Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Feb 15, 2012 02:21 PM

where to get coffee (and what brand) if you're on a budget?

Do you buy it online? if so, where?

Grocery store? What brand?

I am a student and drink coffee daily-- while it's cheaper to make my own I still spend a crap ton of money on coffee. So if you're on a budget and manage to get your coffee fix without breaking the bank please share!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: viperlush

      awesome--I'll look next time I'm there--actually I usually like TJs coffee but whenever it comes time to purchase one I get overwhelmed by the assortment. Silly I know!

      1. re: chrissy1988

        Costco is where I go - I can get big bags of decent quality coffee beans much cheaper than anywhere else. Going to beans rather than pre-ground gives me better tasting coffee in a given price range, as bulk ground coffee goes stale pretty fast.

        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          I should have mentioned that we get whole beans as well.

        2. re: chrissy1988

          Get the blue can! It is a nice dark roast and if I can still read my plu's right I think it is organic.

          1. re: chrissy1988

            The Costa Rica Tarrazu from TJs is my favorite, and I'd certainly recommend it if you like darkish roasts. Serious Eats also rated TJs coffees here:
            It's not a fantastic bargain, but it's a good balance between price and quality for me.

        3. I buy Walmart "Great Value" bricks of coffee for under $3 a brick, tastes like Maxwell House to me.

          I don't like Maxwell House but I'm mostly interested in getting some caffeine in me in the morning.

          1. Personally, I'd go without sooner than drink supermarket dreck. Gotta be fairly fresh and gotta be high-grown in this house. Ever consider making room in your budget for decent coffee by cutting back elsewhere?

            5 Replies
            1. re: Panini Guy

              It's not a question of budget, I have more than ample funds ... I just don't care what brand of coffee it is. I don't enjoy one type of coffee more than the other, so I might as well buy a cheap one.

              Conversely, with beer I tend to spend a lot and would not drink a Milwaukee's Best if you put a gun to my head.

              1. re: redfish62

                My BF's parents are the same way. They tried custom roasted from a local roaster, ordering beans online, premium grocery store, etc. They realized that once sugar and cream are added that they didn't taste much better than Maxwell House and other pre ground coffee. So for them, they don't see the point in spending the money on "better" coffee.

                1. re: viperlush

                  Of course, there are a number of variables that come into play when your goal is to produce a great cup of coffee. The coffee, itself, is important (including the freshness and type of roast; whether it was ground properly for the brewing method, etc.), but also important are the brewing method employed, the coffee brewer, the temperature of the water as it passes through the grounds, etc. Just as some people don't see the point in spending money on "better" wine, some don't see the point in spending money on "better" coffee. But that's not to say there aren't discernable, and very real differences.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    <But that's not to say there aren't discernable, and very real differences.>

                    Yeah, I don't think anyone is saying that there aren't.

                  2. re: viperlush

                    For starters, if you're drinking "better coffee" as you put it, you don't need to add cream and/or sugar on reflex. It's completely unnecessary as more sweet is in the cup than bitter if the beans were sourced well and roasted correctly. If you were going to add cream, it would be a preference for mouthfeel/texture more than taste.

                    Sorry, this is one area where I can't help but proselytize. I'm a sanctioned coffee competition judge, and if you (or your parents) can't taste the difference, you're either brewing it wrong or you're not really buying "better beans" (freshly roasted, high-grown).

                    Most consumers I've had at coffee tastings and brewing classes don't go back to supermarket. Some do. Those folks typically like earthy Sumatras, which are kinda the red-headed stepchildren of specialty coffee.

                    As you say, it would be like saying a PBR is the equivalent of a Pliny the Younger. For the record, I lean toward hoppy bitterness of IPAs in beer, but sweetness in coffee.

                    I know I come across a bit rough on many coffee threads, but man, supermarket coffee isn't even the Milwaukee's Best of coffee. It's lower than that, although I can't think of a worse beer (maybe Natty Light). It's frustrating to have the conversations on a site that's supposed to be about good food.

                    So sorry if I'm coming off harsh, but ti's a pet peeve.


              2. I look wherever I am.
                If I'm in Costco I check the price there, but all Costco's are not created equal.
                Prices vary.
                Do you have a Grocery Outlet anywhere by you? How about a Trader Joe's?

                1. The best deal I find on whole beans is the grocer's private label. We bought Costco recently, but I don't think it was cheaper per oz than the grocer's brand. The cheapest I found at WF is their private label, 365 Everday.

                  I wonder if Aldi's carries beans?

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo

                    This was my best reply 1 year ago. Now, as I have moved cross country, I get my best deals at Costco. I buy both regular and decaf beans there.

                    I have recently noticed that our local Winco carries beans. I haven't given them a look, but if you have a local Winco, you could check them out.

                    Coffee in the PNW seems to be notably more expensive than in St. Louis. Good buys are harder to locate.

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Sue, have you relocated to the NW? Welcome! Check out the local boards and let us know where you are and we can probably give you some great local tips on where to shop and eat! You'll still probably find some great deals at Costco and TJ's, but there are also some great local places to check out.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        I'm In Vancouver, WA. Any tips are appreciated. I make it to WinCo once a week, and about that often to Whole Foods. TJ isn't convenient.

                        Right now I'm eating a local apple. Love the Washington apples.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I visited WinCo for the first time this week in Arizona. I sure wish we had these stores in Minnesota. The prices are really good and I like the bulk foods selection.

                          1. re: John E.

                            The dried beans in the bulk bins are better quality than the broken ones in the plastic packs. I'm lookin' at you HyTop.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              3 days ago I bought my decaf at the bulk section of WinCo, they're whole beans, not broken, assuming that's what you meant. I haven't gotten into the pkg yet as not needed it yet.
                              interested to see how it faires compared to the whole beans in the vac pac I got at GO 2 days ago.

                              "HyTop" sueatmo, you're funny

                          2. re: sueatmo

                            OK, so the Portland Board is probably best for you, although the general PNW board may have some good info if you haven't already checked that out.

                            If you ever get up to the Greater Seattle area give us a shout too and we can guide you around to some pretty good chow as well.

                            If you can find apples called Junami, Kiku, Opal or Envy, give them a try! Even the Red Delicious are better here if you can find them fresh -- they are actually crisp, sweet and juicy.

                            1. re: acgold7

                              I am really enjoying Washington state apples. Last week I found Pacific Rose apples at Whole Foods for .99/lb. New variety to me, and very enjoyable eating apple. I think that will be the last of the bargain priced apples there though.

                              I eat one apple a day almost every day. I try to buy organic apples because I eat them so often.

                            2. re: sueatmo

                              I buy the Winco dark French Roast beans when Peets is not on sale and it is delicious.Aromatic and rich. I am in California.

                              1. re: Lillipop

                                Hey thanks for the info. I'll check out the Fr. roast beans. Those of us who shop Winco ought to be in our own thread. Its an interesting chain. I buy a lot of stuff there, but have learned to be wary of produce.