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AMERICA'S BEST : Brews With Attitude

November 01, 1990|KATHIE JENKINS

Starbucks Coffee

2203 Airport Way South

Seattle, Wash. 98134-2028

(800) 445-3428

Check, money order or major credit cards. Shipping and handling extra. Coffee has gone new-wave and become big business. These days, gimmicky brews taste like raspberries, mint, orange, chocolate--there's even an Irish cream bean that tries to fool you into thinking you've just had a drink with more kick than coffee. But die-hard coffee hounds scorn that stuff. They want a cup of coffee that tastes like . . . coffee. Sound easy? Wrong.

But the Seattle-based Starbucks Coffee Co. chain ("Starbuck" was the coffee-loving first mate in "Moby Dick") knows just what it takes to create a good cup of coffee. They start with all premium arabica beans ( arabicas have 50% less caffeine, cost more, and are scarcer than the robusta beans found in most canned commercial coffees). The beans are then roasted in small batches to a full city roast--a rich, chestnut brown color that produces a fuller, less acid flavor. Once roasted, the beans are immediately packed and shipped to ensure their freshness. Freshness is so important to Starbucks that after eight days they donate all unsold beans to charity.

A variety of coffees (both regular and decaf) are available. For java gourmets the Kenya ($7.85 per pound) makes an intense, snappy brew. If you're new to premium coffees, the House Blend ($7.65 per pound) is a light-bodied blend of Latin American coffees with a rich aroma. Espresso Roast ($7.75 per pound) makes a dark brew with full flavor and slight acidity and is ideal for making cappuccino. The Exclusive Blends Sampler--House Blend, Viennese Blend, Caffe Verona and Gold Coast Blend--at $16.70 for four half-pound bags would make a nice gift, or first-time buyers could use the sampler for taste comparisons. Add $2.95 to the first $20 purchase for surface shipping and handling or $3.95 for a purchase up to $40. If you prefer your coffee to arrive by two-day air, it will cost $5.75 for shipping and handling on a $20 purchase amount, $8.25 on orders up to $40. A trained staff is available to answer any questions.

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