The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Starbucks tests stout-flavoured coffee

Image - Starbucks StoutGiant global coffee chain Starbucks says it was “inspired by the rise of craft beer” to develop a new coffee flavour said to taste like a stout. Stout is a dark, malty, roasty beer though the Starbucks drink contains no beer and no alcohol. Instead, the Dark Barrel Latte sauce combines roasted malt, chocolate and caramel flavours to replicate the taste of stout.

It is currently being trialled in selected stores in Florida and Ohio as Starbucks looks to move to a new autumn menu. If successful, it may be rolled out further. One staff member has posted the Starbucks memo about the Dark Barrel which was a bit naughty as it was marked “for internal use only.” However, Starbucks must be secretly pleased with the resulting coverage in major media outlets including Time, CNN and Fox News.

With Dark Barrel, Starbucks is said to be trying to invoke Guinness, the world’s most famous stout. However the leaked memo refers several times to sweetness, a characteristic which Guinness is not renowned for. On-line comments are mixed with many feeling the coffee is indeed too sweet to be stout-like. The jury is still out.

In many ways, making a coffee that tastes like beer is only fair as brewers have been adding coffee to their beers for many years. Local examples include mike’s Coffee Porter, Epic Coffee and Fig Stout, Tuatara Mojo Espresso, 8 Wired C4 Double Coffee and Croucher Ethiopian Coffee Stout. Indie brewers the Yeastie Boys even brewed a beer with tea (Gunnamatta) as a protest against the dominance of coffee beers.

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