Starbucks has been jumping on a lot of coffee bandwagons lately, from flat whites to a new subscription service, and now they are expanding the release of their Cold Brew Blend.
The company is playing catch-up due to the rise of smaller roasters like Stumptown Coffee Roasters who’ve built their reputations on their cold-brewed coffee.
Starbucks began testing their Cold Brew last summer and are rolling out the product to more than 2,800 stores in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states. It’s unclear if the absence of West Coast locations is due to poorer sales in San Francisco tests in comparison to Boston.
The blend of espressos will be steeped in water for 20 hours and then diluted. Significantly.
Michelle Sundquist, a member of Starbucks Research Development team, told Eater that the caffeine level in the company’s cold brew is only about 5mg higher than normal.
Stumptown’s cold brew process only takes about 12 hours, but offers 71-122mg more caffeine than the same amount of their drip coffee, according to Stumptown Director of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Allie Shanholt.
And this won’t be the first time Starbucks sells watered-down products this year.
Starbucks’ latest attempt to remain relevant in an exponentially progressive beverage vertical was their national introduction of Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk in lieu of a much more reasonable almond milk addition.
If you were wondering why adding coconut milk to favorite Starbucks beverage tastes like your barista just poured sugar water over your espresso shots, it’s because that’s exactly what’s happening. The actual cartons read “Sumatra Coconut Milk Beverage with Coconut Water from Concentrate” and boast 14 ingredients in the standard descending order of percentage, the first being water.
This is a disheartening trend since the Cold Brew Blend is likely to be on the pricier end of the spectrum. Each store will make one small batch a day that can only accommodate about 40 grande cups worth of the beverage.
If you’re still into it, the Cold Brew is hitting the aforementioned select areas on March 31.
Hopefully, for April Fool’s they’ll keep some caffeine in the batch.