What Is Starbucks Signature Espresso (What Is It, Where Do the Beans Come From + More Information)

All Starbucks espresso drinks are always a great way to start your day. So, what is Starbucks signature espresso that we so much adore?

The Starbucks signature espresso is a combination of coffee Arabica beans that are roasted to a dark roast. I can barely remember any day that has gone by without me downing an espresso drink from Starbucks. When Starbucks introduced the second type of espresso, it became hard to differentiate between the two. While both of them are espressos, there is a significant difference in appearance and taste. This post will unpack all the details about the age-old Starbucks signature espresso. You’ll know what your favorite espresso contains and even where it comes from, so keep reading.

Where does Starbucks signature espresso beans come from?

The Starbucks espresso beans are sourced from what is commonly known as the coffee belt region. The leading region is Latin America and the Asia Pacific. In the Latin American region, the coffee is mostly from Colombia and Brazil. Starbucks prefers this type of coffee due to its mild flavor and high acidity. These qualities are contributed by the climatic conditions of these regions.

The rich flavor makes this coffee suitable for espresso as the coffee does not become overly bitter after roasting. As Starbucks has declared, it uses 100% coffee Arabica for its beans. So, why does Starbucks insist on getting coffee Arabica only for its signature espresso? The answer lies in the flavor. While the Robusta coffee tree might seem like the best coffee to grow since it is disease-resistant, produces more beans, and is cheaper, the taste is nothing you would want near your latte.

The coffee Arabica taste is mild and highly acidic due to the high altitude area where it’s grown. The other type of coffee has a harsh taste that can be compared to burnt rubber. According to Starbucks coffee engagement manager Aaron Robinson, Starbucks steers clear of Robusta coffee due to its unrefined flavor. The climatic conditions of Latin America and Asia/ Pacific make this region a favorite for the signature espresso.

What is the history of the Starbucks signature espresso?

The Starbucks espresso traces its origin in Italy. When the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz visited Italy in 1983, he was inspired by the flavor of this coffee roast that he sat the Starbucks founders down and convinced them to bring it on board. Initially, Starbucks was only a retailer and roaster of whole bean coffee. By 1983, Starbucks had opened 6 stores and the grand plan was to squeeze in a tiny espresso bar at the back of this store.

With no marketing strategy or any advertising for the new item on the menu, Starbucks opened its doors to serve this new coffee in 1984. Schultz recalls the morning that Starbucks took this risk and waited for the customers to come in. Americans did not know anything about this Italian drink, but the coffee giant still took the risk. The strategy that worked in their favor was the barista indoor marketing.

These partners encouraged the customers to try out the new introduction to the menu and hoped that word would go around and more people would warm up to this espresso. When Howard peeked at the customers’ responses, he was pleasantly surprised to see smiles on people’s faces as they reacted to the burst of intense flavor in their mouths. Some hesitated at the first sip but quickly adapted as they drank. From this time onwards, people never looked back on the espresso drinks which have remained Starbucks’ biggest thing till today.

What is the flavor profile of the Starbucks signature espresso?

Starbucks Signature Espresso

The Starbucks signature espresso has an intense and bold flavor profile. The high acidity and mildness in the flavors are the greatest contributors to the bittersweet taste of this espresso. When the coffee beans are roasted to a dark roast, they adopt a roasty taste which works well with most drinks. Some people describe the sweetness of the espresso as caramelly sweet.

The flavor has been described as rich and bold with a caramel sweetness and a smoky roasty taste. Unlike the blonde espresso which is lighter and has a citrus taste, the signature espresso will awaken all your taste buds due to its intensity. This espresso is what makes most of the drinks at Starbucks as it goes well with most flavors. In some drinks, the strong espresso is neutralized by other additives. In a latte, for example, the steamed milk toes down the strong taste and makes it palatable for someone who might not want overly strong coffee.

How much Caffeine is in Starbucks Signature espresso?

A shot of Starbucks’ signature espresso contains 75 mg of caffeine. When compared to the blonde roasts, this caffeine content is low. The reduced caffeine is attributed to its roasting. The longer the stay in the high heat, the lower the level of caffeine will be. Caffeine dissolves in water and when water is heated out of the beans on the high heat, the caffeine reduces as opposed to the roasts that take less time on the heat. The more shots that you add to your drink, the higher the caffeine level.

Final Thoughts

The Starbucks signature espresso continues to grace our favorite drinks with its bold and rich flavor from the coffee Arabica beans. This type of espresso took the Starbucks world by storm when it was first introduced to the market. The Starbucks customers have continued to ask for espresso shots in single, doppio, triple, and quad shots in their coffee drinks.


What brand of espresso machine does Starbucks use?

Starbucks uses an espresso machine called Mastrena that was exclusively made for the coffee giant by the Swiss company, Thermoplan AG.

Is Starbucks coffee Robusta or Arabica?

Starbucks exclusively uses coffee Arabica for its coffee beans.

What espresso does Starbucks use in Lattes?

Starbucks uses its signature espresso for its lattes which is a dark roast.

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