Starbucks is back. Last month they released their Tribute Blend, which was a disaster. It was a blasted mess of a bean, with nearly all of the terroir charred from the bean by an aggressive roast. I was doubly disappointed because I had just had Casi Cielo for the very first time, which was a fantastic blend. Starbucks has completely made up for it, though, with Three Regions Blend.
Open the bag and you're hit with a very strong bouquet of fudge and brownies. It's funny, since very little of this initial smell gets to the palate. Also nice, Starbucks' description of the coffee is rather accurate. It's a very toasty coffee, with a lot of bread, mellow roast, and just a small amount of spice. It does better the lighter your serving. A heavy espresso double was blowing out the flavors and delivering too much roast. A light double was good, and an espresso single was very good. Moreover, this isn't a very cremariffic coffee, so there's no real reason to use a double.
I'd imagine that drip coffee will simply blast the beans, since I found that they tasted best with a cooler brew. In this quest, pour-over, or my chosen brewing method, Aeropress are ideal. My favorite method was far and away the espresso single, which drew out all of the best flavors. There was a lot more terroir than in many other Starbucks blends and beans, which was probably helped by a comparably light roast. As I always mention, Starbucks usually needs a low grind on my Rancilio Rocky, sometimes as low as 3, with most good espresso blends needing a 9 or 10.
As far as Starbucks beans go, Three Regions blend is visibly lighter. There's a smaller amount of oil on the surface, and the color has more brown to it. Casi Cielo, still Starbucks' only legitimately impressive blend, required a 9. Three Regions needs around an 8. Still, the roast is more than light enough to give the beans character.
Three Regions Blend is a definite buy. It tastes fresh, and does very well in an Aeropress and a single. Just avoid making any doubles with it.
Starbucks Three Regions Blend: RECOMMENDED