The Purity Of Starbucks Dark French Roast Is Being Called Into Question

Dark roast coffee is notoriously for being smoother, more decadent, and significantly less acidic than light or medium roasts. But, could your morning mug full of Starbucks' Dark French Roast attribute its low level of astringency to another ingredient besides 100% arabica beans? Recent claims suggest that the brand may not accurately represent its bold blend. Here's what you need to know.

According to The New York Post, Puroast Coffee Company has filed a legal complaint following lab tests conducted by Dr. Salam A. Ibrahim, which found 13% more potassium (and 70% less acidity) in the coffee than other competing brands. However, rather than listing the "added" ingredient on the package, Starbucks Dark French Roast continues to be available in grocery stores with arabica coffee beans listed as the sole ingredient.

"The facts coming from Dr. Ibrahim's study are conclusive — Starbucks is adding potassium to roasted coffee, significantly altering brew acid levels and flavor," shared Kerry Sachs, CEO of Puroast Coffee (via Accesswire). "It is well-known that adding buffers like potassium to coffee reduces acid and bitterness. Coffee companies are required to disclose additives, whether it's a flavoring or some other non-coffee ingredient."

Unlabeled potassium can jeopardize brand allegiance and consumer health

The study has sparked outrage among competitors, but the problem extends to consumers as well. ForFarming explains that 93% of shoppers say it's important for brands to provide detailed information regarding ingredients and production processes. Shedding light on a brand's ethics and social responsibility, transparency can also build consumer trust, ensuring continued success.

Naturally, proper labeling is also vital when the health of the consumer is at stake. While coffee beans contain naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (like potassium), amounts remain minimal. However, based on the high potassium levels found in Starbucks' blend, News Observer shares that drinking excessive amounts could cause hyperkalemia, a condition that can lead to serious heart problems.

Despite the reports, Starbucks stands by its inky dark roast. The New York Post reports that a spokesperson from Starbucks stated, "We are aware of the complaint Puroast has filed with the North Carolina Consumer Protection Division and believe it is without merit. We do not add potassium to Starbucks Dark French Roast coffee."