My favorite coffee from Starbucks was a limited edition Aged Sumatra that was released back in 2008 (wow – time flies!). It was rich, smooth, dark and complex in the most perfect and memorable way. I like Sumatran coffee in general, but this was a real showstopper. As a result, I was very excited to see a new Starbucks Reserve at my local store, the Aged Sumatra Lot No. 593. This coffee is unique because it is one single lot of coffee. Much like wine from a single vineyard, it has its own quality and character that is different from similar coffees. With wine, when you work with a single vineyard, you can really learn the qualities that make that piece of earth unique (terroir) and it is no different from coffee – except that we don’t often see coffee treated like wine.
The coffee was dark and smooth, with a earthy, woodsy quality at its core. It had a slight sweetness and hints of anise, as well as a subtle cocoa note to it that rounded out all of those other flavors. It was absolutely nothing like that long-lost Aged Sumatra that I liked (except for the deep earthiness that I tend to find in most good Sumatran coffees), but it was excellent nonetheless. I also tried this coffee iced and it worked quite well, making a very rich cup of iced coffee that was both dark and satisfying, though I noted that some of the lighter anise notes were less noticeable over ice.