REVIEW: Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend

DISCLAIMER: This product was purchased by the blogger. received NO compensation from Starbucks for this coffee review. This coffee review does not represent medical or professional advice, it is an opinion only. Photographs may not depict the exact color of the product.


These dark roasted, 100% Arabica whole beans originated from Sumatra and Guatemala. The manufacturer describes this blend as full-bodied, having “distinctive subtle spice notes”.

This blend is available in a 1-lb (453 g) bag at Starbucks coffee shops. This review is for the 2015 edition of this blend.

The Starbucks brand has been around since 1971, its first small store operating in Seattle at the Pike Place Market. [1]

Starbucks offers its customers special discounts and offers by opting into its loyalty program.



The manufacturer suggests using 2 tablespoons (10 g) of ground coffee per 180 mL of fresh water.



The ground coffee is a rich dark brown hue (somewhat blackish). Brewed according to the manufacturer’s suggestion above, the coffee is a transparent brown (with orange and yellow undertones).


The ground coffee smells dark and astringent, with enjoyable burnt notes. However, there are no hints of the promised spice notes.

Unfortunately, the scent of the brewed coffee looses the decadent dark and burnt aromas.

The spice notes, like the packaging says, are subtle. I assumed the spice notes would be cinnamon or nutmeg, since the coffee is named Thanksgiving Blend. However, after using up most of the bag of coffee, I think what I could smell in the brewed coffee was a trace of cayenne. The best way I can describe the spiciness is like this – imagine adding a pinch of cayenne to a cup of coffee and mixing it up; it wouldn’t change the aroma or flavor drastically, but it’s in there.

While I think I found the “distinctive subtle spice notes” in the aroma, I didn’t taste any slight spiciness.


neetzy-coffee-review-starbucks-thanksgving-blend-2The Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend produces a cup of coffee that is almost an equilibrium of sour and bitter (sourness seems to be slightly more prevalent). This blend is easy to consume black if you enjoy strong, full-bodied (not watery) coffee. This blend has a tasty pronounced bitterness, and its sourness is strong but enjoyable (though not as sour as Starbucks Kati Kati blend).

Adding cream to this coffee neutralizes much of the sour and bitterness, making it an even smoother cup of bold coffee to drink.

Overall, a smooth cup of coffee with a sour and bitter profile, void of sweet or burnt flavors.

This blend makes an easy-to-drink iced coffee. Since this coffee is full-bodied (not watery), I simply added ice to the brewed coffee once it had cooled to lukewarm. The ice diluted the coffee slightly, and subdued some of the bitter and sour notes, making it very palatable without the addition of cream or sugar. When I drank the iced Starbucks Thanksgiving blend black, I noticed some favorable burnt notes that weren’t present in the hot coffee (but were detected in the aroma of the ground coffee). This blend made a very enjoyable iced coffee that was easy to drink black (without cream or sugar), which I favored much more than the iced Starbucks Kati Kati blend.


Drinking this blend black leaves a pronounced balance of sour and bitterness on the palate.


The estimated caffeine content of a 250-mL cup of any brewed Starbucks coffee, such as Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend, is 167 mg. This estimate is based on data in the Starbucks nutritional information guide (which can be found on their website), which states that in general, there’s about 20 mg of caffeine per 30 mL of their brewed coffee.

According to this Starbucks nutritional information guide, the approximate caffeine content in the following hot Starbucks coffee shop sizes is as follows. Keep in mind that depending on the blend, the caffeine amount could be more or less. In the guide, you can find this info under “Hot Beverages”:

Short = 236 mL (8 fl. oz.) = 175 mg caffeine
Tall = 354 mL (12 fl. oz.) = 260 mg caffeine
Grande = 473 mL (16 fl. oz.) = 330 mg caffeine
Venti = 591 mL (20 fl. oz.) = 415 mg caffeine

According to the Mayo Clinic, a healthy caffeine consumption for an adult is 400 mg per day or less, and 100 mg per day or less for adolescents. [4] Therefore, a healthy adult who drinks a Starbucks Venti brewed coffee has consumed the recommended daily caffeine limit.


Available at Starbucks coffee shops, or at Starbucks online. Please note that this is a seasonal blend; the availability of this product in Canada and the US will coinside with Thanksgiving in the respective countries.


neetzy-coffee-review-starbucks-thanksgving-blend-5YES. I would describe Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend as a quintessential cup of coffee – but it is strong, so it is likely not suitable for people who enjoy lighter blends. While there isn’t anything extravagant about this blend, it is a nicely balanced coffee delivering moderate sour and bitter flavors.

I could only find the promised “distinctive subtle spice notes” in the aroma of the brewed coffee. My guess is that cayenne would best describe this spicy nuance. As I was purchasing this coffee at my local Starbucks, I asked the barista if the spice notes were noticeable, and she described them as being “very subtle”.

While “distinctive subtle spice notes” is a concept similar to jumbo shrimp, this description suggests to consumers that these spice notes, though delicate, can be tasted and/or smelled. In my experience, the spiciness was difficult to find.

However, if you are in the market for a strong cup of balanced coffee that leaves its flavors lingering on your palate, this could be a good choice!


If so, please share – or leave a comment below if you’ve tried this Starbucks coffee.

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