When I first started working at Starbucks I swore by Pike Place roast. I never ventured into new coffee territories or tried anything new, it was always a tall Pike. Then I started tasting different blends, becoming more interested in the science behind coffee, and what was once a simple cup of coffee became a full blown passion.
Or obsession, you decide.
I still remember the first time I had the coffee that changed my mind about Pike Place (which is now one of my last choices.) A single origin medium roast, straight from the birthplace of coffee – Ethiopia. This coffee came to Starbucks in 2013, and quickly became my favorite medium roast. I suggest it to others quite often.
I consider my coffee palate “more experienced” then it was when I first embarked on my Starbucks journey. Detecting certain flavors and bean combinations is one of my favorite aspects of my job. That and discussing tasting notes with fellow coffee lovers.
It’s no surprise I love doing coffee tastings, and the week before my Arizona adventure I was able to do FIVE at work tastings. Some with coworkers, and some with customers. One of my tastings involved this beautiful coffee and a treat with these vegan marshmallows. I hadn’t had a rice crispy treat in….8 years?
Be still my heart this recipe rocked my face.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
- 3 tblsp coconut oil
- 4 cups Dandies Mini marshmallows
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 cups Trader Joe’s rice cereal
- 1 packet Trader Joe’s semi sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1. Melt coconut oil over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well combined.
2. Add rice cereal and stir until cereal is coated. Pour mixture into a large pan coated with cooking spray or oil. Melt chocolate chips over low heat, and stir constantly until melted. Pour chocolate over the marshmallow mixture and let stand until firm.
Tasting Notes: Ethiopia is a single origin medium roast coffee with strong cocoa notes and a velvety smooth finish. The chocolate on top of these bars captured the cocoa notes beautifully, and the smoothness of these beans complemented the peanut butter perfectly. My taste-buds were singing all day long. Perfect pairing.
It’s things like this that shows me how coffee is so much more than a jolt of caffeine or a mid day pick me up. It’s a moment to connect with people around you, to broaden your mind on flavors, combinations, and origins. There are so many different options, and I love every opportunity I get to learn and explore.
- What’s your favorite at home roast, and why!?
- Ever made your own marshmallow bars?
75 thoughts on “The Birthplace of Coffee – Ethiopia Tasting”
I like trying different blends but I mostly go for dark roast anything. Although I drink less and less coffee now, I always enjoy a nice brew. And did you say vegan marshmallows?
YES!! Vegan marshmallows aka no gelatin AT ALL! I was so stoked to finally try them. They were fantastic.
I should definitely look for them the next time I’m in London them!
Oh I’m so picky when it comes to coffee!! I haven’t completely branched out with all that Starbucks has to offer, but I can only drink the True North blend or their Christmas Blend. I really dislike the Pike Place!! Isn’t that crazy? Probably the only thing we will ever disagree on in life!
My favourite at-home roast is either coffee from Merchants of Green Coffee their Sumatra is unreal in Toronto – or From Oso Negro in Nelson their Organic Original Blend..oh my gahh so good. I guess I need to find a coffee that I love from Vancouver..must work on that! I haven’t had a rice crispy treat in probably a decade – I feel like the chocolate topping you have makes them more adult and therefore better!
It’s so funny you like True North AND Christmas because they are on COMPLETE opposite sides of the spectrum!! I can’t stand the blonde roasts (which True North falls under) but I love the darker roasts. Not a huge fan of the Pike Place myself these days, I definitely go for other options first!!
HAH I just posted a photo of this to IG and called them ADULT marshmallow bars, TWINS!
I don’t really like coffee…need to put hot chocolate in it to make it drinkable. Can we still be friends…please?? :)))
You are the PERFECT kind of friend, because then I can drink ALL THE COFFEE. I’ll spare a bit with some chocolate for you. 😉
I am a Starbucks lover myself, I have a non-fat cappuccino, no syrups of any kind no sugars. I like the flavor of the coffe with the milk just by itself. At home I recently got a Nespresso Machine, love it but still when ever I have a chance I prefer my non-fat cappuccino at Starbucks!
Marshmallow bars remind me of childhood. My mother used to make these for me as a quick treat, or for a bake sale. So nostalgic 🙂 My favorite home brews are from Blue Bottle, Grumpy, Peets and Starbucks. I’m always looking for new things 🙂
I want those bars, please and thank you!
I recently discovered the Starbucks espresso roast in the red bag at Costco. I drip-brew it at home, and it’s my fave. Strong, dark, but very smooth with zero bitterness.
YES! The espresso roast has a FANTASTIC caramel sweetness to it. Which is why it was chosen to be the roast for all espresso based beverages as it paired the best with milk! Great choice.
I third this! Espresso roast is amaaaaazing!
Those look amazing.!! And I’ll have to try that roast some time really soon. I’m always looking for new ones, and can’t seem to find a good favorite
Great thoughts! Thank you! Starbucks should pay you to blog for them, if they aren’t already! You’re so fresh and fun and lovely to read!
Thank you so much!! How fun would that be. 🙂
I worked for Starbucks back in the mid-90s, when they still sold bulk whole beans in the retail stores and they sent their new employees to training in a centralized location to do coffee tastings and learn how to make drinks before they could start in their hired store.
I’ve always had an affinity for Gold Coast. I’m waiting for the day they finally do away with it, since it always seems to be on the fringes of what they sell/offer. My happiest mornings are when my local store brews it, because it always tastes better there than in my home machine. I even go back later in the day for a second cup.
I have not tried Ethiopia, I’ll have to check it out. I dislike Kenya and Sumatra, or anything with a wine hints.
The marshmallow bars looks scrumptious!
I really like Gold Coast and I LOOOOOVE Verona. It is my all time favourite!
I worked for Starbucks in 2008 and I was even send to Kenya to see the coffee farmers 🙂 It was an amazing experience!!
Gold Coast is fantastic, I love the stout flavors it provides. I dislike Kenya too, but with a dash of hot water added I love Sumatra. How cool to have worked for Starbucks when all these things happened. I would LOVE to go do these types of tastings. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
That looks delicious. Honestly, at home I drink Foldgers – I’m not picky at all. If I’m out and buying coffee, our local ice cream/coffee chain, JP Licks, has my favorite blend.
Amy @ A Desert Girl
Your passion for coffee is so fun! I’m glad that you discovered it.
i love that you’re so passionate about coffee and have chosen to become so educated on it! i loveeeee coffee but don’t know much about it at all — except to say which i like and which i don’t. 🙂 those bars look so goooood. i’m totally off sugar right now but these are something i’d like to try if i ever go back!
That is so awesome that you get to get to do what you love so much at work! I like dark/bold roasts, but I’m also a sucker for french vanilla. And espresso.
Ahh, I really need to try Ethopia now! And I need to get a French Press for sure! I always hear that it ups people’s coffee games, haha. I also agree with what you said at the end of this post, how coffee is much more than caffeine. It’s an experience!
Now that I think of it…I don’t think I have made marshmallow/rice krispie bars EVER on my own. This recipe has officially been pinned and I’ll be making it soon! I’m giving myself 2015 to become more open to the coffee world and experience different roasts.
Natalie @ The Ravenous Mommy
I usually go for a medium roast whole bean, then make it on the stronger side 🙂 We always grind at home, it’s the only way to go!
I will have to make those bars!!!
Agreed, grinding at home right before use is the most ideal!! Brings the best fresh flavors!
I’ll pretty much drink any coffee you put in front of me. The good, the bad, and the ugly, although I do draw the line at decaf. 🙂
I can’t wait for the day when coffee stops giving my stomach issues!! I really miss drinking it in the mornings. I usually went with decaf (didn’t want to get those caffeine headaches my dad does!), but still… That taste was so soothing. And when I can drink it again, I’m totally trying every blend you recommend!
The Vegan 8
I’m super picky with coffee as well, when I do drink it, which is more rare now days. But most I have found taste like dirty water. Those rice crispy bars look soooo yummy, but like you, I’ve only had a couple since going vegan and rarely eat them because they are sooooo full of sugar, lol! I have some cinnamon rice crispy treats recipe that I wrote last year….never made it on the blog…just never got around to it. Thanks for reminding me. Anyways, I’m totally loving the chocolate on top of yours, YUM!! I have Dandies as well, but Sweet & Sara is my favorite…they are incredible but very expensive!
“rocked my face” – luv it. Great description – I might have to steal it from ya!
Random question, but do you have any books on coffee that you suggest?
Not random at all! This is a post dedicated to coffee after all. 🙂 Sadly I don’t have many coffee books under my belt. I’ve skimmed a few at B&N and they are VERY detailed. Almost overwhelming. That would be my first place to look if I were you.
I started out in journalism in the early 1800s when the glass pot would sit on the hot plate all day and all night and I would find myself scraping up the sludge with a spoon around midnight to get the residual caffeine. Now, I am greeted with messages at work about how a fresh pot of something just flown in from somewhere has just come to life in the break room but get there quickly for the maximum flavor. It’s always amazing, and I wonder how we ever drank that swill in the old days.
But then sometimes late at night, I find myself wishing I could have one more spoonful of that stuff at the bottom of the pot …
I’m not a coffee drinker at all. But I love how coffee kind of brings people together. I have made my own marshmallow bars, but it was with my mom’s help when I was 8 or 9 for school. They weren’t nearly as fancy as these.
My favorite roast from Starbucks is the light blends…I think they are the “blonde” ones but I could be wrong. At my job, I LOVE the San Fernando blend when I have caffeine, but since I don’t really like to drink caffeinated coffee (I just like the taste of coffee, I don’t need the buzz) I love our Peruvian decaf. It’s so velvety smooth and not chemically at all like normal decafs. Ours are all fair trade and organic and we grind the beans ten minutes before every cup. You can tell the difference in places that actually care about their product! I bet a lot of people like coming to your Starbucks because you put so much effort into giving the perfect cup.
You are correct, the light roasts are known as “blonde.” They tend to have a brighter and juicier complexity to them. Velvety smooth is exactly how I would describe Ethiopia, so your decaf Peruvian sounds fantastic!! I also love that you mention it’s naturally decaffeinated. Do you know if it’s Swiss water processed? Most mainstream decaffeinate uses harsh chemicals as you probably know, and it’s nice to find ones that aren’t. I’m so glad Starbucks has at least one decaf option that is not chemically processed.
I only wish MORE Starbucks employees cared about delivering a proper cup of coffee like I do, my store is very unique and while I love working there, it’s a bummer to know a good amount of people have negative experienced with less passionate Starbucks locations. Looks like I will be staying at my store. 😉
Haha so I misread “birthplace of coffee — Ethiopia” as “my birthplace — Ethiopia” and I was like, hmmm you’re preeeetty white. (Though of course I’m sure there are white people born in Ethiopia, but still.)
BAHAAAHA I legit just laughed out loud.
An Unrefined Vegan
Interesting! Kel and I love Pike Place – in fact, that’s what we are drinking this week – but I think we gotta try the Ethiopian! Thanks, girl!
Pike is not a terrible roast, just not my favorite after discovering the WORLD OF OPTIONS! 🙂
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
I seriously love how passionate you are about your coffee… especially since I can snag a lot of great coffee tips from ya 😉 Pike is still my go-to, but I definitely enjoy a lot of their other roasts as well. I’m already missing the Christmas blend, so I’m going to have to find something to replace that one with…
Those pictures look phenom! Now I’m craving rice krispy treats…I love that the recipe has easy-to-find ingredients. In fact, I think I have everything already, except for marshmallows!
You sound like me only I like craft beer. The best coffee I have ever tasted was from the Canadian West. A little coffee company named after its home town. Look up Revelstoke Roasters in Revelstoke BC. I did some landscaping for a lady in Fort Erie who was visiting her dieing mother. She asked us I we would like to try the best coffee we’d ever taste and despite my finicky pallet I agreed with her in the end. I was going to order some but the cost of living in BC is through the roof and the pricing reflected that. BTW thank you for giving me my first like on my first post ever. I bet I enjoyed your article even more then you did mine. Thanks for sharing.
Wow, that coffee sounds fantastic! 🙂
I’ve made vegan rice crispy treats a handful of times using brown rice syrup, but I would love to try these vegan marshmallows! I gave up eating anything with gelatin once I began aware just what it was and how many foods it’s stuck into, and was totally craving a s’mores all of last summer. Will need to get vegan marshmallows to try it out sandwiched between some graham crackers and gooey chocolate!
YES! I want to get the larger sized marshmallows to make some s’mores. I can’t remember the last time I had one…
I’m not surprised Ethiopian coffee is so good…since the food is just as amazing 🙂
Khushboo Thadani (@KhushbooThadani)
Oooh I love your last paragraph! Like you, coffee is so much more than the caffeine rush. Heck most of the time it doesn’t even make any difference to my energy levels. It’s more about the whole ritual of drinking it every day and also as a way to connect & catch up with others.
Lucie Elizabeth (@CollectingLight)
I love how passionate you are about coffee! I have just broken my cafetiere and am dying to get my hands on a new one – morning is just not the same without a steaming hot mug of coffee!
Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
Well, you’ve taken me by surprise! I thought I was reading about coffee and then BAM there’s a gorgeous luscious bar staring me in the face!! I totally have to try those, pretty sure I have the ingredients too:D I was a Pike Place gal but now I’ll have to try Ethiopian. BTW your tip for making an espresso worked!! I get beautiful crema every time now!! So thank you so much!! xx
That’s fantastic to hear about your espresso! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
I clearly have not stopped by in too long – you’re looking good around here! Love the new font choices. Now that my sidebar is over, I’m totally trying to reignite my passion for different coffees (and I agree, Pike is one of my last choices). You remind me how good it is to pair a great coffee with the perfect treat, and I think I shall re-embark down my road of coffee discovery despite no longer working at Starbucks. (PS that first photo is gorgeous!)
Omg those rice crispies look DIVINE
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di @ life of di.
My favorite is the Blonde roast (and I’m not sure why – it’s just my favorite! 🙂 ) Those Rice Krispies look amazing! Why do I always read your blog when I’m craving sweet things. AHHHH
Christina Does It All
“It’s things like this that shows me how coffee is so much more than a jolt of caffeine or a mid day pick me up. ” Completely agree with this! Exactly how I feel about wine too. It’s about the process and the exploring and the trying new things and and and all of the happiness! Hopefully that ramble made a little bit of sense. 😉
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
Marshmallow bars? Why have I never thought of that before! My husband loves rocky road, so I am definitely going to have to make these for him.
Being able to only have decaff coffee makes me a little bit limited for coffee in Starbucks 😦
rice krispy treats and coffee? sounds like a perfect combination to me. also – i’m now thinking a special trip to s.bucks to try about your ethiopian blend is needed. one more thing? a coffee shop just opened up here that reminds me of you every time i go in – they do coffee cocktails, and they infuse all the blends with herbs/spices/bitters to make all new combos: http://www.fivewattcoffee.com/
Oh MY!!! I must visit this shop. Which means visiting you. 😉
i gotta guest room waiting 🙂
Lauren @ ihadabiglunch
Holy crap those look good! I’m a pike place person myself, so thanks for the fyi that I should try the Ethiopian blend. Also, I got that question on Trivia Crack the other day (Where is the birthplace of coffee?) and I was so proud that I got it right! haha
these + a tall mug of coffee = the perfect breakfast
errr I mean snack? Ya…snack….
Those chocolate marshmallow bars look so decadent. Delicious!
I have made non-vegan marshmallow bars about a zillion times, but I want to try these because any recipe including Coconut Oil is a friend of mine. 🙂
If you are anywhere near a Caribou Coffee, you should try the Ethiopian Roastmaster Reserve they’ll be bringing out in February. I am sure it will be delicious.
Thank you for the tip, I’ll keep an eye out for one!
Rach @ This Italian Family
Those sure look tasty!
I just saw this and WOAH these look good. They look like a simple and better-than-the-original version!
They were SOOOO good. Oh man, I need some more.
Let’s both make some! 😛
If you like coffee su much – try Terra Kahwa origin Äthiopien coffee natural.
The best you can find. The have a webside.
Go Go Brownie Mission
This sounds amazing. I miss marshmallows so much – I’ll have to keep an eye out for vegan ones!
OHH they are becoming more popular!