By October 21, 2014 Read Article
Starbucks Store Exterior

How Does Starbucks Rate?

Today, MSN Money Market Watch features an article titled 10 things Starbucks won’t tell you.”  It’s an interesting piece that shares mostly negative information such as Starbuck’s famous Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) contains chemicals and artificial colorings but no actual pumpkin. And, the Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino has more than 500 calories.

According to the article, the first thing that Starbucks won’t tell you is: “Many coffee lovers don’t love our coffee.”   According to the article, Starbucks coffees didn’t fare well in blind tastings by Consumer Reports and others online publications that aren’t necessarily known for evaluating coffee.  That isn’t exactly breaking news. Starbucks isn’t generally touted as sourcing and roasting the absolute best coffee beans.  At their size, it would be impossible.  Instead, Starbucks is probably better known for “decent” quality coffees, consistency, and convenience.

So, what does “decent” mean?  We thought we’d take a look at how Starbucks coffees have fared in Coffee Review ratings over the years….

We’ve rated 50 Starbucks coffees over the past 17 years.  The average score is 83.1 points, which is considered good but certainly not great. The average includes reviews of five single-serve pods, which actually earned an average score of 84.2, and two instant coffees that didn’t fare well, earning scores of 77 and 68 points.  If we remove these coffees, the average rating rises to 83.4.  Decent.

Many Coffee Review readers look for coffees rated 90 or higher as a measure of high quality.  Starbucks earned one 90-point score, for its Serena Organic Blend in February, 2004.

It’s true that elite, higher scoring coffees often cost more than “decent” coffees.  However, that isn’t always the case.  In fact, at the urging of readers, we added a page for Best Value Coffees, which provides a list of coffees that are both high quality and reasonably priced, at times less expensive than Starbucks offerings.


Posted in: Coffee News

About the Author:

Ron Walters, co-founder of Coffee Review, manages business operations, including, marketing, and social media. He conceived of and helped pioneer the development of 100-point reviews in the specialty coffee industry. For the past twenty years, he has been engaged in strategy, marketing, and management of specialty food and beverage businesses.

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