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Coffee - whole beans, brew at home

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  • Andy T. Sep 6, 2001 04:26 PM
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Where are your favorite places to buy coffee beans for brewing at home? Ever since Charbucks bought out The Coffee Connection, I have been searching for a new source. The Coffee Connection roasted their beans such that you could really taste the differences among the different varieties. I feel the dark roasters from the west coast destroy the flavor. All of their coffees taste the same.

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  1. Armeno Roasters in Northboro are by far the best local roasters. Small batch, daily roasters and fresh, fresh, fresh. Will ship overnight anywhere...Been drinking their beans for years. The dark roast arrives so oily you'd think they polished each bean. Don't know if they still do but used to be able to buy any bean green and roast yourself if you like.

    Link: http://www.armeno.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: Noreaster

      They make nice little home roasters now, and more varietals are available for purchase at significant savings over the price of badly roasted beans of unknown freshness.

      Link: http://www.sweetmarias.com

      1. re: Noreaster

        Armenos is wonderful. They roast in a style very similar to the late, lamented Coffee Connection. If you can't make it to their place in Northboro, they will UPS your beans to you and you will have them the next day (if you are in the general area).

        One caveat, though. Armenos used to have a very extensive selection. Now they seem to have cut back on their range. (I miss their Maui Moka very much!)

        Since a number of my favorites are no longer available from Armenos, I tried the fresh beans at the Fresh Pond Bread and Circus. They recently added a roaster to their store. It is on the floor, where you can see it in operation. The beans are from Allegro (owned by Whole Foods). The coffee is impeccably fresh (typically what is in the bin was roasted that day), and actually quite good. The roast is kept fairly light. I don't know if there are any other B&C locations in the area that also have roasters.

        Debbie D

        1. re: Debbie D
          c
          Caffiene Addict

          The new Bread and Circus on River St Cambridge does in store roasting.
          I find the coffee at Trader Joes to be fine also.

          1. re: Debbie D

            The Bread and Circus on Washington St. in Newtonville also roasts whole beans. I love their darkest roast, always freshly roasted and dated. It's not as good as Coffee Connection but not bad either. I'm still searching for a similar quality. For a while, I was buying from Maine Roasters, specifically their Rocky Coast, which was wonderful but a bit pricey after paying shipping, especially since I also prefer to buy in small quantities rather than buying a pound or two at a time. It came as close to CC as any I'd tried. I might try Armenos as suggested on the board.

            Joanne

        2. a
          AGM/Cape Cod

          Don't drink the stuff myself but my husband is an afficiando. We buy beans mailorder from Zabars in NY. Good beans at a reasonable price.Unfortunately they require a 5# minimum order but between my husband and mother that is no problem. I don't understand how people can buy the whole beans in the grocery store-they smell burnt!

          1. I've been partial to Cafe Britt Light Roast beans from Costa Rica ever since a relative brought me a pound from a visit there. It's a very full-flavored bean, is not roasted beyond a medium brown, and is just wonderfully smooth. I happily discovered the Cafe Britt website, and found their web mail-ordering to be cheap, quick, and very well managed. They even have an automatic shipment option (tell them you need a pound every two weeks, and it'll be at your door when you need it). They have a bunch of varieties, including unroasted, and they are all in the $7/12oz range. Shipping was free on my order (I think it's free on orders over a certain amount).

            Link: http://cafebritt.com

            1. w
              Win (Boston)

              I had the same problem when coffee connection went away.

              My solution is Peet's Coffee. There are a number of locations around, but I eventually began to order on the internet every couple of weeks. It beats chancing a parking ticket and is simple.

              www.peets.com

              I tried most of their blends more than a few times and settled on "Top Blend". It is not "char" roasted. I really like it.

              Having it arrive every so often at the front door is a real pleasure. I think you will enjoy it. I haven't found anything else that matches coffee connection. And Peet's is AT LEAST as good.

              1. had a bag from policaris 3 weeks ago...burnt to a crisp...used it for a few espresssos \..but boiy, you could smell at in the bag...overfried beans

                2 Replies
                1. re: fusilli

                  I have been buying San Fransico Bay Columbian Roast at BJ's wholesale club. The whole beans are packaged in two pound bags and are usually 8 or 9 dollars for the two pounds.
                  We grind the beans fresh for each pot and have never been disappointed the the quality.
                  Sammy

                  1. re: sammym

                    I also buy San Francisco Bay coffee from BJ's. I used to grind it by the pot but I found that I can grind it in the store, put it in an air tight tupperware container when I get home and store it in the fridge with the same results as fresh ground. It's a lot easier.

                    I like the French Roast blend.

                    The in expensive grinders are really blenders in design- you really need a coffee mill that crushes the beans if you want the best results. It's messy though.

                2. In dark roasted coffee, relatively more of the flavor comes from the roasting process than the coffee itself. It is a challenge to walk the line between carmelization and carbonization if you don't have the skill or the technology. Across the board, Peet's is probably the West Coast roaster - their master roasters are the real thing. Most of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters' coffees tend to be light to medium roasts, but I recommend the dark roasted Lake and Lodge. It is an excellent dark roast. The Organic House Blend and La Minita Tarazzu Dark are worth a try too.

                  1. Another online option is Dean's Beans (www.deansbeans.com). They sell certified organic coffee and you can design your own coffee blend. I have been ordering from them for a while and have yet to be disappointed.

                    1. IMHO to buy beans by mail order or from a bulk roaster you may as well by Maxwell House. Freshness is the main requirement for good coffee. Anything shipped in any kind of bag will not be as good.
                      The new Bread&Circus in Cambridge just off Mem drive will custom roast the coffee for you if you buy at least a pound. Otherwise the coffee is very fresh but a little light in the roast.
                      The best local roaster is in Providence RI on Wickenden St. The Coffee Exchange (they have a web site). They roast their beans to 3 or 4 different degrees of dark. Great variety and a funky place, like coffee Connection in the Garage used to be.
                      Beans in Brookline (now a Charburst) and in the Ch Hill mall (now a dish and saucer store) used to roast (and did it well) but no longer, Too bad, the Brookline one was around the corner from me.

                      Link: http://www.coffeexchange.com/index2.html