Starbucks released two new reserve coffees from Indonesia at the same time, and when I saw them both pop up on the menu board at my local store, I immediately wondered what the difference was. Fortunately, I was able to set up a little taste test so I could do a side by side comparison of Isla Flores Indonesia and West Java Indonesia.
Isla Flores is a very smooth coffee that has a really nice balance of sweetness and earthiness. You can definitely taste some of the butterscotch and caramel notes in the coffee, though they are balanced out by a moist, earth flavor that grounds the coffee. It is quite dark, but extremely easy to drink – even if you don’t usually take your coffee back. The beans are processed using a washed method, different from the semi-washed processing that is more common to the area. Apparently, the method brings out a unique color in the coffee beans (before they are roasted, of course), as well.
This coffee would pair well with just about anything (seriously), from banana bread to those little caramel candies that Starbucks sells at the register (and were sampled to me by a barista who was 100% right in saying they were a delicious pairing). This coffee is only available in very small batches, so this is one to taste first if it shows up at your local store, since it isn’t likely to last.