Free Coffee, Newly Reinvented

Gotta love attempted reinvention: Starbucks is in the game right now, trying to get back to its humble, all-about-coffee roots. Today it launched a signature drip coffee blend called Pike Place Roast, after the location of its first store (mythology much?), and is giving out free samples of the eight-ounce size.

The quote that kills me: “What’s neat about this is that we really feel in our own Starbuckian way that we have reinvented the brewed coffee experience,” says Andrew Linnemann, Starbucks master coffee blender.

Reinvented the brewed coffee experience? I’m not sure about that. Reinvented smugness? Quite possibly.

The company erected a replica of its first Pike Place store in Bryant Park in Manhattan, where Starbucks President Howard Schultz schmoozed with folks. One Bryant Park customer who went in for the new roast reports, “The guy who gave it to me told me I had to take a sip of it straight so I could experience the magic.”

And how is the coffee? Blog reports are rolling in. One coffee tester says, “I like it better than typical Starbucks coffee but it still falls far short. ... The flavor is still very Starbucks, that is to say over-roasted and on the bitter side.” My favorite headline on the topic so far is this one: “Starbucks New Brew, Tastes Less Like Paint Thinner!

Perhaps not complete reinvention, but it’s something.

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