My Favorite Bold Coffee #8 – Sumatra

For the past 30 years, I’ve started each day with a coffee press of Sumatra or, when it’s available, Aged Sumatra.

Sumatra was the first Starbucks coffee I ever tasted. I encountered it on my first visit to the Pike Place store in 1981. It was distinctive, unmistakable…Sumatra.

I described that first sip in my book Pour Your Heart Into It. What I wrote then still describes how I feel about this coffee today.

“As we spoke, the counterman scooped out some Sumatra coffee beans, ground them, put the grounds in a filter cone, and poured hot water over them. Although the task took only a few minutes, he approached the work almost reverently, like an artisan. When he handed me a porcelain mug filled with the freshly brewed coffee, the steam and the aroma seemed to envelop my entire face. There was no question of adding milk or sugar. I took a small, tentative sip. Whoa. I threw my head back, and my eyes shot wide open. Even from a single sip, I could tell it was stronger than any coffee I had ever tasted. Seeing my reaction, the Starbucks people laughed, ‘Is it too much for you?’ I grinned and shook my head. Then I took another sip. This time I could taste more of the full flavors as they slipped over my tongue. By the third sip I was hooked.”

comments (21)

Comment FAQ

    • rmcnutt383
    • 1/12/2012 11:50 AM

    I love your X-bold roasts. On the other hand, if all I had to drink was your new blond roast, I would probably give up coffee altogether.

      • sueogden
      • 6/7/2012 6:04 AM

      In reply to: rmcnutt383

      I so agree.. my first impression was they were trying to attract the customer that likes Dunkin Donuts to the Starbucks culture.. I did like the color of the sample bag but the coffee ended up in the compost pile.;(

      • orchidjim
      • 9/3/2013 5:13 PM

      In reply to: rmcnutt383

      no kidding... hated the blond roast.

      • betsyblue2
      • 9/19/2013 5:47 PM
      • dustoff11
      • 6/18/2014 4:16 PM

      In reply to: rmcnutt383

      TO RMCNUTT383 If I had to drink Blonde roast I am sorry but I would have to give up drinking coffee altogether. Most people are ignorant of the fact that the Bold dark roasts have less caffeine than any of the others.. But my LOVE of strong coffee started with my first café expresso. Since I wanted to taste the coffee I could not put any sugar (sweetener) or dairy products. . That was in 1967 and I still drink coffee Black and Hot.

    • dbleportion
    • 2/21/2012 6:07 AM

    Ah, Sumatra... nothing better in the morning or anytime fo the day. For awhile I was trying Suluwesi (sp) but it had a sweetness that Sumatra didn't have. So it's me and Sumatra to the end. Thank you Starbucks for this great blend. I am originally from Seattle where it all started and I was there in line. Thanks

    • 1BlessedRedhead
    • 4/24/2013 6:17 PM

    I've long wondered how one might request a Venti Sumatra via Intravenous Drip... but my taste buds would simply shrivel and wither, and my soul would implode with longing.

    • coffeeandthedead
    • 8/7/2013 11:33 AM

    Always has been my favorite beans, with the exception of Jamaican Blue Mtn and real 100% Kona ( could have been the environment fresh roasted and sipped in Hawaii). Wish though you would bring back Ethiopian Sidamo.

    • mammalynn
    • 8/7/2013 6:00 PM

    I truly love so much I just got real strong good cup of coffee

    • Emilygroot
    • 9/18/2013 10:13 PM

    Great strong flavor love it

    • Jambriz15
    • 9/19/2013 1:01 AM

    I simply can't start my morning without a cup or two of Sumatra :)

    • anthonynapoli
    • 9/19/2013 4:27 AM

    The best coffee of all brands sold by Starbucks.

    • jhb4498
    • 9/19/2013 9:08 AM

    Sumatra by far is my favorite coffee

    • sgarton
    • 9/20/2013 2:34 AM

    Sumatra has been my favorite since the first time I tried it. I travel overseas quite often and always take sumatra in my bag so I can have coffee where I can't easily get it. I don't know how I could function without it.

    Nonetheless, Sumatra is for true coffee lovers. If you really like coffee, not light coffee, coffee with milk, moca-java or other coffee concoction, but your really like coffee (espresso, dark roast, european, turkish), sumatra will be your favorite too.

    • Larrysk65
    • 9/20/2013 1:40 PM
    • Wynna61
    • 9/24/2013 12:00 PM

    It's the BEST! ...got to have some today! I will.

    • Kerrysoudan
    • 2/6/2014 6:16 AM

    I have been drinking Sumatra for any years. Black. Love it!!

    • nanaperson
    • 3/12/2014 7:37 PM

    Love me some Sumatra. I can't wait until it is in my Starbucks as the dark roast drip blend of the day/month.

    • ms_eg55@yahoo.com
    • 3/16/2014 7:31 AM

    I really love this flavor I got one box to try it and it is almost gone.

    • JMBurke57
    • 4/12/2014 7:21 PM

    I first met Sumatran Coffee at a café in Eugene, Oregon around 1985. It was so delightful to taste that I had to ask what it was. It was their house coffee and it was Sumatran. Nothing else comes close to the magnificent flavor and texture of Sumatran. I recommend it to everyone. And Starbucks has the very best.

    • dr_daddy61@hotmail.com
    • 4/22/2014 8:12 PM

    As a resident of Hawai'i, the only commercial coffee producing state in the US it is distressing in reading your recent post and discussion of "the Coffee Belt" that our island state in not even shown on the map provided, let alone acknowledging our coffee crop production. We value our various coffees, and would not expect them to be served by Starbucks, given the scope of the organization and the extensive market from which the beans are drawn worldwide. Couldn't we at least be on the map?

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