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Best inexpensive coffee?

I can't always afford to buy my favorite coffee (locally roasted), so I occasionally have to buy some store brand coffee. It's a poor substitute, but am wondering if any brands are better (folger's? maxwell house?) than average.

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  1. Cooks Illustrated has, over the years, rated 8 o'clock beans, Starbucks houseblend beans and Millstone Columbian beans well. At my house, we drink a combination of Trader Joe's french roast decaf and Double Dark.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ccbweb

      I add to the Trader Joe's coffee.....I drink Joe's decaf blend. Extra dark! Yum!

      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        I'm also a fan of TJs french Roast - but I've never tried the decaf - maybe I should get 1 regular and 1 decaf and mix them - I'm should cut down the caffeine - but the deep, rich taste of that particular blend just forces me to drink 3 mugs before I even leave the house every morning.

        1. re: Kitchen Queen

          I get Folger's when I dont get chance to make it to TJs to get their Bay Blend.

          1. re: Kitchen Queen

            We love most any TJ's coffee. 8 O'Clock is good as well.

        2. If you're buying locally roasted from an indie coffeehouse, ask them to sell you a half pound instead of the pre-packed full pound. Most will do that for regular customers.

          However, if you only had $5 or so to your name and needed about a pound and there were no other options, I'd suggest getting as much of the 8 O'Clock morning blend whole bean as you can afford. That's almost always the best value and usually better than "gourmet" blends for $2-$3/lb. more.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Panini Guy

            8 o'clock whole bean decaf is wonderful! You'd never know it was decaf especially fresh ground. And it's affordable.

            1. re: mrsbuffer

              Check out Hispanic markets to see if you can find GOYA decaf. It has more body than any US decaf coffee I've tried.

          2. I add my voice to the chorus re: 8 o'clock coffee. (Shop Rite is having a sale on it this week - it's like $2/lb.)

            1. I have a preference for Folgers over almost any other coffee beleive it or not. It may not be everyones cup of tea, pause for chuckle, but I like to mix half breakfast blend with half decaf hazelnut, brew, and enjoy! I am enjoying some as we speak with my morning caramel creme yogurt.

              1. Folger's 100 percent Colombian is the least expensive arabica I know of, and has done well in some tastings by supposed experts. It's about 2 cents a cup more than standard market brands.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mpalmer6c

                  Another vote for Folgers Colombian!

                  At our local Publix, the 34.5 oz. can goes on sale for $4.99, or about $2.31/lb. That's inexpensive.

                2. I rate them as follows

                  1 8 o'clock
                  2 Folgers Gourmet Supreme or Colombian dark
                  3 everything else (cheap only)

                  1 Reply
                  1. Has anyone tried Costco's beans? They seem like a pretty good deal, but it ain't really a deal if it's too bad to drink.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: stolenchange

                      I get Costco beans all the time. I'm a medium roast guy, and they often have a nice South American blend, or straight Colombian -- 3 lbs for $9-12. Their Kirkland Signature coffee is actually roasted for them by Starbucks, so if that is your thing, they have darker roast options, as well.

                      For regular store coffee, the only one I like (again, as a medium roast guy) is Yuban.

                      1. re: stolenchange

                        I have and liked them. I have tried 100% Colombian, it tastes almost like the Kirkland Colombian ground coffee that comes in cans (when you just opened the can), but since it's beans of course it tastes fresher. I also had bought a small batch of locally roasted French Roast beans, and mixed them for some extra robust flavor.
                        I also bought their Sumatran French Roast (from Costco), but haven't tried it yet, since I'm still working on my Colombian beans - cannot wait!

                          1. re: oystersallday

                            second Cafe Bustelo! It's nice and strong, but not too acidic like some cheap brands can be. Much better (and cheaper) than brands like Folgers, Maxwell House, etc. Also Yuban has a decent dark roast (NOT the regular, it is gross) and they are doing some kind of fair trade campaign which seems nice.

                            1. re: melon

                              I agree on the Bustello, great budget choice...

                              1. re: rozz01

                                Bustelo is great! I can't tell you how many dinner guests compliment the coffee and ask what I'm serving.

                                Sometimes it's in the coffee aisle, sometimes in with the Mexican food products. Cafe Pilon is pretty good, too.

                                1. re: CathleenH

                                  I'm glad you made the dinner guest comment. When I was younger, my parents always bought very expensive gourmet coffees for the house, but always kept Bustelo on hand for parties. Everyone always raved. It's almost all I buy.

                            2. re: oystersallday

                              Bustelo is a good find! I find it in "brick" form at our local stores. I used to really dig Chock Full O Nuts, too. Also, if you're trying to save some $ and have a grinder (or a grind-n-brew coffee maker), Fresh & Easy sells this BIG bag of whole bean coffee... I wish I could remember the name... San Francisco Roasting Company, maybe? Anyway, it's a lot of beans for not a lot of dough, and I thought it tasted pretty good!

                            3. re: welle

                              i like the kirkland costa rican better than the sumatran. tj's french roast is wonderful, but it is almost double the price of costco's....

                              1. re: welle

                                The Sumatran from Costco is nothing special. I do love their other beans though.

                                1. re: kayes

                                  I just bought out all their organic medium roast in the gold bag for $5 per lb; it's been discontinued. Now I have to find a new acceptable substitute for Jim's Organic Ethiopian.

                              2. re: stolenchange

                                costco's beans are FRESH! (I figure everyone buys teh $1/lb. stuff green, but costco isn't half bad)

                              3. We like the espresso roasts, and find some Latino brands a good cheap alternative to, say, Medaglia d'Oro. When we lived in Nashville we bought El Pico; out here in LA we get La Llave. I can usually find that at a discount for under $3 for a 12-oz. can, or sometimes the bricks are available at under $2. If we take a break from dark roast we like both Yuban and Chock Full O'Nuts. When I'm feeling extravagant I'll get some Peet's French Roast. It's been many years since I liked anything at all from either Folger's or Maxwell House, and I must say I've been disappointed by everything I've tried from Trader Joe's.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  I haven't found any I like at Trader Joe's either, and I don't care for La Llave. But my regular coffee for many years has been Bustelo, which is available in Latin markets all over the country (also at Gelson's). I pay an extremely reasonable $4.00 a can.

                                  1. re: Chowpatty

                                    Matter of taste, then - I like La Llave and don't care at all for Bustelo. But yes, it is available everywhere.

                                    I had to laugh when I was checking out a Cuban market in North Hollywood, and there next to the Bustelo and La Llave was some El Pico that had somehow found its way west, but instead of the under-$3 price it goes for in Nashville, it was over $5!

                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                    You can now buy Peets coffee at Kroger grocery stores...

                                  3. my favorite go-to grocery-store cheapie is Melitta Traditional.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: C70

                                      For standard brands Maxwell House is pretty good, followed by Folgers. Yuban is pretty awful. I also agree with looking at the Latin brick coffees. While Bustelo is my least favorite of these, it still is good compared to the US supermarket brands at a significantly reduced price. Café do Ponto and Pilao are decent Latin coffees.

                                      1. Henry's Blend by Seattle's Best. Available at Target!

                                        1. I usually go with Sumatra, of whatever brnad the supermarket has. Usually Starbucks, but I've found them all to be pretty much (or exactly) the same. Sumatra the poor man's Kona.

                                          1. I enjoy 'choc full o nuts' (available in most groceries, and VERY cheap) and also TJ's Hazelnut Creme, also a steal. Both have very nice flavors.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: kellydeez

                                              I'm not sure but I don't think choc full o nuts is available in the midwest, south, or Texas.

                                              Also I don't know how anybody can call Starbucks cheap.

                                              1. re: kellydeez

                                                The chock full o nuts is good, and I can get it in NC. I think their decaf is probably the best among the cheaper brands.

                                              2. I like Trader Joe's espresso and French roasts, and Medaglia d'Oro.

                                                1. I'm not usually one to make coffee for myself at home but I do like to keep a baggie of Kona Dark Roast on hand in the fridge for those mornings I have company. ;-)

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: DSan

                                                    Jesus! Don't store coffee in the fridge! Condensation forms on the beans.

                                                    1. re: Maddie

                                                      And how do you explain the condensation getting into an airtight baggie?

                                                      1. re: DSan

                                                        well, the moisture is already in bag
                                                        and migrates to surface with the cold. unless u
                                                        have a way to remove air/moisture (food saver etc)from bag

                                                        1. re: DSan

                                                          Uhhh... The condensation forms when the cold beans are taken out of the refrigerator and exposed to the air. So when you put them back they're a little bit wet.

                                                        2. re: Maddie

                                                          I agree, although if it is air tight, it's OK to put already ground into the fridge.

                                                      2. i like making my own blend of dark roast and latino
                                                        expresso roasts.try your own blend/mix! i think a lot of good coffee is ruined by
                                                        filters and drip coffee makers....they should be banned!
                                                        try a french press, or
                                                        find a percolator style electric. i plug mine
                                                        into a $7 electric timer and wake up to that great aroma
                                                        at 5 am!

                                                        1. Community Coffee's In-Between Roast works for me! In fact, that is what I drink all the time, even when I have some change in my pocket...

                                                          1. We tried IKEA brand last year and never looked back - it's rich and delicious!

                                                            1. You can now buy Dunkin Donuts brand coffee beans & ground coffee in some grocery stores (and at BJ's). I bought a large bag at BJ's the other week, and I found that it's really smooth tasting, not bitter at all.

                                                              1. Any of the bolder roasts from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters...not burnt like Starbucks taste

                                                                40 Replies
                                                                1. re: steakman55

                                                                  Thank you!! The first time I had Starbucks I thought, "Whoops they over roasted this batch" then the second and third...last time I said, "Oh, they intended for it to taste burnt". Ick! I simply do not like their coffee but I loves me some Dunkin Donuts coffee.

                                                                  1. re: bubbles4me

                                                                    Here in Toronto, I would pick Nabob, as well as Tim Horton's.

                                                                    1. re: ekammin

                                                                      I'm in the minority, but I like neither "Charbucks" nor Dunk'n Donuts coffee. I do like trader Joe's San Fran blend and French Roast, but they're not much less expensive than the coffee I can get from my local roaster. We can get the giant size Folgers at Walmart (someone else gets it since I won't shop there on principle). for under $6.00.

                                                                      1. re: jnk

                                                                        jnk, I've also heard that Walmart has good buys on Folgers coffee...however, I also don't shop there (based on principle!)
                                                                        My best friend belongs to Sam's Club, and she took me with her last week...we now call it the "S" store in code, because if my husband knew I was there, he would have a fit. (He's on our town's inland wetlands commission, need I say more?) Anyway, I go to BJ's for giant sizes of coffee, if I'm having a huge crowd over. We don't have a Trader Joe's in my area that I know of (in CT).

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          sam's club IS wal-mart, ctflowers. (which you probably know, anyway...)


                                                                          guess you can't go anymore....

                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                            I only went once to Sam's Club...my friend took me, but I didn't buy anything, lol.

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              Sam's is owned by WalMart, but other than pre-ground commercial coffee brands, they don't handle the same brands of whole bean coffees. I do like WalMart's whole bean coffees. But the recent coffee "shortage" has impacted on the quality. But when I bought a more upscale brand somewhere else, I wasn't impressed with its quality either. However, if you grind the beans fresh AFTER the kettle boils, you'll always get good drinkable coffee. With the right beans, you'll get GREAT coffee!

                                                                        2. re: ekammin

                                                                          For that kind of mainstream, supermarket coffee, I'd definietly go with Nabob, espresso roast (it is not very dark and bitter, and says its 100% Arabica). This is in Montréal; we don't get all the brands mentioned in the US, but do get Medaglia d'Oro.

                                                                        3. re: bubbles4me

                                                                          starbucks is known for burning/over-roasting their beans. i can't stand most of their coffees.

                                                                          peet's is the only way to go in terms of a chain coffeehouse. their stuff is on par with small, independent roasters.

                                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                I'm partial to the Major Dickason's Blend at Peet's. The beans are not exactly cheap, but of course way cheaper at home than if they make it for you at the shop.

                                                                                1. re: khh1138

                                                                                  The Major Dickason's blend at Peet's is really good. One of my favorite commercial blends.

                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                    The various coffee threads on Chowhound have intrigued me enough to try different brands and blends. This morning, I'm having my first cup of Peet's Major Dickasons. (from 'whole bean.' Of course part of the morning ritual is grind your own...) I think I really like it! I have posted "all over the place" that my favorite coffee is Dunkin' Donuts, and by my taste buds, Major Dickason resembles Dunkin' around the edges, so that's a plus for me. And my "major" (no pun intended?) complaint about brewing Dunkin' at home is that I have yet to be able to really reproduce the in-store flavor of their coffee. But this "Major Dickason" seems to come closer than even the bags I buy at DD.

                                                                                    khh1138 posted a few posts above, in 2010, that "the beans are not exactly cheap," and here we are on a thread about "inexpensive." However, I also recently tried "inexpensive" Beaumont at Aldi's, and poured a brew with no flavor at all, so the rock bottom priced coffees may not be worth their savings.

                                                                                    1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                      interesting. i like Major Dickason's, but i find DD to be pretty much undrinkable.

                                                                                      my favorite Peet's bean is the Aged Sumatra, but it's not for the faint of heart or palate. rich & full-bodied, earthy with woodsy floral notes & a hint of caramel...delicious stuff.

                                                                                      since you like the Major, try Peet's new Blend 101. slightly lighter body, but a nice complex flavor with some spicy notes.

                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                        I am learning from Peets PR hype that "small batches" are the key, drink it within a few days or weeks of the time the company roasts it and bags it, etc, etc. So, right now, with all my fun experimenting, I have several bags of a little bit of everything to finish up before I stock any more. I did try a bag of Peets Sumatra, on the advice of a friend, not "Aged Sumatra" however. It was not my favorite, but I got used to it OK by the end of the bag. I will have to put Blend 101 on the list. Thanks!

                                                                                        1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                          the aged sumatra is better. i have a Peetnik's membership so i have it shipped to me, and fortunately since i'm in California it comes within 24 hours of roasting. unfortunately you can only buy it directly from them or from a local Peet's shop.

                                                                                          let me know what you think of the Blend 101 if you end up trying it!

                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                            I have been looking for Peets Blend 101 in grocery stores in Florida. We don't have Peets stores themselves in Florida. So far, no luck. The Peets on-line ordering deal is way too expensive for me (and this thread did start out 5 years ago re: "best inexpensive coffee...") So, I plan to keep Major Dickason on my shopping list from time to time, but otherwise, can't expand my Peets horizons much right now. But I do love my coffee!!!! Thanks for your suggestion.

                                                                                            1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                              unfortunately you do have to buy Blend 101 directly from Peet's stores or mail order - sorry if i was unclear about that!

                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          "interesting. i like Major Dickason's, but i find DD to be pretty much undrinkable."

                                                                                          Seriously, I could not agree more. Will have to try Peet's. Trying to break my expensive coffees habit from Jim's Organic.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            i'm a HUGE fan of Peet's as a company. their employees in the local stores are super nice, and customer service at corporate is terrific. we actually bought stock in the company several years ago.

                                                                                            for a really rich, full-bodied cup, go with the *aged* Sumatra; for something a bit lighter, Major Dickason's. try Blend 101 if you like spicy Latin American beans.

                                                                                            and when they bring it back next January, you must try the limited edition Sumatra Blue Batak. absolutely fantastic, but it's only available for about 3 months out of the year :(

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              I checked their prices, though... coffee sounds very good, but not a savings over Jim's Organic fair trade coffee. Huh. Will keep the reccos in mind, though.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                if you can catch it on sale at Stop & Shop, Target or Kings it might save you a few bucks over Jim's. rules out the Aged Sumatra, but some stores carry the Major.

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  I've seen that one in stores, but no accounting for age...

                                                                                        3. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                          The roast styles between Peet's ("deep {a.k.a. vienna/dark} roast") and DD ("New England roast") are so dramatically different it's surprising one person would really like both. I grew on on DD, but have moved on to better coffees, yet cannot embrace anything roasted much darker than DD. I can taste the carbon in Peet's, not as bad as Starbucks, but it's there, and it make the cup unenjoyable to my palate.

                                                                                          1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                            I can't speak from any extensive knowledge of "roast styles," but its interesting and very pleasant to enjoy either or both Duncan Donuts and Peets Major Dickasons. I did have a cup of DD the other day, though, that was from one of their contracted-out convenience store self-service counters, and it was purely awful. I should have known better as I opened the spigot on an urn half the size of Nevada- how fresh could it be, really? Terrible. When you say you have moved on to "better coffees," what are your current recommendations?

                                                                                            1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                              Anything but Dunkin Donuts, they use the lowest quality, worst grade of beans and their coffee is undrinkable swill as a result, IMO. You could try the Costco brand coffees if you like DD. They actually sell DD coffee there, too.

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                Sorry mcf, but your DD claims are patently false. I've been to the QC lab in Burlington, VT where their beans are tested for moisture, density, defects, etc. The beans are certainly not the highest-grown best of the best (nor are most of Starbucks or Peet's offerings) but DD's beans are FAR from the "lowest quality, worst grade". That would be beans purchased by the Big 4 (Kraft, Smuckers/Folgers, Nestle and Sara Lee) which use Vietnamese robusta in addition to machine-harvested low-grade Brazils blended with other arabica beans purchased below C-market prices.

                                                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                  I'm pretty sure it was Cook's Illustrated claims, not mine. DD coffee is disgusting tasting to me, though. And to them.

                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  You dislike Starbucks because they over roast their beans? But you like Peets, even though they over roast in the same manner?

                                                                                3. re: bubbles4me

                                                                                  I don't like starbuck either, they have their own roasting scale that is not generaly accepted. Sometimes I'm wondering if they roasting it so dark so they can hide the quality of coffee.

                                                                                  1. re: cameciob

                                                                                    They over roast their beans so some of the coffee flavor will show through the big gulp drinks they call lattes. Simple fact that Starbucks has discovered, most people don't care about good coffee, just the caffeine boost they will get. And they are right.

                                                                                    Also, dark roasting will extend shelf life which is important to Starbucks.

                                                                                    1. re: poser

                                                                                      but aren't dark roasts lighter in the caffeine department?

                                                                                      or am i thinking of something else?
                                                                                      is it that espresso has less caffeine than regular coffee?

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal


                                                                                        The longer the roast, the more caffeine gets burned off, thus dark roasts have a bit less, french roasts have much less.

                                                                                        Regarding espresso, an average 1.5oz shot would have 40-70g or so (if the blend has robusta, it would be on the higher side), while a 12oz cup of arabica would have 120-150g, again, (more if it's a blend with robusta included). So you'd need 3-4 shots to equal the caffeine of a 12oz cup of drip. Some studies online state higher numbers for both, so use the above as a general guideline.

                                                                                        Cheap coffee (Maxwell House, Folgers, et.al.) almost always has a lot of robusta in it so those would be very highly caffeinated at a lighter roast (and taste like rubber).

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          caffeine comes out as contact with water. espresso has less contact, therefore less caffeine.

                                                                                        2. re: poser

                                                                                          overroast so that it will show through milk? doesn't make sense. Pull any Kenyan, and it SHINEs through the milk. oh, so fucking bright (like grapefruit in a cup!)

                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                            In all fairness it looks to me like poser was talking about lattes - and 16-20 ounce ones at that. So yeah, it makes sense to have an "edge" to their espresso to work with gobs of milk, roasty flavor while keeping some chocolate/nutty notes. Besides, a good Kenyan retails for ~$20+/lb, and you're not gonna waste that on a Starbucks latte.

                                                                                            Then again, they do then to overroast all their drip coffees as well. Apparently a lot of people prefer "burnt" to "layered blackcurrant and berries with a sparkling citrus acidity and dark chocolate finish".

                                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                              <10 dollars a pound if you buy it green...

                                                                                    2. re: steakman55

                                                                                      Green Mountain Sumatra Reserve and Kona are nice, but hardly inexpensive

                                                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                        both are insanely overpriced. Buy MEXICAN (a good calm mexican can win in taste tests over those anyway).

                                                                                    3. One day while my husband and I were at a local greasy spoon in Milford, PA, we had the best "resturant" coffee that we had ever tasted. When we asked the server what it was she said it was the Walmart brand coffee--in the green can. We tried to buy a can that weekend but the giant Walmart near us was completely sold out.

                                                                                      1. Don Fransisco french roast for carry over.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                          No Trader Joe's here in Florida :( I like Chock Full Of Nuts but I usually buy Wal-Mart's brand of Arabica coffee.

                                                                                          I haven't had Folgers in years because I aways found it weak and wishy-washy. Maybe it's changed?

                                                                                          1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                                            I really believe that Folger's lost a lot of aroma and flavor following P&G's purchase of the company resulting in the loss of the influence of the Atha's of Kansas City upon the buying and roasting.

                                                                                        2. we have a friend that's a rep for Counter culture and he sometimes gives us bags of yummy stuff...

                                                                                          but otherwise, we buy, Bustelo, El Pico, Pilon.

                                                                                          I much prefer the nutty almost chocolaty flavor of the cheap-o latin expresso roasts that i grew up with, to the highly acidic high end coffees that are out there....

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: TSQ75

                                                                                            I really like those, too. And Medaglia d'Oro (cheapo already ground Italian-American espresso). Availability varies by neighborhood around here, even with the big chain grocery stores.

                                                                                          2. I'm partial to Cafe du Monde (the coffee with chickory in it). Every Asian market in the universe seems to have it.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: sistinas

                                                                                              most run-of-the-mill groceries have them now too..

                                                                                            2. I happened on the Folgers Gourmet Columbian just last week, $2.95 for 13 oz. I was amazed at how good it was

                                                                                              1. Marques de Paiva, whole bean, organic, med. roast @ Sams, about $11.50 for 2.5 lbs.

                                                                                                1. I love Seattle's Best French Roast for supermarket coffee. It's by no means the cheapest, but it's strong without being bitter.

                                                                                                  1. The thing to do when you're stuck using canned coffee is to brew it at least double strength and then add condensed milk. Or if that's not available lots of cream and sugar. They're all pretty much uniform taste (except for the ethnic brands) so creative preparation is key.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                      Has anyone ever tried CDM w/ chickory or Luzziane w/ chickory they are both coffee out of Louisiana!

                                                                                                      1. re: louis evans IV

                                                                                                        i've tried it. interesting. i think some indian restos i've been in also serve chicory coffee. or is it something similar, hounds?

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          probably was. the traditional coffee of south india is a mix of coffee beans and chicory.

                                                                                                      2. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                        chuckles, "at least double strength" would be undrinkable, imo, for something like a premium maxwell house, like the 100% columbian. and yes, "premium" in their line of products....visiting my mom's house, i just make it strong!

                                                                                                      3. Seattle's Best coffees are great with a reasonable price. By the way, they are owned by Starbucks, but make better coffee in my view

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: steakman55

                                                                                                          they started out with starbucks copying them, didn't they -- or the ceo mentoring the starbucks guy? did starbucks buy them out?

                                                                                                        2. I sorta like Red Eye by Stewart Bros... The can is cool too.

                                                                                                          1. Cafe Goya. I like it better than the premium folgers.

                                                                                                              1. re: scuzzo

                                                                                                                I also like the whole bean brown bag Eight O'Clock coffee.

                                                                                                              2. I just found Stewart's Red Eye Brew. It's pretty good for canned ground coffee, pretty reasonable price to boot.

                                                                                                                1. I'm in Canada so some brands are a litle different. Ideally I will buy from a local roastery but it is not always financially possible. I usually get their dark cuban or dark brasil.... mmmmm.

                                                                                                                  First, Maxwell House and Foldgers is the nastiest coffee I've ever had. It is sour and rotten. I think I've tried all available store brands trying to find one drinkable. I came across President's Choice Gourmet coffees at Real Canadian Superstores/Loblaws. If you like medium go for their gold can 'Gourmet' label. If you like it darker go for the dark version (black can). First, it's cheap (about 7 bucks for 2 pounds) and second it tastes pretty good. It does not have cheap acidity and the flavour is somewhat full. I just baught a huge bag of KIrkland Sumatra beans yesterday. I'm going to finish my can of Presidents Choice and then try that out. I'm hoping for good results.

                                                                                                                  1. I've basically spent the last year trying to find something drinkable for my office coffeemaker.
                                                                                                                    The winner, which surprised me greatly, was Dunkin Donuts pre-ground coffee. (the grinder at my work is a re-purposed spice grinder and the coffee maker is a black & decker)

                                                                                                                    Annoyingly, it was a coffee that I never even considered. I simply assumed that based on its price point and the fact that it was pre-ground that it would be, at best, maybe a bit better than Folgers, a coffee that I rank dead-last. But my in-laws had it at their house when we went to visit and I was very, very surprised. It's not a sophisticated coffee but it has a good mellow flavor with a nice, full mouth feel. It's the kind of coffee that I always wish for when I go out to breakfast but never get.

                                                                                                                    I tried every offering at Costco (with the exception of 8'oclock) - whole bean in particular and found them all over roasted and too oily. Freshly roasted beans smelly lovely, none of the Costco brands smelled good at upon opening the package.

                                                                                                                    Illy didn't work and based on the cost, you might as well go for a better bean and Starbucks was a fail as well.

                                                                                                                    I'll flat out admit it, I'm pretty snobby about my coffee but I simply can't afford to continue to supply my office with the fancy coffee that I buy from one of the best coffee suppliers in the Northwest (ahhhh, Barista, how much do I love thee?) and I don't want to burn out my expensive burr grinder on mediocre beans.

                                                                                                                    The major flaw in my testing was that I refused to grind any of the beans in my burr grinder at home. There is an amazing difference in beans when ground properly and if you can only afford to buy one piece of equipment for coffee, screw the maker, get the grinder. I simply didn't want to have to deal with cleaning my grinder after every batch that I was testing.

                                                                                                                    So, contrary to all expectations, the office in the land of awesome coffee is brewing pre-ground east coast beans (the shame...the shame).

                                                                                                                    1. When I lived in RI I got to like Autocrat. Even after I moved away I would go back periodically and stock up.

                                                                                                                      Now I order my coffee from http://www.deansbeans.com I like the dark roasts Ring of Fire and Roadhouse Blend.

                                                                                                                      1. I prefer Folger's of the three. Also, have you tried spicing your coffee? I've tossed in allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, and/or cloves to brighten up less-than-stellar brews. Cinnamon/cardamom is a favorite combo. It's better with good beans, but the spices have helped to salvage pots worth of coffee that otherwise would have been tossed in favor of Excedrin.

                                                                                                                        I've heard, too (probably via Chow), that a little salt in the coffee can improve the flavor. Have any hounds tried that to know if it works and suggest what portions to use?

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Scriever

                                                                                                                          When I drink a cup of the crap coffee in the big container at work, I stir in a quarter of an envelope of Starbucks Via instant coffee. It is hard to justify buying Via, but now that I already have a box, this is a good way to stretch it.

                                                                                                                        2. Cafe Du Monde - If you go to an Asian market you'll find it around $5.00 a tin vs. $9-11 at Whole Foods or similar - I make mine in a stove top moka pot and love it!

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                                                                                                                          1. re: jbyoga

                                                                                                                            that cafe du monde is used to make vietnamese coffee: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/625044


                                                                                                                            1. re: jbyoga

                                                                                                                              You just stole my reply! To the others can I add Mayorga? I'm not sure how available it is outside the DC area but it's a damn fine cup.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jbyoga

                                                                                                                                Three years later that bit about Cafe du Monde at Asian markets remains true, except it's now $7 instead of $12! I've found that some stores carry French Market instead of CdM, and I've found I like that a bit better - seems to have a richer flavor. And another thing: both of those still come as a full pound!

                                                                                                                              2. We try to buy locally roasted as much as possible, but when we can't our favorites are Trader Joe's Shade Grown Ethiopian and TJ's French Roast.

                                                                                                                                The latter is the hub's favorite and the former is mine!

                                                                                                                                1. whole foods house brand coffee,the 365 label,pleasent moning buzz..its one of the only deals at wf,its just hard going in and walking out with just coffee though.....

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: im hungry

                                                                                                                                    Pleasant Morning Buzz is my standby. Great deal and a very serviceable everyday blend.

                                                                                                                                  2. I love coffee!
                                                                                                                                    I have had coffees from all over the world. I have paid as much as $45.00 dollars per pound for good beans. The best cup of coffee that I can brew comes from whole bean coffee purchased at ALDI, that's right ALDI! Beaumont beans cost about $4.00 for 12 ounces.
                                                                                                                                    That's less than 10 cents per cup.
                                                                                                                                    I grind the beans as I need them and I use a good brewer.
                                                                                                                                    - best cup of coffee period!!! .10 friggin cents. AMAZING...

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: timmyv

                                                                                                                                      You nailed it!

                                                                                                                                      ALDI's products VERY often have the same packaging-style and contents that their offspring (Trader Joe's, folks!) has.

                                                                                                                                      We're knocking off a recent buy of pre-ground ALDI Beaumont Fair Trade Dark Roast, earthy and complex. Even the wrapper is of the same classy material as other high-end beanbags. Any intel on the source???

                                                                                                                                      Like ALDI's incredible kettle-cooked mesquite-bbq potato chips and herb and spice jars, there's no quality compromise and prices you'll smile at. No free shopping bags, no credit cards...so what!

                                                                                                                                    2. Got tired of grinding beans daily. Costco Kirkland Signature 100 percent Colombian Supremo, dark roast, fine grind, 3-pound can. Repackaging and freezing keeps it fresh. As good as fresh-roasted and fresh-ground? Of course not. But still pretty good, and way less morning hassle.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                        "Fresh" canned coffee is a misnomer. It only takes about 72 hours for coffee to fully de-gas - CO2 leaves, replaced by O2. And oxygen continues to degrade the coffee, very quickly at first. That's why fresh roasted coffee should be consumed in 7 days or less for optimum flavor.

                                                                                                                                        As grinding coffee increases the surface area exposed to oxygen by roughly 1000x, ground coffee degrades about 1000x faster than whole bean. Thus, all canned coffee is already well beyond stale by the time it reaches the store. That's non-debatable fact.

                                                                                                                                        No idea what you were using to grind with, but here it takes about 45 seconds to scoop and grind. Hardly tiring and well worth that little bit of effort, IMO.

                                                                                                                                        With the price of commodity green arabica coffee (like Kirkland) having doubled in the past six months, it'll be interesting to see if you still think it's worth it once those price increases have filtered down to the consumer. What Kirkland could buy for $1.30/lb last summer now costs them closer to $3.00. That's gotta be passed on to consumers somehow.

                                                                                                                                      2. For a snowed in- all I have is Walgreens (my nearest store) to walk to day where I have a few canned coffees to choose from, I would definitely get a 100% Colombian- probably Yuban. I have always thought I was getting a better cup for less money with Yuban. Kind of a medium- dark roast compared to something like Folgers or Maxwell House.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: missmar79

                                                                                                                                            It isn't the cheapest on the shelf, but it is good quality. By the way, the Melitta USA coffee roasting operation has been located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for more than 40 years.

                                                                                                                                          2. I'm another Bustello fan. It costs $3 per can at my local grocery store (though twice as much as other area markets) and has a strong, yet not acidic, flavor. Guests almost always compliment me on it and are surprised it's a suc ha cheap brand.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                              I like Bustelo, Pilon, and Medaglia D'Oro.

                                                                                                                                              By the way, I picked up a can of the Bustelo Cool Cafe con Leche. It was so sweet, I couldn't even taste the coffee. I guess you feed it to kids.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                Its too bad about the price increase. the price has gone up 20 percent in the last three months at the store I but it at...

                                                                                                                                              2. Fwiw, the price gap between "inexpensive" (commodity) coffee and specialty-grade coffee will be closing a bit. Commodity arabica beans (also known as 'exchange-grade') have been trading around $2.50/lb on the NYBOT recently. They were trading around $1.30/lb for the first half of 2010 and in that same neighborhood for the past few years.

                                                                                                                                                Commodity arabica beans are those used in all 'canned' coffee and in a number of supermarket and "house" coffees, as well as most all commercial (e.g. foil packets for 'office coffee') applications.

                                                                                                                                                Commodity-grade beans have a higher number of defects (which affect taste) and are generally grown at lower altitudes and processed more poorly than specialty grade beans (unripe cherries tossed in with ripe and overripe). So when you see "100% arabica" on a coffee label, all that means is that they're not using robusta beans. But 100% arabica can also be truly crap quality arabica. That designation does not speak to a taste profile, only an ingredient - and not the quality of that ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                As the commodity arabica price increase only affected coffee purchased in the past 6-8 months, the full effects of this increase have not yet been felt by consumers. As the older coffee in inventory gets used up, newer coffees purchased at a much higher price will take their place. So prices will go up. It's inevitable.

                                                                                                                                                One way brands can sidestep a price increase is to start increasing their robusta content. While there are a few "decent" robusta coffees out there, they are relatively rare and command a price premium, so it would be of no benefit for a cost-conscious roaster to use those. Rather, it would be low-quality Vietnamese, West African and Brazilian robusta, all of which taste like licking a tire.

                                                                                                                                                So whatever 'inexpensive' coffee you like today is going to get either more expensive or have its formula changed so that it doesn't taste the same.

                                                                                                                                                Meantime, those roasters who buy specialty coffee via a direct trade model negotiate prices directly with the farmer. That price is not affected by what happens on Wall St. If the 'landed' price is $5.00/lb at the roastery, then the price to the consumer will be around $15/lb once the roaster and retailer add their profits. There's at least some sense of price certainty, and with most direct trade coffees, a high probability that they'll be delicious.

                                                                                                                                                1. Thanks for renewing this post. As mentioned earlier Cafe Llave is good, about $3 for 12oz. I usually like to grind my beans, but I temporarily don't have a grinder.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I like Chuck full o nuts 'cause it reminds me of nyc.
                                                                                                                                                    Bustello is also really good.

                                                                                                                                                    1. We absolutely LOVE Folger's 100% Columbian...we brew it in a Percolator and serve it up with Half and Half...that is some piping hot perfectly lucious Old Skool goodness!! I mean it is beyond the realm of any coffee you have had before, trust me. ;) BTW we tried all the other Folgers and none of em come CLOSE.

                                                                                                                                                      Our faves after Folgers Columbian are: Henry's Blend (from Target), Melitta, Chock Full o Nuts, and 8 o Clock.

                                                                                                                                                      Now if only we could find a DECENT TASTING decaf I would be soooo happy! Any recommendations on that?

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekgirl2000

                                                                                                                                                        Now if only we could find a DECENT TASTING decaf I would be soooo happy! Any recommendations on that?
                                                                                                                                                        Peet's. either the Sumatra or Major Dickason's Blend.

                                                                                                                                                      2. while I'll do Folger's in a pinch (I'd rather drink paint thinner than Maxwell House). My go to and not because it's cheep is Bustelo. It's a rich flavor and strong. at about $3 for a container, it's by far the cheapest in the supermarket and by far (in my opinion) the best. Aside from gourmet coffees, this is my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                        1. best i've had recently was illy. it was so smooth and had such depth of flavor.

                                                                                                                                                          OOPs, forgot this was the "inexpensive coffee" thread.

                                                                                                                                                          for cuban coffee, i like bustelo or pilon. they're pretty reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                          to make meh coffee taste better, you can add some ground cinnamon in the grounds before you run the water through.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I like Chock-Full-O-Nuts. I made it my standard household coffee after several different people (including some real coffee-people) said "what's this coffee, it's really good."

                                                                                                                                                            Glad to hear, too, that I'm not alone in disliking Starbucks coffee.

                                                                                                                                                            1. I started ordering from Coffee Bean Direct (thru amazon) last year after a long search for good coffee for less $$$. They ship quick and have the same prices for retail/wholesale. You have to order a 5# bag, but that's not really a problem for me...just keep it in the freezer. They have a huge selection and by far the best coffee for the $ that I've ever found, especially if you have prime and do subscribe and save. They also have SWP and CO2 decaf...

                                                                                                                                                              1. Yuban dark roast...my fave cheap coffee, you can find it at any grocery store and its good stuff!

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                                                                                                                                                                1. Fresh and Easy markets (California) sell unground light roast coffee beans 6-7$ for 5 pounds of beans.

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: darkstar01

                                                                                                                                                                    I checked and its 6.99$ for 2 pounds of light, medium or dark roasted unground coffee beans.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. For a sturdy brew for Bialetti to make lattes I have lately been using La Llave.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I joined Sam's Club last fall and, while the shopping experience isn't the most delightful, the prices are amazing. I just today took a chance and bought their Daily Chef brand Colombian Supremo whole bean coffee. There's really not much risk because Sam's will take anything back if you don't like it. I came home and made two cups of coffee for a side by side comparison with what I usually buy, which is Starbucks medium Colombia whole bean. Almost zero difference, and actually the Daily Chef may have had a slight edge. The beans smelled and looked very fresh when I opened the package and they're fair trade. So here's the price diff (and these are Sam's prices): Starbucks, $7.77/lb; Daily Chef, $5.95/lb. Hope this helps.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Costco has a new organic coffee, Cuban Mayorga, maybe?
                                                                                                                                                                        Only $5.95 per lb and so far, the only coffee we like from Costco since they stopped carrying the gold foil bag of organic coffee a few years back.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE ANYONE POSTED ON THIS SUBJECT, BUT IN MY HUMBLE OPINION, THERE IS NO BETTER COFFEE THAT "DUNKIN' DONUTS". BUT IF ANYONE CAN FIND ONE THAT TASTES THE SAME FOR A CHEAPER PRICE ....PLEASE LET US KNOW.....ENJOY!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. An interesting discovery (I shop in Chicago) is that the same luxury-brand New Orleans-style coffee with chicory (French Market or Cafe du Monde) sells in the Vietnamese markets for 40% less than it does in the upmarket Anglo stores.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Don't put Sams Club down they have the best coffee bar none! Their "Chefs Daily" or something to that effect instant coffee is fabulous! Their generic brand of instant is Colombian coffee Arabica supremo. Supremo is a legal term for the highest quality of Colombian coffee grown in Columbia. Sams Club generic brand of supremo arabica coffee beans is grown in the Andes Mountains. You can throw away your coffee maker you won't need it! Their instant cafein free coffee is fabulous too and better than any coffee I have tasted, it's the reason I joined Sams Club. The only problem has been the stores near me don't carry it which means you can't order on-line either, but I understand if you contact the manager they can order it, which is what I have just done by e-mail on their regular Samsclub website.

                                                                                                                                                                              Starbucks coffee you buy in the cup to go at the counter at the retail store is from Central America and is not high quality, although the coffee you buy in the bag may be different, like their Colombian coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. My sister, who does not drink coffee, went out shopping for me and came back with espresso coffee grounds. She didn't know the difference. So I figured I better use them up, and found I liked this coffee better than using my regular grounds. So now, regular coffee made from expresso grounds is my standard.

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                                                  The term "grounds" usually refers to ground coffee beans after brewing.

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Ground" coffee refers to coffee beans that have been ground and bagged. Espresso coffee beans are usually a dark roast ("Italian"). Coffee intended to be used for espresso is usually ground more finely than coffee intended to be brewed in a drip coffee maker. So if you put espresso in a Mr Coffee, because the grounds are finer, you are going to get a more intense brew, a bit more bitter, with some coffee grounds at the bottom of your cup. The fact that it is Italian roast means you get a slight burned taste with a bit of sweetness from the carmelization that occurred when the beans were roasted dark.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I always drink a dark roast in my drip coffee maker. It is delicious. I like Melitta or Illy or Lavazza.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel the same way, coffee seems to weak and watery if I don't use espresso