Consumer Reports: Which coffee tastes best?

August 3, 2011 2:21:57 PM PDT
We buy almost $2.5 billion worth of ground coffee a year. But which coffee tastes the best?

Consumer Reports tested 23 coffees, primarily Colombian. Included were old standards, such as Chock Full o'Nuts and Folgers, and coffeehouse fare, such as Starbucks and Peet's. Testers also looked at celebrity coffees from Paula Deen and Wolfgang Puck.

To test, Consumer Reports enlisted the help of trained coffee experts. They spent weeks sniffing, slurping, and tasting the coffees. Testers tasted the coffees black so that they could really taste the flavor. They looked for defects such as under ripe or excessively bitter notes.

Consumer Reports also tested K-cups made for single-cup coffeemakers, from Folgers, Wolfgang Puck, and Timothy's. The testers said that those would probably be best with milk and sugar to mask the off-notes. And they'll cost you significantly more than most coffees by the pound.

However, testers did find two very good Colombian coffees to recommend?Colombian Supremo Medium Roast from Gloria Jean's and Newman's Own Organics Colombian Especial Medium Roast. Each has nutty and fruity notes and costs about $13 a pound.

If you prefer decaf, testers found three to be good. The highest-rated New England Coffee Decaffeinated Colombian costs a little more than $9 a pound.

Consumer Reports also tested four Ethiopian whole-bean coffees, which are quite bold compared with supermarket blends. One to try is Caribou's Ethiopia Finjal Organic Medium, for about $15 per pound.

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