Coffee taste tests

February 3, 2010 8:41:34 PM PST
Coffee is one of America's favorite drinks. The average coffee drinker consumes more than 1,000 cups of coffee a year. And for most people, it's coffee blends. Consumer Reports' expert coffee testers sipped their way through more than 36 blends to find which ones taste the best.

A good cup of coffee should be smooth and complex. You don't want any excessive bitterness or off-flavors, such as woody, grainy, or papery.

None of the blends tested rated excellent or even very good. And many well-known coffees rated only fair. For example, Folgers Classic Roast Medium and Maxwell House's Master Blend Mild both tasted grainy and papery.

The coffees were taste-tested black to get the true flavor, but if you normally add cream and sugar, some of the ones tested would probably be fine. Those include Starbucks' House Blend and Green Mountain Signature Nantucket Blend, the Medium Roast.

But there are better coffees out there. When Consumer Reports tested 100 percent Colombian coffees, it found several that tasted very good even when black. One to try is the top-rated Eight O'Clock Coffee 100% Colombian.

Consumer Reports also taste-tested 13 decaf blends. And just like the caffeinated blends, none rated excellent or very good, but some were improved by adding milk and sugar. Consumer Reports says for the best combination of taste and price, try Starbuck's Decaf House Blends or Peet's Decaf House Blend.

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