What Coffee Do Starbucks Use? (Detailed Report)

Many of us can agree that Starbucks has something unique to offer. You’re hit with that uplifting aroma of roast coffee the moment you walk into any of their coffee shops, and their drinks are consistently flavorful with that signature kick to them. In addition, most coffee lovers agree that Starbucks coffees are stronger than those found in other cafes. So, understandably, there is a great deal of interest in the origins of their coffee beans.

Starbucks uses 100% arabica coffee beans sourced from over thirty countries across three major growing regions: Africa, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.

After sourcing their beans, the company roasts them in the United States before distributing them to over 14,000 stores.

Let’s start with a look at Starbucks’ coffee growing practices and how ethically their coffee beans are sourced.

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We’ll also look at their roasting techniques and the types of roasted beans they use in their blends. This information is critical for gaining a better understanding of what gives Starbucks its distinct flavors.

What is the source of Starbucks’ coffee?

Starbucks sources coffee from the world’s three primary growing regions: Africa, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.

They only use Arabica beans, which are among the best coffee beans. Arabica coffee has refined flavors due to its high acidic content, adding complexity to the beans.

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The journey of coffee beans from farm to cup is undeniably difficult. The plant is extremely difficult to grow because it only thrives at higher altitudes, ranging from 3000 to 6,000 feet, making harvesting more difficult.

Furthermore, the cherries take a long time to develop because of the hot days and cool nights. But, on the other hand, this long growing period helps the cherries and beans inside develop their rich flavor.

Starbucks buyers have made the arduous journey to far-flung areas in Latin America, East Africa, and Asia since their first store opened in 1971, developing positive relationships with farmers and communities.

Even today, the company gets its coffee beans from the same mountainous regions of the coffee belt.

Is Starbucks coffee ethically sourced?

Starbucks, according to Fairtrade America, is one of the world’s leading buyers of Fairtrade coffee, accounting for around a quarter of global purchases.

The company has always made an effort to obtain its coffee beans in a manner that is respectful to the producers and the location in which the beans are produced, as well as the environment.

Arabica coffee is sourced responsibly and grown in a sustainable manner.

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Starbucks has been collaborating with Fairtrade since 2000. To honor their commitment to assisting farmers in strengthening their enterprises and minimizing risk, the company has funded farmer loans totaling more than $14 million in Fairtrade cooperatives.

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Furthermore, in 2004, Starbucks established C.A.F.E. to lay out guidelines for growing, processing, and sourcing to ensure that every cup meets farmer equity.

The guidelines are in place to assist the company in assessing supply chains, which includes evaluating thousands of farmers to determine which ones produce the best quality coffee while also practicing environmentally and socially responsible practices. Coffee growers can be classified in a variety of socially responsible ways.

On the other hand, C.A.F.E.’s program is comprehensive, and it establishes minimum expectations of suppliers while encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable coffee production practices. C.A.F.E. practices are divided into three categories:


In the first category, farmworkers are the primary focus. It examines the workers’ and their children’s wages, benefits, education, and healthcare.

In addition, this focuses on ensuring that their living conditions are in accordance with national laws and international conventions, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for child labor.


This category examines environmental issues such as deforestation, soil care, wildlife preservation, agrochemical use, energy use and maintenance, and water use and maintenance.

It is also involved in developing farming methods that promote long-term productivity while maintaining healthy soil.

It has emphasized the importance of growing shade trees, which results in biodiversity and the protection of wildlife habitats, and implementing proper waste management to reduce environmental impact and the use of agrochemicals.


This division investigates the taste of coffee and the economics of coffee production to ensure that workers are paid fairly.

Furthermore, third-party inspection officers conduct supply chain audits, visit a portion of the farms, and check to see if the water sources are protected, pest management methods are appropriate, and good biodiversity.

The Fairtrade Foundation of America reports that Starbucks is one of the world’s largest buyers of Fairtrade coffee, accounting for approximately a quarter of global purchases. 

A commitment to sourcing coffee beans in a manner that is respectful of the producers, the region in which the beans are produced, as well as the environment, has been made by the company since its founding. Arabica coffee is sourced ethically and grown in a sustainable manner, according to the company.

What Is The Average Starbucks Coffee?

Pike Place Roast is the standard coffee option at Starbucks; it’s a medium roast used for drip coffee. Subtle cocoa notes combine with toasted nuts to create a smooth, well-balanced flavor.

Starbucks uses an espresso blend with a medium-dark roast for espresso-based drinks.

Many coffee enthusiasts comment on Starbucks’ strong flavor, but they use a medium to dark roast, which has a stronger flavor.

Therefore, you will receive the medium to dark roast unless you specifically request a lighter roast by default.

Because of its strong flavor, many people believe that dark roast has higher caffeine content. On the other hand, dark roasts contain less caffeine than light roasts because the light roast is denser.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of coffee blends in varying roast shades, so familiarizing yourself with their menu is essential. Their entire coffee selection:

  • Pike Place Roast House Blend Medium Roast Willow Blend Veranda Blend Breakfast Blend
  • Espresso, Dark Roast Caffe Verona Roast
  • Decaf Komoda Dragon blend French roast Italian roast Decaf Komoda Dragon blend.

Starbucks’ Blending and Roasting Techniques

Coffee beans are harvested and transported from the farm to one of Starbucks’ roasting plants in the United States after they have been processed.

It is in this environment that the flavor of the coffee beans is developed and maintained. In order to produce a brew with excellent aroma, acidity, flavor, and body, each coffee requires a slightly different roasting time and temperature than the others.

The company’s master roasters use their expertise to create a diverse range of roasts. The company has spent nearly 50 years perfecting its roasting techniques to bring out the natural flavors in each coffee.

Coffee beans are roasted differently in each roasting category to bring out their unique characteristics. As a result, they offer their coffee in three different roasts.


This is their lightest roast because it roasts faster. As a result, it has a lighter body and subtle flavors.


These coffees have rich flavors that are smooth and balanced.


Compared to the other roasts, these coffees have a fuller, bolder flavor.

Before Starbucks roasts their coffee, the green beans smell like sweet grains or vegetables, and roasting imparts acidity, aroma, flavor, and body to the beans. As a result, each roast has a distinct flavor.

For example, the willow blend, roasted on the lighter side of the spectrum, has a mellow and soft flavor with delicate cocoa notes.

On the other hand, Starbucks French Roast coffee is a dark roast coffee with caramelized notes and a rich flavor.

Many people believe that dark coffee must contain more caffeine because it tastes strong, but this is not the case.

Because lightly roasted beans are denser than dark roasted beans, they contain more caffeine, whereas dark roasts are less dense and thus contain less caffeine.

So, if you need a boost in the morning, go for a light roast.

Even within a roasting category, there is variation in the coffees. Each one has its personality, which is determined by its origins, roast, and processing method, as well as how it’s brewed in-store.

You must try all of them to determine which ones you prefer.

Understanding Starbucks’ blending process is critical because they enjoy showcasing coffees worldwide. Starbucks sells some single-origin coffees, while the rest are a mash-up of various blends.

They blend coffee to achieve specific flavors. As an example, their House blend combines three Latin American coffees to highlight the best characteristics of those regions.

The result is a flavor that is fresh, lively, and well-balanced. Their Gazebo blend uses African coffees to produce bright, lemony flavors. This blend is perfect for iced coffee.

Last Thoughts

Starbucks only uses the best Arabica coffee in all of their drinks, and they source it ethically. In addition, they offer a variety of coffee blends but only three roasts.

Even if you’re not familiar with their extensive menu and don’t specify a roast preference, you’ll be served a medium to dark roast for espresso-based drinks and Pike Place Roasts for drip coffee if you’re unfamiliar with their extensive menu.

However, it is advantageous to be aware of what is available so that you can experiment with different flavors and truly understand what you like.

Starbucks knows a thing or two about coffee and what their customers like. On their menu, you’ll notice that some of their coffees are single-origin, while the rest are blends.

This is because some coffees taste best on their own, whereas others require the addition of other coffees to bring out specific flavors.

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