OUR COFFEE CREDS:
WHY WE'RE ALLOWED
TO CALL IT GREAT.
We are obsessed with coffee, and especially with how we make it. Every step of the way, from coffee cherry to your cup, is managed to fit our exacting standards. Simply put: We put in the work. Then we call it great. Read about our coffee-making process below.
Coffee's all about blend names and regions. What do they mean? What do they taste like? That's why we're pretty proud of our Level System—it's kind of a game changer. We developed a simple system of five distinct Levels, with flavor and boldness profiles that span the entire range of coffee enjoyment.
- Level 1: Light & Crisp
- Level 2: Medium-Light & Lively
- Level 3: Medium & Balanced
- Level 4: Medium-Dark & Rich
- Level 5: Dark & Intense
Simple, right? Finding your perfect coffee should be a joy, not a test. Proceed to learn how every step of our process is driven by our Levels.
Seattle's Best Coffee® starts in the ground and on it. We work with coffee farmers, cultivating decades-long relationships to ensure our quality standards are met around the world. While we're in the field, we learn and share best practices with other producers.
We care about responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee. This means happier farmers and access to the premium beans worthy of becoming a Seattle's Best Coffee® Level.
You've heard about regions and origins and other terms that basically mean you should've paid more attention in geography class. While a bean's birthplace is important, it's just the beginning. Due to constantly changing conditions, a region's quality can fluctuate from crop to crop. Our farmer relationships and our Starbucks pedigree mean we have access to the high quality, but we still obsessively taste dozens of coffee bean shipments. Every single day. If they match up with one of the five Levels, they get the gold star and move on to blending.
Each of our Levels is a finely tuned recipe, blended from beans carefully chosen for their nuances and flavor characteristics. To balance Level 3's pleasantly crisp acidity with its full-bodied physique, for example, we source the best beans that embody these traits, then blend them together prior to roasting. Crafting the blends at this green stage allows us to later achieve a roast that's consistent.
By this point, a lot of work has gone into getting the right beans from the right sources, in just the right proportions. But roasting is where the real magic happens. Each Level, depending on its intensity, requires its own finely calibrated roasting curve. Then our long, gentle roasting process coaxes the optimum flavor out of each bean while producing the signature Seattle's Best Coffee smoothness. It's a lot like slow cooking in a low-heat oven—it takes time, but the flavors are rich and complex. Your mom was right. It pays to be patient.