Starbucks Coffee VS Specialty Coffee - Which one is better?

Starbucks Coffee VS Specialty Coffee – Which one is better?

Type of coffee bean used

A barista who brews your drink will help you tell you what kind of beans they used, either by writing the type on the cup or in their profile.

If you want to know more about specialty coffee and how it tastes different than standard grocery-store brands like Folgers, read on!

There’s a straightforward way to tell whether you’re drinking something that has been pureed or ground and extracted using an espresso machine. Specialty coffee will be a bit more expensive, but it’s better quality, and you can taste the difference!

The two primary types of specialty coffee are Arabica beans and Robusta beans. Starbucks uses mainly Robusta beans for its coffees, but smaller outlets use Arabica for sipping and brewing. So, you want to know what’s in your cup if you want to see what you’re getting. The Starbucks stores get their beans from various sources, but the coffee is always roasted in Seattle.

Robusta beans are much more aromatic and have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. They are more resistant to disease, crack more efficiently, and are often used in espresso blends when paired with Arabica because they produce a darker mix. On their own, they are used in most instant coffees.

Arabica beans are sweeter, and milder and are used more for single-origin coffee sipping. Although both types of beans can be used to get a good espresso blend that tastes great, you will taste the difference. If you’re not getting an espresso blend from a specialty coffee shop, then the Arabica is likely being used!

Why is Arabica better than Robusta? Arabica beans have more sugar, which means that they have more flavor. By contrast, Robusta beans are very sharp and acidic, meaning they have more caffeine. But overall, the main reason to go for specialty coffee is that it has been freshly roasted—not weeks old.

However, even though Arabica coffee is considered to be better quality and is more expensive, it still must meet the same standards as Robusta coffee. It must be decaffeinated, sorted through, and cleaned up before it can be used to brew a perfect cup of coffee.

No matter what type of beans you use to brew your morning cup of joe, it is essential that you are using high-quality beans or roasts if you want a high-quality cup.

Some tips for choosing good beans include:

1. Look for an expiration or roast date on your beans – fresh is always better.

2. Whole roasted beans will last longer than the ground.

3. Opt for a smaller package made from whole roasted beans to ensure maximum freshness. Beans that have been ground quickly lose their flavor, especially if they are refrigerated or frozen right away.

If you are shopping online, choose a company with consistently high ratings and comments. Check out their shipping and handling times to ensure you will get the beans in time to brew them right away.

Check out the Starbucks secret menu if you want to be more adventurous!

Where beans are grown

Starbucks coffee is often made from arabica beans. Specialty coffee is generally made with robusta or with both arabica and robusta beans combined. The question arises, which is better? On the whole, arabica beans make a better cup of coffee.

Arabica beans are grown in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia. The world’s most widely traded commodity (semi-processed) coffee comes from these countries. The bean has a higher level of caffeine than robusta and is grown under very similar conditions. It has also been shown to have lower levels of mycotoxins (toxins produced by mold).

Robusta coffee is grown in Vietnam, Brazil, and Mexico. It has a lower caffeine content than arabica. The coffee contains more caffeine when bought unroasted. However, this difference virtually disappears once it is roasted.

Regardless of type, each bean origin has its unique characteristics. For example, Columbian coffee has a milder taste, while Ethiopian coffee tends to have a fruitier taste. The coffee is grown in the shade, so it has a lower level of caffeine and contains lots of minerals and vitamins. On the other hand, Brazilian coffee is grown in open fields and has a higher caffeine count. Coffee taken from Indonesia has more significant levels of acidity. Both are equally safe to drink because they are regulated by the FDA.

Both have low levels of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be poisonous and even carcinogenic if consumed in large enough quantities. Although coffee is not regulated by the FDA, coffee has been used for many centuries in traditional medicine.

How the beans are brewed

Many people love to get their iced lattes from Starbucks even though they have never ordered anything other than plain old drip coffee at home. Coffee at Starbucks is typically brewed using a blend of beans that includes a high percentage of Arabica beans, which is the type of bean favored by most coffee connoisseurs. If you want more information about how coffee is made, you can visit their website at to learn more about the quality and taste of their coffee and creamers.

Though European coffee drinkers tend to prefer espresso, most Americans aren’t fans of how bitter this style of coffee is. Instead, they enjoy their coffee as drip-brewed coffee because it’s so much easier to make than espresso. Espresso is served in tiny cups and is often thickened with steamed milk. Drip brewed coffee is meant to be a little stronger in taste and does not need additions like creamers or sugar to be tasty. If you prefer your coffee to be served with more cream and sweetener, then you’ll probably prefer the coffee at Starbucks.

Though baristas can make coffee, in most American cafes, this is a job for a person who is trained in coffee production. A barista is trained in the art of making espresso, which requires training in how to make great espresso. A barista can become a coffee aficionado; they can be trained to make espresso and expertly serve it in a small cup. However, the American coffee industry prefers to hire baristas because this type of person is already familiar with how to pour, brew, and serve café-style coffee.

There are those who consider medium and dark roasts the only way to go. Other people prefer lighter roasts. Those who prefer light roasts often prefer French roast coffee because it’s a milder roast and tends to be bitter when compared with other styles of coffee. The difference in brewing techniques also help determine how different beans taste.


If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what Starbucks is, they make coffee (obviously). They also have several “secret menu” items that aren’t listed on their menu. For instance, I love getting caramel macchiatos with soy milk and dark chocolate syrup. The problem is that those drinks will run you $5-7 each. My favorite drinks don’t cost $5-7 each but are around $4 for a medium-sized glass. Why such a vast difference between the two?

Well, it’s because coffee is more than just coffee. Coffee has become a multi-billion dollar industry— and it is all based on one plant: Coffea Arabica (commonly known as Arabica beans).

Arabica beans are grown in a few countries: Brazil, Columbia, and Indonesia. Arabica beans are grown in large plantations in these countries that can produce hundreds of thousands of pounds per acre. This is not the case for specialty coffee.

For instance, specialty coffee shops will use only a few hundred pounds of beans annually. Furthermore, specialty beans are around $2/lb—or $1/lb on average. In comparison, Starbucks uses less than one percent of the world’s coffee crop, and their prices are pretty standard from a general work perspective. However, the prices are astronomical if you compare Starbucks to specialty coffee shops.

Why such a significant price difference? It all comes down to the taste. Arabica beans are grown in countries where they are often exposed to harsh weather conditions that produce bitter and overly acidic coffee.

Specialty shops will buy Arabica beans from around the globe, but they look for smaller farms that use sustainable farming practices. Farmers will focus on growing quality beans instead of quantity at these farms. Quality Arabica beans are grown at lower altitudes and in areas with lush vegetation (all of which contribute to a better-tasting coffee).

By buying from small farms, the price per pound can be much smaller than if Starbucks bought from large plantations. By using specialty beans, specialty shops can produce a more complex flavor that is often described as sweet. Furthermore, specialty shops can combine different beans in the final product (depending on the drink).

That’s not all

Specialty shops can also add other flavors to their drinks, such as chocolate, hazelnut, spices, etc., to create a more complex taste palette for customers. For similar reasons.No, one wants to drink coffee that tastes like grass or watermelon. Other large corporations are also looking into adding these additional flavors—not just specialty coffee shops.

Shortly, I think Starbucks will begin to offer additional add-ons to their drinks, such as mint and extra flavors. At the same time, small shops will continue to add different flavors to their coffee for those who don’t like a pungent taste.

This is the way of things. Some people like a little kick from whatever they consume; others prefer a smooth taste that goes down easy. It has nothing to do with the price of coffee but rather the way beans are grown and processed in different parts of the world.

By comparison, specialty coffee beans are sourced from Brazil, Columbia, and Indonesia. Those countries are hot and humid—not ideal conditions for coffee production (even when compared to Ethiopia). A large amount of heat is needed to keep the beans from drying. That’s why specialty beans will be more expensive—especially in Columbia, where coffee is grown below sea level.

Starbucks wants to keep the price of their coffee low to keep customers. They also want to produce a consistent product. You know what you’ll get, and it is always fresh. You may have a $5-7 drink at specialty shops, but many of them will use quality beans—not just Arabica (the most common bean used in coffee). In the end, it is all about the taste—and that’s why Starbucks is expensive, and specialty coffee shops are not.

Main image credit > Erik Mclean from Unsplash

About the Author
The Coffee Blogger

There's something special about coffee. The way it smells, the way it tastes, the way it makes you feel. It's no wonder coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. For coffee lovers, drinking coffee is more than just a way to wake up in the morning. It's an experience to be savored. From choosing the perfect beans to brewing the perfect cup, coffee is a labor of love. But it's all worth it when you take that first sip of steaming hot coffee and feel the caffeine jolt bringing you to life. That's what loving coffee is all about.