Starbucks is going light, with a "Blonde Roast" blend of coffee, for those who need a gallon of cream and a six-pack of sugar to choke down their morning cup of Joe. Bowing to criticism that their coffee was too strong for many, the company has introduced a lighter blend.
Cliff Burrows, president of Americans for Starbucks, released a statement saying:
We recognized the unmet consumer need for a super-premium light roast coffee, and our coffee developers went to work to craft a great-tasting, quality lighter roast coffee we are proud to stand behind... This is a significant opportunity for Starbucks to gain a greater share of the brewed coffee marketÂ—both in our stores and down the coffee aisle.
It's about time. The market for good coffee is huge, but good doesn't necessarily mean strong enough to dissolve tonsils. Starbucks carries the dark-roasted beans a bit too far, as Nielson research determined, showing that 40% of coffee drinkers in the U.S. prefer a lighter coffee, and AP reports that a whopping 70% of coffee sold in grocery stores is light and medium blend.
The coffee giant is also planning to educate consumers on the different roasts. Isn't that nice? Apparently, the company has decided that the flannel shirts and work boots clientele usually found at Dunkin' Donuts are a worthy market... well, as long as they are educated in the finer aspects of different coffee roasts.
The hardcore Starbucks customers will no doubt mock the "Blonde Roast" as a sissy cup of coffee, but the bottom line is always the money. Shares rose 2.3%, to $42.10 in afternoon trading.