A while ago I received an email from Olga, a rep for Starbucks, asking me if I'd like to try Starbucks' new "natural fusions" coffee for review, and to host a giveaway. Due to my my ongoing interest in coffee, I felt it would be wrong to turn down the generous offer.
Natural Fusions comes in three flavors, vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon. What sets these apart from other flavored coffees is that the natural flavorings (partly nondescript "natural flavorings", and also from real ingredients) are added to the beans as they're being roasted. The flavorings are also paired with different kinds of coffee and different roasts to enhance the flavor even more. Here's my lowdown on all three flavors. I brewed about 4 cups worth of coffee for each flavor, and uses 1 1/2 tablespoons grounds per cup. I also tried one cup black, and one cup with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a little whole milk.
In this coffee, they chose to use lightly roasted Latin American beans to allow the flavor of the vanilla to come through.
As soon as you open the package, an incredible vanilla scent goes wafting through the room. When brewed, the coffee had this natural sweetness. I find that most flavored coffees benefit from the addition of a little milk and creamer (this coming from someone who drinks their coffee black), but the taste is really present alone. The flavor might not be as strong as what you would expect from a flavored coffee, but I liked that it had a mellower (yet still very present) taste. There is also Indian sarsaparilla root
The caramel particularly intrigued me because caramel isn't really natural, but more a combination of ingredients cooked together. The ingredients used in this coffee are licorice root, dehydrated orange peel, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. This coffee, as well as the cinnamon, also uses Latin American beans, but here they are roasted dark instead of light. Caramel is a deeper, richer flavor, so it makes sense.
As with the vanilla, this coffee stands alone when drunk black, though it tastes equally as good with the addition of sugar-cream, though the resulting flavor is more smooth and blended. When black, the flavors of the ingredients are sharper, and the caramel flavor is really rich and delicious.
I figured the cinnamon would be the easiest flavor to do since it's literally just ground cinnamon sticks blended with the beans. Along with ground cinnamon, they also added dried orange peel, ground nutmeg, and Indian sarsaparilla root (which I think has a woody, deep flavor, and is a common ingredient in root beer).
Firstly, as with the vanilla, you open the bag and this intense cinnamon scent just comes bursting out. And it definitely smelled natural, as if you just ground some cinnamon yourself. When brewed and drunk, it was almost like drinking a cup of coffee that you sprinkled ground cinnamon into -- it was that strong! The cinnamon had a warm tone here.
What surprised me the most about these coffee was that none of them, especially the dark roasts, tasted over-roasted and bitter at all. These definitely would be worth picking up at the store.
And now for the giveaway! If you would like to experience these coffees for yourself, I've been offered the chance to host a giveaway for my readers. Included is one bag of each flavor, and a French press. Just a few simple steps needed to enter:
- Leave a comment letting me know you want to be entered (required)
- Blog about the giveaway on your blog, and comment with the link to that post
- Become a fan of She Runs, She Eats on Facebook (let me know in your first comment, if you did), to be eligible for another entry
- Follow me on Twitter, and recomment to let me know
That's it! The contest ends on Tuesday (the 27th) of next week. Good luck!