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Trader Joe's Coffee Recommendations

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I was at Trader Joe's the other week and I noticed how pleasantly low the coffee prices looked. I'm only an occasional coffee drinker, so I rarely by coffee but I'm caring for an ailing parent who is a tremendous coffee drinker. She LOVES the Dunkin' Donuts coffee, but at $10 for a 14 oz bag, I'd rather look for something else she may like. So, figure medium roast & smooth. Could anyone recommend something at Trader Joe's she might like?

Since my fiance is also a huge coffee fan, only he likes dark, intense coffees, I'd also like to get a few reccomendations along those lines?

I'm asking here because I'm usually very happy with the quality level of staples at Trader Joe's, and since I consider coffee to be a staple, well...it seemed a natural.

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  1. Their coffees are generally pretty good and a very good bargain. I always liked the 100% pure Kona but it was starting to get pretty expensive last time I bought it, even for them. They also have some very dark roasts that have gotten some good reviews. Best bet is to go there and talk to them; they usually have someone on staff who knows the coffees pretty well and you can describe what you like and they can guide you towards some good choices for you. They often also have tastings or samples and you can try one or more.

    1. Also, remember that Trader Joe's has a money-back guarantee for anything that you end up not liking. I have never used this, but others tell me that money is refunded right away.

      1. I dig the dark roasts. I can never remember the name of my favorite, something along the lines of El Pajaro. I know that there is a parrot or toucan on the can.

        I'm at the bottom of a can of Honduran Fair Trade organic currently, that was very good.

        I liked the Sumatra (Reddish can) for a long time, but the last couple times I bought it the quality had seemed off.

        5 Replies
        1. re: laststandchili

          Was it the Ultra Dark Sumatra? I had problems with it a couple of years ago. I had been drinking it happily for a long time when suddenly every can was full of charred, ashy, dried out beans. After returning three in a row, I gave up.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Testify. I bought the Sumatra when it first appeared, and loved it...until a few years ago, when it became something (bad) else altogether. Where the beans before were, as advertised, ultra-dark and shiny with rich ultra, all of a sudden it was Chase & Sanborn. I lament it still, and now pay way more for Peet's French Roast. It comes close, but it's still not as good as the Sumatra that my friends would ooh and aah over.

            *Sigh...*

            1. re: annagranfors

              Funny, I switched over to Peet's as well. You might want to try one of their fuller bodied coffees like the Sulawesi-Kalosi or Aged Sumatra. They're more complex than the French Roast, and unbelievably delicious.

              BTW, I e-mailed TJ's customer service about the problems with that coffee, and I received a reply about a week later claiming it was the first they'd heard of it and they would investigate (which was BS, since I had already had 2 different local stores report the problem after I returned cans). I never bothered to buy it again to see if it had improved, though I imagine it must have because I don't see how they could have continued selling enough of the bad batches to keep it in the product line.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I switched to Peet's too! price per pound Peet's isn't that much more. if you go to the store you get 16oz and a free cup of coffee on the house.

                1. re: trolley

                  I'm a "Peetnik" - I get a monthly supply shipped to my front door, but I occasionally miscalculate how much I need. If I run out before my new one comes I pick some up at my local Peet's to tide me over, and they always give me a free cup of coffee even if I just buy 1/4 lb. All the employees there are super nice.

        2. I have really enjoyed the Bay Blend. It is darker roast, but is very smooth and rich.

          2 Replies
          1. re: heatcrave

            When I lived close to a TJ's, I was a great fan of the Bay Blend, too, but for the past 3 years, I've lived in the back of beyond with no TJ's handy. Now that I am teaching a class at a college in a town with a TJ's (YAY), I might have to pick Bay Blend up. Thanks for reminding me of it.

            1. re: heatcrave

              +1 on the Bay Blend though I haven't had it in years. Presently drinking either the Starbucks dark roast from Costco or their Sumatran when they have it.

            2. The Peaberry is nice and mild. Both my daughter and wife who put a bunch of flavor creamer in their coffee, enjoyed it black when prompted to taste it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                This sounds like something that would work for my mom. I may even enjoy it! I'm not much of a coffee drinker...

              2. There is one coffee there that comes pre-ground in a bag (not a canister like most of the others) that is a dead ringer for Dunkin Donuts brand.. The bag is even a similar design.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ohmyyum

                  Their 14 oz ground French Roast is my regular coffee (and the equivalent decafe). It's too coarse for a paper filter (drip), but right from steep and strain (french press).

                  They used to have a finer espresso roast in metal cans from Italy. For a while I found that at Grocery Outlet, but now I'm down to my last can.

                2. Also I am sure you will disregard my opinion for even mentioning it... But I absolutely love the instant coffee that comes in a small jar for $3.99. I bought it once for a recipe and had a good bit left over so I tried it one morning and my coffee maker and grinder are now gathering dust. A heaping tablespoon makes a strong dark rich smooth 14oz cup!

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: ohmyyum

                    While I can't stomach instant coffee for drinking, it's great for baking. Sadly TJ's discontinued their decaf instant & it was the best I've ever found.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      I don't know why people hate on instant.

                      I'm so fastidious about my espressos that there are only two places in the city that I'll go for them, but I'll happily drink instant - it reminds me of my childhood, and I suspect that's the same for many.

                      I think that the trick is not to think of it as 'coffee' in the same, purist sense of a perfectly extracted, single-estate shot.

                      1. re: mugen

                        Well I don't know why people question others' choices. And I don't hate on it - as I said, I think it's useful for some things. I just don't enjoy drinking it as my daily cup. It's simply a matter of preference like everything else.

                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        +1 on TJ's decaf instant coffee - for the times at night that I am craving a cup of coffee with dessert but do not want the caffeine jolt so close to bedtime, this is perfect. After hearing that it was going to be discontinued, we actually saved the last jar of it for around Christmastime but sadly are quickly going through it...

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          A new item is the canister of 100% arabica decaf beans, which are medium roast. I used to buy Dunkin's decaf beans which I brewed strongly, and was not sure if I'd like the TJ medium roast, but I absolutely love it. Better than the discontinued instant decaf, I think. The flavor is fuller and more complex than most decafs.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            I only used the instant decaf for cooking/baking, so beans don't really help me. But I'm glad you're enjoying them!

                        2. re: ohmyyum

                          TJ's 100% Colombian Instant Coffee is fine with me. I'm not much of a coffee drinker and can't be bothered with the grind and brew hassle, so instant is my usual, and TJ's is the best i've had.

                        3. Another yea for TJ's 100% Colombian Instant Coffee, surprisingly good.

                          1. brazilian peaberry (in season) and afore mentioned El Pajaro