May 27, 2014

Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups Review

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When Starbucks promised to expand their line-up a few months ago, they opted to go different routes and one of those routes was to introduce 2 new Blonde Roast K-Cup flavors which would be sold only at select retailers & various grocery stores. We already reviewed the first flavor, Starbucks Willow/Aria Blend, and today we managed to finally track down the 2nd… Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups. Will these be any different than the 1st flavor? Let’s find out.

Brewing these K-Cups resulted in mild notes of smoke followed by a light tinge of citrus underneath with a slight wine-like aroma overall. There were also faint nutty notes hiding underneath as well. It wasn’t like any Starbucks we’ve seen before and had already piqued our curiosity. Flavor yielded more citrusy sour notes up front followed by mild notes of smoke & a lingering hint of bittersweet dark chocolate near the end of each sip. We could definitely see how adding some cream would help balance things out a bit more, but we opted to keep things au naturel and left things black.

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Acidity seemed fairly bright indeed and lived up to the namesake by resulting in a vibrant pop upon each sip, however, it wasn’t too overpowering and didn’t make the sour factor go over the top. Body yielded bright shades of red & orange tinged with slight amber notes near the bottom end much akin to a morning sunrise. Mouth feel remained smooth although verging close to being watery while finish was a bit on the sweeter side with some light smoky & nutty notes underneath. 

  • Aroma – 9 – An intriguingly light mix of mild smoke & citrus notes combine with an overall wine-like aroma tinged with slight nutty notes hiding underneath. A unique mix which is unlike any Starbucks coffee we’ve seen yet.
  • Acidity – 8 – Fairly strong & bright overall which resulted in a vibrant pop of sour notes upon each sip, but it wasn’t too overpowering and did not result in the sour notes going over the top. 
  • Body – 9 – Bright shades of red & orange tinged with amber notes near the bottom end reminded us of a morning sunrise and helped reinforce the idea that this was a morning coffee aimed at starting off your day instead of something you’d take in the afternoon or during the evening.
  • Flavor – 9 – More citrusy sour notes appear up front followed by mild smoky notes with a taste of bittersweet dark chocolate near the end of each sip. Adding a bit of creamer might have helped subdue the sour notes somewhat. 
  • Mouth Feel – 8 – Smooth yet bordering close on being watery and gave things a very light feel overall while finish was somewhat on the sweeter side with some light smoky & nutty notes underneath.
  • Coffee Drinker – Suited best for Starbucks fans who are already familiar with the Blonde Roast lineup and prefer a more acidic coffee with stronger citrusy sour notes up front. Definitely not geared towards medium or dark roast fans who are accustomed to a more conventional Starbucks House Blend or Caffe Verona.

Overall Rating: 93 – Exceptional

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So there you have it, 2 new Blonde Roast coffees from Starbucks to help broaden-out their lighter roasted end of the spectrum. While we didn’t fancy the Willow/Aria Blend all that much, we thought this Bright Sky Blend was a considerably better offering all around and if we were forced to pick between the two, we’d have to concede that we like this one better. While we appreciate the fact that Starbucks are committed to introducing new SKUs and offerings in the retail market, we’d like them to branch more into a route they’ve only started looking into… flavored coffees. Sure, they have Vanilla & Caramel K-Cups, but there’s many other flavors they could explore.

We feel it’s an often neglected category which if done right, can gain a major share of fans and be a solid winner in the brand’s repertoire. Green Mountain often excel at flavored coffees and if we had to look at their sales figures (no, we don't have access to that info) we’d guess that most of their K-Cup sales are likely of the flavored variety vs. unflavored. Plus it’s no coincidence that their limited edition seasonal K-Cups are all mostly flavored coffees as well. That aside, we still think Starbucks have done a decent job at introducing new blends to the K-Cup scene and look forward to seeing what else they’ve got planned over the next several months.

Starbucks Bright Sky Blend K-Cups work in all Keurig K-Cup Brewers and are available at various retailers & grocery stores across USA in 16-packs for roughly $12.99 USD. These K-Cups are also available at various grocery stores across Canada in 12-packs for roughly $10.99 CAD. Please also note that K-Cups will NOT work with Keurig Vue brewers.

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 More in: K Cup Reviews | Keurig & K-Cups | Reviews

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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 27, 2014 7:29 AM

Recent Comments

I don't find The Fool's financial opinions credible but this is an interesting article that implies Starbies has not made any significant impact o the single serve market with their Versimo system, even at deep discounts.
Although I cannot abide any product from Starbies, unless it is the only available choice, I am glad to see they're making a coffee for the K system that is worth drinking.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/04/07/nespresso-vs-keurig-the-battle-for-single-cup-coff.aspx


Posted by: david bogie at May 27, 2014 8:39 AM
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