Java Update – Starbucks Cold Brew

I gave the Costa cold brew a bash and it was ok.  How does the Starbucks attempt hold up?  Pretty well actually.

Being honest, I have a real soft spot for the Starbucks house blend.  The darkness, the smokiness. It’s a favourite (no doubt coffee purists will hate it, but, whatever, I really enjoy the taste), so they had a head start in the taste department.  As far as the big chains go, I’d rather have the Starbucks house blend than a Costa.

Cold brew

I don’t know the details of Starbucks’ cold-brew process, but I do know that I enjoy a cold cup o’ joe in the summer, and love that it’s not a sugary, milky frappucino, but actual, decent coffee.

The problem I had with the Costa cold brew was that there’s just too much ice.  To the point of being daft.  Yes it needs to be cold, but too much water does not a nice coffee make.

My hopes were that Starbucks would see me right.  I mean it’s Starbucks, right? I love their house blend, I’ve never had a bad drink at one of their stores and I was ready for this to be the king of cold brew.

Making it

So, I had the pleasure of watching a trainee being told how to make my drink (no problem here, everyone has to learn!).  This meant I heard the method and witnessed the process in pretty steady motion.

Guess what?  It involved more water and ice…….

I know that it’s never going to be a full glass/cup of cold-brewed coffee, but it was enough ice to basically make the cup go from three quarters full, to being full.  Prior to the ice-adding stage was the step to add a bit of cold, filtered water.

Such disappointment.

I realise there’s a margin to be made, and the staff have to adhere to the strict guidelines to make sure everyone across the globe (Starbucks is pretty bloody huge!) gets a consistent drink.  But it’s just too watered-down.

Cool and refreshing? Yes.  Coffee? Yes. For crying out loud though, it’s just too watery.  I’ve made enough bad pots of coffee with too much water and not enough actual coffee, to notice the taste immediately.  It’s like drinking a weak cordial drink.  The flavour is there, but it’s not all there. 

This guide is saying that it’s ok to refrigerate coffees. Would we be better off just making cold brews still?


All in all, it’s a cold, refreshing coffee drink, and thankfully it has the flavour of one of my favourite coffee blends.  So it has plenty of good things going for it.

The amount of ice and water really does it a disservice though.

I realise it needs to be ice cold and refreshing, and it must be a tough balancing act to get flavour and refreshment in the same cup, but I just don’t enjoy watery coffee.

Starbucks kind of surprised me here, I thought they’d blow the Costa drink away.  They did not.  Yeah, it’s better because the blend is better, but no, it isn’t a strong contender for any kind of award.

I guess that it’s fine.  That’s as best as I can do.  It isn’t awful or anything like that, it’s just a bit disappointing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.