Hi! My name is Anthony Carroll and I work on the Coffee team here at Starbucks. I’ve seen a few ideas here about iced coffee, so I wanted to write this blog to share the iced coffee story.
Iced coffee has been part of Starbucks since 1971. Initially, it was brewed using the Toddy® maker at double strength. The coffee was called Iced Marrakesh and it included aromatic spices like cardamom. That was until 1986, when we began brewing double strength brewed (drip) coffee and serving it over ice. Then in 1991, we introduced an amazing East African blend called Gazebo Blend®, our official coffee of summer. This blend was a perfect coffee to serve iced as are most East African coffees such as Kenya and Ethiopia Sidamo. The incredibly fancy and refined flavors of citrus and florals in East African coffees lend themselves beautifully as an iced coffee. With sparkling acidity, these coffees are refreshing and perfect for those lazy summer days.
When Gazebo Blend® wasn’t available (as it was promoted only in the summer months), we encouraged our customers to brew Kenya at home. In the stores however, the coffee that was brewed was House Blend. House Blend is a tricky coffee to serve iced because of the roast. House Blend is the introduction to the Starbucks style of roasting. It features a great balance of flavors but when iced, the roasty aspect is heightened. Not the perfect flavor to highlight if you are looking for refreshment. Not bad, but just not perfect.
Then in early 2006, the Coffee Quality team was approached by the Brewed Category team and asked to put together the perfect year-round iced coffee. They said, “Make it gulp-able.” Well, that is what we did and that is how Terazza Blend (featured only as iced coffee and not sold retail) was born. We approached the blend like any blend;, it had to taste good hot before we knew it would taste good cold. Besides gulp-able, we needed a blend that was sweet and cola-like. We chose coffees from East African and Latin America because they have all those potential flavors and attributes;we just had to coax them out. Like all our coffees, we gave this blend a specific roast profile, one that would draw out the notes that would give us the perfect year-round iced coffee blend. It was softly acidic, with sweet cola notes and the slightly citrus finish. The perfect iced coffee no matter how you take it.