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Jun 14, 2006 12:47 PM

Ethnic groceriers for inexpensive coffee?

  • r

There are posts from time to time about where to buy inexpensive coffee.

I've been exploring Brazilian food in my area and it seems that the groceries sell inexpensive coffee that, to me, tastes a lot better than anything I've bought in a supermarket.

Café caboclo was $2.99 for 8.8 ounces, but I've seen it online for as low as $2.19.

Sure it doesn't beat fresh ground beans, but is so heads above the cheapest supermarket blend - Don Francesco (about $6 for 13 oz, less on sale.)

My Portuguese is a bit limited but I thinkg Café caboclo is owned by Sarah Lee as are a few of the other Brazilian coffees - Café do Ponto, Café Pilão, Café Seleto, Café União

I wouldn't stake my coffee cred on this coffee, but it surprises me with every sip. It is mellow and doesn't have the acrid, sharp edge most supermarket brands have ... and it costs alot less.

Are there any other coffees out there to look for from other types of ethinic markets?

Maybe not even cheaper, but better. Do Italian groceries sell any particular coffee out of the mainstream? Is there anything in Mexican markets, etc?


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  1. Is the store where you bought this coffee in SF? Where is it and what is it called? Thanks.

    2 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        this is where bustelo and medaglia d'oro among others, come from. massive distribution up and down the east coast, i am not familiar with their west coast distribution.


    1. Some Latino markets I go to in the LA area carry a good range of espresso-type coffees at reasonable prices - Pilón, Bustelo, La Llave. I've even seen the El Pico brand (an eastern US equivalent to La Llave) in a Cuban market, though it was grossly overpriced, as though it'd flown here first class. La Llave is a Gaviña brand, pretty much our House Coffee when we're too poor for Peet's, and is sometimes available in supermarkets for cheap (2/$5 at Vons now and then). I just got a couple of the 10-oz. bricks of it at King Ranch (a Latino market) for $1.69 each.

      Asian markets around here often have another quirky favorite, Café du Monde New Orleans chicory coffee, for considerably less than its typically inflated supermarket price. I've seen it as low as $3 in some places, and always pick up a can or two at times like that.

      I know of no really "gourmet" coffees available at any ethnic stores around this area, but would be happy to learn of some.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        Have you had luck with that?

        I remember a can I brought back from NO had dark, relatively moist looking grounds that smelled great when first opened.

        A few months later I picked up a can at an Asian market. I opened it to find incredibly dry, stale smelling coffee. Perhaps it was a bad batch, perhaps it had been sitting in the market for ten years. But I'd try again if you've had better luck than I have.

        1. re: nooodles

          I've not had good luck with Bustelo, either, Of the three cans (I think) I've tried, one was nice and two were dead stale. No, I take that back: that was in Nashville. I tried one more out here in SoCal and it was stale too.

          Back east, I never struck out with El Pico; here, I like La Llave. Good solid yummy stuff.

        2. re: Will Owen

          I like Bustelo, it's been my standard morning coffee for at least 15 years. It's about $3.99 for a 12 oz. can. I'm so used to it that I'm shcoked by the prices on "gourmet" coffee.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Other Cuban coffees to look for: Caracolillo and La Naviera from Tampa, FL. They shouldn't cost over $2 a bag. These were our two staples when we lived in the US. We had the red bag Caracolillo ground espresso shipped to us by the case.


          2. We have a chain in LA called Jon's that has bulk Turkish beans for $2.99-$3.99 a pound.

            1. Middle Eastern markets usually sell good whole-bean coffee at a reasonable price.

              Here in San Diego we have several Persian markets that sell bulk coffee from $4 to $6 for 16 oz; it is usually good and they have a selection from Yemen, Ethiopia, Java, and blends - they even sell green, unroasted beans. However, the place I go (North Park Produce) doesn't advertise particular brands.