Starbucks Adds New Espresso for First Time Since 1971

Starbucks announced that they "decided to break the rules a bit," adding a blonde roast espresso to the menu in all their U.S. stores.

Since their launch in 1971, Starbucks has offered only their Signature blend espresso for shots and drinks that call for it. The new blend tastes more like their blonde roast coffee blends, such as Veranda and Willow, which were introduced in 2012. The blonde roasts have a lighter flavor and color, without the bitterness associated with dark roast coffee.

A Starbucks spokesperson told People that the new blonde roast espresso combines coffee sourced from various regions -- hence the "rule-breaking." It starts with a base of Latin American coffee, with some East African coffees blended in for "acidity and citrus notes."

Lighter roasts of coffee are not only less bitter than typical dark roasts, but they tend to contain more caffeine, so Starbucks has likely made a safe bet on this new product.

The blonde roast espresso is recommended for iced drinks and "espresso-forward" beverages, according to a Starbucks Barista Champion. Taste testers confirm that it adds a nutty, refreshing taste to lattes and other drinks.

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The blonde espresso has been available in Canada since last winter. It's also been thoroughly market tested, with some stores in Austin, Texas and Tampa, Florida carrying it since last spring. It's available in all Starbucks locations across the U.S. now.