What coffee beans does Starbucks use?

Last Updated on April 25, 2021 by Paul E Nicholson

Facts reveal that 60% of American adults drink a cup of coffee every day. Interestingly, 65% of them do buy coffee from retailers rather than preparing it at their home.  Most of them come from the four popular coffee joints which are Starbucks, Dunkin’, Tim Horton’s, and MacDonald’s. Just like the article title says what coffee beans does Starbucks use, is a question that will be answered in this platform. But why discuss Starbucks?  It has in the past been criticized for selling over-roasted coffee that tastes like a burnt flavor or using some inferior coffee. This article sets right the record.

Types of coffee

Perhaps you are wondering why discuss these types of coffee. It forms the basis of discussion to understand them better. Moreover, it is one of the controversial discussions concerning the company.

There are two major coffee varieties: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are the best tasting coffee with a rich flavor. Harsher and bitterer coffees are seen to be from Robusta beans.  Robusta beans are used since they can survive harsh climates and cheaper to grow and harvest. This is because they produce a lot of caffeine which also acts like insecticides and anti-microbial agents. Hence they survive against pests and insects.

Company’s position on the type of coffee

Starbucks only buy Arabica coffee beans. This is a statement from the business’s leadership.  Furthermore, they do not buy any other Arabica beans but that which is grown at 3000 to 6,000 feet above sea level.  At such elevation, the hot days and cool nights will slow the coffee cherries’ growth. It then gives the cherries more time to develop thereby creating a more refined flavor. Robinson, the company’s top leadership member says at the end of the day it is quality that matters to them.

Commercialized coffee

When the coffee has been commercialized, its uniqueness and variance become undesired. This then proves the bitter coffee that dominates most coffee shops. Amongst the citizens of the US, dark roast coffee is the common style of coffee. So whenever you ask for coffee without specifying you will get a medium and darker coffee. 


However, there is a misconception about Starbucks coffee in the public. That the more bitter coffee is, the more caffeine it contains. This is far from the truth. A good light roasted coffee could be having the same contents as a dark roasted coffee.  The bitter flavor is reduced as they are burned.

Burned beans at Starbucks

We have two types of coffee beans. Arabica is the epicurean bean and Robusta is of lower quality.  Sometimes the commercialized coffee is burned with Robusta bean. Such combination has been said to be what Starbucks does. The coffee then becomes bitter and burned.

Double caffeine content

A recent consumer report showed that a 12-ounce cup of Starbucks coffee has almost double caffeine than its peers. Therefore it could mean that the coffee bean type it uses has nearly twice the coffee content. Then it could mean that since no Arabica coffee has twice caffeine content as the other, then it likely Starbucks uses Robusta or a mixture.

The report was condemned in equal measure by Starbucks as not reflecting the true picture. Moreover, the consumer report seemed to favor some Starbucks competitors which brings lots of doubts. Important to note is caffeine content in coffee can be reduced or retained depending on other factors such as roasting, geographical area, and preservation method.

Where do Starbucks get their coffee beans from

Starbucks sources its coffee from nearly 35 countries worldwide. These are within the three major growing regions in the world. For instance, the company’s breakfast and house blends come from Latin America. The popular Pike Place roasts originate from Colombia and Brazil. The company then roasts them in the US before distributing them to over 14,000 stores nationwide. Some other place places where it is grown and shipped to the US are in Africa, more so Kenya and Ethiopia.

Does Starbucks make their coffee beans

Starbucks does not plant their coffee beans. It buys the beans which it roasts for sale. The company sources its coffee from 30 countries across three continents.

 Why does the company shop from many countries

There are several reasons why it does so. First, it is because different regions come with unique coffee which enhances its flavor. For example, Colombian coffee is sweeter and nutty than that from Indonesia which tastes earthly. Secondly is spreading the risk. Pests and insects may invade a certain country destroying the trees therefore the supply of coffee will not be jeopardized. Lastly is a result of a steady supply of coffee as seasons differ from one country to another.

What coffee beans does Starbucks use for espresso

Drinks out of industrial espresso machines are made using the Espresso Roast. This roast has been carefully blended with beans from Asia-Pacific regions and Latin America.

What coffee beans does Starbucks use for a cappuccino

The cappuccino blend is made from Arabica coffee. Since it is mostly forming it weighs less than milk. Therefore an average cappuccino feels like it is half-full.

What coffee beans does Starbucks use for lattes

The rich and creamy Starbucks latte comes from 100% Arabica coffee beans. Latte is a milk drink so the body must be able to stand up for the froth. The medium blends work well.


Starbucks has been in the limelight for accusations of using Robusta coffee beans. The people accusing it are not factoring in several reasons why coffee can have large caffeine content and are bitter and yet it comes from Arabica. It could be seen as a smear campaign against its business from rivals. The company strives to practice the best business which even the employees are implored to adhere to. The product certification authority has approved the coffee as from Arabica and that is what matters for now. This now settles down the question of what coffee beans does Starbucks use.

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