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Coffee Brands Comparison: Is Cheaper Better?

Coffee prices may not reflect flavor, a magazine finds.
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"The general rule is, when you extract caffeine from the coffee bean you are also extracting some of the aromatics along with it," he says. And fewer aromatics in the coffee bean mean less flavor in your cup.

One way to counteract this, he says, is to buy whole coffee beans and grind them fresh at home. Once you grind coffee, you greatly increase the surface area, which exposes it to air. This makes it much easier for the aromatics (flavor) to escape.

For best taste, Markovich suggests grinding your coffee as you need it. He also recommends buying only a three-month supply of beans at a time.

"Whole beans lose their flavor over time, too," he says.

Here’s a partial listing of the coffee ratings from the March 2009 Issue of Consumer Reports:

Top 10 Caffeinated Coffees (100% Colombian)

"Very Good" Rating

  1. Eight O’Clock Coffee 100% Colombian, $6.28 per pound (15 cents per cup)
  2. Caribou Coffee Colombia Timana, $11.76 per pound (36 cents per cup)
  3. Kickapoo Coffee Organic Colombia, $14.33 per pound (40 cents per cup)

"Good" Rating

  1. Starbucks Coffee Colombia Medium, $11.53 per pound (25 cents per cup)
  2. Bucks County Coffee Co. Colombia, $8.85 per pound (34 cents per cup)
  3. Archer Farms (Target) Colombia Supremo, $9.05 per pound (27 cents per cup)
  4. Gloria Jean’s Coffees Colombian Supremo, $12.99 per pound (32 cents per cup)
  5. Chock Full o’Nuts 100% Colombian, $5.19 per pound (10 cents per cup)
  6. Peet’s Coffee Colombia, $14.12 per pound (31 cents per cup)
  7. Maxwell House Colombian Supreme 100% Colombian Med-Dark, $4.80 per pound (5 cents per cup)

 

Top 5 Decaffeinated Coffees (mix of Colombian and other beans)

"Good" Rating

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts Dunkin’ Decaf, $10.25 per pound (19 cents per cup)
  2. Millstone Decaf 100% Colombian Medium, $11.59 per pound (14 cents per cup)
  3. Folgers Gourmet Selections Lively Colombian Decaf Medium Roast, $8.55 per pound (11 cents per cup)

"Fair" Rating

  1. Maxwell House Decaffeinated Original Medium, $6.53 per pound (6 cents per cup)
  2. Starbucks Coffee Decaf House Blend Medium, $11.68 per pound (26 cents per cup)

 

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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Reviewed on February 16, 2009

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