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Best Whole Bean Coffee?
Old 12-08-2015, 02:44 PM   #1
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Best Whole Bean Coffee?

We buy beans, grind and brew. French press sometimes, drip otherwise, but I hope to avoid methods on this thread.

I usually buy our beans at Costco, but I'd like to mix in something special once in a while. Short of hard to get exotics, your local purveyors or crazy priced beans, what are the best beans you know of that can be bought at most brick-n-mortar stores - available year round?

IME say Starbucks is the benchmark (just to provide a reference), Peet's is better, Intelligentsia better still (before they were bought out at least), and Julius Meinl the best I've ever had that's repeatable. The best I've ever had was an Ethiopian from Bloomington Coffee Roasters, but the next pound wasn't as good and not available local (for me) - scratch that.

I saw an interview with the CEO of Illy today, never tried it, started me wondering...
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:15 PM   #2
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Coffee is very important to me. So, when I retired, I bought a burr grinder and a bag of every kind of coffee available at my usual grocery store, whole bean if available. Then I did a taste test.

I was shocked to find out that my favorite whole bean coffee was "8 O'Clock" coffee, a stupid old fashioned one that my parents used to drink. But even more surprising was the fact that I preferred Dunkin Donuts pre-ground coffee to any of the home ground, whole bean coffees.

Well, if I had just read the above, I'd think "Whew, that person doesn't have a clue about coffee!" And maybe I don't. I certainly don't seem to like the cool, with it coffees. But that is how my coffee taste challenge came out. So, my fancy burr grinder is at the back of a top kitchen cabinet where it will never see the light of day again.

I don't suggest that you buy the brands I like - - instead, I suggest that you do your own coffee taste challenge like I did. You may be as surprised as I was!
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:18 PM   #3
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I will try & decide, that's when my ranking above comes from - but thought I'd ask for leads to start with from here. DD coffee isn't bad, I know people who swear by it, but I am looking for something even "specialer"!
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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8 O'Clock Columbian Peaks, whole bean, hands down.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:42 PM   #5
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I don't know how "special" any grocery store coffee is going to be.

I've been buying a whole bean Mocha Java blend from Coffee Warehouse Shop Coffee Brewer | Coffee Equipment | Coffee Grinder | Bunn Coffee Makers | Bunn Coffee - Coffee Wholesale USA since 2009 and I love it. I get a 5# bag for about $77 and shipping is $5.99. I usually wait to get a 10 to 17% off coupon. And they give a customer loyalty credit. My last order ended up being $12.66/pound including shipping and discounts.

The blend I get is very smooth with very little acid and a slight undertaste of chocolate.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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I've heard of 8oclock Columbian peaks. Do not see it in stores, though.

This will disturb the purists, but last few shopping trips I've purchased Starbucks and plain Arabica 8 o'clock. Mixed beans in equal portions, and the blend is not as dark as sbux alone. Not as strong.

Sbux is very oily, while 8'oclock is drier.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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It's not whole bean, but community coffee, dark roast
has been our go to coffee for years.
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:59 PM   #8
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I too have a burr grinder and coffee is critically essential. I've settled on Starbucks Sumatra as my daily brew. Local Harris Teeter carries it and it's on sale about every other week; with that and the 5% discount on Thursdays it's actually pretty reasonable, a good bit less than at Starbucks. I really don't care to go in there anyway, all those people with laptops and there is only maybe one comfortable chair. Not gonna pay $2+ for a coffee in a place that has zero atmosphere. Definitely search out a local shop if we're in mood to sit in.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:06 PM   #9
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I am also very partial to the Starbucks Sumatra. It's available both caff and decaf. It also blends well with French roast for a half caff blend.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #10
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My grocery store no longer sells 8 O'Clock whole bean, just the pre-ground stuff. I'm searching for a replacement.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:10 PM   #11
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I think most places should have a small local coffee roaster. Have you asked your neighbors? There are quite a few around me.

I'm not very fussy but I tried a large number of brand names when I came back from years in Brazil. Finally settled on Starbucks Caffe Verona and have stuck with it for many years now.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I don't suggest that you buy the brands I like - - instead, I suggest that you do your own coffee taste challenge like I did. You may be as surprised as I was!
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I'm not very fussy but I tried a large number of brand names when I came back from years in Brazil. Finally settled on Starbucks Caffe Verona and have stuck with it for many years now.
I bought freshly roasted from Peets but was never quite satisfied. After reading braumeister post this a while back (here) I tried and liked Caffe Verona, it has since become my regular blend for morning coffee.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:29 PM   #13
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I saw this piece from Chris Kimball today on The Rachel Ray Show that was a new one to me. He says that hot brewing coffee extracts too many of the more bitter compounds in coffee. He was advocating a cold brew approach where you steep coffee in water overnight to create a liquid concentrate that will store in the fridge for up to a week. You then dilute the concentrate 3:1 with water.

I may give it a try but not with the gadget. I'll just steep it in a container and then filter and then mix 1 part concentrate: 3 parts hot water.

4 Kitchen Gadgets That Will Save Your Life This Holiday Season

How To Make Coffee Concentrate to Serve Hot Coffee to a Crowd €” Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn | The Kitchn

Have you tried Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee?
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:30 PM   #14
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We like several of the varieties that Trader Joes carries and they are fair trade. Actually right now my favorite whole bean coffee is supposedly a local grower that comes in a brown bag at Lowe's Foods. Its $6/pound..so while you can try what others suggest, you may also want to check out that top shelf at the local grocery chain and see what you can find... I was certainly surprised.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clfdallas View Post
I don't know how "special" any grocery store coffee is going to be.

I've been buying a whole bean Mocha Java blend from Coffee Warehouse Shop Coffee Brewer | Coffee Equipment | Coffee Grinder | Bunn Coffee Makers | Bunn Coffee - Coffee Wholesale USA since 2009 and I love it. I get a 5# bag for about $77 and shipping is $5.99. I usually wait to get a 10 to 17% off coupon. And they give a customer loyalty credit. My last order ended up being $12.66/pound including shipping and discounts.

The blend I get is very smooth with very little acid and a slight undertaste of chocolate.
Didn't mean to suggest grocery store only. Any brand/source that I can likely find where I am would be appreciated...
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:52 PM   #16
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I tried and liked Caffe Verona, it has since become my regular blend for morning coffee.
When I go into a Starbucks that's not busy, I like to chat with the folks behind the counter. I've always been impressed that the majority of them say this is their favorite for morning coffee. Since they obviously get to try the whole SBUX range of coffees, it's clear we're not alone.

OTOH, I still wish I had a source for the supermarket coffee I used to buy in Rio.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:11 PM   #17
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FWIW, my favorite is Starbucks French Roast. I don't expect anyone here to like it. It is very popular (sometimes nearly sold out) and is a "bold" brew.

This is just about personal tastes and there is no correct opinion ... IMO.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:03 PM   #18
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Lavazza Crema e Aroma.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:14 PM   #19
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Ever since my trip to Costa Rica where it included a tour of Britt coffee plantation, I've been buying whole bean coffee from their on-line site. They are all good but their decaf is one of the best coffee I tasted. YMMV.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:46 PM   #20
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I wrote out a whole reply and was about to post it, when I realized the subject of the thread was "Best Whole Bean Coffee". Being the contemptible individual that I am, I have settled on a cheap brand that comes pre-ground, so I will not be posting my reply in this thread.

Feel free to add me to your "ignore" lists
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