Skip to main content

Starbucks Targets Light Roast Coffee Drinkers

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Coffee Co. is stepping up its efforts to capture the 40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers who say they prefer a lighter roast with a cross-channel campaign for Starbucks Blonde Roast.

Last year, Starbucks Blonde Roast packaged coffee sales were 79 percent incremental in grocery and 70 percent incremental at Starbucks retail stores, driving growth across all channels in the nearly $1 billion light roast coffee segment, according to the company.

"Starbucks Blonde Roast is a new roast curve for Starbucks that celebrates our coffee heritage and roasting expertise and introduces new customers to our coffee," said Craig Russell, senior vice president, global coffee, for Starbucks. "For those who think Starbucks coffee is too dark, we now have an answer. We're excited about the response we've seen over the past year and are looking forward to bringing the taste of our milder, easy-drinking Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee directly to even more consumers nationwide."

Starbucks is also reaching out to new customers with the launch of Vanilla Blonde, its first handcrafted brewed coffee that features a sweeter taste profile with the addition of vanilla-flavored syrup added to its lightest roast. Realizing approximately 80 percent of brewed coffee drinkers add milk or sugar to their coffee, Vanilla Blonde gives brewed coffee drinkers their own customizable option at Starbucks, the company explained.

Starting today, the coffee giant is kicking off a cross-channel sampling and sharing campaign that includes millions of offers for a free 12-ounce cup of Starbucks Blonde Roast or Vanilla Blonde and $1 off any Starbucks packaged coffee or Starbucks K-Cup packs in retail stores and where customers buy groceries.

In addition:

  • Customers can get a free Tall (12-ounce) Starbucks Blonde coffee for themselves by sharing a Starbucks Card eGift with a friend through a new desktop and mobile-enabled Facebook app accessible at
  • Starbucks Mobile cafés will pop up in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas where, for three weeks, each location will offer free samples of Starbucks Blonde Roast and Vanilla Blonde coffee along with vouchers for a free Tall Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee or Vanilla Blonde and $1 off Starbucks packaged coffee and Starbucks K-Cup packs to passersby.
  • A dozen ambassadors donning coffee-filled jet packs will also hit local streets in these cities to share tastes of Blonde Roast coffee with those who can't make it to the mobile cafés.
  • More than 8,000 food, drug, and mass grocery retailers will offer Starbucks Blonde Roast to shoppers down the aisle -- the biggest sampling effort down the aisle in Starbucks history.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds