My Review of Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee beans with photos

starbucks breakfast blend coffee beans and test cups of coffee
I tested Starbucks Breakfast Blend coffee beans all kinds of different ways. Here’s what I thought.

by Nigel Ong

Aside from the Breakfast Blend, Starbucks has many medium roasts, such as the Pike Place and House Blend. Will the Starbucks Breakfast Blend taste better than them? I am here to try to answer this.

I try to brew and sample the Starbucks Breakfast Blend in this post. I’ll also compare it against its contemporaries and see how different its taste is.

This is part of my extensive review of Starbucks’ coffee roasts. Feel free to check out my other reviews on Starbucks Veranda Roast, Caffe Verona Roast, or Pike Place Blend.

About Starbucks Breakfast Blend

First introduced in 1998, Starbucks formulated this blend with one idea – to produce a mild cup of coffee for morning sips. Starbucks also aims to produce a medium-light blend that suits as many palates as possible.

Starbucks achieved this by blending 100% Arabica beans from Latin America and then roasting them to a light, medium intensity. The result is a toasty, instead of a roasted coffee bean, with slightly lower intensity than the famous House Blend. 

Starbucks claims that the coffee comes with citrusy freshness, particularly orange. There are also notes of brown sugar. We’ll see if these notes appear in my tasting notes. 

The packaging I have in my hand is meant for the Asia Pacific market, which means it is slightly different from the ones in the US. However, checks with the Barista confirm that the beans are roasted to a similar standard.

Alright, that’s enough for an introduction. Let’s tear into the coffee bag and start brewing. 

How Does Starbucks Breakfast Blend Taste?

The coffee bag itself has some brewing instructions printed. It advises you to keep to a 1:18 coffee-to-water ratio and to use hot water. Since it does not mention any temperature, I’ll stick to the usual brewing temperature of around 185°F (about 85°C).

To sample the coffee best, I decided to brew the coffee in three ways for many reasons. 

French Press: This method will allow me to enjoy the coffee with all its oils and particles. With this one, I expect a murky, full-flavored coffee with sediments at the bottom of my cup.

Pour Over With Filter Paper: This brewing method best simulates the regular coffee brewer at home. Plus, the filter paper helps to filter away coffee particles and some coffee oils, allowing me to sample a ‘cleaner’ version of the coffee.

Espresso: You generally do not make espresso with light roasts. However, I’ll make one to sample the coffee’s flavor in a more concentrated form.

First Impression

When I opened the coffee bag, I was greeted pleasantly by the aroma of the coffee. I would say the smell is inviting and soft. It is softer than the aroma of the House Blend.

This is probably because the coffee is 100% Arabica, which should have a strong aroma. It is slightly acidic, with a citrus-like aroma. I smelled no orange notes at this point.

I, however, detected a cherry tomato smell, which is quite delicious to me. The coffee does not have a noticeable smoke note, probably because it is a medium-light roast. 

All right, it’s time to get brewing. I pulled out my coffee gears and got started. Here are the things I use in this review:

Starbucks Breakfast Blend tested on a french press

French Press

I added 15 grams of coffee and 180ml of hot water at around 185°F (about 85°C). I let the hot water brew with the coffee ground for 4 minutes before pouring a cup for myself to drink.

The coffee tastes smooth, easy, and light. It suits what Starbucks describes, an easy-to-sip coffee to suit as many palates as possible. The coffee tasted rounded, without anything edgy. 

Flavor note-wise, I do notice the slight sweetness, which may be sugarcane-like. This may be more noticeable during the finish. 

The orange-like notes appear as I have more sips, especially when the coffee cools slightly. 

I also noticed the coffee has a rather fast finish. Once I swallow the coffee, the coffee’s flavor diminishes from my palate quickly. This makes me want to chase it with another sip quickly.

Pour Over With Filter Paper

My pour-over brewing method is based on Starbucks. I added 20 grams of ground coffee into my dripper and slowly poured 360ml of water. 

My coffee tasted cleaner, for sure. I seem to notice the coffee becoming even smoother and softer in flavor. I like this version slightly more than the French press version, although you may differ from me. 

I notice stronger citrus in this cup, probably as there’s less bitterness and smoke. Filtered coffee usually has fewer particles, meaning these bitter, smoky notes are less present. 


I used my Wacaco Minipresso GR to pull out a shot. The result is an espresso with rich, thick crema. 

The crema does not smell smoky and has a stronger acidic smell than French press and pour-over brew. I was able to pick up some toasty smell, too. 

When sipping, it does not deliver the punch like typical espresso does. Instead, I am greeted with a fresh coffee flavor with citrus notes. There is also some sweetness, and I’ll describe it as sugarcane. 

What Flavorings Work Best With Starbucks Breakfast Blend?

With flavorings, I decided to use the most common additives in coffee. These include ice, sugar, sweetener, milk, and creamer. 

People add other things to their coffee, but I’ll keep to these since they are the most popular.


Iced coffee is as popular as the hot one. It only makes sense I try it with the Breakfast Blend. I poured a fresh cup of coffee into a glass I stuffed to the brim with ice. 

The iced version of the coffee is more bittersweet, with a stronger citrusy note. As the ice melts, I also notice the coffee becoming slightly more sour. 

I would say that the Breakfast Blend makes a refreshing iced coffee. However, it would not give you that deep bitterness from your regular Iced Americano. However, I can see it being a hot sell during hot summer days.


I have two sweeteners: brown, granulated cane sugar and Equal artificial sweetener. I made two full cups of French press brew. I added two drops of Equal artificial sweetener for the first cup, with a stick of brown cane sugar on the other.

Regular sugar helps to make the coffee silkier and slightly shinier on the outside. I think it also makes the coffee smoother to drink. Since the coffee is not too smoky, the sweetness does not have to compete with it, making the coffee taste very pleasant.

As for the Equal, I think it helps give the coffee a smoother finish, with a longer sweet aftertaste lingering on my palate. The latter is probably more of a characteristic of Aspartame, though.


I made another fresh cup of French press Breakfast Blend and poured warm milk into it. I used fresh, whole, UHT cow’s milk for full flavor and fat.

I notice the milk sweetens the coffee slightly, thanks to the lactose content in milk. I think the sweetness here is much more natural than using sweeteners directly.

My coffee also becomes slightly thicker, which makes the coffee nicer to sip. The thicker coffee also sticks on the tongue longer, giving me a better taste.

The milk also cuts into the acidity of the coffee, making the Breakfast Blend even easier to drink. This will make a beautiful, lazy Sunday morning coffee.


I used one of the most popular creamers around for creamer, the Coffee Mate. I added two sticks of it to a fresh cup of coffee. Coffee Mate is a non-dairy creamer made of palm oil.

The coffee now tastes richer, creamier, and thicker, even more so than using milk. The coffee also looks paler, which may be appetizing to some.

The fat content in the creamer also made the coffee silkier, slightly thicker, and smoother to sip. This creamy note cuts into the citrus notes and further covers the weak smoke. 

As a result, this coffee is so easy to drink that it reminds me of sipping Moscato white wine. However, between creamer and milk, I think I still prefer milk.

Starbucks pike place, breakfast blend and house blend coffee beans compared
I compared Starbucks Pike Place Roast, Breakfast Blend and House Blend to see the differences.

Starbucks Breakfast Blend vs. Starbucks’ Other Medium Roasts

Since this is a medium roast from Starbucks, it only makes sense for me to compare the taste of this blend with the others. 

I brewed coffee from Starbucks’ medium roasts I have in hand. They are the Pike Place Blend and the House Blend. For a fair comparison, I brewed them all using the French press method, using the same amount of grind and water.

Regarding intensity, the Breakfast Blend is the softest coffee of the three. It has the least smoke, with the House Blend coming second. Pike Place Blend is very smokey compared to these two.

In the flavor department, I thoroughly enjoyed the Breakfast Blend the most of the three. This is because the coffee has a nice natural sweetness and a bit of citrus and orange notes. 

The House Blend has a deeper, less sharp flavor that is nice in its own way, but it does not appeal to me as much. The Pike Place Blend is a bolder coffee with much more smoke and blending concept, which may not be directly comparable with the Breakfast Blend.

Folgers house blend, starbucks breakfast blend and mcCafe premium roast coffees compared

Starbucks Breakfast Blend vs. Popular Medium Roasts

I also decided to try the Starbucks Breakfast Blend with other popular medium roasts, such as the McCafe Premium Roast. I also made a cup of Folgers’ House Blend to compare with the Breakfast Blend.

Again, I brewed them all using the French press method, using the same amount of grind and water. This allows me to compare the coffee fairly.

I would say that the McCafe Premium Roast leaves me with the most satisfaction, with the Folgers House Blend second. The Breakfast Blend may be a little too light for me. 

However, the Breakfast Blend would be perfect if I just wanted to sip coffee. This is because the other two roasts trigger a desire to munch on something savory, like a bacon and egg sandwich.

Starbucks Breakfast Blend vs. Regular Coffee

Finally, I wanted to compare how much better Starbucks Breakfast Blend is than your regular coffee. I am talking about those you can get from gas stations and convenience stores. 

For this comparison, I marched to a local 7-Eleven store and picked up a cup of Americano. I also made my Americano from the Breakfast Blend for a fair comparison. A shot of coffee, with 2 shots of hot water added in. 

It goes without saying the Breakfast Blend is better than the regular coffee. There is a deeper flavor, and more satisfaction from sipping it. The regular coffee just tastes a little flat and, yes, watery.

Who Is Starbucks Breakfast Blend For?

Starbucks aimed to produce a light-medium roast with the Breakfast Blend, with a rounded, inoffensive profile. It is a fresh coffee with sharp, bright, acidic notes that should refresh you well. It is also not smoky, which makes the coffee easy to drink.

The Breakfast Blend should make excellent lazy weekend sips since it is the kind of coffee that does not require much ‘effort.’ It also pairs well with milk and creamer to further soften it. 

If you like your coffee light but are bored of light roasts like the Veranda Blend, this is a good place to check out. You can also sip this great coffee without pairing it with any food or munchies.

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