My personal view as a relative newbie, is that the beans you start with are critical. I have started to get an eye for the differences - which was really noticeable when a bag of fully washed Monsoon Malibar arrived recently, and I compared that to a bag of equal weight (it was a Kenyan peaberry). They both weighed the same, but one bag was almost 50% larger than the other. So there is a definite density thing going on and surface area. Then the moisture content is key too. So what do you do when the app isn’t going to steer you in the right direction (that is only available if you spend a few more thousand on the pro-app). Well experiment with intelligence.
Firstly, I looked around the internet as starting with the right beans will be a cracking first step (a pun worthy of being roasted for). This is what I found …
Naturally, Starbucks sources arabica coffee from three key growing regions, Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, a spokesperson for the coffee empire confirms, but their signature coffee blends are mostly from the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia Pac is big, then I found a list of countries which Starbucks sources from (for all roasts and not just the signature roast) … Mexico; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Columbia; Rwanda; Ethiopia; Tanzania; Indonesia; and
Coffee Growing in Asia Pac includes Myanmar, India, Thailand; Malaysia; China; Nepal; Sumatra; Vietnam; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea; Hawaii.
There is very little overlap between the two. Indonesia is capable of producing the volumes Starbucks need, So my initial guess is that this is origin of Starbucks signature beans. I found this one at £12.50 per kilo which looks like a premium bean that fits the profile of a bean suitable for going very dark … Indonesian Old Java.
Finally, how is Starbucks prepared? When you look at the beans in the Starbucks bags, they look fully washed. Very clean. From a corporate perspective, this is the most consistent method, and consistency is what people want at Starbucks.
Now get some starbucks beans you like. Look at their colour. These are you reference. You then have to clear your IKAWA glass as you will need to watch carefully. I also use an LED high powered torch on top as my eyesight struggles to see what’s happening. Load in the La Leona Guatemala Espresso, then extend the recipe cook time to the right to about 12 minutes.
Load in 50g, then listen and watch. First crack should happen before minute 4, If not, raise the initial peak. Then watch the beans develop and simply stop when the colour matches the reference beans Starbucks have that early shine on them, and when that comes out, its time to stop. I wouldn’t think you’d go to second crack.
Once the reference beans match the colour of Starbucks note the time on the app and end the roast. Edit the recipe and save it as STARBUCKS. Bag in an airtight bag, then wait a good long time before drinking. Starbucks beans are always a few weeks old (check the dates on the bags the staff use to get an idea).
Hope that helps.