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Decoding Blonde Roast: Understanding Starbucks’ Marketing Strategy

Blonde Roast: Understanding the Basics

If you’re a coffee fan, you might have come across the term Blonde Roast while browsing through the coffee menu at Starbucks. But what exactly is Blonde Roast, and how does it differ from other roast types?

At first glance, Blonde Roast might seem like a straightforward term.

But the truth is that the definition of Blonde Roast has been subject to much debate and confusion. In the past, Starbucks used to refer to their lightest roast as the Cinnamon Roast, but they eventually rebranded it to the more marketable term Blonde Roast.

Blonde Roast is now sometimes used synonymously with light roast, but that’s not always the case. When it comes to the roasting process, the term “Blonde Roast” indicates that the coffee beans have been roasted for a shorter period of time at a lower temperature than most other roast types.

This typically results in a lighter-colored bean with a milder flavor and acidity. However, what some coffee lovers might not realize is that the definition of Blonde Roast can vary depending on the coffee roaster or the coffee shop.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy

When Starbucks first introduced the term “Blonde Roast” in 2011, it was part of a larger marketing strategy aimed at attracting customers who had previously found Starbucks coffee too strong or bitter. By introducing a lighter roast, Starbucks was able to cater to a wider range of taste preferences while maintaining its brand reputation for high-quality coffee.

The Blonde Roast, with its sweeter taste and milder acidity, has also been marketed as a coffee that’s perfect for first-time coffee drinkers or those who prefer subtle flavors. Starbucks has used this to their advantage by introducing more drink options that feature the Blonde Roast, such as the Vanilla Blonde Latte and the Blonde Caff Americano.

By creating a category of coffee that appeals to a larger audience, Starbucks has expanded its customer base and increased its revenue.

Cinnamon Roast vs. Blonde Roast

Before Starbucks introduced the Blonde Roast, their lightest roast was called the Cinnamon Roast. Some coffee enthusiasts might wonder if there’s a difference between these two terms and what prompted the rebranding.

The truth is that the Cinnamon Roast and Blonde Roast are essentially the same roast type. What changed was the terminology used to describe it.

Starbucks realized that “Cinnamon Roast” might have been confusing for customers who were not familiar with coffee roast terms, and the new term “Blonde Roast” was thought to be more relatable and easier to understand. It’s worth noting that the Blonde Roast from Starbucks, despite being marketed as a light roast, is actually closer to a medium roast on the spectrum of roast types.

This is because Starbucks uses a slightly higher temperature and longer roast time compared to what is typically used for a light roast. So the Blonde Roast from Starbucks might not be as light as other light roast coffees from other roasters.


Summary of Blonde Roast

In conclusion, Blonde Roast is a term that has been redefined for the sake of marketing strategy. While the definition of Blonde Roast varies depending on the roaster or coffee shop, it typically refers to a lightly roasted coffee with a milder flavor profile.

Starbucks’s Successful Marketing

Starbucks has successfully leveraged Blonde Roast as a way to attract new customers and expand its product offerings. And, while the rebranding of the Cinnamon Roast to the Blonde Roast might have caused some confusion, ultimately, it has made coffee roast types more accessible and understandable for coffee drinkers of all levels.

What to Expect from Blonde Roast

In conclusion, Blonde Roast is a term that refers to a lighter roast style characterized by low and slow roasting until the first crack stage, resulting in a pale brown color and hard and dense beans. Blonde Roast coffee has a high acidity level and features bright flavors of lemon, orange, or green apple, which can have subtle and complex fruity and floral profiles.

Despite the rebranding confusion, this roast style has become increasingly popular for its inherent flavors, making it ideal for single-origin coffees. Anyone looking for coffee with bright, fruity, and floral notes should consider trying Blonde Roast.

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