Thursday, January 13, 2011

PRODUCT REVIEW: Starbucks Casi Cielo Coffee

I just bought a half-pound of Starbucks to get me through the snowstorm and gave their seasonal roast, Casi Cielo, a shot. I am legitimately impressed. I knew I was in for something different when the usual setting of "4" on my grinder was way too fine. The darker the roast, the finer the grind, and Starbucks ain't called Charbucks for nothing.

After two blown shots, I was amazed to find the coffee requiring a grind in the "8-9" range. Holy crap! So, I knew it was going to be different, but good? I was about to find out.

It's good! Like, really good! This is easily the best Starbucks coffee that I've ever tasted in espresso. Whereas other times, I bought Starbucks because my Black Cat hadn't arrived in time, or I was unable to make it to Updike's Newtowne or Coffee Exchange, with this, I don't feel as though I'm missing out by drinking it. It's very rich and smooth, always good for espresso, but actually has some fruity bite to it. It's an excellent choice for espresso, be it doubles or singles. I haven't tried a triple, but if it works in a double, it usually does well in a triple, too.

Now, I know that I'm late to the game with this. Starbucks introduced Casa Cielo over three years ago. But that knowledge only leaves me more confused. If Starbucks knows enough to make this, why haven't they applied this to their other coffees? Or their in-house espresso? While I still prefer my favorites (UpTowne, CofEx, and B-Cat), this is a legitimately good coffee and everything Starbucks makes should be like this.

Starbucks Casi Cielo Coffee: RECOMMENDED


And just for fun, here's a picture of some latte art that I poured into a cup of Casi Cielo. It was tasty.


Paritosh said...

can anybody guide me how to make a case cielo coffee at home without using espresso machine?

Aaron MC said...

Hi Paritosh,

I'd imagine that any process aside from ordinary drip will produce an excellent cup. It might not go well in a French Press, since I think that a short brew time would go best, but I'd only know that with an experiment.

I'd try using an Aeropress. That worked well for me when I had one. Pour-Over style should also work very well and will bring out a bit more fruity notes.

Finally, you can use a Moka Pot. This will give you your strongest cup of coffee this side of Turkish.


Good Eats has a good video showing pour-over/drip:

Moka Pot:

And, if you want, you can rig up your own steamed milk!

1: Buy some whole milk
2: Buy a candy Thermometer
3: Brew your coffee
4: Pour 1 cup of milk into a small pan
5: Turn it to medium heat
6: Monitor temp with the thermometer
7: Use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment and whisk the milk at high speed
8: This will make a foam
9: Take the milk off of the heat when the thermometer hits 130F
10: Dispense milk and foam into your coffee.