Are you one of the millions upon millions of people who love Starbucks but hate spending a few bucks per day on your coffee? Well, we have your lucky break today: In honor of the fifth anniversary of the very popular Starbucks Reserve Coffee and Clover brewing machines, we're giving away 365 days of Starbucks coffee — seriously.
In case you're unaware, Starbucks doesn't just serve its house blend coffee roast. For as long as Starbucks has been around, the company has been sourcing small-lot, hard-to-find coffees and bringing them to the masses of coffee lovers out there with its Reserve Coffee Program. Typically, Starbucks will bring on average 14 new coffees throughout the year, in small quantities, that are just a little more special than your daily house blend. "A lot of our reserve coffees come out of current supply chain," says Andrew Linneman, with the Starbucks global sourcing team. If the team is going through its current sampling of its coffees and "one sticks out on the table or in the cup as different from the rest of them in a positive and unique way, we're able to go back to suppliers and segregate it from the rest."
Just how exclusive are these coffees? Well, to put it into perspective, says Leslie Wolford, also from the Starbucks global sourcing team, Starbucks purchases about 545 million pounds of coffee per year. (And you thought you drank a lot of coffee.) Well, the most buzzed-about Reserve coffee from last year, the Geisha coffee, totaled at about 500 pounds. Just 500! "People don’t think to come to us for a single origin, small-batch coffee," says Wolford, citing the popularity of the independent coffee roasters that aren't hard to find in today's "fourth wave" coffee scene. "But we have these long-standing, tremendous relationships with our farmers. They know the quality that we seek; if they come across something that is so exotic and rare, they’ll be sure to let Starbucks know."
And of course, while you can make these Reserve coffees at home, you can also get them in store, or if you're lucky, brewed right on the spot using Starbucks' Clover brewing systems. In the 500 stores where they're located (Starbucks will double the number of Clover locations by the end of 2014), you can order an individually brewed cup of coffee with the Reserve coffee of your choice, made with a vaccuum and press technology. What makes the Clover brew so different, says Linneman, is that the Clover machine doesn't use a paper filter, so the coffee left behind still retains all of those oils (and even a little bit of sediment) — the true essence of the coffee. "That's where the nuance [of the coffee] lies," he says. "The Clover is the most high-tech experience to a single serve coffee," he says. "... [You're] not putting anything between you and your coffee."
That's why we're teaming up with Starbucks for this very exclusive giveaway to win a year of Starbucks' Reserve Coffee — after all, some of these coffees are so rare and popular, they don't even make it into the stores. And judging from last month's Reserve Coffee, the La Candelilla, and some of the upcoming coffees (Linneman hinted at a coffee made in Kauai, with only peaberries), you won't be disappointed. Click here to find out how to enter in our Starbucks sweepstakes to win the grand prize of 365 days of Starbucks Reserve Coffee (or at least a $5 gift card!).