Starbucks Christmas Blend: The story behind the beloved holiday brew


By: Heidi Peiper

As Starbucks celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, we take a look back at one of its most beloved coffees, Starbucks Christmas Blend.

Before Peppermint Mocha, before red holiday cups – there was Christmas Blend. This beloved holiday coffee was Introduced in 1984, back when Starbucks had only five locations in Seattle and they didn’t sell drinks and food, just whole bean coffee, tea and spices. The new coffee blend showcased Starbucks artistry in roasting and blending with an expert combination of lively Latin American beans and mellow Indonesian coffees. The finishing touch was the addition of rare, spicy Sumatra beans that were painstakingly aged for three to five years for a full-bodied, spicy and rich cup of coffee.

Customers quickly snapped up the hand-scooped bags of Christmas Blend, and the air in stores was soon filled with the roasty-sweet aroma of Christmas Blend. The roasting plant ramped up production, as more and more shipments arrived each morning to meet the growing demand, their white metal bins still warm from the fresh-roasted beans inside.

Ever since that very first holiday, Christmas Blend has become a cherished part of the holidays, whether it’s shared around a table or given as a perfectly wrapped gift. Its legacy continues with this year’s vintage, created by Starbucks team of expert coffee developers to honor its rich heritage while bringing in new coffees from Latin America, Africa and Indonesia and considering brewing methods such as iced and cold brew.

All of Starbucks coffees are made with 100% arabica coffee, verified as ethically sourced by Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices.

This year’s Starbucks Christmas Blend features aged Sumatra blended with dark-roasted beans from Papua New Guinea, Guatemala and Colombia. With notes of herbs, baking spices and a chocolate finish, every sip of this flavor-rich coffee is an invitation to feel the wonder and warmth of the season. Also available as whole bean, ground and decaf whole bean. Available at Starbucks company-operated and licensed stores.

For those who love an elegantly balanced cup of coffee, Starbucks Holiday Blend is just the right combination of sweet and toasty. This seasonal blend combines bright Latin American beans with rich Sumatran coffee – roasted to bring out its complex flavour – offering notes of subtle herbs and smooth maple sweetness. Available at Starbucks company-operated and licensed stores.

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