Starbucks Kopelani Blend 2018 is a medium roast, whole bean coffee, containing 90% East African and Latin American beans, and 10% Ka’u beans from Hawaii’s Big Island. You may notice that some of the beans in this blend are quite tiny, which I assume are the Hawaiian Ka’u beans.
The Kopelani Blend is a limited edition and seems to be in short supply – it’s already run out at several of my local Starbucks cafes. According to Starbucks’ Twitter account, the Kopelani Blend launched on Feb 23, 2018.
When purchasing this Starbucks coffee, I assumed the entire blend was made of beans from Hawaii. I have to say I was disappointed to discover that the blend contains only 10% Ka’u beans from Hawaii. However, this is clearly marked on the front of the bag, but I was mesmerized by the beautiful blue packaging and didn’t pay attention to that detail.
This Starbucks Kopelani Blend, as well as most Starbucks coffee, bears the Conservation International certification. According to Starbucks, 99% of Starbucks coffee is ethically sourced, and the company has “invested $100 million in supporting coffee communities.”
The tasting notes for this Starbucks coffee are “soft caramel notes and a roasty-sweet finish”. The description on the coffee bag further describes the Ka’u beans as having “nutty notes”.
The directions for brewing this Starbucks coffee are 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 180 mL of water. Since this Kopelani Blend is a medium roast, I wouldn’t recommend changing the brewing amounts as this is a medium-bodied blend, and if you add cream, milk, or almond milk to this Starbucks coffee, the flavor diminishes.
The Kopelani Blend whole beans had a bit of an odd – almost bad smell – but this went away once they were ground. You will notice that some of the beans are large, and some are small (my guess is that the small ones are the Hawaiian beans).
The aroma of the Kopelani Blend ground beans was earthy, and perhaps herbaceous or woody, with a nice sweetness. I can’t say I detected soft caramel or nuttiness in the aroma, however.
The brewed Starbucks Kopelani Blend coffee had a slight papery aroma, followed by mellow roasty notes.
The brewed black Starbucks coffee had a semi-transparent color, with moderate papery and roasty notes, moderate sweetness, and ending with some moderate sourness that stayed on the palate afterwards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any flavors of soft caramel or nuttiness, which was disappointing.
However, this Starbucks coffee is quite balanced and has a nice roasty/sweet mix of flavors. And although there is a sourness at the end which lingers on the palate, I would recommend this Kopelani Blend due to the nice balance in all its nuances and lower sour profile. Often I find Starbucks dark roast coffees too sour to be really enjoyable, so this medium roast keeps the sourness to a moderate level that is much more enjoyable.
Keep in mind that this Starbucks coffee is a medium roast, and has a medium-bodied mouthfeel. While this coffee isn’t flat and weak, if you’re used to drinking dark roasts, the Starbucks Kopelani Blend will seem a little watery and weaker in flavor.
While I prefer dark roasts, I don’t typically like Starbucks dark roasts – they’re usually too sour for my liking. However, I’m beginning to discover I really enjoy their medium roasts, which are generally less sour and acidic. Now if I go to a Starbucks cafe, I find myself choosing the medium roast option. If you don’t like Starbucks coffee (mainly because it’s too strong and too sour), just for curiosity, try a medium or light roast instead.
While I prefer full-bodied coffee, this Kopelani Blend was very nice and I would recommend it, though I couldn’t find any caramel or nutty nuances in the flavor or aroma.
Currently, my dark roast coffee blend of choice is by a Canadian brand called Kicking Horse Coffee – particularly, I enjoy their Smart Ass and Kick Ass blends. I highly recommend these two choices if you enjoy dark, sweet, balanced coffee. Kicking Horse Coffee is certified Fair-Trade and Organic.
If you prefer darker coffee and want to try Starbucks Kopelani Blend, try making a cup using an extra scoop of ground coffee – so use 3 tablespoons per 180 mL of water. This creates a much darker – almost opaque – cup of coffee, with stronger papery and roasty notes, and a fuller body. However, the sourness is stronger, as is the aftertaste. By adding an extra tablespoon of ground coffee, you get a mouthfeel that is a little closer to being full-bodied, and a stronger sourness that is still less than a typical Starbucks dark roast. Just keep in mind that using 3 tablespoons of ground coffee means you are getting a lot more caffeine per cup!
Overall, Starbucks Kopelani Blend is a mellow, balanced coffee with enjoyable roasty flavors, having a moderate sour finish and aftertaste. If you like medium-bodied coffees with lower levels of sour, this is a great choice. However, the flavors in this Starbucks coffee diminish with added cream or milk, so be mindful of what you add. Also, this Kopelani Blend is primarily a mix of coffee beans from East Africa and Latin America – only a small percentage of the beans are from Hawaii.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS REVIEW, PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK.