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Gevalia coffee, why is this not better? [Moved from Chains board]

I hope i'm posting this to the right board. Gevalia is a mail-order coffee purveyor that ships all over, but if this belongs in another board, please mods- place it where it should be. Thanks in advance.

I decided to start getting Gevalia coffee, from an email I recieved for a nice, "free" coffee maker. No problems with the maker, it's actually decent. My issue is with the coffee itself.

Am I missing something, with Gevalia? I order the Stockholm Roast, and the Irish flavored coffee. I'm drinking some of the Irish coffee as I type this, and...Ugggg...just...UGH. The coffee's been kept sealed, in a dark place and unopened till this moment. I have the ground coffee, as I never considered myself such a coffee drinker to start buying whole beans, and grinding my own. This is probably going to change soon, as i'm consistanly impressed with the coffee I grind myself at my local "natural" foodstore. (organic, and the cost is totally reasonable! $5.99 a lb!)

Perhaps i've discovered Gevalia's marketing strategy: Portray your comany as a luxury, high-end must-have, and people will buy it, and think it's good. All based on name, not quality. I'm just underwhelmed by what i've ordered so far from them (Hey, this concept works for luxury items like Prada, dosen't it??)

Do any Chowhounders get Gevalia? What do you like, and am I to think most get the whole bean, and grind at home? Perhaps if I get a better offering from them, i'll be happier. Does the royal family of Sweden really DRINK this stuff? IKEA's bagged coffee is comparable! Talk about the Emperor's New Clothes.....

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  1. What one person likes another may not, I'd suggest trying various coffees till you find one you like. And there is good coffee cheaper than Gevalia.

    As for grinding beans at home, IMO opinion it takes a difference. When you first open a bag of ground coffee, the taste is fine, but when you get to the bottom of the bag there's a noticeable deterioration in flavor,

    Cook's Illustrated tested coffee grinders, BTW, and decided the cheap blade grinders produced a tastier cup that the expensive burr grinders. So I bought a blade grinder and have to agree.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mpalmer6c

      Thanks for posting CI's findings. I happen to love ATK, and get the magazine as well, but must have missed that one. A cheapo blade grinder it is for me, then! A new adventure in coffee begins soon..

      1. re: mpalmer6c

        A blade grinder is better than an expensive burr grinder? Well, so much for Cook's Illustrated's credibility!
        Just to be fair Cook's illustrated never said blade grinders were better than GOOD burr grinders. They said they were better than cheap burr grinders. In any event, they are wrong and shockingly so!

      2. I would also add that it makes a difference how you make the coffee. Even if you grind your own beans, if you use a traditional drip filter maker, you won't get asflavorful a cup as you would from a french press. After being dissatisfied first with pre-ground beans, and then with the tepid brew from the drip makers, I now grind my own (with a burr grinder) and brew it in a Bodum French Press. Right now we use the beans from Trader Joe's.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dpan

          As far as that goes, I've found that when I'm using a french press coffeemaker, coffee ground in a blade grinder (specifically, the KitchenAid one with the removable bowl) is far superior to coffee ground in a burr grinder, because if anything, the burr grinder is somewhat TOO efficient. I am far more likely to get cup sediment from burr-ground beans than blade-ground beans, where I have more control and can stop the grinding before any of the beans get too finely ground.

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

            I've done it both ways and each produces an amount of sediment. I want consistency in the grind and (here I'm exposing my engineer anal retentitiveness) to have the maximum amount of coffee surface area exposed to the liquid. The only way I can do that is with the burr grinder.

            1. re: dpan

              I get no sediment whatsoever using a blade grinder. I prefer that.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                But with the blade grinder you're heating the beans which affect the taste. The burr grinder doesn't do that.

                1. re: dpan

                  For the five seconds the grinder is running, I'm willing to take that risk.

        2. The Gevalia Coffee available by mail-order is not at all like the "real" Gevalia coffee. It is a different product marketed overseas by Gevalia brand. I have no idea why they do this when their original product is so fantastic. Case in point: Having moved back to New York after many years living abroad (nine of them in Sweden), my coffeeholic parents searched for a substitute for their beloved Gevalia Bryggs Mellan Rost (Medium Roast). Alas, there was none to be found (they went through all sorts of coffee phases, as I recall- and they were terribly disappointed by the mail-order Gevalia at least 12 years ago, when it was novel). In the end, they decided to begin shipping themselves the real deal from an online retailer in Sweden. Several years into it, they have probably spent more $$ on shipping than on coffee, but for them it's worth it. So yes, the Gevalia mail-order stuff is disappointing (though many people enjoy it for what it is), but this is more a reflection of their marketing practices than it is of their true product.

          6 Replies
          1. re: vvvindaloo

            Sweden is not, of course, one of the world's main coffee producing countries, although the per capita consumption of it there is, I believe,. very high - second only to Finland. There are plenty of companies both in the US and Canada that can supply you with a vast choice of coffees - ground, roasted bean, green bean, from Central America, the Caribbean (including Cuba in Canada), South America, ther Middle East, Africa and Asia. I found the best thing to do is try a variety of them and experiment, experiment, experiment until you find a blend and roast that suits you best.

            1. re: ekammin

              We were getting Gevalia by mail for years. One morning I looked at my husband and said, "You know, I don't think this is very good" to which he agreed. We were both drinking the stuff for years becuase we thought the other loved it! Now we order Dunkin Donuts coffee through the mail and we are both so much happier.

            2. re: vvvindaloo

              This is -exactally- what I feared to be the case, IE Gevalia made for the Swedish/European market being far superior to what's offered for the mail-order in the States. How depressing, yet expected. I wonder, do they think the US market is wanting a different type, or flavor in their coffees?

              Thanks to all who replied, and helped me come to grips with the inevitable truth before me: time to buy good, whole beans, and grind at home.

              1. re: Honeychan

                If it's any consolation, I have never seen or heard of true Swedish Gevalia anywhere outside of lower Scandinavia. Not sure why.

                1. re: Honeychan

                  I would have to agree with that assessment. Years ago I lived in Belgium for a short time, and bought the Douwe Egbert individual drip coffee containers from the supermarket. They were excellent for a mass produced store coffee. Back in the States, I could not find anything to compare with this kind of coffee anywhere. That's why I've been grinding my own.

                  1. re: dpan

                    It's funny you mention Douwie Egberts coffee. Here in Las Vegas, many coffee shops in hotels use this brand, in reconstituted bagged form. UGGHHH, this is just rancid, and a horrible excuse for coffee. It tates what I think dirty dishwater would. Anytime I see Douwie Egberts offered, I order hot tea instead! I guess this is a European brand as well, and much better over there.

                    Gevalia is just....so overrated.

              2. That's the concept for a lot of "Luxury" items. Jeans, shoes, cars, and particularly food. If you spend more for it, you're going to be prouder of it, and show it off to your friends. After you rub it in their nose that you have superior financial means, it's hoped that they will attempt to do the same, with the same product. "Keeping up with the Joneses", and not the kind that puts you into a nicotine fit.

                Find a local roaster, and give them a shot. You'll be amazed at how great fresh beans taste. Whole coffee beans have lost a bit of their flavor within a couple of weeks of being roasted if they are sealed in a container that allows them to give off CO2 but not take in oxygen. If they are just stuffed into a bag, they'll be junk within a week, and within a few hours if it's ground.

                As far as coffee is concerned, there's nothing better than getting a nice, fresh, oily batch of beans from a local roaster.

                My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                1. You're not alone--we did the "free coffeemaker" deal a few years ago and out of guilt bought a couple of bags of coffee. I thought the coffee wasn't nearly as good as 8 o'clock French Roast so we didn't order any more. We were baffled at the thought that this was supposed to be such good coffee!

                  1. I tried it when I was traveling a lot for convenience, and it turned out that I had way too much coffee being delivered to my house. I tried the Columbian, Breakfast, Cinnamon and a few others. It seems to lack some of the acid that other coffee has and tastes milder, for the most part. My main complaint was that it tasted awful the very minute it cooled off, and it tasted like poison when you popped your mug into the microwave to warm it (I know, Starbucks-a-holics, blasphemy, but let's get real here), so I soon switched back to whole bean. It was convenient, though, to find coffee already ground in the morning. I rate it as medium, not necessarily mediocre, coffee that is something better than most canned stuff, but not nearly as good as premium beans and brands.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RGC1982

                      I would concur. Gevalia is convenient, not very expensive, middle of the road coffee. It's not as good as a premium coffee, especially not something from a local roaster, but I don't think it's terrible as some of the opinions around here. (As a side note, I do not like the high acidity content that many coffee lovers tend to like, so that may be skewing my opinions.)

                    2. I got it as a gift one year, and I thought it was flat out dreadful. I think it is a scam, really. Bad, bad, coffee.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: gridder

                        I always think of it as sort of like the 100 record albums for a penny record club kind of deal, and that people would just order the coffee so that they could get free coffee makers. I can't tell you how many times I've been to someone's house and the person has a Gevalia coffee maker, but had only bought the required amount of coffee in order to get the coffeemaker before cancelling.

                        1. re: Mel.D

                          In my experience (I ordered originally in the early/mid 90's), I think they also depend on the people who keep forgetting to cancel their subscription. I ended up with a cupboard full of coffee I didn't really like because my SO was out of country for six months and I couldn't cancel HIS order. (and he kept blowing it off because it was such a pain in the ass when out of the country...remember, this was almost pre-internet.)

                          1. re: sebetti

                            This is exactally what my situation is! My husband keeps sqawking at me to call and cancel it, but there's about 5 million more important things that need to be done before I sit on hold with a annoying phone agent- who probably is required to try at least to keep my business..I have the dreadful feeling the call would be a painful, annoying event. I'm wayy too nice, and have a hard time being rude on the phone. (hey! I can talk here, i'm also a phone agent, but do my best to never be annoying)

                            1. re: Honeychan

                              Just e-mail CS and tell them you are cancelling future shipments. I did that with no problem, right after I got the coffe maker and first shipment.

                          2. re: Mel.D

                            Yeah, I'm one of those. I've got a coffee maker and a storage canister (which is actually pretty nice, and which I've been using for several years) from them; both times I joined I tried to give the actual coffee the benefit of the doubt, but it was just lousy coffee. And I told the customer service person, when I cancelled, that this was the reason, FWIW.

                        2. Gevalia is a stepping stone brand. It's what takes you from Folger's to the good stuff.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            Yup, this is a true thing. It opens your eyes that coffee that's not from a can is GOOD. But, you eventually take those coffee training-wheels off, and graduate to better stuff..Or so my story goes!

                          2. This is interesting. I've gotten the offers in the mail and have wondered whether to pop for some. Now I know. Thanks.

                            1. Why would you expect it to be better?

                              It's part of a massive advertising campaign where they give you a free coffeemaker in exchange for a coffee subscription. Great business plan (recurring revenue, significant 'breakage' b/c the consumer has to go out of his way to cancel it).

                              Do you think a top-tier third-wave roaster would do that?

                              In any case, for what you spent on them each month, you could get a blade grinder and a french press, pourover brewer, or moka pot (roughly $10 each).

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: xanadude

                                I think people expect the product to be better because of the name, and the fact that it is a luxury import from a country known to be big on coffee drinking. It is also not available in stores, which adds to the concept of it being "exclusive". The free coffee pot is merely icing on the cake, a lure meant to tip the scale for those hesitant about spending more $ on coffee. And let's not forget- genuine Gevalia is, as I posted above, an excellent coffee with no comparison on the US market.

                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                  Are you saying Gevalia is the best coffee in the US or that the marketing concept is unique?

                                  1. re: chipman

                                    No, I think he's talking about proper Scandinavian Gevalia coffee, which is widely considered far superior to the American brand.

                                    1. re: chipman

                                      Right, and thank you, Barmy- what I am saying is that the Gevalia brand coffee that is sold and consumed in Sweden is far superior to the Gevalia brand elsewhere. I was also responding to xanadude's question as to why people expect Gevalia to be "better". My answer to this was twofold: the luxury import issue and the mail-order exclusivity issue.

                                      1. re: vvvindaloo

                                        Similar experience here. I bought a bag of Gevalia coffee in Iceland, brought it home, brewed it and loved it. Signed up for the US version and hmmm....not the same coffee. Not bad coffee, just different. I stayed with it for a few months, until they mailed an unsolicited bag of "special" Christmas blend that I had not ordered and didn't want. It was expensive and not delicious. I paid for it, but cancelled my subscription (enrollment?) in the Gevalia coffee-a-month club forever. The coffee maker wasn't anything I'd use. I gave it to a friend for his RV.

                                2. My first experience with this brand was during a recent stay at a very high end resort. They have those pod coffee machines in every room and even use them in their signature restaurant. I thought it was some of the worst coffeee I've ever had. I can't even tell you how dissapinted I was to be drinking lousy coffee in Hawaii. I made up for it once we got to Kona. :)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                    We too got the free coffee maker but didn't think much of the coffee, especially for the price! We really like the coffee maker and it's going strong for over three years now. If you want good mail order try:


                                    1. re: Rick

                                      Here's my top two picks for mail order. Both Kona estate grown coffee. My first pick is the Greenweell private estate followed by Kona Joe Peaberry. Unless it's a special coffee like this I find that I get good quality and lower prices buying local.