- Pack of two, 11-ounces per pack (total of 22 ounces)
- High quality Latin American arabica coffee beans
- Naturally flavored coffee
Awful, just awful
However, we also frequent Starbucks when traveling, and Seattle’s Best, and even [shudder] Java City from time to time. We have exacting standards which we use at home, but we are fine with (and even enjoy), the occasional cup of Starbucks coffee, etc.
With that in mind, I when ahead and ordered this coffee sampler bag from Amazon Vine, figuring it might be an interesting trial. It was interesting all right, but only in the “i can’t believe they tried to sell that as a premium new product” sort of interesting.
The grounds arrive dried out and brittle, I suspect freeze-drying was the culprit. The bag is a cheap-seal bag, glued shut, and the feel and smell of the grounds screamed “cheap.”
But, even with those misgivings, I soldiered on. Maybe the coffee those grounds produced wouldn’t be THAT bad … right? It is Starbucks after all, they have a MINIMUM reputation they are trying to maintain … yeah, I was wrong.
The coffee produced from these grounds was bitter, acrid, and acidic. The vanilla flavoring is obviously an additive that was poured on to the beans, and it also contributes to the bitter and acidic taste — you can feel it in the back of your throat, and curdling the taste buds at the back of your tongue.
Cream and sugar mask some of the unpleasantness, but only some of it. The bottom line is this product is a cheap, freeze-dried coffee bean that has been sprinkled with the cheapest imitation vanilla “flavoring” they could find. I have tasted real vanilla bean infused flavor, and also premium vanilla extract flavor, and this was not it.
If you want vanilla flavored coffee, I would say your best bet is to buy quality beans/grounds, and brew them properly, and then add a shot or two of premium vanilla syrup, or keep a couple of vanilla beans in your coffee beans/grounds, and let the flavor infuse directly into the coffee before brewing.
Stay away from this offering from Starbucks, it is just nasty.
Downsized For Price?
So I have to defer to the connoisseurs on snob appeal and such. To me, it has always just been a nice cup of coffee before I was no longer able to drink with any caffeine. This brand was just one in a bunch of experiments I treated myself too after retirement before the heart attack. To ME, it is just an “average” coffee with an above average price. To be fair, remember I am not a big coffee person so this is perspective from an old guy who just was a casual drinker of coffee, not a fanatic. I just don’t see the value given both my wife and myself added so much coffee creamer to get the desired taste of Vanilla? I still rate this 3 stars (average) since I may just not be the type of coffee drinker to “appreciate” something I just don’t get. For what it’s worth, I also prefer grilled hamburgers over grilled steak. And yes, beer over whiskey too…..No reason to beat up on a Company I really respect for it’s success and quality treatment of their employees (but that’s another story)!
Is This Really Vanilla-Flavored???
Unfortunately, I feel Starbucks missed the mark, just as they did with the Caramel Flavored Natural Fusions. The Vanilla Flavored Natural Infusions Ground Coffee has almost no vanilla odor and has even less vanilla taste. Since the coffee I purchased was just being put onto the grocer’s shelf, I know it was fresh and had not lost scent or flavor due to aging. In an attempt to be sure my dissatisfaction was not due to drinking my coffee black with sweetner only, I added cream to the cup. This did nothing to enhance or elevate the intensity of the vanilla flavor. Rather, this coffee is a very good coffee, but does not have any layers of other flavors, either subtle or more noticeable. For those looking for a flavored coffee which disguises the taste of coffee, this is definitely not for you.
I am less than pleased with Starbucks Natural Fusions Vanilla Flavored coffee and have rated it as an average brew. If you are interested in trying this coffee, visit the manufacturer’s website and put the word “fusions” in the search box. You will be able to print two coupons for $1.50 off a bag of this coffee so that you can decide for yourself whether Starbucks has produced a brew that meets its usual quality standards.
Smooth, Not Bitter, but Vanilla?
I love opening a fresh container of coffee to experience that heavenly burst of fresh, intense coffee aroma. When my bag of Starbucks Vanilla had its grand opening, I must say I was disappointed by the lack of a distinct vanilla aroma or anything resembling aroma. I figured I’d just have to wait for the actual brew to experience the promised vanilla flavor.
So how is the coffee’s vanilla flavor? Does it make up for the lack of that heavenly coffee scent that eluded me? Let’s put it this way. If I were given a blind taste test,I’d be hard pressed to identfy this coffee as vanilla flavored. In fact, I’m not sure I could match any specific flavor to this coffee. It’s obviously flavored to this taster, but I can only recognize that distant, nebulous vanilla taste because of the flavor’s word printed on the bag.
Overall this is a pleasant coffee. It’s smooth, not bitter, and has a pleasant aftertaste. But if you are looking for a readily identifiable vanilla accent, you will have to be satisfied with vageuely vanilla.
Tastes like real vanilla, very subtle and smooth
I am also not the biggest fan of Starbucks coffee that you can get in their cafes, it all tastes burnt to me. I never had their DIY beans and grounds before and I like this much better than what they serve in their chains. I think it is because I can use a bit less grounds and steep how I like; it creates a cup that is just as strong, but not so bitter or burnt tasting.
I used 2/3 of what the bag recommended and it is still very robust. I made it in a french press for 4 minutes, added 2 creams and 1 sugar, and it kept its deep java edge despite my add-ins. I sipped it black too and was pleasantly surprised at how less acidic it was than the cafe offering.
I took a star off for not being a 16 ounce bag despite the list price, its feels like they are charging for a pound, but skimming off the top. The price here on Amazon is much better.
I am really enjoying my 3:30 Mommy-pick-me-up. We have 26 guests coming for Thanksgiving in a few days, so I anticipate many pots of this coffee will help make that happen 🙂
could be better
Not so good
I can smell the vanilla, can’t taste it
After I brewed a pot, Could not smell the vanilla nor taste it. The Vanilla was gone.
Save your money. There’s no vanilla flavor, just vanilla scent in the coffee grounds fresh out of the bag
Starbucks is consistant…
— EDITED 11-27-2010 —
Has anyone read the ingredients? This product contains corn maltodextrin (which I have an allergy to), vegetable glycerin, and Indian sarsaparilla root. This is probably where the odd and nasty taste I am getting is coming from.
And why the hell are these in coffee? Shouldn’t it be JUST coffee and whatever flavoring is added?
Way to go Starbucks! 1 star!
— EDIT —
I’ve tried many different Starbucks coffees, from morning blends to more flavored coffees and not one have I enjoyed or liked.
The vanilla flavor in Starbucks Natural Fusions is a joke. When you first open the bag you are hit with this amazing aroma of nice fragrant coffee with a delightful hint of vanilla. When brewing, you completely loose the vanilla smell. And once tasted, the vanilla is GONE. And I don’t think I should be expected to have to add something (be it milk, cream, or some other product) to bring out the flavor of the coffee. A good coffee can stand alone straight from the pot.
No matter how weak or strong I made it, it had a not so pleasant taste to it. I’m thinking that it had a lot of quakers in it before the coffee was ground, thus this odd taste was present.
The only redeeming quality is the look and design of the bag, initial smell, and the fact that it gives me my caffeine for the day, even if I have to chug it.
Back to the drawing board Starbucks and come back with a better tasting blend.
Didn’t get a bitter taste from it (oddly enough).
Didn’t taste like vanilla by any stretch.
Isn’t all that palatable to my or three other peoples taste.
Pricey for mediocre coffee.
No Artificial Flavors and it’s so delish!
Don’t throw away that empty Starbucks coffee bag!
The overall opinion was that this was an enjoyable coffee which would be ideal for a specially brewed pot, but not for a standard get-you-going-in-the-morning pot. It seems that my coffee drinkers want basic medium to strong coffee for that first cup of the day. One really interesting thing I found on the package is that Starbucks will give you a free 12 oz cup of coffee if you take this empty bag to a Starbucks store before the expiration date for the coffee which is printed on the bag. That might be standard procedure with all their bags of home brewed coffee but it was new for all of us. It sounded like a great plus to my coffee drinkers.
Great flavored coffee…. only the Starbucks way
Highly recommend this coffee if you like a bit of vanilla taste. You can’t go wrong.
And enjoy the aroma as it brews…. so pleasing.
Not A Fan But Would Drink It In a Pinch
The unanimous conclusion: It’s okay.
Getting ready to brew our first sample, we agreed that the coffee in the bag smelled spectacular. The process of brewing significantly stripped much of the flavor noted when the bag was opened, but the final product, prepared according to directions, was smooth with a nice flavor.
Liking our brew stronger, we made our second sample using more grind than called for in the directions. That time around we all detected a slight bitterness. One person called the aftertaste “chemically,” despite Starbucks’ assertion of all natural flavorings.
The next day, we brewed a third batch in our preferred coffee maker, a french press. The vanilla flavor was more pronounced, but so was the bitterness. None of us finished our individual cups of the french press brewed batch. In Starbucks defense, using a press ignores their directions which specifically say to use a “machine,” so we did not weigh this batch heavily in our rating.
Overall, we agreed that it is drinkable, but not worth the premium price. Occasional drinkers of not very strong coffee would probably rate this product one star higher.
It’s coffee and vanilla, how bad can it be?
The ingredient list claims “ground vanilla beans,” which I wouldn’t expect to have a harsh acidic taste. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world (after saffron) and grinding the beans is known to be a good way of dispersing the flavor through hot liquids. How can it have gone so wrong in this product? Is it the coffee itself that’s so unappetizing, or the combination? I just don’t know.
From now on I’ll look for vanilla in baked goods and body lotion, and keep it out of my coffee. Sorry, Starbucks, I’m not a fan of this brew.
Two stars, not really for the coffee but to encourage Starbucks to do better with recycling and other green issues, and to increase fair trade initiatives.
Linda Bulger, 2010
Delicious. 5 Star Coffee.
PROS: Nice distinctive flavor. The vanilla perfectly compliments the beans and blends together into a delicious blend. The grounds were nice and fresh as well.
CONS: The bag runs out fast. That’s because it’s good though so I guess that’s not really a con…
BOTTOM LINE: Well worth the money. Thumbs up.
Tasty, good vanilla flavor
nice vanilla aroma
Perfect way to wake up…
I love flavored coffee
Doesn’t taste as good as I thought
I made excuses for this brew because it is “Natural Fusion”. The thinking being that it was organic and little or no chemical process used, but even if that’s true it just tastes average and hardly like the Vanilla flavored beans I normally use.
The right balance of vanilla and coffee
I prepared this coffee drip-style (not in a machine), and found it required a bit more than usual to make the strength I prefer. Additionally, though I prefer black coffee, this coffee responds well to a bit of sugar (it heightens the vanilla flavor) and cream.
Right when I opened the bag to this Starbucks Natural Fusions Vanilla Flavored Ground Coffee, I smelled this wonderful, coffee and authentic vanilla aroma that I felt compelled to make a batch immediately just to try it. Both my husband and I thought it was delicious. It’s very smooth – it doesn’t have a harsh ‘bite’ to it at all, the vanilla flavor in it tastes very ‘real’ and not some horrid chemical rendition of vanilla and again, didn’t leave a bad aftertaste. I served it to family who visited who are AVID coffee drinkers and they enjoyed it as well – actually asked me what brand it was.
For those of you who enjoy your flavored coffees, Vanilla is a GREAT flavor to have on hand since you can do so many things to it in my opinion. I added some cocoa powder to the grounds one time to make a vanilla – chocolate coffee (YUM!), another time I added cinnamon (DOUBLE YUM!) and another time, Pumpkin Pie spices (hubby didn’t like this but I did). Two thumbs up for me!