Category Archives: Coffee, Tea, Drinks

Coffee Taste Testing

(I’m blogging too much tonight, but nevermind that. Please read this.) What do you think of Consumer Reports? Great source for unbiased product testing? Uneven results in some things? I like the CR goals, but I don’t view them as a bible on products like I used to–a strong recommendation for everyone, but their choice may not be the best for me.

Now CR has turned it’s trained reporters on the common man’s cup of joe, and the result? The Boston Herald reports:

McDonald’s latest caffeinated endeavor, Newman’s Own Organics Blend coffee, is better than both Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, says Consumer Reports magazine.

“We compared the rivals with Starbucks, all in basic black – no flavors, milk or sugar – and you know what? McDonald’s beat the rest,” the magazine said in its March issue.

The CR tasters visited only two stores in each company for the report, which may be too small a sample for a subjective survey like this. Bloomberg.com reports the tasters comments:

McDonald’s coffee was “decent and moderately strong,” while Starbucks was “strong, but burnt and bitter enough to make your eyes water.” . . . Dunkin’ Donuts brew was “weak, watery, and pricier than Starbucks. It was inoffensive, but it had no oomph.” Burger King, meanwhile, served a beverage that “looked like coffee but tasted more like hot water.”

I’ve had some pretty bitter coffee at Starbucks, which I assumed came from an overbrewed pot, not the company beans. Generally, Starbucks is good, but I don’t care to buy my coffee there. They irritate me.

Have you tried McDonald’s coffee in the past year? Was it better than you expected? If I ever buy coffee there, I expect to get the dark hot water variety. Maybe I should try it. I have drunk Chick-fil-a’s dark roast several times over the last several months. If MacDonald’s was just as good, I’d be impressed. (by way of The Boars Head Tavern)

More Coffee Geeks Are Home Roasting

As I brew some coffee to take to work this morning, let me pass on the news that roasting coffee beans at home is on the rise, according to this report from AP writer Brad Foss. He writes about coffee lovers who want the freshiest cup they can get, even if that means they have to buy the beans green and roast them over a gas grill at home.

It doesn’t require a lot of time, money or equipment to roast coffee beans at home — less than 10 minutes in an air popcorn popper does the trick — but enthusiasts devote plenty of each to the craft.

Home roasters congregate at Web sites such as coffeegeek.com, where they exchange techniques; they get together in person to sample, or “cup,” each other’s beans; and many maintain log books, where they record details such as the amount of time and heat applied to each batch they roast.

“Some guys are over the top,” said Dave Borton of Monroe, Wis., who has been roasting at home since January, belongs to an Internet-based bean buyers club and gives away about two pounds of freshly roasted beans every week to co-workers and members of his church. “My wife would tell you I am over the top.”

And I will tell you this is over the top for me, but in case you are interested in roasting your own beans, you can look for “countertop electric roasters” for $75-$500. Invite some friends over when you do it, and don’t complain if they want their drinks weaker than yours.

Warning: Contains Hot Coffee

Lars dislike of coffee may have saved him from a painful disaster had he used an EspressoExpress. The coffee-making device is being recalled because “the heating element can ‘forcefully separate from its base during the brewing cycle.'” If the product was properly labeled with warning to the user, I don’t see the need for the recall. “Warning: May spew scalding liquid while brewing. If contact with skin, consult a physician. What remains in the carafe should be great espresso. Enjoy.”