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What's the best supermarket coffee for home brewing?

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I've been using the "8 o'clock" brand of coffee because it's low in acid and not expensive, but I'm getting tired of it's tobacco like flavor.
I'll occasionally get better coffee like "Intelligentsia" but it's pricey for everyday use. I'd like something smooth, not bitter, not flinty, rich and deep flavored, but also not expensive. Something I would find in my local supermarket.
Any thoughts?

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  1. I think Dunkin Donuts is not bad and the price is ok, especially when you can get it on sale. I also get a store brand's organic and/or "gold" line. (I live in Michigan, so we get Meijer.) I think the turnover in bigger stores results in fresher coffee. One other thing I look for is local roasters who will sell in grocery stores. Again SE Michigan, where we are able to get Zingerman's, Cafe Espresso, Biggby, and other local and state-wide roasters. Those are usually at higher-end grocery stores.

    1. Target's brand called Archer Farms was said to have the best coffee, this in an article in The New York Times a couple of years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, Target began buying small coffee bean farm (or contracting with the farmers) with the highest bean rating.
      I started buying it then - comes in whole bean or ground and also comes in different strengths.

      my household prefered Dunkin Donuts or Foldgers and still like these brands but do like the Target brand better. I bought an inexpensive coffee grinder and buy the whole bean variety which probably helps.

      4 Replies
      1. re: jhk4

        Dunkin Donuts has been rated worst quality beans and coffee, but CI, IIRC. I can't drink it at all, since long before I read that.

        Edit: My primary recco if you're buying supermarket coffee is to avoid cans at all costs; the coffee goes through a process called "pre staling" so that moisture in the coffee doesn't corrode the can. Coffee in a bag, with a date and a gas valve would guide my choices.

        1. re: mcf

          Ditto the coffee in a bag with a gas valve. And ditto the comment re: Dunkin's coffee. Cannot drink it.

          Also agree with buying coffee in whole bean form and grinding it yourself in smaller batches. I freeze the beans and put some in a small ziplock bag in my fridge which I grind about 1-2x a week.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            FYI, freezing is not recommended.

            1. re: grampart

              I've been doing it for years. Considering I'm not a coffee aficionado / connosieur but like certain types of coffee beans, I'm fine with it. :-)

      2. I second the Dunkin Donuts recommendation. I also recommend grinding it yourself from whole bean.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sheilal

          Sheilal,
          I read a years-old comment about Dunkin Donuts on another thread, where the poster had done some personal comparisons, including Dunkin Donuts whole bean and Dunkin Donuts ground. And for their preferences, the ready-ground DD beat the whole bean. Defies conventional wisdom, I think. So, before I spend the bucks to buy a bag of ground DD (I wish my whole bean grind at home tasted more like the DD shop, but I keep trying!!), I thought I'd ask another DD fan-what do you think: whole bean vs. ground? Thanks,

          1. re: Florida Hound

            I prefer the whole bean DD to pre-ground DD. I did my own comparison 3 or 4 years ago, so I don't really remember the reason why I picked the bean. Also, the size of my grind also affects the flavor too. Often times I grind to fine espresso and sometimes a chunkier grind - depends on how I'm brewing it.

            1. re: sheilal

              Thanks, sheilal! I'm still working through a big bag of Eight O'Clock 100% Columbian before I pick up some more DD. But a couple of weeks from now I will keep on trying to get just the right flavor out of those whole DD beans, rather than the pre-ground. I appreciate your recommendation.

              1. re: Florida Hound

                Eight O'Clock coffee is my backup if DD isn't available. I especially like it for cold brewed french pressed coffee.

        2. Yuban

          1. If your choice of local markets includes Costco, they have a pretty good selection of coffee, all of which is well-priced. I love their Mayorga brand coffee, but it's not available everywhere. Their house brand is roasted for them by Starbucks, so if you like Starbucks coffee, that is a very economical way to get it. My Costco carries actual Starbucks coffee too, which I don't care for but I know many do.

            1. Not sure where you live but if you are in the NYC area, I like the coffee from Fairway.

              1. In my local supermarkets, they carry Peet's coffee beans and that's what I buy.

                I once bought Dunkin Donuts beans, made one pot, and threw away the rest of the beans. They were that bad. And I am not a coffee snob.

                1 Reply
                1. re: 512window

                  we enjoy Peet's as well. Unfortunately our market seems to be carrying less variety of Peets, and more of other brands we don't care for, such as DD.

                2. We switched to organic and fair trade and it really bridges the gap for us between watery/boring inexpensive coffee and "coffee house" coffee. It's pricier than the cheap stuff but worth it, esp when you think about what you get with organic and FT. We typically buy a few varieties within the store's FT/organic section and all have been miles better than any of the other brands we tried before.

                  1. It depends so much on how you brew it and how you serve it. Right now I am going through a can of La Llave brewed in a Bialetti and poured into a cup of hot, frothed milk for a latte. I like it a lot, but it is too dark for a pot of drip and too fine for press. Nowadays it really seems to me that the prevalence of "store brand" whole bean coffee with grinder at the store, it seems to me that for most uses that is the way to go if you aren't into pricey coffees and grinding at home.

                    1. You are probably well aware of Eight O'Clock having many varieties. You did not mention which one you have been brewing. Maybe another variety within the Eight O'Clock family would be worth experimenting with. I enjoy Eight O'Clock 100% Columbian, whole bean. Haven't gotten tired of it., and my taste buds haven't picked up on anything like tobacco. I also grind in other brands frequently, or mix 8 O'Clock with some ground Folgers. Keeps it interesting.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Florida Hound

                        I also like 8 O'Clock brown bag whole bean coffee. Its 4:30am and I'm sipping on my 2nd cup.

                        If you have a Trader Joe's or whole foods near by they both have good coffee inexpensively. My particular favorite is WF's 365 brand Pleasant Morning Buzz. I get to WFs 2-3 times a year and I usually buy 2 bags.

                      2. I buy the Whole Bean Original and grind it for a Bialetti. I'll try the Columbian version and see if that has more of the flavor I'm looking for. Thanks for all of your wonderful advise!

                        1. Recently started buying, and enjoying, Melitta's Cafe de Europa brand coffee. Having run through the gamut of cheap coffee for home brewing, it is really pretty good.

                          We like the Blanc et Noir - it is a fine ground, light and dark roast blend.

                          (For the record, I doubt these have anything to do with Europe or a cafe other than the name. But at $6.99 a pound, its pretty good. Rich with a silky texture. Not too shabby.)

                          http://cafe.melitta.com/entry.html

                          1. For what it's worth, Cook's Illustrated taste test (as of 2005) ranked Green Mountain Coffee best among medium roast supermarket coffees, both the beans and preground. For darker roast coffee they recommend Starbucks House Blend beans. I've bought this preground in a local food store and like it.

                            1. Now that I can get my hands on Peet's beans at the local grocer, I'll buy a few bags when the sales are on. Otherwise, I go to the roasters.

                              1. No love for Seattle's Best ?? Must be those numbers on the bags that's confusing everybody.

                                These --> http://www.google.com/imgres?q=seattl...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                  Seatle's Best #3 is our back up brand if there isn't Peet's available.

                                  No Dunkin Donuts for us, a relative brought it to the in laws for after dinner coffee and no one liked it enough to finish their cup (Even tried dumping booze in it.) The person that brought it was super offended that no one liked their coffee choice and they stormed out and didn't talk to anyone there for over a year. It was my first Christmas with the in laws, it was very strange... and no one speaks of DD coffee now.

                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                    Ah, finally some love. Love for #3.

                                2. Can't speak for anyone's taste but mine, especially as Mrs. O has been told No Caffeine and hates decaf as much as I do - but I generally go back and forth between Peet's French Roast and good old Chock Full O'Nuts, and then veer off to Cafe du Monde for a while. La Llave, when I'm feeling cheap; it's both cheaper and better than Bustelo, and very similar to the El Pico brand I bought back east. I love the flavor of Peet's Major Dickason's (sp?) Blend, but its caffeine levels seem to be too high for comfort.

                                  It's funny that French Roast is my favorite, but I had very few cups of coffee in France that I liked much, whereas really good coffee was everywhere in Italy, espresso and otherwise.

                                  1. It depends on what is available in your area. You have to try stuff to find what you like. Currently I'm liking Costco's Colombian Supremo these days. I also use Costco's Kirkland House Brand in the blue bag.

                                    1. gevalia traditional roast