For roughly four decades now, American coffee drinkers—about 54 percent of the population—have puzzled over myriad brand and blend names in a usually fruitless attempt to determine which one’s right for them. Woe to the groggy commuter: Will it be the Kona Blend or the Breakfast Roast?
Whether or not it’ll help, Seattle’s Best is now attempting to solve the problem with a decidedly novel approach: Forget the fancy names, just pick a number.
The Starbucks-owned coffee brand this week introduced a “level system” that features packaged blends numbered 1 through 5, with the flavor intensity increasing with the numeric designation. Now, consumers won’t have to guess. If they want a brew that’s mild, it’s a No. 1; if they want crankcase oil, it’s No. 5. (The products hit grocery and retail stores this month.)
According to ABC News, the approach’s aim is to market coffee to the “Average Joe” who “might be overwhelmed by the array of choices that now fill the coffee aisle.”
No doubt, that’s a lot of it. The trouble may come if drinkers presume that the numbers correspond to the actual level of kick. After all, plenty of Americans drink coffee for no other reason than the caffeine punch, and the inconvenient truth here is that darker blends often have less caffeine because of the longer roast times.
If the ominous sounding “level five” coffee doesn’t deliver the punch, however, consumers can simply drink five cups of it.