December 14, 2015 Coffee & Company

Brew Coffee like a Starbucks Barista Champion

Coffee can be the key to creating personal experiences that lead to lasting holiday memories, according to a Starbucks coffee master and barista champion for the New York metropolitan region.

“Incorporating coffee making into your holiday tradition will provide a personal experience with family and friends, and after all, that’s what we’re all looking for this time of year," said Damien Pacheco, who is also a Starbucks® store shift supervisor,

The week leading up to Christmas is the busiest time of the year for coffee sales in the U.S., according to IRI Data. And Starbucks has outpaced the coffee category during the holiday season every year for the past four years.[1].

To get ready for Christmas morning or any time when entertaining at home, Pacheco offers tips for brewing the perfect cup of Starbucks® coffee.

The Four Fundamentals

“More than anything, I suggest paying attention to the four basics of coffee making,” said Pacheco. “Those basics are proportion, grind, water and freshness.”

Starbucks recommends using two tablespoons of coffee for every six fluid-ounces of water.

“The right proportion is the key to the right taste,” said Pacheco.

Select the proper coffee grind based on the brewing method used. For a coffee press or percolator, use a course grind; for flat-bottom coffee brewers or a Chemex brewing kit, use a medium grind; for a pour-over cone, use a medium-fine grind; and for an espresso machine, use a fine grind. Using a pre-ground coffee is another option.

“Tell the barista at your local Starbucks what brewing method you are using and they can grind the coffee for you,” he added.

Use water that tastes clean and fresh.

“Coffee is 98% water, so it can affect the taste,” said Pacheco. “I typically use filtered water, but will use bottled water when filtered is unavailable.

Oxygen, heat, light and moisture deplete the flavor of coffee. Starbucks uses FlavorLock™ Technology to prevent oxygen from entering bags of coffee.

“For the best cup of coffee on Christmas morning, wait to open your bag of beans until the moment you intend to brew,” Pacheco said.

Select a Holiday-Inspired Coffee

For a limited time during the holidays, customers can enjoy an assortment of seasonal coffees found at Starbucks® retail and grocery locations in the U.S. This includes Starbucks® Christmas Blend Vintage 2015, which is available in ground, whole bean, K-Cup® Packs and Verismo® Pods. Its pronounced flavors and deep, intriguing layers of spiciness and sweetness are perfect for pairing with traditional holiday cuisine.

“Christmas Blend is perfect for lighter fare or baked goods, especially those with nuts, cinnamon or cloves,” said Pacheco.

Customers shopping down the grocery aisle can also try new Starbucks VIA® Instant Latte White Chocolate Mocha, returning favorite Starbucks® Holiday Blend ground coffee, or an array of Starbucks holiday-inspired coffee and ready-to-drink beverages.

“Whatever coffee you choose, personalize your coffee moment,” he added. “The artistry of making coffee will build a connection with your guests.”


[1] IRI Data Multi-Outlet L52 Weeks ending 12/21/2014

Learn more about holiday offerings in grocery stores and Starbucks® Christmas Blend Vintage 2015

For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom