It’s NOT the Same

This morning we were out of our regular coffee so I decided to try this free sample that came in the mail. I’m sure you see where this is going already.

I’m not going to mention names but the coffee that came in the mail was from a large chain that is trying to move into the coffee market after a somewhat successful run at the doughnut market. Ok, it was Dunkin’ Doughnuts.

Odds are if you spend any time in front of the TV you’ve seen their commercials where they’re working hard to brand themselves the “blue collar” coffee as opposed to the turtleneck wearing-mac loving other crowd who hang out at that other place where you almost have to speak a foreign language just to get a cup o’ joe.

I’m getting off-track. Let’s get back to the coffee shall we? I ran fresh, cold water like normal, rinsed out the filter basket and carafe, put in a clean filter and opened the package. Pre-ground. Bad news already.

Out of the package the coffee smells pretty good and brewing I’m going to have to say was not bad smelling either. Color is a nice dark red-brown color indicative of a South American bean and a medium roast.

I drink coffee like most people drink wine. I look for smell, color, taste, finish and body and I can discern a good coffee from a bad coffee so when I say what I’m about to say know that this is just my opinion and you’ll need to try it yourself. If this is the “working mans coffee” I’m never drinking coffee again.

If you are a working man (and I am) and you think this is your coffee, no. Step back. Put that styrofoam cup down. We can get through this.

What places like Starbucks and Peets Coffee (and a host of other local coffee roasters) have figured out is: 1) Freshness is key and 2) Blend it.

Let’s just glance over point 1 quickly. If you want to sell a good coffee take a look at Starbucks bags. That’s right bags not cans. The coffee is fresh ground and sealed in a bag with a 1 way vent so that gases that would degrade the taste of the coffee can escape. Freeze-drying kills the taste. Freeze-drying and canning (or sealing in non-vented bags) are a no-no. And if you can, sell whole bean if possible.

Good wine makers know that good wine must be properly blended. Same with coffee. Beans from different parts of the world have different flavors. To my palate beans from Asia are more acidic and lighter in color. Beans from South America seem to have an almost sour taste while beans from Hawaii are very bold. African beans seem almost bitter to me.

So take a little from here and a little from there and blend them into something enjoyable to drink. A pure blend from a particular region is often too strong and overpowering for the average coffee drinker. I’m not sure if the sample they sent out was a pure blend but the flavor was definitely indicative of such.

Well that’s it. Dunkin’ Doughnuts – I don’t love your coffee. Bleh! But that’s just my opinion. Everyone else try it and see what you think. If you like it, feel free to post a comment and let me know what you like about it.