I consider myself a die hard Dunkin' Donuts drinker, but even I have to admit that Starbucks has always found a way to change the coffee game and stay in the public eye. So it was no surprise when the Seattle-born chain made waves with its new blonde espresso. That said, even the coffee obsessed had to stop for a minute and wonder—what is blonde espresso?

Starbucks' new menu item is bound to be a hit with some customers regardless of what anyone else thinks, but is it really all that different from the chain's usual fare? Or, maybe the bigger question is, when it comes to taste and looks, do blondes really have more fun?

What is Blonde Espresso?

Okay, so exactly what is blonde espresso and what makes it blonde? According to the flashy graphics on the Starbucks website, the blonde espresso is less intense than its regular counterpart. This makes for a smoother, more "subtly sweet" taste that translates well into many of Starbucks' most popular drinks. You can get anything from blonde lattes, to blonde cappuccinos, to blonde Americanos, and even blonde flat whites.

Like the more traditional blonde roast coffee from Starbucks, the blonde espresso is a lighter roast than other Starbucks espressos, and even has light hints of lemon and orange, making for a truly unique coffee experience. For some people (myself included), Starbucks coffee can be a little on the stronger side, so the blonde espresso could be perfect for someone looking for a more mellowed out brew. 

Is This a Starbucks Original?  

coffee, cappuccino, espresso, milk, mocha
Amy Cho

Starbucks has been one of the world's most popular coffee chains for decades, appearing everywhere from college campuses, to airports, to stand-alone stores. Though Starbucks is definitely an innovator in the food industry, I can't be too sure that they deserve the credit for "creating" a blonde roast.

According to an article from I Need Coffee (this site's title is coincidentally the title of my memoir), "blonde roast" coffee used to be known as "cinnamon roast," before the name was changed due to drinkers confusing the coffee's coloring with its flavor. When coffee beans are roasted, the bean undergoes different levels of cracking. Blonde/cinnamon roasts never make it past their first "crack," which leaves a good deal of the bean's natural sugar and acidity intact. 

Surely Starbucks wasn't the first company to keep the beans at their first cracks, but they have undoubtedly had the most success at marketing this coffee. In fact, Starbucks' blonde espressos have been sold in Canada since February of 2017.

Should You Go Blonde?

According to Elite Daily, the acidity and sweetness in the blonde espresso works with certain drinks better than it does with others. So, if you're a fan of specific Starbucks menu items in particular, the blonde espresso might be your best bet to take your drink to the next level.

Since blonde espressos are light and bright, they work great with iced drinks like the iced Americano. I drink iced coffee year-round, so this drink sounds right up my alley. If you're looking to punch up the coffee's sweetness, a blonde vanilla latte could be your drink of choice. 

If you're a no frills guy or gal, the blonde flat white would be perfect. It's straight espresso like you would get with the traditional roast, but wouldn't taste as robust, making it easier to swallow. But fear not, if you think "blonde" means less caffeine, think again. Light roast coffees have just as much caffeine as darker roast varieties—thank God.

Order Up 

beer, alcohol, liquor, ale, wine, lager
Molly Doroba

So, what is blonde espresso? In three words: your new obsession. Starbucks' newest offering is a way to get your espresso kick without diving headfirst into bold, robust territory. This drink is perfect for the more mellow coffee drinker, or just an everyday coffee lover looking for something different. And, at the very least, now you have something to spend that Christmas gift card on!