The coffee chain is encouraging customers to taste its Blonde Roast coffee, which debuted in autumn 2011, and its even newer Vanilla Blonde coffee by offering free samples in several different venues for a limited time starting Tuesday.
The chain is offering free 12 oz “tall” cups of Blonde and Vanilla Blonde coffee via a new Facebook app for the purchase of “eGifts.” If you sign up for the app, you can send yourself and a friend an electronic coupon redeemable for a free cup of the light-roasted coffee.
Starbucks is also opening pop-up stores in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dallas that will be offering free cups of Blonde and Vanilla Blonde coffee, plus coupons for a dollar off packaged beans of the two varieties.
Starbucks initially made its name brewing pitch-black roasted coffees that were richer-tasting and more caffeinated than the insipid grocery-store varieties to which most Americans had become accustomed. Yet even after Starbucks had been training the country’s palates for years, a sizeable minority of coffee drinkers — about 40 percent, according to QSR magazine — claimed to prefer lightly roasted coffee. (Among them were many diehard coffee connosieurs, who insist that dark-roasting beans zaps the nuance out of their flavor.) Starbucks hopes that by pushing its Blonde Roast hard, it can win over a larger share of this $1 billion segment of the market.