Best Blends: Coffee Taste Tests

February 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
If you can't wake up without a cup of coffee, there are some eye-opening results from a recent taste test. Some of the most popular name coffees, like Folgers and Maxwell House, didn't do well in consumer reports taste tests. So if you're looking for a pick-me-up, these might let you down.

The average coffee drinker consumes more than a thousand cups of coffee a year. And for most people, it's coffee blends.

Consumer Reports expert coffee testers sipped their way through more than three-dozen coffees 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, like woody, grainy, or papery," said Ellen Klosz with Consumer Reports.

Among the blends tested, Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, and long-standing staples like Folgers and Maxwell House.

"None of the blends we tested rated excellent or even very good," said Klosz.

And many well-known coffees rated only fair. For example, Folgers Classic Roast Medium and Maxwell House Master Blend mild both tasted grainy and papery.

"We test the coffees black to get the true flavor, but if you normally add cream and sugar, some of the ones we tested would probably be fine."

Those include Starbucks' House Blend and Green Mountain Signature Nantucket Blend 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-percent Colombian.

Eight O'clock Coffee can be found in Wal-Mart super centers.

Consumer Reports also taste-tested decaf blends, 13 in all. Just like the caffeinated blends, none rated excellent or very good. Consumer Reports says for the best combination of taste and price, try Starbuck's Decaf House Blend or Peet's Decaf House Blend.


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