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Peet's alternative - whole beans for drip coffee

I use a Solis Maestro burr grinder, a Braun drip coffee maker with a thermos carafe, and Trader Joe's brown paper filters. So I'm picky, but not a fanatic.

For the last few years, I've been using a 50-50 mix of Peet's 101 and Sulawesi-Kalossi, which I arrived at after some years of experimentation.

They recently raised their prices a buck a pound, which I found really annoying given the state of the economy, so I experimented and find I like 101 + Garuda just as well. But that's still $13 a pound, and I'd rather pay less if I can find something I like as well.

Suggestions?

I don't care for light roasts. For example, Blue Bottle's darkest is way too light for me.

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    1. re: Adamsimpson

      No, but the cheapest beans I can find on their Web site are $15 a pound.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        And Ritual beans are a notoriously light roast. I second the bulk at Rainbow...great selection, including ritual, and fair prices.

    2. It's probably more hassle than you're willing to put up with, but Sweet Maria's in Emeryville sells green beans and roasting equipment. For a Sumatra, you're going to end up paying $6-7 per pound (roasted weight). Plus, you can roast it do your desired degree of darkness, and you'll never have stale beans. It may be tipping from picky toward fanatic, but it's worth a mention, at least.

      www.sweetmarias.com

      5 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        Mmm, good idea. I've been thinking about doing that for quite a while. The ~$100 investment would pay for itself in the long run. I guess they're only open Tuesday through Thursday?

        -----
        Sweet Maria's Coffee
        1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          To the extent that they're "open" at all, it's 11-5 on T-W-Th, and they close for lunch. It's a web-oriented business, and customer pickup is kind of an afterthought. No sign out front, no retail displays, no nothin'; you just place your order online and let them know you'll be picking it up.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I tried home roasting for several years. I bought beans from Sweet Maria's and had a variety of roasters. Nothing ever came close to great professionally roasted beans. I could make coffee as good as Starbucks, but that's setting the bar pretty low. I would suggest finding roasted beans you like.

            1. re: realspear

              I spent a week visiting a friend who had a home roaster, and thought that hot-from-the-roaster beans made her just-average Colombian coffee exponentially better.

              Want to sell your roaster?

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Hot from the roaster? She didn't de-gas them?

        2. No specific reccos, but have you checked out the bulk coffees at Rainbow? Also (don't laugh) Costco has some house-branded single origin coffees (an Ethiopian is one I recall seeing) at about half the price of Peets et al.

          1. Food4Less has bins of Peerless beans this week for $5.49 ... I'm joking. I hate Peerless, but it is a good price.

            Anyway, have you tried Catahoula in Richmond yet? My friend who is a serious coffee drinker and like's Peet's a lot amoung others, asks me to bring him Catahoula when I visit. It is best when the owner is around but I don't seem to seem him there much lately. The beans are about $9 - $10 lb. My friend likes Lola's Blend and a lot of people like the Mexican beans.
            http://www.catahoulacoffee.com/

            Uh ... there's that coffee place up near Lalime's next door to Mama Lan's. I haven't been there in years, but the beans are reasonably priced.

            A vendor at the Saturday Grand Lake farmers market has some strong coffees. My friend liked their Hawaiian coffee but it is out of the lesser price range. They do have one blend for $10 a lb and you can get a sample. The vendor likes to shoot the breeze so will talk coffee.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              A friend who lives in Richmond just gave me a bag of Lola's blend this weekend. Delicious stuff. Looking forward to trying more from Catahoula.

            2. Cole Coffee (formerly Royal) has a Cole House Roast ($11)that is supposedly Indonesian/Latin American, given your private blend above. They also sell something they call Celebes and subtitle Sulawesi Kalossi ($13). I'm not sure what they mean by that. The roasts are dark. If you end up liking them, it'll save you a couple of bucks a pound. You might also try Max's, which includes African beans in the mix, or so they say.

              I've been meaning to try Sweet Maria's as well. It'd be difficult to top that for price and freshness, assuming you hit on something that you like.

              1. There are better coffees at Peet's than the ones you're using, but that's not going to save you any money. I can tell you Kenya is having a great year and is one of the best values as relates to cost at Peet's, and Arabian Mocha-Java is a good value blend as well, given one of the two major components is Sanani.

                In terms of a good dark roast option that's significantly cheaper, that's not an easy call. Roasting your own is probably your best bet.

                1. Whole Foods might be an option. I'm told some locations even roast in house (if that's possible) and it's supposed to be a good deal.

                  Check these guys out: http://delapazcoffee.myshopify.com/co...
                  I wouldn't do mail order on it though, find someone local. I like some of the Peet's blends (the Malawi for example) and this stuff in particular would make for a superior substitute, with beans that can be equally as dark, and interesting without being Graffeo dark. Especially if your mixing beans.

                  Mr Espresso looks affordable. Coffee Bar is their outpost in the city, and you can find their coffee around town (Tartine serves it).http://www.mrespresso.com/vs.html http://sf.eater.com/archives/2008/10/... It might be a little darker/heavier then you're used to from Peet's

                  You might want to hit up Ritual in person. I know I paid something like $5-$6 a half pound for their Panamanian beans. It was the coffee of the week, but I don't recall much fluctuation on price with the selection of pre-bagged beans on the counter. Also, when you're switching beans a whole pound is a lot of commitment to experiment anyway, and part of the microroasting deal is that they're so fresh with the date scribbled on them.

                  Rainbow and other health food stores now have dispensers with beans like what you see for trail mix, and dried fruits, sold by weight, and you can sample a lot of brands this way, including Ritual, De La, and Equator (which might also be a Peet's like substitute) amongst others.

                  27 Replies
                  1. re: sugartoof

                    Also, for really reasonable beans mail order, you can check out Porto Rico Roasting in New York. They're some of the oldest importers of all the African and South American beans.

                    1. re: sugartoof

                      Yes. Out here I tend to buy from Cole which is always very fresh, but I've never had better than Porto Rico.

                      http://portorico.com/store/index.html

                      Can anybody report on McLaughlin Coffee? They get their beans from Royal Coffee and sell to a bunch of East Bay cafes:

                      http://www.mclaughlincoffee.com/About...

                      1. re: heidipie

                        Porto Rico's bean storage practices (open burlap bags) are appalling. Also, they roast their coffees lighter than Peet's.

                        1. re: a_and_w

                          I was going to add that disclaimer.

                          In truth, that criticism is for their retail operation. We don't know how the mail order product is stored. They're certainly a great resource for green beans. I don't believe they have no one single roasting style. I like the standard Yergachaffe, which is a darker-medium roast.

                          I can't imagine old beans is really an issue for a Peets drinker anyway.
                          I was actually wondering this, but how does freshness factor into the cup? I know what stale coffee tastes and smells like, but not old beans. I really can't detect a difference in taste quality from the Porto Rico stuff I had them grind 8 months ago, that came from those open burlap bags, and my Ritual beans just brewed last week. Both produce a fresh tasting cup, with active caffeine from what I can tell. I know places like Target were selling free trade beans without any expiration date which resulted in lots of snickering from the barista crowd, but clearly most people are drinking this stuff without noticing or caring.

                          So what should I be noticing from an old bean anyway?

                          1. re: sugartoof

                            Freshness is a big factor for me. Based on experience I buy only from Peet's stores with high bean turnover. In emergencies I've occasionally picked up beans at Peet's branches with low turnover (like the ones in the Financial District), or prebagged at the supermarket, and the difference is huge.

                            I buy every two weeks, keep only a couple of days' beans in the grinder's closed hopper, and store the rest airtight in the freezer.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              What exactly are you noticing though? I especially wonder in the case of Peets, what is the difference between a supposedly stale bean and a fresh bean? You have no way of knowing when the bean was roasted at Peets.
                              Suction bagging is considered to acceptable by the way, even if it's sold in a supermarket.

                              But really, what is the difference I should be tasting?

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                I can tell a huge difference as well. I now buy from a high-volume peet's and buy in half-pound quantities only, which means I buy twice a week. Peet's disrecommends freezing, and while I haven't done a good qualitative study, I think they're likely right, so I've worked bi-weekly peets stops into my routine.

                                About home roasting - if you've got the time, you'd probably love it. Some of the best coffee I've ever had was home roasted. If you have the patients/passion to go through all the peet's roasts to find what you like, and you're on a budget, home roasting should do the trick. I've heard its smelly.

                                The home roaster I know greatly prefer drip-by-the-cup. Dunno why.

                                Sugartoof: The difference in taste is the usual cast of characters in coffee taste. Brighter, richer, bolder, deeper flavor - just "more" of whatever flavor that particular roast has. A chance at crema depending on your brewing technique. Depending on the roast, it could dry out, which changes everything too. A great way to figure it out is buy from a high-traffic peet's and brew that day. Buy two pounds. Leave it out and unsealed. Then make coffee every day.

                                If you can't taste the difference between day 1 and day 14, you can save a lot of money on coffee beans!

                                1. re: bbulkow

                                  Thanks bbulkow, That helped. The crema issue you mentioned is probablly the real thing that stands out. Otherwise, I've found some beans taste better to me after they've "aged" a while, and since I'm not prone to sticking to one brand, or compare tasting, I can enjoy a cup no matter what the fluctuations, and never noticed. Sometimes the "aged" taste has been richer (as was the case with Ritual beans) and closer to what I sampled in the shop. Nothing I make at home is going to be a science, but I can see how it would be more of a concern if you have a strict routine, down to water temp. and such. I won't be tossing out my old beans anytime soon but while I've always known freshness was supposed to be a factor I had never experienced it. Thanks for explaining.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    Every bean, every roast, every brewing method has its peak.

                                    Very few coffees are best right after they're roasted. If you're drip brewing a lightly roasted bean, it might be best 12-24 hours after roasting. Espresso made from darker-roasted beans is sometimes better after a week or more. To over-generalize, I find that Hawai'ian coffees peak earliest, then South Americans, Africans, and finally Indonesians. Lighter roasts peak earlier than darker. And delicate coffees peak sooner than more intense varieties.

                                    Back when I was pulling shots, the crema was the real telltale. You know coffee is at its peak when you get a good head of crema on it. But more subjective measures - depth of flavor, brightness of acid, complexity of aromatics - will also let you know when coffee is at its best.

                                2. re: sugartoof

                                  Mostly stale beans are missing the flavors I'm familiar with from drinking the stuff every day. Flat, boring, one-dimensional, all the complex aromatics gone. Tastes like any random beans from the supermarket.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    Peet's will hold beans for a maximum of 10 days from roast date. It's true that there's "no way of knowing" - unless you ask, in which case they would certainly tell you as it should be marked on the bin. Liking Peet's beans is a matter of taste but freshness probably shouldn't ever be an issue.

                                    Peet's grocery beans are another matter. They're basically packed the same as any other grocery bags - nitrogen flushed and sealed with a 1-way valve. You can stop oxygen damage but you can't stop time, so there's no way a bag spending several weeks on a shelf will taste the same as fresh beans. Peet's pulls their grocery stock sooner than anyone else I know of, but it's still a lot longer than 10 days.

                                    1. re: Deeg67

                                      Deeg, I walked into Peet's yesterday and...you are 100% correct. They were in the process of removing week-old beans and replacing them with freshly roasted ones. No roast dates were marked on the bins, but they were clearly tracking them in back. My apologies for the misinformation.

                                      1. re: a_and_w

                                        No prob, A & W. I guess what it comes down to is this - no roaster of Peet's size does as much as they do to ensure freshness. You may not like Peet's - it's definitely a specific roasting style and not for everyone by any means. But if you buy from a Peet's store directly and they're competent, freshness is never going to be the reason why you don't like it.

                                        1. re: Deeg67

                                          The key there is if they're competent. I've had some clunkers (brewed, not beans) from Peets West Portal, and Fillmore locations which both do high turnover and are normally good. I've already admitted a high tolerance for bad coffee, and still had to send it back. Might have been some other element gone wrong though.

                                3. re: sugartoof

                                  sugartoof, you are correct -- I was referring to Porto Rico's retail operation and roasted beans specifically. Regarding freshness, you don't find the flavor of a pound of coffee beans gets progressively duller during the week or so after purchase? Usually -- not always, but usually -- I find that the beans at the bottom of the bag just aren't as tasty. When there's no drop-off in taste, I assume it's because the beans were already stale to begin with.

                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    I used to notice a decline in flavor over the week or so the beans lasted, but not since I started freezing them.

                                    I know experts often say not to do that, but I've found no ill effects. I let them come to room temperature before grinding because I found frozen beans generated static electricity in my burr grinder.

                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                      Honestly, in retrospect maybe a little, now that it's being explained for me, but never enough that I tossed beans out. Thank god we're not talking about wine. Mind you, I freeze my beans in plastic bags, and dump a lot of sugar in my coffee anyway.

                                      I do always make a point of having a cup before buying the beans, so I know what it should taste like, and I suppose there must be a reason behind my preference for freshly roasted beans, taste wise....but I'll admit I can enjoy a cup made from the same beans 4 months later, and the characteristics are still there. It's better then ground coffee in a can at least!

                                      Are you guys really drinking a pound of coffee in 2 weeks?

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        I brew a pot using 1.75 oz. every morning, so that's 3/4 lb. a week for two people. Some days I make myself another cup or two, so we go through about a pound a week.

                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          I typically brew a 22 ounce pot of coffee each morning, and so go through a 120-gram batch of roasted beans every three days. That's just over a quarter pound, so yeah, a pound every other week is about right.

                                          The SCAA standard uses 7 grams of beans per 125 ml of coffee. (http://members.scaa.org/train/certifi...) Brewing to that standard, a pound of beans will make about 45 six-ounce cups coffee, or just over three cups a day for two weeks.

                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                            I'm drinking about a 0.8 pound a week - that's my personal consumption, not household. That's one cup in the morning, but it's a really big, really strong cup. I don't have to add sugar - there's no bitterness. In some ways, coffee is more complex than wine. With wine, the extraction from grape to liquid is done for you by professionals - with coffee, you're on your own.

                                            The process is an extraction. There's some amount of good flavor, some amount of psychoactive compound, some amount of bad flavor. Optimize for extracting the first two, with your primary variables being temperature, time, and grind (I would love to do some pH experiments sometime - not sure the most taste-neutral method for changing pH)

                                            Which is why you can get amazingly fanatical about brewing, and then tip over into roasting your own. I'm sure there are others here more fanatical than me, and I'm pretty careful about my grind, my brew temp, my timings.

                                            Yes, I do think every roaster/blend has its own peak. Blue Bottle is the most finicky - I was buying Espresso Temescal and it seemed to peak thursday/friday after their Monday roast day, and by the Monday a week on, it's noticeably dulled. Barefoot seems much more stable - never reaches the peak of Blue Bottle, never goes as low. I don't really "get" ritual - I tried it for two weeks, and it just seemed hollowed out and lacking in richness.

                                            1. re: bbulkow

                                              Did you feel the same way from a cup brewed at the Ritual shop too?

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                Regrettably, I don't pass by Ritual's way that often, so I haven't tried their shop coffee. It's possible they're a better drip bean than espresso bean. I'll see if I can manage a trip sometime.

                                                1. re: bbulkow

                                                  Don't know if you'll find it any more to your liking. I enjoy their Capps a great deal, and I find their coffee to be kind of erratic in quality, but really notable when it's on. I think it depends on whatever they're excited about. Right now that's probably their single source small batch beans. They also go overboard trying to get unique flavors out of their beans, which can result in some amazing flavors (and some poor quality control too).

                                              2. re: bbulkow

                                                I find Equator's coffees to be amazingly stable...of course it helps that they roast and I pick them up the same day...

                                        2. re: a_and_w

                                          Open burlap bags are actually an ideal storage medium so long as the coffee is sold within a couple of days of roasting, while the beans are still offgassing fair amounts of CO2.

                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                            unfortunately, the sacks in this case appear to be more about aesthetic. doubt there's that much turnover.

                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                              Alan, your point is well taken, but I echo sugartoof's comments.

                                  2. While I quite liked Blue Bottle, my two favorite relatively affordable coffees are Intelligentsia's dark roast and the Equator Estates Bouchon blend.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: uhockey

                                      Is there a place to buy Intelligentsia beans in San Francisco? That would be great.

                                      1. re: rln

                                        Whole Foods, and Dean and Deluca.

                                    2. Have you tried Capricorn Coffees? They seem to have quality beans at a lower mark up than most. (10th & Harrison in SF)

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: intomeat

                                        +1 for Capricorn. Dark French Roast Fair Trade for me. I like my coffee strong, like you get at a good Italian cafe. I've tried maybe 2/3 of the dark roast beans at Rainbow and have pretty much settled on Capricorn which I can get reasonably cheaply there or at Good Life. Years ago I swore by Graffeo's, but their price went up and I sold my motorcycle (and who wants to park a car in NB?), so I never get their beans anymore. Capricorn is not at toasty and rich, but it comes pretty close. And it is sold reasonably fresh, and that to me is the most important factor.

                                        The house coffee at Martha's is also strong enoug for me, and their house blend and Italian blend beans are decent too.

                                        1. re: BernalKC

                                          I'm starting to see Graffeo sold retail now. I want to say I've seen it at Bi-rite, but either way you don't have to go to NB to get it anymore. I'm going to try Capricorn based on your endorsement though.

                                          1. re: BernalKC

                                            If you buy Capricorn from Rainbow, you might as well go an extra block or two to their roasting plant. If asked, they'll sell you fresh roasted beans right out of the roaster. In addition, you'd save an extra penny or two, compare to Rainbow. Their (newly remodeled?) cafe in front of the plant is pleasant and the folks there are really friendly.

                                            1. re: intomeat

                                              Have you tried Capricorn's teas or do you know which local cafes/restaurants they supply?

                                              The prices are on their website are very low (under $10 a pound for loose leaf black teas), if the quality is decent.

                                              1. re: Windy

                                                Not much of a tea imbiber, but have tried their teas. No complaints. I have seen restaurants that serve Capricorn, but drawing a blank on their names.

                                                They mostly do restaurant business, retail is not their main bag. That may explain their low markups.

                                                BTW, their shipping on mail orders is whatever UPS charges them and it's shipped the day of your order. We often asked for whatever just come out of the roaster, almost always Dark French, and have it packed in a freezer bag (the ones with a one-way valve.) By the time it is delivered to our front door, the beans are at the peak, with the oil come to the surface. So, don't feel like traveling? Do mail order.

                                                1. re: intomeat

                                                  Thanks. I don't mind driving over to Division. Will report back.

                                        2. I didn't mention this place because I was thinking it would mean a bridge toll which would wipe out savings, but if you ever come home from SF via the Golden Gate bridge there is LaCoppa coffee in San Rafael.

                                          It is owned by Arnold Spinelli who owned Spinelli's. I haven't been there yet but it is on my to try list based on this chowhound report and another I can't currently find.
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4415...

                                          They have an outlet store at the roasting plant in the Canal district of Santa Rosa. I remember someone mentioning they have tasting there.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: rworange

                                            There is also a La Coppa in downtown Mill Valley. The quality is pretty good -- in order I prefer: 1. Four Barrel 2. Equator 3. Blue Bottle 4. Ritual. As a point of reference, I only drink espresso (which is why lighter roasts appeal to me).

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              I think Bernie's on 24th Street in Noe Valley serves La Coppa. Or maybe I'm mixing it up because it used to be a Spinelli's.

                                              Do you like Graffeo? Not much of a savings though.

                                              I think Martha's is awful (but I'm more on the Blue Bottle end of the bitterness scale). I've gotten folks at Ritual to sell me as little as 1/4 pound, which isn't any savings but allows you try more.

                                              I also like the bins at Whole Foods, but without knowing the turnover, there's no accounting for freshness.

                                              1. re: Windy

                                                Graffeo's dark roast remains my favorite, but it is probably not any less expensive than Peet's. What interests me about LaCoppa is the outlet store at the plant more than the coffee itself. It sounded interesting. I just am never over there at the right time and I always forget that first exit off the bridge which has my google directions. I tried to go it from another direction once and got totally lost.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Cole coffee also always has a coffee of the month special on beans.

                                                  With a nice discount price.

                                                  Quality and flavor is way better than Peets.

                                                  Local owned too.

                                                2. re: Windy

                                                  Bernie's on 24th serves and sells La Coppa.

                                                  1. re: sfsausageboy

                                                    What do you think of it? I've only had a single cappuccino, which I liked, but haven't tried brewing it myself.

                                              2. I like House of Coffee's (on Noriega at 23rd) Panama and their Ethiopian Fancy. They also have a number of different roasts of Colombian. Here's a link:

                                                http://www.coffeesf.com

                                                By the way, not all of their coffees are listed on the site. Give them a call for more info.

                                                1. House of coffee on Noreiga. Price is similar but much better than Starbucks and as strong as Peet's. Price isn't much too different at about 10-15% lower.
                                                  http://www.spooninandforkin.com/2009/...

                                                  1. Where on the Peninsula can I get the freshest/best price on coffee beans? I have had fairly good luck at Continental in RWC, and WF, but any others I am missing? Dark roast preferred.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: fourstar

                                                      Always looking for a new bean. What do you like at Continental? Whole foods? What are you paying?

                                                      I'm buying my peet's on Santa Cruz in Menlo Park, that branch seems to have massive turnover. I'm paying $12/pound bottom-line.

                                                      1. re: bbulkow

                                                        What a difference a year makes. I now buy at Connoisseur, and just about everything is $9.50 / lb, and $0.25 off if you bring back your bag. Roasts vary from light to dark; he makes some dark roasts. I like the lighter end of his range. Very fresh: roasting Tuesday and Thursday.

                                                    2. McLaughlin roasters in Emeryville supplies a lot of local coffee houses. Including, I'm pretty
                                                      sure, Cole, as well as all those serving the nearly-ubiquitous "Max's Blend".

                                                      I've never tried ordering directly from them but it looks like they may have some sort
                                                      of minimal retail operation. Their prices are pretty good:
                                                      http://www.mclaughlincoffee.com/PDFs/...

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                        I used to work next door to them and loved the aromas wafting out when they were roasting. Never did step inside to see if they sold direct. I'd call to find out.

                                                        1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                          McLaughlin is ok, if not great. If they supply Cole, it explains why I don't think took much of what I;ve tried to date.

                                                        2. Here's the scoop on the LaCoppa outlet where beans are direct from the roasting room in back.
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/603464

                                                          There's a 25% discount if getting 2 or more lbs which puts most of the coffee in $8 lb range. They even discount the $65 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain

                                                          1. Don't freeze your beans. It increases oxidation by supposedly cracking the bean. Counter top out of direct sun or fridge tightly sealed.

                                                            On beans, you get what you pay for. If a pound lasts a week, a dollar hike represents pennies per cup. It's all highly variable, but a pound can yield between 30 and 40 cups of coffee. If you like the Peets, brew the Peets. You can pan handle the price difference in 2 minutes if you work on your routine. A. Pick up a Peets paper cup found on sidewalks within a two block radius. Ideally find one that has lipstick, indicating that you're holding onto a "found cup", say "Buddy I need caffeine.....bad" and you're in. B. Get a broom and trash bag and start cleaning up the area, and say"Buddy I need caffeine...and I'm cleaning up your neighborhood".

                                                            Home roasting is tricky in my experience. Dialing the results for consistency, which I value at 5:30am was my achilles heel. Congratulating yourself on the freshness of every batch, when the results are highly variable gets old fast.

                                                            1. I finally got around to trying Cole's. Their Italian roast (darkest they make) is good, but it's $13 a pound, so no advantage over Peet's.

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                Robert, I once bought a pound of Cole's Ugandan they had as a "coffee of the month. It was darker than the Italian roast.

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    Ordering over the Internet is an option. Redbird espresso will sell for 48.50 for a 5lb bag including shipping. Freeze what you don't use in mason jars. I use this mainly for espresso, but I have also drip brewed (chemex). It is among the best coffee blends I have ever tried.

                                                                    http://redbirdcoffee.com/redbirdespre...

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  Wouldn't the advantage be that it's not a mass produced product, and you're buying a bean roasted in smaller batches with presumedly more care?

                                                                  Are you just looking for the cheapest dark roast that's drinkable? Taylor Made Coffee has a deal where you can refill a can at certain locations (Mission Pies, some health food stores) and it's like $10 for the first can, and $5-$7 to refill. The Four Barrel blend sold in bins at Rainbow Grocery, is cheaper per pound than Peets might be a good if you like dark, thick, chocolate-y coffees. Coffee prices are going up, and the bags are getting smaller, but Rainbow (or stores like it) still has a lot of offerings in the $10 range from some of the better roasters in the city.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Rainbow Grocery
                                                                  1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                                    Like I said, I just don't want to waste money on Peet's if I can find something similar for less. Plus either Peet's quality has gone downhill slightly or my palate has changed so I don't like them as much as I used to.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      I was thinking the same thought -- I've been devoted to Peets Salawesi for a longtime, but now I'm not as excited by the flavor. And I was wondering if it was me or them that changed.

                                                                      1. re: escargot3

                                                                        That's probably the main reason I'm looking around. I don't mind paying top dollar for the highest quality, but I don't feel like I'm getting that any more.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          I have gone to buying 1/2 pounds of beans per trip and still getting that free cup of coffee, thus I get 2 free cups for every pound, still sucks paying more though, I will give you that.