We dashed down to one of the Starbucks in Union Square when we heard they were doling out free samples of their new coffee blend, but a barista sporting a Flock of Seagulls hairdo told us we had missed the caffeinated hordes. Nonetheless he was kind enough to give us a splash of the Pike Place brew–the coffee is named for the first Starbucks location in Seattle, back in the good old days before the ubiquitous chain came to symbolize yuppie consumption and corporate greed in Austin Powers.
Pike Place definitely went down better than the normal houseblend at Starbucks. It was smoother and without the bitter aftertaste. Another barista informed us it is lighter than Starbucks’ usual coffee.
“I think it will be more universal,” he said. “I wasn’t working at 12 when they were handing out the samples, but I heard there were a lot of people. That always happens when you give out free stuff in New York.”
We tried to gauge customers’ reaction to Pike Place, but no one we talked to this afternoon was aware that a new blend had been unveiled.
It seemed like Bryant Park was really the launching point for Starbucks’ new “cohesive branding strategy,” Racked reported. Apparently, CEO (and Brooklyn native) Howard Schultz himself was handing out free bags of beans to any and all passers-by at the plaza this afternoon.
Starbucks only has the permit for Bryant Park until 12 a.m. tonight, so you better get there fast. But the barista said they will continue to hand out samples for customers at Starbucks locations in the city.