

  4. True coffee lover never go for Starbucks ashes in boiled water with sugar. True coffee fan would end up belly up after drinking starbucks espresso. It’s disgusting and tastes like an ash tray in auto-camping in east germany. The only guys who can beat them is Insomnia coffee. I think they brew their coffee of used tyres.

  5. I have travelled quite a bit and what a joy it is to find a coffee shop (such as in Europe) where the emphasis is still on quality, with wonderful smooth coffees and delicious baked goods tempting a daily visit. I am so tired of these businesses being copied and corporatized with the resultant “quick buck” quality being forced upon me. My case in point with Starbucks new Laboulange pastries which are frozen and good until well into 2014 and their awful burnt coffee, which for some reason in the last couple of weeks has just gotten worse. Honestly we only have ourselves to blame by supporting these companies as I like many others have herded into a long line of customers at the local Starbucks only to throw my unfinished drink away as I walk into work.

  6. I was at Starbucks recently. I avoid places that offer the Budwiser of coffees. I much prefer the micro brewed beer equivalent of coffee. I asked if they had any roasted bean blends that were not burnt. All of the [well trained] coffee monkeys said ‘oh you mean roasted, yes all coffee beans are roasted. That is how they get their flavor.’ After they proudly offered their Pikes Place or Blond Roast, I asked if they knew where the beans came from. This question seemed to perplex them. I had a ‘ding light bulb goes on’ moment. None of these [well trained] coffee monkeys drink coffee and if they did, it would be a non-coffee coffee drink with crushed ice and whipped cream…

  7. The world is filled with 2 types of people when it comes to both food and drink. Those who live to eat & drink and those who eat and drink to live. Starbucks caters mostly to the section of the population that eats and drinks to live. Those who only allow the most pleasing drinks and foods to interact with their palate try Starbucks only once. Starbucks main strategy has been to monopolize the retail coffee market by opening up as many locations as possible rather than emphasizing quality. As a result, Starbucks was forced several years ago to close many locations due to lack of demand for its product (or too much confidence that everyone in every town would become hooked to its product). Everyone’s taste is different, however, most seeking a great cup of coffee roasted properly eventually stop going to Starbucks. I have found a superb family run coffee roaster (& retail chain) in Louisiana called Community Coffee. Go to their web site and order a sample—their pricing will leave you yelling at Starbucks. By the way, for those who have fallen victim to the Jamaican Blue Mountain myth, be advised that it is the PEABERRY variety of Jamaican Blue Mountain beans (smaller size) that is the smoothest and worthy of the price. Too much bad Jamaican Blue Mountain is pushed off on Americans. And yes, good “light roast” coffees are getting harder and harder to come by—a shame since they can be very smooth and quite appealing if the right bean is used. Once again, Starbucks has been a major player in bringing this about.
    Search for the smaller, quality driven coffee roaster or chain(s). You’d be surprised what’s out there when you look.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments on Starbucks debased coffee. I agree with everything you’ve said. The saddest thing is the fact that, as you say, Starbucks has been “a major player” in seriously curtailing the availability of good coffee. By the way, “light roast” is generally a misnomer. Good coffee is medium roasted. Properly speaking, “light roast” refers to an unusual Viennese or German roast that has little currency.

    2. Yes! I agree. Quit wasting your time in those long lines and money on the glamorous and romanticized, over-priced coffee beans burnt to a bitter shame and covered in refined and sometimes synthetic sweeteners and flavorings (at a hidden additional charge).

  8. A few years ago I bought a cup of Starbuck’s coffee, plain type, at a trade show where there was no other alternative.
    After a few sips, I dumped it out. It tasted burned.
    I thought it was me, or that they made their “plain” coffee taste bad to accentuate their fancier brews.
    Now I feel better, Knowing it’s not me.

  9. Here in Seattle, if the length of the lines to get coffee are any indication, there’s still a high demand for Starbucks Coffee though L-rd knows why… Probably just because they’re everyplace you look and worker bees only have 15 minutes or so to grab their cup and get back to their cubicle. But from what I’ve heard from a Starbucks employee (no names) the coffee is burnt so the strong taste will stand out in their myriad foo-foo whipped cream covered specialty drinks… which at $4 to $5 bucks a pop are profitable as opposed to the brewed stuff which isn’t…

  10. Burnt beans? Debunked. http://consumerist.com/2007/06/22/confessions-of-a-starbucks-barista/
    I understand it’s not everyone’s taste, because most folks prefer light-to-medium coffee roasts.
    I’d bet a months salary that in a blind taste test, Starbucks “Morning Joe” would beat Dunkin Dark roast (at the very least) with 7 out of 10 dark roast lovers.
    Either way, although i like Starbucks better than Dunkin, I rarely go to either one. I brew better coffee at home (Peet’s, Dean’s Beans, Death Wish, Deadly Grounds, Trader Joe’s, etc.)

    1. Starbucks beans are burned, no matter what their employees claim. And I would agree that people who like burned beans will prefer Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts.
      However, if you want to really taste the wonderful flavor of different coffees, a medium roast is simply the only way to go.

      1. I’ve done medium roast. Not my style. You can keep repeating that SB burns their beans. Doesn’t make it true. There are different levels of roasting. Burnt, is when you go even a little bit beyond the darkest acceptable roast, no coffee company sells burnt coffee.
        Furthermore, they also sell medium, and even light roasts. You claiming that they burn them over and over, does not make it true. Show me just one reliable source (key word; reliable) that shows they burn their coffee.
        People perceive strong, dark roast coffee as burnt, if they prefer light to medium roast, and/or don’t make their coffee as strong as most coffee experts reccommend.

          1. “Most people know this” Is not a credible source.
            That is a rumor. If you can’t substantiate it, or admit that it’s not a fact, than you are incorrect.
            French roast is the darkest acceptable roast, it is very, very dark (darker than any SB coffee, besides – obviously – their french roast), but not burnt. Read the official coffee roasting guidelines from one of the companies that sell home roasters sometime.
            And I do enjoy my dark roast, thank you.
            BTW – I realise that without tone or inflection, this could come off as snarky, or argumentative. It is meant to be neither. Just stating facts and exchanging opinions. No sarcasm or malice intended.

          2. OK. You are certainly entitled to your preferences. I don’t know any way to “substantiate” what I and tens of thousands of others say about what they taste, see, and smell in Starbucks coffee– after all, Starbucks is certainly not going to confess that it uses cheap, burned beans. But, as they say, each to his own taste.

          3. Well, Starbucks would not admit it, if it were true. But someone would prove it and out them, just like all the cheap filler in McDonalds products, and Yoga mat chemicals in Subway buns.
            Claiming that “tens of thousands of others agree” is also just rumour, hearsay, and internet search based confirmation bias.
            I agree with you on the “to each their own”. But the burnt beans claim is nothing but a rumor.
            The burnt flavor is a matter of perception. To dark roast lovers, light roast is watery, and medium is weak.

          4. The testimony of tens of thousands of people is not hearsay or rumor! It is what is legally called “testimonial evidence,” that is, people reporting what they have experienced! “Hearsay” is the attempt to testify to something that you heard someone say but which you have not perceived yourself.

          5. “Testimonial evidence” only works if you are providing those testimonies. You’re not. You are, in fact, backing yourself up with hearsay as you’re claiming you’ve read or heard these claims but are not actually collecting them or using them in your argument. I’ve tried every Starbucks core range coffee and I can identity which is which by smell alone, as the flavours are so drastically different and unique in each and that’s before the pleasure of even taking a sip. You also claim that the reason Starbucks apparently burns their beans is because they buy cheaper coffee and, when you mention the difference between Arabica and Robusta in the beginning of the article it gives the implication that Starbucks gets Robusta. False. Starbucks buys 100% Arabica for all their blends. That is an undeniable fact you cannot dispute with “actually, lots of the people I know somewhere who get coffee from someplace say this”
            Also, you keep diverting arguments away from the actual claims in the article people are disputing in the comments and you keep repeating your opinion which, to be honest, is the bulk of your evidence. So I ask you, when’s the last time you actually bought a Coffee from Starbucks?

          6. Let’s end this dispute. You believe whatever Starbucks tells you about their coffee, no matter how much what they say apparently contradicts the obvious fact that they serve Robusta bean coffee. I don’t provide the testimonies — these testimonies are widespread and blanket the Internet. And of course I haven’t bought a coffee from Starbucks for a long time, because the last few times I tried I had to throw the coffee away because it was so horribly bitter! There’s my testimony, take it or leave it!

        1. Have you ever tried Dunkin’ Donuts Dark Roast? It’s very hard to imagine that it is Dark Roast, cause it is the best Dark Roast 10x over than any I’ve ever tasted. I made the mistake once and bought Starbucks and another time bought McDonalds neither of which were Dark Roast, and Starbucks and McDonalds were both equally so bad, I will never buy ever again. Anything Dunkin’ blows away Starbucks by far. Regular Starbucks and regular McDonalds were both very bitter. I always regarded coffee as all being nasty, where I’m from there is a coffee house on every corner practically, and all probably are Starbucks quality, cause there are no Dunkin’ Donuts. Hadn’t had a Dunkin’ where I’m from since the mid-90s, where I reside now has Dunkin’ and OMG, Dunkin’ is the absolute best coffee, whether it be regular or dark roast, if it says Dunkin’ it is the very best. If it says McDonalds or Starbucks it means WORST. Starbucks being burnt beans is a very good assessment, that is exactly what it tasted like to me. Why people would deliberately burn beans for coffee is beyond me. Then again some people go out and buy the worst vehicles ever made consistently time and time again no matter how many times their domestic breaks down. If you know any better you buy the worst product.

          1. If you don’t know any better you buy the worst product. Seattle is considered to be a great coffee capital, so therefore anything Seattle must be great coffee, Starbuck’s hails from Seattle, so therefore it must be the best coffee. WRONG.

    2. Debunked? Hardly. The “myth” in question at that link reads “Starbucks coffee tastes burnt.” Tastes. That has nothing to do with “IS burnt.”
      Starbucks coffee *tastes* burnt. This is not one person’s opinion, it is the opinion of countless consumers. Whether it is scientifically quantifiable is immaterial: taste is subjective, and subjectively speaking it comes across as burnt.

      1. I agree with bennett and the tens of thousands of other people who say Starbucks coffee is awful. Just give up on George. He likes horrible, burnt and bitter tasting coffee. He justifies it by calling the coffee strong and he obviously knows more about coffee than all of us.

  11. Maybe Starbucks doesn’t literally ‘burn’ their beans but rather just roasts them extra-extra-extra dark.. so dark in fact that they taste burnt and bitter when brewed (as opposed to mixed into sugary, whipped cream topped faux coffee drinks) The word chosen to describe that extra-extra-extra dark roasting process makes little difference to me… the taste is still burnt.

  12. This blog is spot on. Starbucks is one the worst coffees I have ever tasted and I will never cross the threshold of one of those shops again. I have been ordering beans from a small roaster on line and have had great tasting coffee since I discovered them. The five pound bags of beans have been fresh and sparkling with the sheen of the oils. I even ordered a bag of dark roast Sumatra beans that while stronger than my usual medium roasted beans it still had complex dark chocolate flavor, not the bitter swill of Starbucks. I will be honest and say that I would buy 8 “O” Clock Colombian beans before I would any bean from Starbucks.

  13. I agree with everybody on Starbucks coffee if you buy a cup of it at Starbucks. But if you buy their beans and brew it, tastes way better and depending on the beans you get, you usually don’t get as much of a bitter taste. I recommend their Organic Yukon Blend which is medium-roasted.

    1. OK, I guess it’s possible that some of the beans Starbucks sells are better than the beans they use to make coffee in the shops. However, I wouldn’t be satisfied with even the less bitter taste that you say you get. Also, because Starbucks has basically ruined almost the entire coffee market in coffee shops, I have no taste for supporting their business in any way. I would never, ever put a dollar down on their fraudulent counter to buy anything! Anyone can still do much, much better with Dunkin’ Donuts excellent medium roasted Arabica.

      1. Also, are you sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts or something? ‘Cause you just keep going on and on about how fantastic their coffee is and, considering random people on the internet are the closest thing you have to evidence, I’d have thought you’d notice all the bad reviews they have:

        1. Our work on caffeine is not “sponsored” by anyone. We are independent scholars and authors who have published the leading and definitive books about caffeine, and our web site is based on these books and our subsequent research. People write bad reviews of everything, including every kind of coffee. Our favorable assessment of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and our unfavorable assessment of Starbucks coffee is based primarily on our personal evaluation of the quality and taste of these coffees. There is no question that Dunkin’ Donuts sells good quality Arabica beans that are medium roasted and that Starbucks sells Robusta beans that have been burned. If you like Starbucks and can stand the bitter flavor, then stick with it. We’ll stick with the better coffee.

  14. The worst expresso is in sturbucks ,I gave a try in different locations but I came to conclusion
    That sturbucks expresso is horribly bitter ,even the managers that I complain to agree .

    1. All of Starbucks coffee products are horrible junk. But, unfortunately, their worst aspect is the way that nearly the entire coffee market has been destroyed by the misplaced effort to jump on the burnt and bitter bean bandwagon!

  15. The fact of the matter is, if you know how to roast coffee, you would burn beans to match Starbuck’s and countless other boutique coffee whole bean coffees. There are two outstanding resources online that can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about coffee roasts, coffeegeek.com and coffeesnobs.com.au. Both have tens if not hundreds of thousands of posts on everything under the coffee sun (which is not burnt LOL). If you accept the fact that there are “roasts” with names (which there aren’t, it’s just a convenient way to group different levels of roastings into categories), you can google many images of what the different levels look like. The pictures with level 1 through level 16 instead of names are more the standard in the world of coffee roasting. If the pictures show anything other than black beans under any roast lighter than “Full City or Full French” or level 12-13, they aren’t accurate. Starbucks standard roast, the last time I saw the whole beans (admittedly, more than 5 years ago now), was blacker than Full French, which I used to strive to achieve in my home roasts but now that I have experienced many roasts from many varieties I reserve for only certain espresso blends, mostly for that after-dinner shot to ward off the turkey coma 🙂 Some people call Starbuck’s “dark” roast “Volcano” roast, which to me means that the beans were roasted in a volcano 🙂
    If you buy Starbucks or many other brand whole beans at the supermarket (Peet’s, Seattle’s Best are two that are locally abundant), you really can’t find a roast that isn’t burned. I was desperate a couple weeks ago when I ran out of green beans to roast and got a bag of Seattle’s Best no. 4 roast, supposedly their lightest. It was a Full French Roast but a little on the dark side. “Light” means Cafe roast to me (as you pointed out standard light roasts are almost never available commercially, but they do have their place, just not in my cup).
    I for one got sick of Starbucks and other chain coffee cafe’s disgusting flavor, and when I could no longer get an unburnt cup within 6 blocks of my work in a city pretty well known for boutique coffee shops I gave up and started home roasting my own. I turned to coffeegeek for help getting started and quickly found out that practically ZERO people on the forum roasted their coffee so dark as to approach the big chain’s black beans. My best roasts ever were all level 12 and lighter, roughly equivalent to City roasts. They were also from expensive, extremely high quality beans, there are several suppliers of high quality beans out there. Many “boutique” roasters use only high quality beans and offer many roasts lighter than Full French, it all depends on the characteristics of the beans and the taste they are shooting for.
    Oh and one more thing, robusta beans are from a different species of plant that while closely related to arabica isn’t the same plant, many people don’t realize this. There are at least 3 species of plant that are grown to make coffee, Coffea arabica, C. canephora (robusta) and C. liberica. Each has its place and each can be roasted and brewed to produce coffee. It’s just a matter of preference, in many countries coffee isn’t made from arabica simply because robusta (and rarely liberica) because the beans aren’t readily available or the people are simply used to other species. I’ve had wonderful brews of all three in other countries, with very different characteristics, but the common thread is that NONE of them were burnt.

  16. Starbucks is vile. Over-roasted burned flavor is not what a perfect cup of coffee is made of. Not to mention, way overpriced. I cannot fathom why Starbucks continues to be popular. As for Dunkin Donuts coffee, well, it is decent, but again way way overpriced. If you want a very good cup of coffee at a very reasonable price, the you have 2 very clear choices. 7-11, which uses Mother Parker brand coffee is absolutely delicious, and for about a buck, is a bargain. McDonalds comes in as a close second for flavor and price. These comparisons are for PLAIN UNADULTERATED coffee, without ANY flavoring, of any kind. I don’t consider “flavored” coffee, coffee. It’s a flavored drink. period. A true coffee drinker, will only settle for black, cream, or cream and sugar. That’s the ONLY way to judge a good cup of coffee. Over the counter brands are all over the map. The ones to avoid are found in those “dollar” stores or odd job lots stores, selling discontinued , outdated, and just plain awful coffee, with many of the brands offered you’ve never heard of. Some coffees, for example, Maxwell house, add “filler” to their blend, with ingredients like chicory. God awful taste and aroma. I can smell Maxwell house brewing from a mile away. If I see a restaurant serving this crap, I find another restaurant. A good cup of coffee should be smooth, rich, and satisfying to the senses. As far as Petes, or Seattles best, I have no opinion, as I have never tried either. Yes, there are many other brands found at your local grocer, all of which you need to try to determine which is best. I have found that Melita Classico, at my local grocer, is pretty decent, at a very fair price. Under 5 bucks for 12 ounces. (Remember when coffee was sold by the pound?)…HA! try and find that today. Most store-bought brands are 10-11-12 ounces at most. Can you say rip-off? Don’t forget the old A&P brand 8’oclock, Bokar and the rest. Still sold in that distinctive packaging today, sans the A&P logo., and not the same taste or flavor that it used to be. That’s all for now.

      1. If its good black coffee… you dont need the sugar or creamer to cover up the burnt taste. I used to load my coffee up with sugar and cream.. until I tried a light roast from Colorado River Coffee Roasters. The sugar and cream ruin its amazing natural taste

  17. you all live in your american bubble.
    I am a coffee snob. and I dont need to roast any beans. Starbucks is horrible but give me a break! McDonnalds and Dunkin are just slightly better. the brewing and milk steaming are terrible too.Just try to buy Lavazza Super Crema, grind and brew with a good italian espresso machine. froth the milk like a pro and enjoy every sip of real MEDIUM high quality, reasonably priced coffee. try it, practice and you wont step into a typical american coffee chain anymore.
    I have so many fans that tasted the shots I get out of my Rancilio…..
    happy new year.

    1. True, an Italian espresso machine seems to be the norm among people who like espresso that is kinda comparable to what the $5,000 machines put out. Mine was $350 and makes an acceptable cup. Acceptable espresso grinders are north of $100. There’s a reason they are so expensive, and that’s because they simply make the best espresso, the more expensive the better ((usually, anyway). There is a $20,000 machine on the market that I for one would love to taste samples from all day, of course the price may be so you can impress your customers more than any advantage it moght have over less expensive machines.
      I see StarBurnts is spamming the TV with their “new Blonde Roast”. I’d like to hear from someone who has tasted it what they think. It may be an acceptable alternative to roasting your own beans. Also I didn’t say that roasting your own beans is the only way you should make coffee and certainly isn’t necessary. If you can find fresh roasted, city roast or close to it, from high quality beans, you are miles ahead of the big chains. Now guaranteeing the freshness of the roast and the quality of the beans is a challenge. Old coffee tastes like musty old coffee no matter how you brew it. Slightly better than diner coffee IMO. And if they don’t specify the origin of their beans you can bet they’re cheap. There are several online sellers who look legit. One is Coffee Bean Direct, I haven’t bought anything from them since they don’t sell green beans but the website looks promising. If you’re looking for something to try, I generally prefer southeast Asian and north African coffees, for different reasons. The former is earthy, nutty, fragrant, chocolately, and the Toraja from Sulawesi, Indonesia was the only good coffee I had ever tasted in my life when I worked there 20 years ago. The Ethiopian highland beans in particular are from the “land of the birth of coffee” and are very fragrant, bright and fruity with a bit of earthiness & chocolate undertones. Of course you could go with just about any Jamaican or Hawaiian beans if you have $30+ to blow on a pound. They do taste like heaven in a cup tho 🙂 Watch out for cheaper, they usually mix in 50-90% inferior beans.

      1. Starburned’s blonde almost made me gag as it is still very burned! I would like to find an actual number test for caffeine content and I would quite rapidly put them out of business or become a multimillionaire as they would probably pay me to keep quiet but they have somehow taken them all off the market..

        1. Check your area, there are labs popping up here that will test any drug (including opiates and marijuana) for efficacy; they should be able to check caffiene content.
          Charbucks might even reimburse your cost ($50?) to buy your silence. 😀

      2. “I see StarBurnts is spamming the TV with their ‘new Blonde Roast.’ I’d like to hear from someone who has tasted it what they think…”
        I’m pickier than twin four-year-olds, but to me Bleached Blonde would be more accurate. It’s their same inferior stuff, with lovely chemical overtones.
        I’ll never understand the business model of spending 90 percent of the quality budget on schlocky advertising. Charbucks could spend less and make more on a better product; why work so hard to lower the standard?
        Charbucks lowering its energy bill by not running its bean crematoriums twice as long and hot as necessary would probably save millions.

  18. I wonder how many coffees are actually roasted by the same companies just under different names. Many companies including Proctor and Gambles etc do so with laundry detergents. I enjoy reading posts of how people prefer a detergent over another when they are identical from the same company with different names. Expectations i.e.. perceptions affect our taste buds. Also, medications and biases. Biases are powerful. Starbucks certainly have great marketing. However, if they were as poorly brewed as noted in the above claims they would not be as profitable. Again, unless you are purchasing from a local roaster, I suspect our perceptions not reality make many brands distinct. On the other hand, there is certain prestige carrying a coke than a store brand and Starbucks over another, Again marketing impacts our biases whether we realize it or not. Which is masterful marketing.

    1. The article doesn’t say the coffee is poorly brewed… its talking about how they are roasting their beans. They burn it. Most people who order a plain coffee at SB… go straight to the sugar and creamer… If not… chances are they got a coffee beverage that comes loaded with sugar and syrups and dairy… all these things cover up the burnt ashy taste.. I can promise you… go to your local roaster… and ask for a light roast… Grind it properly… brew it properly (aeropress or pour over) Drink it for a week… then go try Starbucks. This enlightenment has just happened to me. We have a local roaster here in Nevada called Colorado River Coffee Roasters… None of their beans are dark roasted. In fact most of their beans are light roasted. The Ethiopian Sidarmo Ardi in particular tastes like a blueberry muffin. One sip and you will understand that adding sugar or creamers will actually ruin the cup. It was like Morpheus gave me the red pill to swallow. My taste buds are awake!! Every cup of coffee I get at a coffee shop now tastes burnt to me. I am now way too far down the rabbit hole to drink bad coffee.

      1. Beautiful, I wish I could try a cup. I still haven’t seen properly roasted beans on Oregon but if I did and trusted the roaster I would at least sample some of them. Sounds like they actually know what coffee should taste like 🙂

          1. We are, but that also opens the door for crummy ones – you think there aren’t any lousy mechanics in Detroit? 😀
            Seriously, this is the first I’ve read of Charbucks using Robusta beans, but it’s the only thing that makes sense for charring the hell out of them.
            As to the differences between Arabica and Robusta, they sound a lot like horticulture experts describe what defines a weed or a flower.
            And the real coffee shop experts here cringe at all of the wrong terminology Charbucks insists upon for its wrong beans incorrectly roasted, especially from obnoxious morons who think it’s universal language that every other shop should instantly know.
            Imagine their pinched scowls of outrage if served a macchiato in Italy!

  19. So true, Starbucks coffee is horrible. Its a wonder they’ve been so successful- likely only because most who go to Starbucks get some sugary variant that drowns the bad flavor of the beans. Bad for your physique, bad for your pocketbook. The only chain with passable coffee seems to be Peets, now privately held. It appears to be making inroads and taking away significant business from Starbucks- which grows mainly because it opens more outlets, not because people are spending more at the ones they already have.

    1. Ron – let’s try to keep it real. Starbucks reports same store sales – year over year comparisons for stores OPEN AT LEAST A YEAR. Excludes the impact of new stores. And those comp store sales are further broken down by transactions and ticket, so you can see a) are more people visiting / more often, and b) are they spending more per visit. They get healthy growth – and always have – from existings stores. New store sales are frosting on that cake.
      Please explain your source of information supporting your statement that Peets is “taking away significant business”, and how that jibes with Starbucks record revenues and earnings.

      1. “Starbucks reports same store sales – year over year…” This statement only let one know how gullible and/or lazy most consumers of Starbuck’s are.
        I agree that their coffee is substandard. And very bitter.
        Now mind you, I like strong coffee. I tend towards the darkest roasts, espresso roasts. If it’s not strong enough to curl your hair, I’m not a fan.
        But Starbuck’s is just bad.
        With the exception of one flavor I have discovered. Morning Joe. I like this particular flavor. Quite a bit. But that’s probably because it doesn’t taste like burnt swill, as does everything else they brew.
        Their great sales do not denote great product. It simply means convenience, possibly lack of convenient alternatives, and marketing geniuses.
        McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts has better coffee. And they don’t charge you a ridiculous amount for it, either.

  20. It’s a choice. Just like everything else. If your taste tells you that it’s good then why would you taste something else. I concur that most of Starbucks’ coffee are not of best quality but do people specifically look for that? Interest is primarily done by taste and consumers of Starbucks coffee seem to enjoy what they put in their mouth. Therefore, they keep drinking Starbucks coffee. Hence, why they don’t complain about the coffee being highly roasted. Y’all are too much being always negative.

    1. OK. If you like drinking bad quality, bad tasting coffee, then Starbucks is definitely for you! This is not “negative,” it is positive– I’m asserting positively that Starbucks coffee is bitter, cheap Robusta coffee. End of story.

      1. Bennett, your absolutely right. Unless people that go to Starbucks go to a roasting cafe and experience what fresh coffee is, then ignorance remains bliss for them. My wife and I both recognize that coffee anywhere else has virtually no caffeine present proving it is stale and expired. But if people only drink for the taste, then who an I to educate them on experience.
        The coffee at our cafe, Orchard Valley, brings in large hemp sacks of fresh beans from the source. They roast it on site then grind and serve…the caffeine is experienced almost immediately.
        We have found that coffee beans are like fresh fruits or vegetables…the sooner you use it, the more benefits you will receive. The coffee bean is no exception.
        Agreed Bennett….most people are ignorant and asinine anyway.
        Thank you for sharing!

      2. I agree Its awful and it makes me sick People go to star bucks to pose and because its a cheap place to hang out Sure there are going to be some who like the burnt cheap taste Some like to eat Mac burgers and do not care what they are eating !! Its places like star bucks and crappy burger places that make millions on peoples inability to think for themselves!

  21. You can get very similar flavor profiles from high quality single origin coffees that are 1/3 the price of those. They have just been using their reputation (which is well deserved) to artificially inflate prices to beyond what 99% of roasters can afford to use in any significant proportion and not scare off their customers. I’ve bought beans that you would be hard pressed to distinguish from those in in a brewed cup. Some of the best Ethiopian and other African/Arabian peninsula beans brew a complex, sublime cup, full of fruity and winey notes. I’m drinking some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Misty Valley Grade 1 at the moment, city roasted to bring out the subtleties of the flavors. If you don’t buy green beans and roast them yourself do yourself a favor and find roasted beans online, there are plenty websites that carry similar coffees (but probably not this one). Keep in mind that if they are very fresh they taste far better than coffee that has been sitting around for months. If you prefer earthy, chocoaltey flavors try a high end southeast Asian bean, Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, and Sulawesi beans in particular are standouts. (PNG Purosa is my current fav). Sulawesi Toraja is the first high quality coffee I had (although I admit it was in a roadside “restaurant” less than 50 miles away from the source and served Turkish style). Also India Monsooned Malabar has a very different profile that is a result of leaving the beans out under an open air warehouse during the monsoon season, which allows some moisture into the beans (they swell to about twice their size) and produces a very unique cup, so nutty and earthy it’s instantly recognizable.
    Blends are using a small percentage of Hawaiian or Jamaican beans and properly blended and roasted have a very nice flavor profile, but if you haven’t taste these in absence of other beans you still don’t know how sublime they can be. To a coffee connoisseur a cup brewed from 100% of either of these is like ascending into heaven at the rapture, trust me. If Philippine coffee has any of the better origin beans I’ll eat my own week old grounds with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

    1. I agree with you but where i live all artisanal coffee shops roast their coffee light and medium for the same reason: to deliver a coffee with great aroma and so to justify the high price (by the way freshly roasted beans from independent small roasters cost double then the ones in Starbucks stores even though they are of ordinary quality – not anything special like the ones of single origin i see you drink in USA shops); but what do you do if you’re not interested in aroma and you like coffee with a full body? Starbucks is the only coffee shop in Bucharest where you can by dark roasted coffee beans which are perfect for Turkish style brewing – the prefered brewing method in Romania; even in supermarkets the choices are very limited for dark roasts so my 2 cents are these: Starbucks offers good coffee with the right roast profile for Turkish brewing method (the darker the better) at decent prices ( i’m talking about the price for a bag of beans not for their brewed in store coffee wich is very pricey indeed)

  22. McDonalds’ coffee (drip) doesn’t even taste like coffee! It’s only $1 but it is simply horrible.

    1. Poor fellow! You obviously don’t have normal taste buds. McDonald’s excellent Arabica coffee is not only cheap, it beats the hell out of the horrible burned Robusta swill that Starbucks cheats people with.

          1. You know you keep saying that but you offer no proof whatsoever. Don’t like Starbucks, no problem, but let’s stick to facts here, shall we?

          2. The facts: Starbucks junk coffee is burned black and tastes bitter. All burned beans, good expensive Arabica beans and cheap Robusta beans, taste exactly the same once they’ve been burned. Therefore, it’s obvious that Starbucks would never waste money serving ruined Arabica coffee. Ruined Robusta coffee is just as good, that is, it’s terrible!

      1. No question that Charbucks is the worst so-called coffee out there. For years, though, I thought the McDonalds near us sold burnt coffee no matter what time of day.
        Obviously theirs isn’t anything close to our freshly ground, custom home brews, but I discovered even serious coffee tastes burnt to me when I’m eating french fries! Strange, yes, but try it.
        Sadly, Charbucks is burnt no matter what, but those who find McDonalds coffee terrible try it without fries or hashbrowns. (and obviously, your mileage will vary at different branches of any chain restaurant.

  23. i personally love Starbucks french roast. I find that McDonald’s (which serves Seattle’s Best) and dark roast D’unkin are weak and bland tasting. When I have tried Gevalia at home, it tastes OK but literally burns a hole in my stomach! SB Fr. roast and and espresso roast do not hurt my stomach and what y’all call “burnt” is what I call “smokey” . MY stomach tells me that SB is low in acid (and I don’t mean acidic in taste), and to me, that is a good coffee. BTW, I find Kona coffee to be weak and watery in taste. Yuck.

    1. It’s because Starbucks uses the cheaper, Robusta beans in the French roast, Robusta beans have a lower acid content, but also less taste. They compensate for the lack of taste by burning the beans. But on the good side the tasteless Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content.

  24. Wow this is from 2011 and Starbucks hasn’t changed a bit. I stop drinking SB immediately after my experience with single-served coffee.Now that I compare the espresso from SB to a decent independent coffee shop, one is dead flat and another is aromatic and flavourfull.
    That being said, you can’t really blame people for choosing SB. Not everyone is as enthusiastic as most of us when comes to a perfect cup.They just want “coffee” and they simply don’t care about anything more than that.It’s like telling people to get the best hand-made wooden table when they really just need their local IKEA,or the best nigiri sushi when folks just want some frozen rolls from 7-11.The quality fits the need, and not everyone has the same need for coffee.For most “laymen” , Starbucks isn’t too bad a choice, but its certainly offensive for someone seeking the best possible sip.
    P.S. there are some “gourmet” Starbucks stores, where they use good privately reserved lightly roasted beans and prepared with careful manual brew or espresso.Sadly there are only a handful of these “specialty” stores out there and they’re not available for everyone.

  25. Starbucks Sumatra dark used to be exquisitely smooth, aromatically pleasing, rich flavored and full bodied. The last 4 bags we’ve bought from Wal-Mart and Food Lion tastes extremely terrible (PUTRID) and SMELLS like SEWER WATER.
    I called their 1800STARBUCKS only to find I needed to contact their chain door blockers, aka Walart, Food Lion etc.to “learn” from those vendors if there is a “Starbucks” coffee problem. POLEASE…..Floral shmoral…like roasted dandelion crap.

    1. I just opened a new bag of STARBUCKS SUMATRA…it has weird flavor, almost sweet.like you said, NOTTA, it used to be a mellow. full flavoured coffee.what happened? I buy SUMATRA because of the low acidity.

  26. I’m Colombian… I like my Dunkin… I don’t like Starbucks it’s very very strong… I actually went to the coffee region in Colombia and visited a hacienda where they grow it and explained differences with the beans and yes the roasting makes a big difference…i like coffee smooth and with a bit of acidity not much.. Nothing fancy just milk and sugar… Starbucks is too sweet

    1. It’s not that Starbucks is strong that it tastes so bad, it is that it is cheaply processed burnt inferior coffee that makes it so bitter and painful to consume.

  27. Besides the roasting, mountain coffees are different from lower altitude coffee grown beans… Mainly the acidity… in Colombia there is a chain of stores… It’s Juan Valdez (it sells coffee and pastries) there is a couple in the US.. Although i’ve only had coffee in Colombia so don’t know if diff here…

  28. After reading this whole conversation i noticed that 99% of complaints are on coffee served in stores of starbucks. But for some reason hardly anyone here actually bought starbucks beans and brewed them at home. It seems to me that folks here try to look pros in coffee just by criticizing starbucks. I can bet anything that for example colombia beans by starbucks are not bitter at all, if brewed right it tasted just fantastic. Now i personally went through every coffee that major stores have and yet was not able to find anything better tasting. I did blind tests i also added milk to mask taste however that genuine taste still was present.
    My advice go get starbucks colombia beans or fresh ground and try it.
    Not to mention that i can get it for about 10 dollars per pound.
    Surely there is better coffee out there. However price for decent coffee is about 30 dollars a pound. The point is that for ten bucks a pound there is hardly better coffee than some of starbucks for example colombia.
    Regarding the coffee brewed in stores i personally agree its burnt. I tried few times but i wont buy it again from their stores.

    1. Thanks for your comments, but I disagree with almost everything you say. As far as inexpensive coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts and MacDonald’s coffees are each considerably cheaper than $10 a pound and are often available on sale. These coffees are not gourmet quality, but they are medium roasted Arabica beans and they taste pretty good. They are not the burned and ruined beans that Starbucks and virtually every coffee house and restaurant serves today. If you want to step up to gourmet coffee, try Gocoffeego.com, which offers a wide selection of excellent beans, that are, admittedly, more expensive.

      1. MacDonalds Coffee tastes terrible. And Dunkan Donuts, really, it is different, say, from Tim Hortons? Part of the bad flavor of franchise fast food restaurant coffee is the the plastic lid flavor. But then, even if it is true what you say, at least about the Starbucks part, why do the rest of us ordinary people imagine Starbucks is good? We remember having a good Starbucks at least once. But almost every time we opt for the super-sweetened choice in which the quality of the coffee is totally indiscoverable, so it’s hard to argue with your points, and the one time I tried the very lowest priced, “coffee of the day,” it was very bad, indistinguishable from… MacDonalds or a Donut store! So, you MIGHT be right, but we have to go and waste money on Starbucks to check ifit is as bad as you said, when we can just brew coffee at home.

        1. Most of the “ordinary people” who write into this blog are horrified by the terrible taste of Starbucks burnt, bitter, Robusta coffee. Those who like it are fooled by the tremendous amount of caffeine in this coffee — which, of course, improves their mood and makes them relaxed and energetic. But, even so, that coffee is swill.

  29. I’m looking at a bag of Starbucks coffee now and it reads “Ground 100% Arabica Coffee” right on the package. I guess it was too much to ask the author to do this tiny bit of homework before writing his hit piece. So there goes his whole “burned coffee” theory, which itself is a joke. Of course Starbucks roast their beans longer than others. But they don’t burn them. “Burn” means “of a fire, flame or glow while consuming a material”. That doesn’t happen. No beans are consumed while being roasted. In fact, in parts of Italy Starbucks’ beans would be considered under-roasted. And to suggest that the starting material of an over-cooked food item makes no difference once burned, is like saying eating an extra well-done Tenderloin steak cut is no different than eating an extra well-done Flank cut steak. We all know there’s no truth at all to that statement. Finally, as to the taste tests, the palate of the masses is not my guide. Most people prefer iceberg lettuce to endive or escarole, which says it all right there. That’s exactly explaining Dunkin Donuts’ coffee to Starbucks’ coffee. Maybe if the author travelled Italy and visited some of the world’s greatest roasters, and had coffee beans and roasting explained to him by the experts, he’d learn a little. But I doubt he has any interest in the truth. He’s on a mission against Starbucks for some reason he only knows.

    1. Ignorance is bliss, evidently! What Starbucks says about its junk, burned coffee and what is true about it, are two different things. The word “burned” has several different meanings, so your comments are simply moronic. However, if you can enjoy the burned Robusta brew at Starbucks, why not do so and stop sending in stupid excuses for your bad taste.

      1. Are you really saying that the Starbuck’s package, which reads “100% Arabica Coffee” is a lie? Please note that calling me ignorant and moronic only makes you look bad, not me. Ad hominem arguments are about the lowest form of argument one can resort to, and you certainly won’t find me playing in that mud. I like to deal with facts and not call people names. If you are going to tell me that Starbucks beans are Robusta when the package says Arabica we are going to have to agree to disagree. Hopefully we can do so respectfully.

        1. Your latest comment is wrong as well. I commented about your comments, which were foolish, not about you! You obviously either did not read or understand my many explanations of why and how we KNOW that Starbucks coffee is Robusta. Their very high caffeine content alone proves this beyond any doubt!

          1. Seriously? I made the comments so you when commented about my comments you commented about me. But nice try. As to you knowing that Starbucks coffee is Robusta, using capitals for KNOW doesn’t prove that fact. But nice try again. You must know that Arabica beans comprise about 80 percent of world production. It’s nearly impossible for a large coffee bean consumer like Starbucks to use exclusively Robusta beans. In 2007, Maxwell House, a lower priced, commercial coffee, switched its blend to 100 percent Arabica beans because of this fact. Now, during the Brazilian frost of 1994, when bean prices skyrocketed, Starbucks did mix Robusta beans with Arabica beans but that ended when prices decreased. It’s also known in the coffee industry how Starbucks achieves its high caffeine content. Don’t you think the class-action lawyers would be on Starbucks like a spider monkey if they used Robusta beans when they have webpage after webpage stating that they only use Arabica beans and their packaging says the same? They would also have government agencies around the world after them for false advertising. It’s very easy to track beans. Please get real here. Your capital letters to prove a point are really embarrassing! Let’s deal with facts – not CAPS.

          2. I regret that you are embarrassed, but I cannot say that I’m surprised. As I tried hard to explain to you, the fact that Starbucks beans have double the amount of caffeine that Arabica beans have is simple and absolute proof that their beans are Robusta. If you would prefer to believe that Arabica beans can have more caffeine than they actually have, that is your privilege. But, let us face it, references to lawyers and class actions and other irrelevant matters cannot change the amount of caffeine in Starbucks Robusta coffee. So even though you believe that it’s “impossible” for Starbucks to sell Robusta bean coffee, the simple fact remains that it is, without question, Robusta, as unquestionably proven by their its caffeine content. And, by the way, as an attorney I should inform you that their is no basis for a class action suit to correct Starbucks’ fraud. No one has standing to file such a weird suit. “Government agencies” neither know nor care about this matter, and they would certainly not be immune to the corrupt influence of Starbucks if they did become interested. The real rejoinder to this fraud is simply to recognize it for what it is and to stop buying their coffee.

      2. First, let me say I like some starbucks drinks. Marco, I am inclined to agree that if the bag says aribica then it must be. Otherwise there would be a lawsuit for false advertising. I have cooked a lot of food though and tinkered with the caramelizing and maillard reaction of meats and breads. From making steaks, caramelizing onions, gumbo rouxs, pancakes, and making bread I know the distinct, overwhelming taste of burnt. It has a specific flavor. If I get a plain, black starbucks coffee it is indeed burnt. As for americans making weak coffee, I grind my beans and use a french press with 2 tablespoons of dark ground coffee to 6 ounces of water. I have even used more. There is a difference between strong coffee and burnt. I prefer tim hortons, mcdonalds, and speedway columbian.

    2. Marco, we are all talking about the coffee that Starbucks SERVES, not the special ones they sell for you to make at home.

    3. you have made some good points. i am a fan of caramelizing almost everything and french roast coffees. i don’t consider dunkin or hortons’ or macdonalds as suitable to available modern coffee alternatives. i will take starbucks over these any day. and prefer my own $300 used saeco and locally roasted beans. i still have a hard time getting a good fresh french roast unless i roast it again at home. but the angle of this article represents a centrist coffee taste that would be laughed at by europeans… and myself after having lived in france long enough to love their coffee in any cafe.

  30. Starbucks Espresso beans are 100% Arabica but they are burnt. The unpleasant bitter taste at the end is all you need to know. I can’t speak for the other varieties but the Espresso is burnt.

  31. I’m no expert on the roasting practices of coffee vendors, but I know what I like. I trust my tastebuds. I’ve enjoyed Starbucks Sumatra for a couple years—that is, until recently. The last two bag of beans have tasted awful. And by awful, I mean like sour milk. It’s disgusting. I don’t know what happened, whether it’s a bad batch that was improperly roasted, stored, or the result of crap beans. But I know I’m done with Sumatra dark roast!

    1. I have noted this very thing about Starbucks Sumatra coffee starting last year. I have purchased it from SB for decades. It’s just awful. Thus I have been looking for local and internet sources. SB is tanking for me.

  32. yea i have to agree with the bitter taste total diguist hey alot of people like the booth chains but totally different taste,s here bitter and good flavor like night and day i agree with weinberg on this one ,sorry to knock your starburn place i thought id ad my 2 cents to your 5 dllars for that burnt machiatto you had last night

  33. I drank Starbucks for years, mostly in airports, and I always disliked the bitter, burned taste. Well, I don’t fly anymore, so I’ve not been to Starbucks for over five years. Strangely, however, I discovered back then that Burger King coffee was excellent if freshly brewed, and certainly better than McDonald’s or Dunkin’s. The big surprise came when I asked to see the package that BK’s beans came in … it was Seattle’s Best, a.company owned by STARBUCKS! But BK doesn’t burn it, and it’s not the least bit bitter. And.for a senior like me, a cup costs only 69 cents! Now.THAT is a miracle! Just be sure to ask for “freshly brewed.”

  34. Starbucks is the most bitter burnt and over priced coffee that I have ever had. This BIG CORPORATE MONSTROSITY is putting many excellent mom and pop coffee houses out of business. Starbucks is not cool. Starbucks is grossly overpriced bitter inferior coffee.

    1. JW – if you actually do the research, the number of independent coffee houses has actually increased as Starbucks has expanded over the years. Several owners of indie shops here in Seattle actually credit Starbucks for creating their opportunity. The only ones that close down are the ones with inferior coffee. Free market in action.
      Totally fine to not like Starbucks but to claim that they are eliminating independent shops is just not true.

      1. No one ever said that Starbucks, the burned Robusta bean champions, have reduced the numbers of other coffee shops. What I did say was that virtually all other coffee shops have followed Starbucks lead by serving junk beans to people who can’t tell swill from good coffee.

    2. Absolutely right. It’s awful when you just have a plain cup of Joe. That’s why they have all these sweet concoctions to mask the bitter taste of their cheap beans. I don’t get all the hoopla….My neighborhood Italian restaurant has the smoothest tasting coffee. It’s delicious.

  35. I don’t understand all the comparisons to commercial coffee makers. The mom and pop places are my choice. It’s local and I’d rather help a local business than a huge corporation. You can get excellent coffee (not burned), tasty snacks and great conversation at your neighborhood mom and pop cafe. I say ditch corporate America and keep it local.

  36. Starbucks was fine for a number of years. Now, the taste is metallic – perhaps “burned” is also descriptive! The TRUE COFFEE FLAVOR flavor is lacking and replaced by a bitter harsh non-flavor. Time to try different brands until Starbucks gets it’s act together.

  37. Say what you may, I have been drinking Starbucks for years, Dunkin and Mickey Ds, is not strong enough for me. Starbucks the only coffee I drink.

      1. People get used to things. “Good” is subjective. Someone might have been brought up eating nothing but WWII army surplus K-rations and grow to like it. Take them to a 4 star restaurant and they think the food is awful.

    1. I am a brand new coffee drinker trying to navigate this awesome world of caffeine, and to be clear, I am only in it for the caffeine…drank a gorgeous tasting cup from McDonalds, Whole Foods was really good as well, didn’t get to Dunkin, simply because my purpose of drinking coffee is to lose weight lol. We were stuck in an airport early in the morning with a Starbucks within a stones throw, so naturally I bought a large regular coffee…BAD DECISION…I don’t have much experience yet but I can tell you this, it was the worst coffee i have ever had. I was with my b-in-law an avid coffee drinker, and he said his tasted really bad, but he never drank Starbucks before. We assumed the coffee was burnt so we asked for a freshly brewed cup, same result, really bad tasting coffee. I kept drinking thinking I would get used to it because I really needed the caffeine. I couldn’t do it, i finally bailed and threw it in the trash…will never attempt it again. My b-in-law suffered through but he isn’t a fan either. I am happy they have loyal followers but I won’t be one of them, which is ok, I prefer to pay less for my coffee anyway 🙂

        1. Most people don’t know the difference between burnt and real coffee flavor, reason why Starbucks is safe. People think that burnt bitter coffee taste is the way strong coffee is supposed to taste. For some reason people enjoy that bitter taste in coffee. For example, you won’t convence a Cuban to drink anything but bitter coffee (expression). They confuse taste with strength. I just came back from the Central America region, the best coffee in the world is found there. Drank coffee from various regions in three different countries, the aroma was incomparable.

        2. “Starbucks were forced to close its doors”
          LOL, good to have a dream there professor. Perhaps if you actually were to prove your robusta claim .,. but you won’t, cause you can’t.
          Too funny.

          1. I guess you have a problem with reading comprehension. I definitely offered strong proof that Starbucks ibeans are Robusta. No wonder you have no answer to my proof, just a sarcastic jab at me personally!

  38. In Australia going to Starbucks for a coffee is a it like going to a prison for sex.
    You can get it, but it is a bit rough!

  39. I was just reading your blog, some funny stuff here. I read back a couple years, my comments:
    It’s possible to get decent coffee from Starbucks as some have mentioned. The stores that have the ‘clover’ and single origin beans are actually quite nice and close to European coffee shop quality. Having said that, Pike’s Peak blend is maybe the worst swill I have ever had. And yes, nobody orders it, if you ever spend time in one of their shops, just listen to what people order. I think i would shoot myself if I had to work there btw. A few times on the road I have had to resort to McDonald’s coffee. IT always tastes the same, and i dont think I have ever finished a cup of it. Overly caramelly and sweet, with barely a coffee taste, i chalk it up to the rest of McDonald’s offerings, in a word, inedible. Then I read that 3 different companies supply McDonald’s coffee depending on where you are in the country. Now I understand why some people are saying its good and others like me are scratching their heads wondering how. One of their suppliers is Seattle’s Best , which is probably what the folks are getting that like the coffee. Tin Horton’s where I live is well i tried it twice and never again. Not recommended unless you like coffee flavored tea, which is what it is. Dunkins is OK, if there was nothing else around I would drink it on the road. Your best bet in such case is Panera bread, of all the fast food chains, has a decent coffee.

  40. Oh, and true story, if I hafta hafta hafta get a starbucks coffee (read, falling asleep at the wheel) i would order a cappuccino. Last time I did, was asked ‘what flavor do you want?” I answered, “coffee flavor, can you manage?”. THey couldnt btw, burnt and wretched with grounds in it (how?)
    While waiting for it, the manager was talking to me, I asked her how they managed to get Pike’s blend so nasty and do people really drink it. She said to me she didn’t understand how as its ‘God Awful’. I don’t think God is awful, but I know Starbuck’s coffee is. Starbuck’s was good way back because they used to buy their beans from Alfred Peet. Now Maxwell House is selling arabica (supposedly) probably because SBUX buying up all the robustos.

  41. The coffee I’ve always enjoyed the most has been from small independent shops which sell the Lavazza coffee

  42. I am not by any stretch of the imagination some kind of coffee connoisseur or expert or anything like that, so I only have my taste buds to guide me. All I can say is that I hate Starbucks. It’s nasty, and I honestly wonder how anyone can like them. For real, I’m not a big fan of McDonald’s coffee either, but it’s better than Starbucks. Any Gas Station- better than Starbucks. I really do wish it was better, as it’s the closest coffee shop to me. I just can’t justify going there though. Not when every sip makes me shutter.

      1. Jesus! Years later and you are still posting your pretentious nonsense in these comments? “…virtually destroyed the taste for and availability of good coffee.”??? HA HA HA! One chain can hardly take the blame for destroying good coffee taste/availability. Dunkin Donuts started doing that long before Starbucks was even a thing. A friend of mine was a manager for DD and they regularly served brew made from beans past the freshness date, probably still do by the taste of it. If others like it though, have at it.
        What do you care if some people like Starbucks? No skin off your back. I learned a long time ago that different people have different taste buds when i used to sell beer, liquor, and wine. Food is no different. Some people like cilantro, but to others it tastes like soap. Same with coffee. Different strokes for different folks.

        1. Yes, I suppose that some people like to live in shacks and not to wash and to eat cans of beans for dinner. You obviously just can’t understand that Robusta beans are cheaper and of inferior quality, so I hope that you continue to revel in your state of unknowing. And, as I have repeatedly explained, the horrible Starbucks nightmare has ruined the supply of coffee for everyone who likes good coffee — that is why I resent Starbucks so much. But, as you like swill, keep drinking it! However, as you can see from the dozens of people who write into this site, many, many, many people think as I do about the Starbucks nightmare of burned Robusta junk beans!

          1. Lol. I prefer the smaller local shops actually, but thanks to ALL of the big chains those are few and far between, so way to assume. Also, way to miss the point I was making. Live in shacks?! HA!
            Different people have different taste buds, so what you think tastes amazing may taste like swill to someone else. That is a biological fact. I have had some $9.99 bottles of wine that were terrible and some that were very tasty. I have also tried some $50+ bottles of wine that were also terrible or amazing. It depends on the individual. Just a simple fact.

          2. Everyone’s taste varies. But it is a fact that the cheaper Robusta beans, that are only grown because they are easier and cheaper to raise than Arabica beans, are bitter and lack the subtle, refined flavors of Arabica beans. Some may prefer these bitter flavors, but it hard to imagine how they could be found to compare with Jamaica Blue Mountain or Yemen or many other wonderful Arabica coffees. If you enjoy bad, cheap, bitter coffee, you’ll have a field day with Starbucks!

  43. Dunkin and McDonalds (who spells it Mac? that’s strange) are still not good thou. Not to defend Starbucks, but when you put as much garbage in their drinks as they do, you need something “coffee-ish” to stand out. Which you could only get by murdering beans. Dunkin and Micky D’s also trying to imitate the flavored latte trend makes me loathe to promote them over Starbucks as if they don’t do terrible things to their beans. I mean didn’t the infamous burnt crotch McDonalds lawsuit come about from McDonalds keeping their coffee temperatures at 200 F so that you couldn’t tell that it was stale/old? I mean if you prefer McDonalds or Dunkin that’s fine, but don’t act like you’re an enlightened coffee connoisseur trying to teach the poor uneducated masses because you do. Everyone has their preferred garbage food/beverage.

    1. If you prefer burned Robusta beans to medium roasted Arabica beans, then Starbucks is the place for you! If you like coffee that has the complex and rich flavors of Arabica beans, then medium roasted McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts will be your choice. Each to his own taste, as the old lady said when she kissed the cow!

  44. I’ve recently found that the #1 reason people like Starbucks is the ‘setting’ they provide. Believe it or not, but most coffee people purchase there are flavored (which hides the ‘bunt’ taste) & are usually sold ‘iced’. And since they switched over to the Mastrena High Performance Espresso Machines. They now put out terrible espresso as well. Yes, back when they only had 2 sizes (Tall or Short), they served a half decent espresso (if that) with the old espresso machines. But still I find most of the independent coffee shops put Starbucks to shame – both in the past & today and you get to save money too!

  45. Lol this is hilarious. Last week I went in McDonald’s and got a double espresso. Never did that there but didn’t want all the milk and flavoring a sugar. Wow so much better tha Starbucks and obviously cheaper. Most McDonald’s are decent enough to have a convo in. Some have really original decor too like the one near Biltmore.

  46. I just wanted to clarify: not a Starbucks drinker. I did work for a local shop named Jolts and Juice who did roast. However, I would encourage you to sight some sources. Obviously this was posted a while ago, so things may have changed. However, Starbucks does serve 100% aribica beans. Doesn’t mean they roast perfectly, but that’s actually a well known fact. Resurch that, and please let me know if I’m wrong. In addition they’re pushing for light roasts now. Along with other large scale roasters. This is because of the weight loss; everyone know that you sell coffee by the pound. Which means roasters are incentivised to not lose any weight in the roasting process. We’ll between a light and a dark roast, you lose up to 15% of your weight. For Starbucks this is a massive difference as they roast probably hundreds of thousands of beans. So if you roast 100,000 pounds your wanting to do it where you’ll still have 90,000, over 75,000.

  47. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Costa Coffee. I was a barista for Costa and I was taught about how they prepare the coffee beans from the plant to the cup. They use a medium rosted arabica and robusta blend. They also do a character roast which changes every few months, character roast can come from Columbia, or their famous roastery in London, Old Paradise Street. The amount of training I received tells me that their coffee is cared for, that it is the best you can get, not to mention how it’s prepared when making the cup. A real, barista machine operated with a skilled barista. Starbuck’s, I had one cappuccino, don’t get the wording, tall, grande wtf!? I returned the cup after one sip knowing that the milk was like lava, I could tell by the sound of the steamer, burnt milk and the coffee was worse than instant Tesco value. When I asked about the horrible taste I was shocked to be told, that’s the way we make it. Ask for a machiatto, what you’ll get is a jug full of milk, cream and whatever the hell the suace is on top along with burned coffee. Machiatto? Couldn’t be further from it. Before you decide to name a drink check if it’s worthy of an Italian name, if not and your part of a coffee chain, your in the wrong business. Coffee comes from Italy, Starbucks literally destroyed the very definition for allot of people of what a decent cup is. Costa, well, it’s in the slogan, “For coffee lovers” not instagramers. not for customers that like to pressurise baristas with an extra hot, low fat, soya, half caffeine, double vanilla, tall, dry latte with cream and sprinkles and post to YouTube for personal gain. It’s Coffee, nothing more, and certainly nothing less.

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