Starbucks To Bring Back "Burnt" Coffee Due To Customer Demand

Only a few months after replacing their “bolder” (some would say “burnt”) varieties of brewed coffee with the more “mild” (some would say “dunkin donuts-esque”) Pike Place Roast, Starbucks has announced that due to popular demand, they’ll be brewing some of the old stuff too.

The Wall Street Journal tells us:

“Because of your many requests for a bolder coffee choice throughout the day at Starbucks, we are bringing it back in the afternoon to many of those stores that sell lots of freshly brewed coffee all day long,” Starbucks said in a message posted on its customer feedback Web site Tuesday. The company said it will brew a bolder variety for customers when they ask for it. “This will sometimes mean a small wait, but it will also give you the absolute freshest cup of coffee possible,” the company said on the site.

Starbucks Restores Bold Blend, Yielding to Its Customers [WSJ]
(Photo: satosphere )

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  1. camman68 says:

    AWESOME! Pike Place SUCKS!

  2. How does anyone drink that burnt swill? I’ll admit that I’m spoiled when it comes to Java, as my local coffee place (Bongo Java-Nashville) roasts their own beans on the premises.

    But even without that hook up, I couldn’t see why people would pay extra for coffee that tastes like someone doesn’t know the difference between “roasted” and “burnt”.

  3. screwtapeletters says:

    Hm, this reminds me of the New Coke v. Classic Coke strategy, bringing back a “customer favorite” to up your sales.

  4. consumersaur says:

    In before all the pretentious coffee nerds!

  5. TVarmy says:

    I don’t like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee unless it’s iced and mixed with so much sugar and cream it is arguably milk with a hint of coffee residue.

    I tend to like dark pacific roasts, bordering on the burnt flavors of Starbucks.

    One thing I don’t get is why Starbucks is now trying to pitch itself as a place to get fresh roasted coffee. The chalkboard usually lists coffee roasted a month ago two states away, while the independant coffee shop I go to when in town serves coffee roasted in store less than a week ago. I think coffee dogma states that coffee peaks after 4 hours from roasting, and then sharply declines after 4 days.

    I roast my own in a popcorn popper.

  6. crabbyman6 says:

    @consumersaur: Too late. :D Some people take their beverages way too seriously.

  7. I think that D&D coffee tastes burnt, except when it’s iced. Never drank anything from StarBucks that I can remember, except maybe some hot chocolate.

  8. chucklebuck says:

    @camman68:

    Amen to that.

  9. consumersaur says:

    @crabbyman6: Nooo kidding. Especially the non-alcoholic ones.

  10. sean77 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes: Why in god’s name do people abbreviate “Dunkin Donuts” as “D&D”? Do you see an “AND” in the name?

    Cut it out before I get stabby.

  11. Squeezer99 says:

    Stabucks?

  12. Jenng says:

    They need to bring back the Skinny Mocha’s BASTARDS

  13. TWinter says:

    Hmmmmm. I’ve always suspected that Starbucks over-roasted their regular coffee to promote sales of the espresso based drinks with higher profit margins. Maybe the Pikes Place has been too successful and people are drinking that instead of lattes and frapucinos.

  14. @sean77: Sorry. From now on, I will say “D-in D”. Better?

  15. howie_in_az says:

    @sean77: I was wondering if Dungeons and Dragons had their own coffees now. I was a little excited and a little confused at the same time.

    I buy store coffee and drink it at home. There’s no reason to go to any coffee place when you can buy their coffee, or even better coffee, online.

  16. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Pike, Pike, Pike. My local Starbucks stores used to have a bigger selection but now all they have is Pike …and are reluctant to brew-to-order. Service with a scowl.

  17. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    How about DnD? :)

  18. Farquar says:

    @consumersaur: Surely you’ve seen the beer snobbery around here.. Alcoholic beverages are not immune from the self-righteous.

  19. consumersaur says:

    @Farquar: For some reason alcohol snobbery is slightly less annoying, because it at least gets you drunk. The best is watching people snob out over what is essentially fast food beverages like starbucks.

  20. Chris Walters says:

    @IfThenElvis: How about Double-D

  21. Burgandy says:

    I’ll admit that I love my coffee, but if I am headed to $tarbuck$ then I’m no going for anything other than an espresso based drink. If I want drip, I’ll do it myself.

  22. theRIAA says:

    darker roast has less caffeine. I love pike place roast in my espresso machine (my mom got me a free sampling). If you want a richer drink get more espresso shots or stop getting ultra grande size that just waters the shots down. Starbucks should just start randomly serving pure unsweetened pike place espresso to people that complain it’s not dark enough.

  23. exkon says:

    Not a coffee drinker myself, but I do follows these stories because I’m a Seattle native.

    Interesting that so “many” people complained about the burnt taste of the coffee only to have it brought back.

    Consumers sure know what they want.

    Another example of the “negative” crowd being the loudest voice.

  24. B says:

    Starbucks? feh. The coffee at the hole in the wall pizza place near me, I mean the credit union I belong to is way better.

  25. oldtaku says:

    Good. After lunch on Saturday we like to walk over to Starbucks and splurge on a grande bold coffee (normally we brew our own) and split a toffee almond bar. After they introduced Pike Place, suddenly they no longer had any bold coffee, ever, even though it was still on the menu. Got to the point we were just heading further down to the Coffee Bean.

    I wrote and complained, got back some stupid corporate-ese form letter, but apparently they were keeping track.

  26. floyderdc says:

    @B:

    Heh I grow my own coffee and it is pennies per serving

  27. Trai_Dep says:

    If people prefer lighter roasts to darker ones, fine. Great!
    But calling darker roasts “burnt” is whiny. Coming from people who probably couldn’t tell the difference btn freeze-dried and freshly-ground. Or who frequent Dunkin’ Doughnuts over local cafes (or Peet’s or Starbucks). Yet loathe those that can for having taste buds or like the social atmosphere of cafes.
    Yeesh.
    (Uh oh. Am I whining about whining? That can’t be good…)

  28. B says:

    @floyderdc: And no HFCS I bet.

  29. pantsonfire says:

    @B: I’m with you on the delicious credit union coffee. Why is anyone still shopping at Starbucks anyway?

  30. Oh great, the place reeks now, the burnt coffee smells even worse.

  31. pantsonfire says:

    @floyderdc: Hey maybe we could start a coffee coop. You grow it, I roast it and B brews it. I think we might really be on to something here.

  32. psychos says:

    @sean77:
    Why do people who are whining about spelling leave the apostrophe out of “Dunkin’ Donuts”?

  33. pantsonfire says:

    Sorry, that should read coffee co-op not coop. Coffee coops are evil. I only drink free range coffee.

  34. @Jenng: You liked the sugar-free chocolate cleanser they put in those? Yikes.

    As for Starbucks coffee tasting “burnt”, I suppose it’s just an acquired taste. I’ve been drinking Starbucks for years and other than the extremes (French, Gold Coast, Christmas) I don’t get even a hint of “burnt”. Try some Ethiopia Sidamo with no cream or sugar and some sort of lemon pastry…delicious. To me, after all this time, just about all other coffee tastes like truck stop coffee.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Weird that people would have different tastes in beverages instead of everyone liking the same thing. I mean, who would have thought?

    One of the SBUX shops near me was actually serving drip espresso the other day. It was a lot better than I expected it to be and I would probably order it again.

  36. u1itn0w2day says:

    It’s a good thing that Starbucks is listening to their customers.But in a sense that is the problem.Starbucks has been running off a really loyal & obessed customer base.In other words Starbucks hasn’t done enough expansion into the lower priced less extravigant coffees ie:NEW customers.You can only do so much before you run the well dry.

  37. drjayphd says:

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    If Starbucks kept their “nothing but Pike Place after noon” policy going, the streets would have run red with the blood of baristas. Some of us work nights, ya know…

    @mexmexmex2000: That’s the whole reason I’d get plain ol’ coffee from Starbucks. If I wanted just coffee, I’d go to Dunkin’ Donuts, but Starbucks had the different blends, so I could at least feel like I was drinking something different.

    @Chris Walters: I think you’d see broad-based support here for Double-D…s. ;)

    @Farquar: Snobbery, maybe, but at least beer brings everyone here to the table. :)

  38. LmaoTseTung says:

    @B: I’m not sure if you actually think there’s corn syrup in starbucks coffee or if you’re referencing some sort of dialog with floyderc you’ve had before. If you’re talking about the syrups, I’m pretty sure they’re just torani-made syrups with starbucks written on the bottle. There is not any corn syrup in those syrups.

    Anyways, I’m always amazed at the blanketing of starbucks coffee as burnt. There’definitely some swill there. Their French Roast, supposed to taste “smoky”, just tastes like ash. Sumatra, supposed to taste “earthy”, tastes like mud. However, there are plenty of decent roasts there. Like someone said earlier, the roast used for starbucks espresso is actually very good brewed, though I’ve always found the espresso there to be watery and weak (strange that some of you hate their “burnt” coffee but will drink their 24 oz. of milk with a hint of espresso lattes). Kenya, out of a french press, is one of my favorite coffees.

    Honestly, it’s hard to make an opinion out of any bean unless its brewed in a french press. Which requires nothing but a kettle and 4 minutes hard labor waiting. I doubt anyone who claims “STarBUCKS BURNS ALL COFFEE LOL” has sat down with a french press and brewed any of their coffees, much less all of them, to really validate their opinion that all coffee coming out of a white bag with a starbucks sticker on it is burnt.

    I live in Chicago so a lot of independent shops are loaded with intellegensia. I don’t find the need for starbucks too often. But you will all be shocked to hear that I’ve had bad coffee at both Starbucks and local shops. I’ve had foamless cappuccinos made at starbucks and places using superior beans.

  39. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I haven’t tried but have heard that you can roast your own in a hot-air popcorn popper.

  40. snoop-blog says:

    am I the only one who doesn’t get any energy from coffee? No matter how much I drink, It seems to not phase me. I had a quad grande white mocha (4 shots of esspresso)(sp) and slept right after I drank it. In fact, I think it made things worse. If four shots of esspresso(sp) isn’t enough to wake someone up then screw it, give me a monster so I can “Monster Up!”

  41. quail says:

    @IfThenElvis: I travel quite a bit and there’s been tons of Starbuck baristas and managers who’ve told me they’re suppose to brew if someone requests it.

  42. quail says:

    Anyone know why they chose Pike’s Place as the coffee to serve after 11 am? Was it cost?

  43. legwork says:

    @snoop-blog: It can do that to me, too, if I sit around. Seems like an amplifier of whatever I’m doing. If I drink a bunch and keep busy it’s like warp engines, but if I sit around waiting for a boost I’m just as likely to nod off.

    Don’t recall this happening 20yrs ago. That’s bad. I don’t know if it’s my memory or just my body rebelling. :)

  44. Mike8813 says:

    I got a sample pack of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the mail early this year. After sampling it, I decided that I would rather drink diarrhea.

    I like Maxwell House. Does that mean I’m a low-brow coffee drinker?

  45. Doug Nelson says:

    That’s the story of the internet. Millions of people like something, but you like something else. That makes them idiots and you brilliant. 20 years ago they would have been happy and you would have been a crank.

    Darkness and bitterness prevails, and I’m not talking about the coffee.

  46. deserthiker says:

    @Mike8813:

    Maxwell House is swill; you probably drink Coors Light, too.

    The “burnt” coffees are better although I certainly prefer Peet’s to Starbucks. Light roasted coffees generally taste like “sock juice”, the water used to clean dirty socks.

  47. wring says:

    @TVarmy: wow you seriously roast your own coffee? and i thought i was being fancy by grinding them every day!

  48. Doug Nelson says:

    @deserthiker: Ironic that the unwashed drink sock washwater. True sock juice afficianados use only socks from organic Free Trade football players (that’s “soccer” to you heathens). The socks aren’t washed, as the detergent lowers the acidity that’s so essential to true gourmet sock juice. Rather, they are soaked for 23 minutes in 98.6 degree spring water. True afficianados let the socks soak for days, allowing a degree of fermentation that truly brings out the earthier tones. But the most important part is that the temperature never fall below 98.4 or rise above 98.9, otherwise it’s undrinkable swill.

  49. Brazell says:

    Never liked the Pike Place… I was seriously hurt when they stopped brewing the bold coffee after 12:00 in my area. I stop at Sbucks on the route back to work from lunch and I’ve never liked the Pike Place.

  50. vesuvian says:

    OK. Now reality has become “The Onion”, or “The Onion” has become reality. The headline on this could not be better than any of “The Onion’s” fabricated stories. Really, who cares if it’s true?

    And why do people spend upwards of $120 a month on coffee?

  51. legwork says:

    It’s nice if they’re really paying attention to customer demand, but my theory is that Pike’s was just what came out after they serviced their broken, flame-belching, screwed machines. Now that the machines have made a few thousand pots, the temp controls are screwed again and they’re spewing out the charred junk. Time for a press release.

    If only they could tell the difference between sock-water, strong, and twice-blackened antifreeze.

    Even so, I’m not above a cup every month or so when I’m short on time.

  52. spryte says:

    It seemed odd to me that they were going to essentially do away with the old and replace it with the new…and now the same thing, in reverse. Obviously with as many patrons as Starbucks gets, there’s going to be a variety of preference. I wonder if at least some of the larger stores couldn’t have both available all day? I see other places that have four or five different brews, like Noah’s Bagels with their New-York-neighborhood-named coffees.

    Hmm, I want the Starbucks in San Francisco (all 4565897 of them) to name their coffees after our neighborhoods! The lighter Pike Place Roast could be the Marina and the “burnt” roast could be my lovely ‘hood, the Tenderloin. :)

  53. Trai_Dep says:

    @spryte: They could only call it Tenderloin if the barrista sprinkled Crystal Meth over the froth.

  54. Lambasted says:

    Hey if Starbucks people want their burnt coffee, let them drink burnt. I can’t stomach drinking their dark water that tastes like caca but if the market has spoken, let them be heard.

  55. kdollarsign says:

    I am also from nashville – can I get a woot for Fido and Bongo.

  56. spryte says:

    @Trai_Dep: Hey now, people already think Starbucks is too expensive! :)

  57. Translation: Pikes Peak Roast is a flop.

  58. Pike Place. Whatever its name is.

  59. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    UGH! Thank goodness they came to their senses. I, too wrote and complained to many barista about this truck-stop coffee they were putting on the street. I too have suffered through the pain of resistant baristas to my request for a brewed Verona, making sure I was vocal about the whole Puke’s Place fiasco. Many baristas tried to put lipstick on the pig, but eventually some caved admitting to the change hasn’t been for the better…

    @sean77: I didn’t think D&D was a bad way to truncate. If they used DD, some adult site blocking software may get triggered. :p

    @Doug Nelson: I still have tears in my eyes from laughing at your post!

    To those who love to bash Starbucks:

    You have your favorite beverage, I have mine. Don’t like Starbucks? Don’t go – your opinions about what I pay for my favorite beverage mean nothing. There are plenty of Indies and other coffee outfits that reaped benefit from Starbucks’ faux-pas, but the sad fact is that their offerings are not always easily found. Many areas Starbucks serve don’t necessarily have an independent or even the ‘Me Too’ Coffee chains to choose from, and Starbucks provides me with what I want in a strange place when I travel – which is a lot.

  60. Meathamper says:

    I’m a latte person, but I’ll give it a shot.

  61. katylostherart says:

    *sigh* guess i’ll have to drink the burnt stuff. oh wait, i never did…

  62. Meathamper says:

    @michaelleung: Pun not intended.

  63. Claystil says:

    One strange thing is that starbucks employees, all of whom seem to carry grossly misinformed coffee knowledge, seem to believe unflinchingly that the burnt roasts are the best. They’re told in “tastings” that the coffee is not bitter despite the research that shows several bitter chemicals that come out during roasting. It’s all just so weird.

    I’ve heard a theory that they overroast the beans to achieve consistency throughout their market (the entire world).

  64. Truthie says:

    So basically this is New Coke all over again.

  65. zucchini says:

    They really need to step up their game. Mcdonalds has really upped the ante with their new cups that no longer suck, in fact they are equal or superior to starbucks in drinkability while driving. No burnt coffee taste, and no long waits. Tends to be cheaper, and you don’t even have to get out of your car. I used to buy starbucks all the time but i just haven’t gone back recently. Frankly i’m not sure i could stomach their burnt taste anymore, i’m used to milder stuff now.

  66. P_Smith says:

    As usual, a company claims it is “addressing customer concerns” while attacking an issue that isn’t the cause of their problems (not does it admit caused the problem itself).

    Drawbacks is still overpriced, and they are still cutting back on how much coffee you get in cups. All in the name of shareholders’ dividends.