What Coffee Does Starbucks Use? (Espresso, Cold Brew, Decaf + More)

Sipping a Starbucks coffee can be a transformative experience, whether it’s your first time or your 100th; that caffeine will perk you right up to face the day.

As our awareness as consumers has grown, it’s natural that we wonder where Starbucks, the largest coffeehouse chain in the world, gets its coffee from. You may be asking, what coffee does Starbucks use? I’m going to let you know what I’ve found!

What Coffee Does Starbucks Use In 2022?

Starbucks uses 100% Arabica coffee beans, sourced from South America, Africa, and Asia as of 2022. Arabica beans are high-quality, refined, and acidic, which lends Starbucks coffee its signature complexity of flavor. Starbucks prides itself on its ethical sourcing of coffee beans from around the world. However, Starbucks’ coffee is not organic.

For more on which types of beans Starbucks uses for individual coffee products and beverages, whether Starbucks cold brew and iced coffee are the same, and if Starbucks beans are organic or gluten-free, keep reading!

What Coffee Does Starbucks Use For Espresso?

Starbucks espresso is made from the company’s own ground espresso roast coffee, which you can buy online.

That said, this espresso forms the basis for many of the coffee shop chain’s most famous drinks, including lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and more.

Per the Starbucks website, its espresso is a dark roast with molasses and caramelized sugar notes.

According to the site, the method for producing Starbucks espresso was “so right” it never had to be altered, so it’s made the same way today as it was 30 years ago.

What Coffee Does Starbucks Use For Cold Brew?

If you love coffee but find the acidity in hot coffee off-putting, cold brew is a naturally smoother, sweeter choice.

Starbucks has offered this type of coffee since 2015, and it uses Arabica beans sourced from Latin America and Africa (Ethiopia, to be exact).

Additionally, cold brew is really more about the process than the beans (though high-quality beans will naturally help).

Therefore, Starbucks’ cold brew ground coffee is steeped for 20 hours in cool filtered water because the lack of hot water hitting the grounds keeps the acidity down.

What Coffee Does Starbucks Use For Decaf?

Starbucks again uses its own propriety ground coffee for its decaf beverages.

As you might have guessed, the coffee beans are still 100% Arabica, and according to Starbucks’ website, the beans hold the same flavor notes as the fully caffeinated ones.

So, you can expect your decaf espresso beverages to have the same molasses and caramelized sugar notes.

Is Starbucks Cold Brew And Iced Coffee The Same?

Is Starbucks Cold Brew And Iced Coffee The Same?

Though the two products sound alike, Starbucks cold brew and iced coffee are completely different products.

Unlike cold brew, iced coffee is reportedly made by brewing hot coffee, as usual, but at twice the strength.

Then, that hot coffee gets thrown over a bunch of ice, which slowly cools it.

For Starbucks’ regular drip-brewed coffee, it uses its own Pike Place Roast, so again, the two beverages are entirely different.

Further, the differences between the two drinks are both in coffee beans and the method used to make it!

Is Starbucks Coffee Organic?

It turns out that Starbucks coffee is not organic, despite the company’s emphasis on ethically and sustainably sourced products.

However, if Starbucks’ coffee was certified organic, you can bet it would display the label proudly on its website and other marketing materials.

Further, Starbucks beans are not Fair Trade, meaning that the mega-chain uses an intermediary when sourcing its coffee beans.

Put another way, payment doesn’t go directly from Starbucks to the farmers. Instead, it goes to some entity in between, giving the farmers their cut.

As the writer at TheOldCoffeePot.com mentions, Starbucks administers its own ethical guidelines, called C.A.F.E. (Coffee And Farmer Equity)

Yet even by its markers, only 98.6% of Starbucks’ coffee meets those standards.

That said, some have criticized Starbucks’ standards for not being rigorous enough in the first place.

So, as the industry leader in coffee shops and the “boutique” coffee experience, it does seem as though Starbucks can do better.

Is Starbucks Coffee Gluten-Free?

For many people, gluten intolerance is a way of life they must deal with and consider regularly. How great would it be if they could drink Starbucks coffee?

Fortunately, Starbucks’ drip coffee, espresso, teas, and many milk options (except for oat milk, for the highly sensitive) are gluten-friendly for those with a gluten sensitivity.

However, those are only the plain versions. That said, you should be wary of any syrups, powders, and other mix-ins because those are not gluten-free.

If you’re gluten-free, then you can enjoy a plain latte or cappuccino, but unfortunately, you’ll have to steer clear of Frappuccinos, mochas, and the like.

To learn more about Starbucks, you can also read our related posts on whether or not Starbucks makes bulletproof coffee, how hot is Starbucks coffee, and what coffee does Starbucks uses for espresso.

Conclusion

Starbucks uses ethically sourced coffee beans from South America, Africa, and Asia for its coffees, sometimes even creating unique proprietary blends for specific beverages.

However, Starbucks’ coffee is not organic, and several of its products are not gluten-free.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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