Jan 31, 2012

Starbucks Reserve Blue Java Indonesia, reviewed

Blue Java

Coffees from the Pacific tend to be some of my favorites, as they tend to make wonderfully complex and smooth dark roast coffees. I didn’t hesitate to try the Starbucks Reserve Blue Java Indonesia when my store got it in – but I did wait until I had tried it a few times before giving it a review here. The reason is that I was actually quite surprised by this coffee and it took a little bit of time for it to grow on me. This isn’t because I didn’t care for it, but because I found it to be a little unusual for a coffee from the South Pacific. While you definitely get some of the richness that I expect to find in a coffee from, say Sumatra, this particular coffee is a little lighter in flavor and quite complex. It didn’t have any of the red berry notes that I look for in Sumatran coffees. Instead, I got a lot of herb flavors from this coffee, including fresh sage and juniper, as well as a little cedar and some dry earth tones (which I usually just call “dirt,” though I certainly don’t mean that in a negative way!).

I liked it from the start, but I liked it even more once I had had it a few times. Those sage notes make this a brilliant coffee to pair with savory breakfast foods (and snacks, if you indulge in a second cup of coffee in the afternoons) and it is complex enough to keep it interesting. I also found that this made a surprisingly good iced coffee, since its lighter feel made it very refreshing when brewed cold.

1 Comment

  • We were extremely lucky to get some of the Reserve coffees at my store last summer, and while they didn’t sell particularly well (we’re mostly a tourist store that time of year), this was a fairly big hit with the partners and visiting Coffee Masters.

    I agree with what you say in your review, that it does definitely have some of the body and spicier notes of other Asia/Pacific coffees, the mellowness appealed to people where we’re used to lighter roasts and blends. I’m usually a big fan of Sumatra, so this was a tad on the light side for me, but it’s nice to have some variation from the region!

    p.s. I still have half a bag of Blue Java that’s gone completely stale by now, but I just can’t bring myself to throw it away!

    Edinburgh, Scotland

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