Starbucks Reserve – Summer 2017
For the current Spring season, the Starbucks Reserve is serving 3 types of Reserve beans in Singapore stores. It is an extremely rare occurrence in the short history since 2012 to chance upon 3 different coffee bean types in the stores. Though, over the years the number of Reserve stores has grown from 1 to 10. As I happen to spend my evening at the 100th Store recently, decided to try out one of the three new offerings for this season.
Costa Rica Vista Del Mar Yellow Honey
The West Valley region of Costa Rica is renowned for coffees that feature bright, full-bodied flavors. To continue building on this celebrated flavor profile, this lot was created with cherries chosen from select farmers using the “yellow honey” processing method—a rigorous technique that intensifies the coffee’s sweet and fruity notes. To achieve this effect, the beans are constantly rotated as they dry, with the pulp left intact. Eventually the parchment turns a honey-yellow color as the pulp becomes sticky. These painstaking efforts result in a smooth mouthfeel featuring green apple, honey and sugarcane notes—a delicious reflection of the deep passion that has gained the farmers in this community so much respect and admiration.
The beauty of the rare Maracaturra coffee varietal will be apparent the moment you open this bag. Inside are some of the most robust beans you’ll ever see, comically out of proportion to what you’re used to. Yet contrary to their dimensions, they come from a delicate plant that requires farmer Luis Emilio Valladarez to approach cultivation with extra care and diligence. Luis Emilio, who began running Buenos Aires farm in 1955, got the Maracaturra seeds as a gift. He quickly realized that the awesome size and striking flavors were worth the effort, and soon became one of a small number of producers who grow Maracaturra, making it a sought-after crop. Delivering a bright, sweetly complex cup, these beans speak volumes about his outsized commitment and passion.
Nicaragua La Roca
One of Nicaragua’s three primary coffee-growing regions, Nueva Segovia boasts the highest elevation. Ranging up to 4,921 feet, the land here produces a small volume of coffee, but one of such distinct character that our coffee buyer recognized it after one sip. The relatively low humidity of the region concentrates the sugars of the coffee cherry with an intensity resulting in a unique sweetness and complexity. And the mixture of volcanic soil and rainforest cover further contribute to conditions that consistently produce some of Nicaragua’s most sought after beans. This lot in particular was first pre-dried in full shade and then partial-shade dried, a slow process that helped amplify the special terroir of the region, with stunning flavors of orange hibiscus and a red-plum sweetness.
Source: Starbucks Singapore
Of the three beans available from the Central American region, decided to go for the shiny yellow one – Costa Rica Vista Del Mar Yellow Honey. Not to be deceived by the packaging – though it reads Yellow Honey; it actually refers to the “yellow honey” processing method. If you have read the article thus far, you will have read the meaning of the extraction method.
This time around, I did not ask the Barista to do the food pairing for me. Instead, I had chosen to pair the coffee with a cookie. Partly because the coffee profile seems a bit muted – despite being able to taste a bit of honey and sugarcane note, the green apple note was not very apparent. I have chosen to have it via the Clover brewing method, where the coffee comes out pretty fine and smooth as well. The chocolate cookie helps to bring out the flavour of the rich coffee within.
Do swing by any of the 10 Reserve stores to try out any of these 3 before the season ends.
Note: The author owns some shares in Starbucks at the point of writing this article. Refer to Drip of Dividends for a list of articles related to investing equities for capital appreciation and dividends.
For my previous articles on Starbucks Reserve coffee.