What Type of Coffee is Starbucks Blonde Roast?

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Written By Anh Dung Pham

As a longtime barista, I have deep knowledge about our wide range of roasted coffee options. My favorite is Blonde Roast, appreciated by many customers for its light, sweetly nuanced flavors. But what exactly is Golden Toast and what makes it special compared to other Starbucks® coffee roasts?

In this comprehensive guide “What type of coffee is Starbucks Blonde Roast”, I will explain everything you need to know about Starbucks beans roast, from the toasting process to tasting notes, origins, ordering tips, and more. Whether you’re a Starbucks regular or new to their coffee, you’ll learn why Blonde Roast has its own cult following. Here, I will call Blonde Roast by a synonymous alternative phrase Golden Toast.

What type of coffee is Starbucks Blonde Roast?

Starbucks Golden Toast refers to a lightly-roasted coffee designed to highlight soft, sweet characteristics. The lighter roast showcases flavors that can be muted in darker roasts. Rather than offering robust, bitter notes, Golden Toast delivers a smooth, delicate coffee experience.

Origins and Coffee Bean Varietals

At this café shop, most standard coffee options like Pike Place and House Blend are medium-roast. In contrast, the Golden Toast method is roasted beans for a shorter period of time at lower temperatures. This preserves the subtle flavor nuances that originate from the coffee beans with oils.

Blonde Roast Roasting Process

To achieve the light, bright style of Golden Toast, Starbucks master roasters carefully control the toasting parameters:

  • Lower temperature: Golden Toast is roasted at temperatures between 380-400°F, compared to darker roasts which reach over 400°F. The lower heat helps develop sugar and acidity.
  • Shorter time: The total roast time for Golden Toast is about 9-11 minutes. In comparison, a Starbucks medium roast takes 12-15 minutes. The shorter duration limits caramelization which would lead to heavier, roasty flavors.
  • Lighter color: Since less caramelization occurs, Golden Toast achieves a light brown color vs darker brown shades of medium-dark roasts. Lighter color = lighter flavor.
  • Stop at first crack: café Toasting consists of several stages, including the first and second crack – audible popping sounds from the beans. Golden Toast stops after reaching the end of the first crack, avoiding the second crack’s increased bitterness.
Blonde Roast Roasting Process

The skill of the Starbucks roasters is controlling time and temperature to land at the perfect light-roast level. This delicate process coaxes out Golden Toast’s coveted mellow, smooth profile.

Flavor Profile and Tasting Notes

The most pronounced characteristic of Golden Toast is its soft, rounded mouthfeel. Free of harsh edges, each sip provides an easy-drinking coffee experience. Beyond the smooth texture, Golden Toast offers a variety of flavors, highlighting some of the best-tasting coffee varieties. Golden Toast offers:

  • Sweetness – Notes of brown sugar, caramel, or honey. The light toast avoids roasty bitterness that can mask natural sweetness.
  • Fruit – Depending on the origin, pick up dried fruits like raisins, figs, or peaches. Fruitiness is a hallmark of a high-quality, lightly roasted café.
  • Nuttiness – Flowery chestnut or almond hints. Origins like Brazil and Africa have enough intensity to give a pleasing nutty impression.
  • Mild acidity – A clean liveliness rounds out the cup. Acidity in light toast comes from sugars rather than harsh compounds formed in darker toast.
  • Well-balanced – No overpowering flavors dominate. The sweetness, fruit, acidity, and nuttiness blend together for a cohesive light toast profile.

While flavors will vary across Golden Toast origins, the balance and smooth drinking experience remain constant. This flavor profile has wide appeal for both regular and occasional drinkers.

Origins and Coffee Bean Varietals

Favorites Starbucks Golden Toasts are often crafted with high-quality arabica beans from various single-origin beans:

  • Latin America – Coffees like Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Colombia offer mild acidity and fruit-toned sweetness at brighter roast levels.
  • Africa – Beans from Kenya and Ethiopia carry floral, berry, and wine notes when roasted lightly.
  • Asia & Oceania – Origins like Sumatra and Papua New Guinea contribute thick bodies and earthy spice undertones.

In addition to origin, different coffee varietals add their own unique characteristics. Some varietals often used in Golden Toast include:

  • Caturra – A mutation of the Bourbon varietal, known for its sweetness and being more forgiving at lighter toasts. Grown in Latin American coffee.
  • SL28 and SL34 – Hybrid varietals grown in Kenya, valued for their delicate fruit notes.
  • Typica – An heirloom arabica varietal with balanced acidity and sweetness, originating from Ethiopia.
Origins and Coffee Bean Varietals

Blending beans from various origins and varietals creates complexity in Golden Toast’s flavor profile. The specific blend recipe depends on Starbucks coffee buyers’ seasonal availability and tasting feedback.

How Golden Toast Compares to Other Starbucks Roasts

Comparing Golden Toast with some of the major commercial beans, since most Starbucks cafés are medium to dark roasts, Golden Toast stands out with its lighter flavor:

  • Pike Place Roast – Starbucks’ standard signature medium roast has rich, roasty characteristics. Golden Toast is more tea-like and delicate.
  • Starbucks Dark Roast – Very bold, often smoky and bitter. Golden Toast has none of the charred flavors.
  • Caffé Verona – A specialty dark roast with deeper, chocolaty tones, unlike Blonde’s bright notes.
  • Espresso roasts – Used for espresso drinks, these very dark roasts have increased bitterness. Blonde pairs better with milk or alone.
  • Decaf roasts – Roasted to medium or medium-dark for a fuller body. Golden Toast offers a rare light roast decaf option.

For customers who find the standard of medium-roast too intense, Golden Toasts offers a mellower, more nuanced alternative worth trying.

Popularity of Golden Toast

Since being added to the Starbucks menu in 2018, Golden Toast has attracted many devoted drinkers. Customers praise its smoothness and sweet flavors that set it apart from the heavier roasts it built its name.

Based on its success, it continues expanding the Golden Toast lineup with new origins and seasonal offerings like Pecan Golden Toast available in fall 2022. The Starbucks® Blonde Espresso Roast was launched in 2019 to make lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based drinks.

It even cites Golden Toast as helping attract new customers who previously found their coffee too strong or bitter. The lighter toast category filled an unmet need for an approachable, rewarding cup.

How to Order Golden Toast Drinks at Starbucks

The good news is any here beverage can be made with Golden Toast simply by asking! Some tips:

  • Order it as the make coffee option rather than the default Pike Place, e.g. “Golden Toast drip coffee”.
  • Substitute Blonde Espresso Roast as the espresso shot(s) in lattes, americanos, etc.
  • Request Golden Toast for pour-over or clover brewing methods.
  • Choose Blonde when ordering batch brew iced coffee.
  • Customize Frappuccinos, macchiatos, and holiday drinks with Golden Toast.
  • Ask for recommendations on which Golden Toast origin best suits your drink.

Be sure to mention “Golden Toast” at the start of your order to avoid confusion with another toasting. I enjoy introducing new clients to our Golden Toast coffees as a barista.


  • Starbucks Golden Toast refers to lightly-roasted coffees designed to highlight sweet, delicate flavors.
  • Coffee beans have a shorter roast time at lower temperatures to preserve acidity and fruit notes.
  • The smooth, well-rounded profile appeals to a wide range of coffee drinkers.
  • Golden Toast coffees incorporate beans from Latin America, Africa, and Asia/Oceania.
  • Customers can substitute Golden Toast into any coffee drink simply by asking.


What types of beans are used in Golden Toast?

Golden Toast incorporates high-quality arabica beans sourced from Latin America, Africa, and Asia/Oceania. The specific origins and varietals vary across different Golden Toast blends.

Is Golden Toast more caffeinated than other Starbucks roasts?

No, caffeine content relates more to coffee origin and varietal than roast level. Golden Toast has similar caffeine to medium roasts. Darker French or Italian roasts tend to have slightly less.

Does Golden Toast have more acidity?

Yes, Golden Toast highlights a coffee’s natural acidity which gives a lively, fruity impression. Darker Toasting destroys these delicate compounds, leaving more bitter acids.

Can you order any cafe drink made with Golden Toast?

Yes! Customize any hot, iced, or blended shop coffee drink with Golden Toast. Just specify “Golden Toast” when placing your order.

Is Golden Toast offered year-round or seasonal?

Starbucks core Golden Toast (Light, Medium, Dark) is available year-round. But they also offer limited edition seasonal Golden Toasts at certain times of the year.


For coffee lovers who find typical medium roasts too bitter or harsh, Golden Toast is a refreshing option. The light, nuanced flavors and smooth profile appeal to loyal fans and new coffee drinkers alike.

With origins spanning the globe and classic varietals like Typica and Caturra, Starbucks® Blonde Roast coffee beans capture the satisfying character of a true light toast. Better yet, you can customize any drink with your preferred Golden Toast origin, from bright and juicy Latin American or floral and fruity Kenyan.

So next time you visit Starbucks, consider branching out beyond your usual order and experience the sweetly balanced, immediately likable taste of their ® Golden Toast coffees. As a long-time barista, I guarantee you’ll appreciate this humble yet highly enjoyable light-roasted coffee at home.

Visit the lido18.com homepage to dive deeper into my rich journey of exploring different coffee types and indulge in the vast knowledge and experience I’ve amassed in my coffee-conquering adventure.