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best coffee brand, period!

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My husband and I are tired of bitter, bland, strong icky coffee.

What do you use and WHY?

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  1. hello, I suggest getting away from "brands", and finding a local small batch roastery--what's the area of your residence? (There are more artisan roasters on the Pacific coast, especially in the northwest). Most stuff in branded packages simply isn't fresh enough to deliver quality, especiall if it's pre-ground. Some small roasters do mail order, and priority mail isn't expensive. I worked in the trade for a "gourmet roaster" that started small and local and once it expanded past a certain scale, it wasn't the same. From holding a lot of tastings with the public, I couldn't do justice to your tastes by recommending any particular type--trial and error with your own palate is best, and a small business will give you personal service in sorting things out. How do you make your coffee? That's a big variable in itself, and something a guide can help you with. cheers

    11 Replies
    1. re: moto

      I agree with everything that "Moto" has said here. Just for my simple input -- and I, too, do not like most of the "big" brands -- if you are on the West Coast, I find Pete's to be quite good consistently, especially their Arabian Mocha Java which is very smooth and has no burnt or bitter taste. I also find their store employees to be very customer-concerned and knowledgeable.

      1. re: liu

        Personally, I don't really understand the Starbuck's phenom. Half of the time, the coffee tastes burnt...not good enough odds at $3 a pop.

        I'd rather hit the Dunkin' Donuts which, I am told, uses Folgers as their house brand.

        I also like the brand that IKEA sells: Lofbergs Lila.

        Lately, I've been buying 8 o'clock andd grinding my own.

        1. re: twodales

          This is so subjective. What I like you may find repulsive. In a blind tasting of off the shelf national brands, Eight O'clock came in first. Best to just experiment. I regularly mix my beans, different kinds at different times. Gives me a change of pace.
          Dunkin' Donuts has excellent coffee, so does Seven Eleven. I find Stardrecks overpriced and awful.


            1. re: byrd

              My husband would wholeheartedly agree with you, fellow Philadelphian:). He's a huge La Colombe fan.
              As a decaf drinker I like Kimberton French Roast the best.

              1. re: byrd

                A friend moved in the neighborhood (Court Street in Brooklyn) and, while visiting from Boston, had a chance to check out D'Amico Foods coffee. Excellent, especially the espresso roast. I've become a regular . . . only downside is their minimum three pound order, but it's worth it.

                Link: http://www.damicofoods.com

            2. re: twodales

              Dunkin uses New England Coffee Company with a proprietary medium roast, IIRC.

              1. re: twodales

                "I'd rather hit the Dunkin' Donuts which, I am told, uses Folgers as their house brand."

                DD's store coffee is roasted by Sara Lee. DD's retail (supermarket) coffee is roasted by Smuckers. Smuckers also roasts Folger's but the key difference is that DD is 100% arabica, mostly from Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala regardless of who's roasting it (the espresso blend is also FTO). Most Folger's coffee blends contain high percentages of cheap robusta beans from Vietnam in addition to cheaper low-grown arabica beans.

              2. re: liu

                Peet's is not in any way shape or form a local small-batch roaster.

              3. re: moto

                As a purist who likes coffee that tastes like coffee, not the current trend of $4 cups that taste like burnt baked potato skins, my ultimate fave for a drip brewer is the Swedish coffee IKEA sells in their concession stand.

                Uf da! Best I've had (since Bohack's closed. Their Bokar was also close).

                1. re: moto

                  I get much of my coffee from Jessica's Biscuit, a cookbook company that also roasts and delivers coffee. One can join the "club" and there are varying levels of membership or, as I do, simply order as needed. The coffee is fresh, arrives promptly via Fedex, and there are several varieties to choose from. I especially like the Ethiopian Yrgacheffe and the Sumatra.

                  coffee. http://static.ecookbooks.com/weeklybi...

                  And it tastes nothing like Starbucks although, I happen to be one those who like Starbucks!

                2. French Market Coffee ... the one with the chicory. It takes the edge off of canned coffee.

                  I assume that is what you are asking, or are you looking for whole bean coffee?

                  What brands do you not like and consider bitter, bland, strong and icky? What roasts and beans do you like?

                  To be bland and strong are polar opposites to me. I don't like Colomian coffee beans because I consider them bland. I like roasts like French and espresso because I like strong coffee.

                  Are you looking for a mail order source? How much do you want to spend? What part of the country are you located in?

                  Link: http://www.frenchmarketcoffee.com/

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: rworange

                    I am looking for a coffee that we'll both decide works for us. I am in California most of the time but can go anywhere. If there is a market that sells a good brand, I can get there or someone can for me. If it's a web site that's fine too and I fully intend to utilize the ones given to me in these posts. I'll do all of them. No concern about that. Many food boards are discussing this very topic right now. Of course I don't want to spend a truckload of cash but for one batch or even a couple, if it produces something hubby and I are both satisfied with, then so be it.

                    We have used Folgers, all their flavor roasts, Maxwell House, which isn't so good to the last drop, Super Markets own brand, I know, don't yell at me, Yuban. These used to be okay brands. Now, they are either too strong, burnt tasting, flavorless or otherwise icky.

                    1. re: nix

                      California is a good state for coffee for the most part. When you get home, post on your local board (SF Bay Area, Los Angeles Board or California depending on your location).

                      Ask for the best place to buy coffee in your area and either link back to this post or repeat the information about what you tried and what you are looking for).

                      Beans fresh ground at your coffee shop are so much better than canned. They don't have that sharp, acrid taste of the canned brands. I tried a can of the Folgers French Roast recently and it was pretty awful compared to what I've been drinking. Coffee shop coffee isn't that much more expensive than that canned stuff.

                      There have been some positive reports on Trader Joe's coffee.

                      At a coffee shop you can usually buy a fresh-brewed cup of one of the many brews.

                      Another idea, is to post on the Home Cooking board asking what to do to make canned coffee more palatable (brewed with egg shells, etc). However, I'd go the coffee shop route. There's a whole world of wonderful flavor out there. Again, start taking notes about the type of beans you like and the way it is roasted so you know what pleases you the best.

                      Well, time for my cup of coffee, not sure where I'm picking it up yet, maybe I'll finally give Cole's coffee shop a try.

                      1. re: nix

                        If they used to be okay but you don't like them now, are you sure it's not your coffeemaker or even the water that you're using, like if you've moved?

                    2. We love Pura Vida coffee and don't use anything else. Organic, shade-grown and fair-trade...and only available by mail, I believe. Website below.

                      Link: http://www.puravidacoffee.com/

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: wyf4lyf

                        Fair trade is available everywhere. PLEASE look for it & buy it. Most is also organic (I've had trouble finding shade grown though) There is little or no price difference & this is a simple way we can all make life a little better for the family farmers who actually produce one of the most profitable world commodities.

                      2. I like to mix it up and have enjoyed the following:

                        fwiw, most are rather strong, but not bitter, bland or icky

                        Mud (http://www.themudtruck.com
                        Irving Farms (http://www.irvingfarm.com
                        Gorilla Coffee (www.gorillacoffee.com
                        Blue Bottle (http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net)

                        1. Roast your own Coffee!

                          It's really not as hard or as extreme as you think. It takes me less than an hour a week to have perfectly fresh coffee everyday. The types of roast and beans are totaly up to you. Right now I have an Ethiopian Harrar that has a strong Blueberry taste, amazing. Or how about a nice Brazil Daterra Sunrise that screams COFFEE! It's never bitter or stale and the difference will astound you. Home Roasting information is readily available on the net as well as several green bean suppliers. Check out http://www.sweetmarias.com/ and go from there. Once you home roast you will never go back.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Swarthog
                            JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                            Oh, how I love home roasted coffee... it is very easy indeed, all you need is a hot air popcorn popper and the raw beans.

                            Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

                            1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                              oh you had to say that 'after' I gave my hot air popcorn popper to GoodWill. *)

                            2. re: Swarthog

                              I'll also vote for roasting your own. You can experiment with the darkness of the roast and get exactly what you like. Bean quality matters.

                              My Spousal Unit recently started roasting coffee at home. You'll definitely want to do the roasting outside. It smells really good when it's fresh, but the smell is very strong, lingers forever, and it does not smell good when it's not fresh.

                              Beware, though - if your coffee is coming out bitter, it might not be the roast, it might be the amount that you are using.

                              Happy sipping of the magic coffee to you.


                              Link: http://www.ineedcoffee.com/04/delicio...

                              1. re: Swarthog

                                Thanks for that link!!! Looks totally cool. I must try it.

                              2. Our local artisan roaster, Henry's House of Coffee in San Francisco, has a very good mail order website. My husband and I have been buying our coffee from Henry Kalebjian for almost 30 years. He's a fourth generation coffee roaster who roasts his beans in 20 lb. batches every day and sells top notch coffees from around the world. Our present favorite is his Ethiopian estate coffee -- it's not on the website yet, but I'm sure that you could ask him about it. We also like the Panama Torcazo, Bella Finca and the Viennese roast coffees, and the Henry's and Rosalie's blends. He also blends Kenya and Sumatra beans for us.

                                Here's the link:

                                Link: http://www.coffeesf.com/

                                1. Peets is a San Francisco/Bay Area company. My husband will only drink Peets. I am not a coffee drinker. He loves the stronger flavor. And it doesn't taste burnt as Starbucks does. Peets is not for wimps.

                                  It is in some stores around the country, check the website. If you are in the Bay area, you must buy it at one of their stores. Free cup of coffee with your beans.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Janet

                                    i think that peets tastes so bitter and burned. they use a lighter roast in their east coast stores since that is the preference there, but i still think it is too dark. even walking by it smells burnt! i don't get that "not for wimps" idea about coffee - why should we be drinking coffee for tough guys? it eliminates all of the beautiful complexity and flavor in good coffee. great coffee should taste smooth and delicious even without dairy in it. there's a book about buying and understanding coffee called The Perfect Cup. it's by Timothy James Castle. it helps you know what you like and how to get it.

                                  2. If you're going to buy a can, rather than any of the excellent suggestions
                                    for fresh-roasted here, then Pilon or Medaglia d'Oro win, hands down.
                                    If they're not in the Latin section of your giganto-super-market, you
                                    can often find them in the local Asian or Latin market.

                                    A poor second to roasting your own, but your house won't smell like
                                    burned coffee for the next three weeks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Attaturk

                                      I second the rec for Megdalia o'Oro, also available at your fancy schmancy Whole Foods. They're my espresso powder of choice for baking, and I use it when I'm too lazy to brew coffee. It has a very mellow, creamy taste with no hint of sourness. By itself, it's already a little sweet and vanilla-y. I find it very nice for Irish coffee, but almost too mellow on its own for my taste.

                                    2. Check out Porto Rico (yes, the spelling is correct) Importing Company. They have SUCH great coffee and tea AND the prices are out of this world. I live in Boston, have it shipped from New York and it still works out to be cheaper than anything passable that you can get in the supermarket. Their weekly sales sell a different kind of coffee each week for only $3.99/lb. What?! Unheard of! :-) (And it is really really good... I swear!)

                                      Link: http://www.portorico.com

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Jellybelly

                                        I heartily agree with the rec for Porto Rico. It is an essential stop every time I go to New York City.

                                        Alternatively, I received a gift certificate from Cajungrocer.com, and among many other things, bought a package of Mellow Joy Coffee. We just opened it this morning, and the coffee is as smooth and flavourful as anyone could ask for.

                                        1. re: Jellybelly

                                          Porto Rico is great but their beans sit around in open burlap bags and get stale (which I'm guessing explains the great sales). I much prefer Peet's, which you're lucky enough to have in Boston.

                                          1. re: Jellybelly

                                            I used to live on Porto Rico coffees when I lived in NYC. My favorite was the blend of french mocha and mocha java (they call it the Danish blend).

                                            One thing to keep in mind when buying coffee of any kind: if you don't like the "burnt" coffee taste, stay away from dark roast coffees. I think this is the main problem with Starbuck's coffee, and to an extent Peet's and many of the other mainstream roasters --they tend to dark roast everything. Medium roasts will give you a rich, full flavor without the burnt taste. I also tend to go for African or Indonesian/Pacific coffees over other kinds, since I like the mellow, but rich, almost chocolately note you find in blends like like mocha java, and in Ethiopian and Hawaiian varieties. Theses varieties are not usually dark roasted; that could be part of the reason I prefer them.

                                          2. does it make me a freak or unclassy that I love and live for Dunkin Donuts coffee? They don't have it in the midwest where I now live, so I get it shipped. I have a coffee subscription, it ships once a month. It is super mellow and palatable.
                                            I have worked at Starbuck's and Caribou, as well as local upscale coffee joint, and Dunkin Donuts beats them all hands down!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Alice

                                              DD coffee is by Chuck full O'Nuts...

                                            2. i
                                              Icky and Scratchy

                                              The lesson learned here is that everyone is different and has their own idea of what good coffee is. Go out in the world, try as many different coffees as you can, you'll find something you like out there somewhere. My current personal favorites are Seattle's Best Henry's Blend, Cafe Britt Dark Roast or Terrazu.

                                              1. am I ever getting an education on coffee from you fine folks. who knew there was so much to know.

                                                our daughter worked in an upscale coffee house on Oahu while attending college over there. she grew to know the difference between Starbucks, and the like, to the kind her company sold and used. some kind of North Jamaican Blue, or something called similar to that name, she said was hands down the best. but, it was off the charts in cost so I never did receive any of that from her. it was her favorite though. she did inform us that Starbucks does burn their beans.

                                                I am in NYC right now for an other day so should I go to a local market here and get some of the Porto Rico brand? can I get it in a supermarket here? or is it from a local place, like a coffee house?

                                                before coming here, since we ran out of coffee (good thing, it was awful) I went to the market and bought Peet's whole bean. never used it before but have heard of it with good reviews. our coffee pot is a Cuisinart and it's got a grinder in there too. hopefully, it'll make a good pot of coffee.

                                                I do have a Pur Purifier on a faucet in the kitchen and always use that for the best water. even used straight from the bottle itself to hope to improve the flavor. nope.

                                                again, appreciate the imput.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: nix

                                                  they have two stores-- st marks place btwn 1st and second ave, and bleecker street east of 6th ave a bit.

                                                  my favorite is organic french peruvian. strong, dark, but not too bitter or stomach tearing. and supposedly organic and fair trade for only $7ish a pound

                                                  1. re: nix

                                                    if you're still in NYC, stop by Kinokuniya bookstore at Rock Center - I believe I saw the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee at their cafe. Not cheap - 8-10 bucks per cup.

                                                  2. I'm looking for a new roaster too. Do any of these mail/net order places offer sampler packs? Otherwise it might take a lot of beans to find the right one....

                                                    1. I love La Semeuse - Classic & Decaf - because it is never ever bitter. I buy the beans and grind them at home. I also like Antica Tostatura Triestina - I buy it at Via Quadronno in NYC - also available on their website www.viaquadronno.com.

                                                      1. I belong the Cafe Express club of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. They automatically send me two bags of whole beans every three weeks. They have over 90 different coffees/blends to choose from so you can pick out whatever your particular favorites are. I have enjoyed their Kona, Kenyan, Mocha Java, Breakfast Blend and Rainforest Nut blend.

                                                        Great coffee at a reasonable price with no-brainer automatic delivery. Link is below.

                                                        Link: http://www.greenmountaincoffee.com/

                                                        1. Chock full o Nuts.

                                                          Original blend.

                                                          It's awesome.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: ODB

                                                            Chock full o nuts
                                                            is the Hea-ven-ly coffee
                                                            Better coffee
                                                            a millionaire's
                                                            money can't buy.

                                                            Sung by a sweet old lady in the tv ad of yore. Remember it? :o)

                                                          2. We belong to Lion Coffee's monthly coffee club and have for many years. We first had Lion Gold at our hotel on Kaua'i during our honeymoon 8-1/2 years ago -- smooth, mellow, medium roast. It's still our favorite. Their Kona Gold, which is a 10% Kona blend, is also very smooth and rich. If you're a club member, they'll ship as frequently as you want, and you can have either a set list of five bags or you can tell them to send whatever they feel like.

                                                            Also, before we left Albuquerque 6-1/2 years ago, we discovered a fantastic local roaster, Whiting Coffee Co. Not sure if they do mail order, but their coffee was great -- excellent Mocha Java.


                                                            Link: http://www.lioncoffee.com/

                                                            1. To put my own two cents in... There is a small company out of Texas called Distant Lands. They have been around since the sixties, well before that the whole Seattle "renaisssance" and beyond their eco- and culturally compassionate business dealings, they roast a good freakin' bean! They have coffees from around the world (Papua New Guinea, anyone?) and their prices are fantastic, close to half that of Starburnt.

                                                              And it's the only coffee my mom serves when our Spaniard relatives descend upon the states.

                                                              As for chains, well, you could do worse than Caribou...

                                                              Link: http://www.store.yahoo.com/wholebeanc...

                                                              1. I was on line and found this site. Eight O'Clock Bokar blend is the best coffee for me. It comes in a black bag...whole bean. Can't find it in grocery stores (but I do go there to grind it). I've had some curious people looking at my bag...trying to find it on the shelf...then asking me. Rich and NEVER bitter. I've been drinking this brand for 25 years. It used to be in store when I lived in Central NY. I think you will enjoy it. I order from http://www.ecoffeesystem.com/
                                                                Regards, KC

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Katlovescoffee

                                                                  Hey Kat,
                                                                  I saw your post and laughed out loud. I live near Toronto, Ontario and see that black bag all the time in our "Dominion" grocery stores. I have never bought it, thinking it's so cheap and to tell you the truth the black bag somehow puts me off. lol..Anyway, yesterday, I thought of your thoughts and bought some anyway. I bought the whole beans as my Cusinart Grind N Brew makes the best coffee period. You are right, the coffee is rich in flavour not at all bitter. Thanks for the tip!!

                                                                2. It all boils down to personal preference, the skill of the roaster and the quality of the beans. However, finding a good local roaster is critical, wherever you are. La Colombe is wonderful coffee but I don't know if you can get it outside of the Philadelphia area. In DC there is Swings Coffee, which I also love.
                                                                  http://www.swingscoffee.com/. Peet's, which started in Berkeley, has expanded across the country. They've always been head and shoulders above Starschmucks. In the absence of a good local purveyor, I've ordered great coffee from from Bong Brothers in Hawaii. http://www.bongbrothers.com. Their Maui peaberry is my favorite and much cheaper than Kona for the same thing.

                                                                  1. Kobrick's Coffee. Been around since the 20s. They supply coffee to some of the fancy pants restaurants in town. I don't know if there's a store you can buy from. Read about their roaster in Roast mag.


                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. I'm a big fan of Caribou Coffee! I recently have been enjoying Dunkin Donuts Decaf at home.

                                                                      The fact that Starbucks over took the coffee market is as bizarre as PCs overtaking Macs. Unfortunately strange but true.

                                                                      1. We both like dark roast coffee. I really only like it prepared in the cold brew method. My husband prefers his made thru drip method. Same coffee to start with but the end results are very different. So maybe you should try some different prep methods?

                                                                        1. I like Tully's. To me, it tastes like what coffee should taste like.

                                                                          1. I have a standing order with a small roaster in Portland called Schondecken. Once a month she sends me two pounds of coffee--a pound of Celebes because that's what Mike prefers, and then a pound of whatever she wants to put in. Including postage, it's about $30.

                                                                            When that runs out I fill in with various other things. Now and then when I can get to the store that sells it, I get some coffee from a company called Berres Brothers out of Wisconsin. It's pretty good, and they do have some fair-trade and organic varieties.

                                                                            Last year for Christmas my mom got me some of the shade-grown coffee the Arbor Day Foundation sells. It's not half bad, although not as dark roasted as I prefer (I have grown to like that "burnt" coffee a few folks have decried). That's what she uses as her regular brand.

                                                                            1. We had a monthly delivery of Gevalia for many years--very, very good light roast coffee. But recently canceled our "subscription" because we've found locally roasted coffee here in Michigan is just as good and much cheaper. We've also taken a liking to the Eight O Clock in the brown bag.

                                                                              And a lesson we learned 30 years ago before coffee was in vogue----Grind Your Own!!! Even cheap store brands are 100% better ground at home---NEVER buy pre-ground coffee.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Goldendog

                                                                                Yaucono Brand from Puerto Rico is good if you like strong coffee but Alto Grande (also from Puerto Rico) makes me wanna yell: "OLE"!!!

                                                                                For instant decaf or regular, I think Folger's is FANTASTIC!

                                                                              2. I really like Gloria Jean's Coffee beans. I usually get the house blend or the French Roasted. I think they are Canadian but we have it here in Dubai.

                                                                                I used to like Dunkin Donuts the best...I worked there as a teenager and always loved the smell (but HATE donuts to this day) but I switched to Gloria Jean's after trying it.

                                                                                1. I generally order two 5-lb bags of beans from California Coffee Roasters - http://www.freshcoffee.net/ and split each one into two gallon freezer bags to freeze until needed. They also sell ground coffee, although the last time I ordered ground, it came as whole bean also.

                                                                                  I have a thing for their Wild Blueberry flavor, but their Gourmet House roast is very good also.

                                                                                  1. Before it was sold to P&G and while the Atha family in Kansas City was buying the beans and roasting the product, Folgers was, I think, the best. However, I now think the the best I've had in years is Santo Domingo, produced in the Dominican Republic.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: SonyBob

                                                                                      I really love Counter Culture coffee. It's based in Eastern NC, I believe, so I don't know how widely available it is. I'm sure you could find it online somewhere. It's really excellent. Though, I must say, I'm entranced with the idea of home roasting. I'm going to look into that. :)

                                                                                      1. re: kaaris

                                                                                        Counter Culture is in Durham, NC. Which isn't eastern NC--heck, we're even west of Raleigh! (Yes, I'm in Durham, too.)

                                                                                        Good coffee, nice people!

                                                                                        Anyone ever tried Citizen Bean? (Not that I'm giving up Counter Culture.)

                                                                                        Oh, and for coffee makers for those of us who are just lazy, you can't do better than a Capresso. Burr mill grinder, brews into a thermal pot, and you can set it to brew when you'll want it.

                                                                                    2. Two really great New England-based local roasters with fresh-roasted beans shipped quickly at very reasonable prices (Peets is my non-shipping local for which I am also very grateful but it is darker-roasted and less fresh than these two):


                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: rlh

                                                                                        Rao's is my favorite local (MA) roaster. They are based in Amherst and were my special treat when I was a broke undergrad at UMass. Russo's in Watertown sells them both ground and whole bean. They also have very fast shipping.

                                                                                        1. Thankfully, I don't have this problem. Folgers or Maxwell House (now 100% arabica beans) taste good/are pefectly acceptable to me. For 5.00$ for a 39 oz can is good deal. If you drink coffee 2/3 times daily like me it can quickly get to be an expensive habit. I am content with McD's when I go out for it. I have drank local/private roasts at local coffee houses/cafe's and they taste no better to me. Definately not worth the extra price for me.However, I will not bottom feed on Chase and Sanborn. The line has to have a bottom as well as a top.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: rochfood

                                                                                            I'm kind of with you on this. I have been buying the Kroger Spotlight French Roast Whole Beans for a while now. I just bought some more yesterday and it's gone up from $2.99 to $3.36 per bag. I like it much better than the more expensive brands I've tried. I'm the only one who drinks coffee so it's not like I have to please anyone else.

                                                                                            1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                              You should try Beaumont beans from Aldi...

                                                                                          2. We're very lucky because we have a small cofee shop down the street that roasts their own beans and does a darn good job!

                                                                                            In terms of national brands. we also realy like Peets' Major Dickason's Blend. We buy whole beans and grind them right before we brew.

                                                                                            BTW, Peets is usually available at Fresh Market.

                                                                                            Good luck!


                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: MEH

                                                                                              "2012" replies to "2008:"
                                                                                              I was looking for some lesser available varieties of Peets Coffees, since there are no Peets Stores in Florida, and I remembered MEH's post about Fresh Market. Alas, I got to my favorite Fresh Market in Tampa over the weekend, and found their range of Peets varieties to be exactly what is available in my local Florida Publix Supermarket. A Chowhound friend had recommended Blend 101, and he did tell me it is available only in Peets Stores and their on-line ordering. I believed him, but had to see for myself (stubborn as I am) that nothing else had snuck by me into Florida. OK- been there, done that...Always enjoy my trips to Fresh Market anyway, and I have some Major Dickason's waiting in the kitchen cabinet for grinding at breakfasttime. Life is good.

                                                                                            2. Sir Wilfred's Wialapa Estate 100% Kona. This is the best that we have ever encountered and we are coffee-people. We don't get to do it that often, as it's now up to US$60/lb, plus shipping to the Mainland, but it is wonderful. I've had several Blue Mountain coffees, and we find this one beats all of them, though it's about 1.5x the price of most.


                                                                                              1. By all means: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which is also in the process of buying Tully's on the west coast: www.greenmountaincoffee.com

                                                                                                1. Cafe Yaucono, a puerto rican ground coffee that has flavor, but is not bitter. You can buy it on Ebay where they ship it from Yauco PR or buy it at hispanic supermarkets. You can get the Yauco Selecto from fancy coffee bean places. it tends to be pricey at more than $20 per pound. The regular Yaucono is five dollars for a half pound.

                                                                                                  1. While I'm not really a coffee drinker, my wife is. She tells me that recently the coffee at McDonald's is surprisingly good. I find this shocking, although I cannot give a good reason why it should not be. Does anyone out there agree with my wife? She also thinks that Tim Horton's coffee is right up there with the best. Is she correct? After 47 years of marriage, I have come to trust my wife's judgement- after all she chose me, didn't she?

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Doctormhl1

                                                                                                      Many MCD use Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee, particularly those in the NE

                                                                                                    2. Local, roasted within a week of sale, a blend and roast that you enjoy. Taste it. Don't think in terms of "brands" until you find something you like.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                        The best advice. Failing that, some I really enjoy, and I brew pretty strong cups: Jim's Organic, especially the Ethiopian. The organic in the gold bag from Costco, for less than half Jim's price.

                                                                                                        Coffee in a can has been "pre staled" so to be avoided at all costs, IMO.

                                                                                                        Dunkin Donuts has the worst quality beans and coffee, hands down. I think Consumers Union or CI did a test and it was the loser by far.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          Ooh, you've never had that Canadian institution, Tim Horton's? Makes DD taste like Caffe Artigiano. Absolute garbage.

                                                                                                          1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                            I have had Tim Horton's. Won't do it again, but it was better than DD, IMO.

                                                                                                            1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                                              I am not sure it's right to mention Artigiano and the other two in the same post - there must be rules against that!

                                                                                                              FWIW - when forced or paid a whole lot, I would go for Timmy's over Dunks in a heartbeat - neither is fresh, neither is arabica, but at least TH tastes something like coffee and doesn't induce acid stomach.

                                                                                                              1. re: rlh

                                                                                                                LOL, yes that's how I remember TH. I won't buy coffee out any more. I travel with a Thermos of it from home, make my own in hotels, etc.

                                                                                                        2. One of my favorites is New Mexico Pinon Coffe.Very flavorful,but smooth.Not at all bitter. Trader Joe's carries it,but it can also be ordered online.Whenever I've served it to guests they have always responded very favorably.The suggestion to find a local roaster is a good one.I like the idea of supporting the local little guy.I have ordered from Berceto Coffee,a small local roaster(Long Island,NY) and I'm sure you can find a quality small batch roaster near you.As far as nationally available brands I like Peets Major Dickason and Illy.Lavazza also is a quality brand that is more affordable than Illy.I don't like Starbucks.Burnt,bitter,etc. as has been mentioned by many others.

                                                                                                          1. So much speculation on what company really makes Dunkin Donuts Coffee...doesn't matter to me, you can't beat it. I often grind my own DD at home. The suggestions for roasting your own beans are out of my league. When I want to save a few dollars, I stock up on Folgers and sometimes combine Dunkin and Folgers. I have had some lousy Maxwell House and try to avoid the brand at all costs. Some of the other suggestions on this thread may be worth looking into. I'll have to ponder it as that aroma of Dunkin fills the kitchen.
                                                                                                            BTW, My secret creamer is evaporated milk.

                                                                                                            1. I regularly use Eight O'Clock Colombian whole bean coffee because it is what tastes right to me. It is full, rounded, toasty and rich. Satisfying and it doesn't break the bank.

                                                                                                              I also like Dunkin' Doughnuts coffee from the drive through around the corner from our house. For most of the same reasons, it is just a pleasing cup of coffee.

                                                                                                              From Starbucks I enjoy the seasonal Casi Cielo.

                                                                                                              1. Also, Trader Joe's has some fabulous coffees. Just try ones that you think sound good and go from there.

                                                                                                                1. Everyday coffee...ILLY - hands down

                                                                                                                  Now for coffee that is AMAZING: Santa's White Christmas from Barney's Coffee - flavors of coconut, nuts, sweet caramel and vanilla, but it not a sweet coffee, once you have Santa's you will forget all about Starbucks and that Donut coffee!

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                                                                    We have given Barney's White Christmas Coffee to fans of that brand and flavor, bujt I remain unshakable in my vote for Dunkin Donuts as #1.
                                                                                                                    Florida Hound

                                                                                                                    1. A few years back, I started buying fair trade coffee. Not only am I "doing good", the coffee is much, much better.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. Try new coffee brands/flavors frequently but ALWAYS go back to TjJ's dark roasted Bay Blend

                                                                                                                        1. these guys are our newest in Southern Oregon. Very tasty coffee:

                                                                                                                          1. Royal Abyssinia ...Bought it at Whole Foods after sampling it. It's the smoothest coffee, the beans come from Ethiopia but roasted here.

                                                                                                                            All of my guests rave about it and I always end up giving a bag away. I'm partial to the "Sublime Chocolate Chocolate" but the other flavors are great too.

                                                                                                                            1. You can indeed get good consistent results with the standard drip maker and standard supermarket brand coffee. Aside from trendsters, hipsters and those with the most discerning taste buds, it is not necessary to buy expensive coffee house coffee and/or expensive equipment.

                                                                                                                              For most people who drink their coffee with sugar and milk (and for even those who drink it black) a good supermarket brand like Folgers or Maxwell House is usually more than acceptable, providing you choose the right roast level (light, med or dark) for your tastes, clean your coffee maker regularly, use a good paper filter (like Melitta), fresh cold water, allow the coffee to brew entirely before taking a cup, stir the entire pot after brewing it, and don't leave it sitting on the warmer.

                                                                                                                              1. Filtron coffee system. Period. Get this system then try different coffees. You will love it guaranteed.

                                                                                                                                1. Well...92 replies and no consensus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                  If you are really interested you will have to learn something about coffee. Opinions vary but most (but not all the) experts I know agree on the following as a starting point:

                                                                                                                                  Use within three weeks of roasting.

                                                                                                                                  Grind fresh for each pot (not the night before).

                                                                                                                                  Coffee quality matters both coffee origin (both country and farm withing the country) and roasting profile. Preferences among drinkers varies

                                                                                                                                  There can be bad beans from normally good origins. Just being from country X is NOT enough.

                                                                                                                                  Storage method matters.

                                                                                                                                  Method of brewing matters: Best for lighter to medium profiles probably vacuum or hand poured (drip), Best for heavier bodied ones: French press.

                                                                                                                                  Best within 20 minutes of making (varies with origin)

                                                                                                                                  This is just some of the basics there are more details to learn. World of information available in many books and many web sites.

                                                                                                                                  Tomorrow I am roasting my 3,286 th roast and I am not a professional just a home roaster.

                                                                                                                                  1. we drink Yuban dark roast. nice strong coffee without being too acidic.

                                                                                                                                    1. I love coffee - I grind the beans as I use them.
                                                                                                                                      I seriously think the best available cup of coffee that I can brew for myself, my family and my guests comes from whole bean coffee that is purchased at ALDI. It is Beaumont brand.

                                                                                                                                      It is $4.00 for 12 ounces making it cost about .10 cents per cup.

                                                                                                                                      Try it, I am sure you will like it - ENJOY!!!

                                                                                                                                      1. Here's a plug for a small, socially-conscious roaster who will ship freshly-roasted coffee to you via overnight mail. The website is www.oldbisbeeroasters.com and you'll find an online coupon for five dollars off your first order. Try the sampler pack of four different coffees.

                                                                                                                                        1. Do you really want to limit yourself to one brand when there are so many choices in coffees? Plus, it really all depends on how you're going to grind, brew, and take (with or without milk) it.

                                                                                                                                          1. I don't know coffee. It's been many years since I've had a cup. But, I know my oils. Things like olive oil (taste) change by crop. One brand can be fabulous one year, but have a bad harvest the next year. So, the "best" brand changes year by year.

                                                                                                                                            Doesn't that (taste/quality changing year by year) apply to, like, all things harvested?

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: ediblover

                                                                                                                                              Word! Vintage didn't always refer to old furniture and clothing. ;o)

                                                                                                                                            2. I have been lucky to be able to work with several of the small farms on the islands here. If you truly want to be fair trade, then buy coffee from Hawaii and Puerto Rico where they have to follow US labor laws. There are lots of little 5 acre farms that offer fantastic coffee. Each one has a distict flavor and taste. One thing you didn't tell anyone, is what taste profile you want. Bold coffees you stick with those from the Americas, crisp and floral, go for Africans. For balanced, go for Island coffees. One our favorites is a Tanzanian Peaberry that has a lot of natural sweetness to it.

                                                                                                                                              1. After trying a few dozen different coffees., I decided Eight O'Clock whole
                                                                                                                                                bean Colombian was my favorite by far. But there's
                                                                                                                                                no "best ." You can order a huge variety of coffees from the internet
                                                                                                                                                to see what you like best. Just don't get scammed
                                                                                                                                                with over-priced coffees such .as Kona and Jamaica Blue Mountain.
                                                                                                                                                They ain't that good.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                                                                                                  I posted on this thread a few years ago re: my loyalty to Dunkin Donuts. But I was intrigued by how often "Eight O'Clock" was mentioned by other Chowhounds. Lately, I've been stretching the home-brew coffee budget by grinding a mixture of whole bean Dunkin, with equal parts whole bean Eight O'Clock Columbian and am enjoying the results just fine.

                                                                                                                                                2. i like my coffee strong but not bitter at all. like the mediterranean europeans, i use 1/4 (soy) milk. my husband and i like French Roast from World Market stores best. our daughter is a coffee barrista in new york city. whenever i am there i try to get to Everyman on 13th street, just behind union square. their coffee is DIVINE! also Brooklyn Roasting Company coffee is GREAT and available online, but expensive especially because of shipping cost.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Peets in San Franciscco area and Chicago is great, but hands down, if you are ever in Larkspur CA, San Francisco Union Sq, or SF Airport, the absolute best is Rulli, a local bakery and roaster.
                                                                                                                                                    It can be ordered online.

                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, but mentioning any other brands is a waste of time.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I'm suprised nobody has mentioned the New Orlean's style 'Community Coffee' brands such as the Dark Roast and French Roast, and especially the Whole Bean Dark Roast. Really quite tasty and well balanced with no suprises. Enormously popular in Louisiana.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                                        Community Coffee is what my in-laws in Alabama swear by. I agree it's very good. Unfortunately it's unavailable where I live.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Cafe Du Monde all the way. It's the only coffee I drink regularly. Iced with whole milk or hot with cream and sugar. I've tried Cafe Bustelo, 8'O Clock, Milhouse, Starbucks, Folders, Maxwell house. Aside from Cafe Bustelo occasionally, they are not my thing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. You might enjoy this WSJ article on lighter roast coffees: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001...

                                                                                                                                                          I was shocked to read that Intelligensia was a light roast proponent, because I recently had a cup in Chicago that I thought was the best coffee I'd ever drank from a paper cup. It seemed dark and flavorful to me. I've always been a fan of the super-dark, semi-burned Starbucks roast, as well as the intense Peet's coffees. Perhaps it's the weird Chemex brewing method that makes the stuff so good (and slow, and expensive).

                                                                                                                                                          You're probably just going to have to taste around. Reading this thread makes it clear how different tastes can be. Some of the coffees mentioned here, like Dunkin Donuts or Green Mountain Roasters just makes me cringe, but those are obviously gold to many drinkers.

                                                                                                                                                          Our 8 person corporate headquarters runs "lean and mean", but we have one indulgence...good coffee. A few years ago after I started bringing in my own bags of Peets or Starbucks to share w/ my co-workers, our Diet Pepsi-drinking CFO offered to let the company pay for our higher priced caffeine in the name of productivity ;-) Our coffee service found a dark roast Kona that the we all really liked...except one person. She still makes a pot of Maxwell House for herself every morning while all the other coffee people go for the dark roast. One thing we noted immediately: The higher end coffees came in individual packets that had apprx. 1 1/2 times the weight of coffee. We think just MORE coffee in each cup is part of the key to making flavorful coffee.

                                                                                                                                                          Eventually, the Kona dropped off in quality. We are now actually getting Peets Major Dickason's blend in the premeasured packets. I'm sure it would be better ground fresh from whole beans, but we aren't complaining. I think we have the best "office coffee" I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                            lucky folks in your office! if they offer Peet's Aged Sumatra in the packets, give it a try. i love it even more than Major Dickason's (though i've only ever had freshly ground beans).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                              Either CI or CR examined, tested and tasted coffee beans a few years back and found the Dunkin beans were the most inferior quality beans of all... really bad. One reason I no longer go to Starbucks is that they no longer seem to be using as much coffee per pot, and weaker coffee is worse coffee. I've never liked their charred roasts, but used to like them better than other places til the brews got weaker.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                Can somebody explain "Quakers" (Unripened coffee beans, that do not darken well when roasted) and their role in taste?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                  I've been roasting my own for a few years now and I remove and toss any Quakers as I was told by a professional roaster when I first started. Not sure how they affect taste, but it isn't a good thing.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                    So I wonder if the better roasters hand-separate the quakers out of the final product before packaging, or if they have figured out a way cultivate a quaker-free bean?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                      I order most all of my green beans from Sweet Maria's in the Sampler of (8) one pound bags each coming from a different part of the world. I roast a small batch (150 grams) every 2 or 3 days and most times there are no Quakers. I usually go for a dark roast so these "shy ones" are easy to spot.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                    That's the word they used, for the worst coffees/the ones with the most "Quakers." DD was the worst of the bunch.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I usually buy small amounts of coffee from Whole Foods when its freshly roasted. I get the whole beans and grind it up using a manual hand grinder: http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria...

                                                                                                                                                                  Brew it in an old stovetop espresso pot (like this one http://www.theculinarylife.com/images...) and it turns out better than anything I've had at Charbucks. Ever since I discovered how good freshly ground and roasted coffee is, I really haven't bothered with any brands. The pre-ground stuff in the supermarket is already stale and never tastes as good as fresh coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                  One tip to avoid strong or burnt tasting coffee is to go for a medium roast. I find the darker beans are often overroasted, and with a medium roast you can actually taste the different flavor notes in the coffee without the bitterness. Espresso especially tastes much better and it's easier to drink straight.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chi_Guy

                                                                                                                                                                    < Espresso especially

                                                                                                                                                                    You're including espresso in the category of medium roast?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                      Espresso is a method of brewing coffee, not a type of roast. This is a common misconception that many people have thanks to marketing labels like "espresso roast". In Italy for example, everyone drinks espresso but roasts vary from region to region. Sicilian coffee is usually dark roast while lighter roasts are used in northern Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Pretty much astounded by how many people actually like Folger's, Maxwell House, Dunkin, etc. Kind of like saying you prefer a McDonald's burger over a prime dry-aged steak. To each their own. So many deliciously different and complex coffees out there to choose from. Strange world.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Relayer

                                                                                                                                                                        By the way, I'm not much of a steak lover, but I will do an occasional McDonalds burger... That said, what are your coffee recommendations? I started a sep. thread about a month ago asking how to get my favorite Dunkin Donuts restaurant flavor at home, to give you an idea where I am on the coffee continuum. While I am a fan of Dunkin and 8 O'Clock, I periodically try other ChowHound recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I've been enjoying this coffee for the last six months. It showed up @ my local Costco and was on sale for $10.00 for the 2# bag. I continued to use it after the price went up a few bucks. Nice, robust flavor, smooth not harsh or acidic. Better than their house brand Kirkland, Roasted by Starbucks which I had been using, IMHO.
                                                                                                                                                                        here's Amazon's link to it:

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm surprised I ever noticed one of these because I'be been to a couple of these airports. I first tried Mayorga coffee about 10 years ago when it was being sold by JR Cigars along with Mayorga Cgars, online. JR bought Martin Mayorga's cigar business. At that time I didn't care much for either the coffee or the cigars.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I see this is an old thread, but...

                                                                                                                                                                          The best "brand" isn't a brand at all.

                                                                                                                                                                          If you cannot afford your own coffee plantation (ha!) buy green beans(online) and roast and grind them yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                          Don't want to do that?
                                                                                                                                                                          Find a *local* vendor who does the wholesale/roasting and you buy the roasted beans in small quantities and grind/brew them.

                                                                                                                                                                          I find that beyond that, taste is pretty much divided into two camps: " whole beans" (which you grind at home) and pre-ground varieties. Your pocketbook and your tastebuds may dictate which variety you stock in your home kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I like my coffee strong and black, so I like Italian roast or Sumatra from Starbucks, but find a local roasters if you want real quality coffee

                                                                                                                                                                            1. America's Test Kitchen just aired an episode tasting-testing "Supermarket Medium Roast Coffees" so as of this post it is still available for viewing on their website.


                                                                                                                                                                              Peets 'Cafe Domingo', and Millstone 'Breakfast Blend' tied for winner.