September 17, 2012

Review: Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups for Keurig

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Starbucks created their Anniversary Blend back in 1996 to celebrate their 25th anniversary and it was so popular that it remained a seasonal favorite which would be reintroduced each Fall. Starbucks claims the secret to the distinctive taste of this coffee is due to the use of aged Sumatran beans from Indonesia, but to the honest, the thing that had us jumping for joy was the recent introduction of what we're reviewing today: Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups. We would like to note that we liked the artwork on the packaging & how the foil lid on the K-Cup gave a light gold appearance to the artwork as well. Since most K-Cups have pretty standardized artwork, this made for a nice difference.

Billed as one of the first seasonal Starbucks K-Cups (Hmm... could we be seeing Christmas Blend K-Cups in a few months?), brewing these K-Cups resulted in strong, almost wine-like aromas with smoky hickory tinged by mild notes of caramel in the background. Flavor was nicely presented with a huge amount of complex tastes swirling around in the cup. You start off with some of the smoky notes, but surprisingly, they're a lot smoother and not as intense as your typical Starbucks dark roast. You then notice some molasses flavors mingling around with more notes of sweet caramel and things are topped off by some dark chocolate flavors near the end with a light spicy kick in the finish. Outstanding & unlike anything we've seen before from Starbucks.

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It's a shame these are only available for a limited time since this was quickly turning out to be one of our favorite Starbucks K-Cups. We also couldn't help but notice how all the complex notes in the taste could pair well with a huge variety of foods, so foodies will get an extra added bonus out of these K-Cups. The possibilities of food pairings are just mind-boggling and show just how versatile this K-Cup can be.

Body was dark brown in color with shades of deep red when held in front of a light source. It reminded us of an aged red wine, much like how they aged the Sumatran coffee beans. Acidity was surprisingly smooth and not maxed off the charts like your usual Starbucks coffee but it paired quite well with the spicy notes in the finish to keep things lively. Mouth feel was super smooth throughout with more spicy & peppery notes in the finish & aftertaste.

  • Aroma - 10 - Strong almost wine-like aromas with some of the traditional signature Starbucks hickory notes with the new addition of mild caramel notes in the background. We liked this new combination of "smoky caramel" and thought it worked rather well.
  • Acidity - 10 - Shockingly well balanced for a Starbucks K-Cup. Not too weak yet nowhere near as strong as usual. The lighter acidic notes paired quite well with the spicy notes in the finish and kept things lively. Amazing.
  • Body - 10 - Dark brown with notes of deep red when held to a light source. Reminded us of an aged red wine and played well with the notion that aged Sumatran beans were used in this coffee.
  • Flavor - 10 - Where to begin? LOADS of complex notes in abundance here. Things kick off with the smoky notes up front followed by a mix of molasses & caramel topped off with dark chocolate notes near the end with a light spicy finish. Unlike any Starbucks K-Cup we've ever seen.
  • Mouth Feel - 10 - Despite the controlled chaos with the flavors, mouth feel was super smooth overall with more spicy & peppery notes in the finish & aftertaste.
  • Coffee Drinker - Suited best for those who like bold & spicy coffees with complex tasting notes. Pairs well with a huge variety of foods and can be used anytime of the day for breakfast, lunch & dinner. VERY highly recommended!

Overall Rating: 100 - Excellent!

Wow... we've got to admit, we were expecting the standard fare of an average cup of Charbucks coffee but were pleasantly surprised to find the total opposite. You can tell Starbucks actually took the time to source only the best beans and used a nice aging technique to give this probably one of the most distinctive tastes we've seen in a Starbucks K-Cup yet. As noted earlier, there are hints everywhere that this may be only the first of many more seasonal Starbucks K-Cups. So we're cautiously optimistic that we may be seeing Christmas Blend, Tribute Blend and maybe even Guatemala Casi Cielo K-Cups over the next several months. Starbucks is also actively looking for fan suggestions via their social media presence and blog sites, so if there's a particular flavor you'd like to see appear in K-Cup format, be sure to drop them a line.

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We were a bit disappointed that some of the earlier Starbucks K-Cups all seemed to taste the same, but we can finally say that this particular Anniversary Blend K-Cup definitely does NOT taste like any Starbucks K-Cup you've had before. If you like bold & spicy coffees, you should give this one a try despite the steep price. The complexities of the tasting notes just pair well with such a huge variety of foods that the possibilities are almost limitless. Just don't wait around too long as we think these K-Cups might start flying off store shelves once people get over the price & realize just how good these are. Things may not have ended well for the Tassimo Starbucks T-Discs, but we'd be hard-pressed to believe that the same fate even has a slim chance of occurring for Keurig if they keep churning out K-Cups that are this damn good.

Starbucks Anniversary Blend K-Cups will work in all Keurig brewers and are available at both American & Canadian Starbucks shops for a limited time in 12-packs for roughly $12.95 USD & CAD (Pricing may vary).

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased a box of these K-Cups on our own for the purpose of this review.

Read how we review and rate single-serve coffee and other single-serve coffee beverages here.

Read More in: K Cup Reviews | Keurig & K-Cups | Reviews | Starbucks Single Serve Coffee

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Posted by Jay Brewer at September 17, 2012 7:43 AM

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