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February 03, 2009


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I'm not surprised. They've been buying this brand at work lately, and I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it is for a cheap supermarket brand of coffee.


I remember when I was in college and working at an A&P Supermarket grinding Eight O'Clock Coffee for customers. It was, at that time, the A&P brand. The coffee, therefore, was what we brewed in the back break room, also. It was always a good coffee...not great...but dependable and consistent whether brewed through a drip coffee maker or a percolator. Can't say I'm surprised it won a CR taste test; however, I would also put forth the contention the taste testers, probably, don't have truly sophisticated palates, either based on numerous other such taste tests I've read in their pages over the past 30+ years.

I am surprised, though, at Kickapoo Coffee's Organic Columbia placing anywhere on the list for in my experiences with it, it's completely unremarkable.


any list that contains Folger's and Maxwell house, is a list not worth being on.


I hear a lot of Americans also think Coors Light is an amazing beer...



I laughed so hard I almost made my after-work beer come out my nose!


The best campfire-cowboy coffee has to be in a metal can! The last time I followed Consumers I ended up with an Escort!

rational consumer

yet another example of why consumer reports isn't worth the paper it's printed on


I don't think Starbucks offers Colombia Narino Supremo anymore in stores. I don't know why, but I still think that coffee had a great nutty flavor.
I always engage my partners and customers in conversations about coffee. Like my favorite comparison is Italian, Espresso and Verona all next to each other. You can definitely understand how Italian has a sweet candy flavor, espresso has caramel, and Verona has dark chocolate. Truly, an enlightening experience to understand how Starbucks is truly a great purveyor of world class coffees. Unfortunately, most people are stuck with Pike's Puke.


These are coffee tests for average coffee drinkers, not serious snobs. Consumer Reports appeals to the broad masses, so stop pretending people don't drink Folger's.

I actually just bought a bag of Eight O'Clock for my weekday morning coffee. (I've had it before, too.) It's pretty good for what it is. I often buy a local roaster's beans, Papa Nicholas, too.

That said, I buy a separate bag of darker roasted, higher quality coffee to use for my espresso machine. And grind it finer, of course. But I wouldn't buy Starbucks' whole bean, unless it were Casi Cielo, which is the only 'Bux bean I've ever loved.


Why would anybody want a coffee that is "sour?" I prefer my coffee to be less acidic and smoother like Sumatra or French Roast. It would be hilarious if they did Pike Place Roast and then got last place at the bottom.
One coffee that is from Costa Rica is the Bella Vista. Its truly an outstanding coffee that anybody can enjoy.

Killer Kona

If I can't have my Starbucks, then I really like New England Coffee (Which is roasted right down the street from me!) or 100% Kona from Trader Joe's.


Coors light is considered a beer?????


Everyone has different prefrences when it comes to coffee. That's why Starbucks appeals to so many. We have mild, medium, bold, and extra bold coffees. We also get coffee from all different growing regions and some blends. It also depends on how you like your coffee brewed. It's such a personal decission that tests like this vertually mean nothing. I mean some people acctually like PPR brewed in a perculator. Personally I'd rather drink cat urine but some people like it that way.

My fovorite Starbucks coffee is Kenya. It's bold with aspects of a mild. To me, you can't beat it.


I laughed pretty hard at the first Coors Light comment also. ^^

Jim C

This is a price-point driven study, so we cannot make the top, because we are priced too high. We have an instant coffee ready to launch, but it is on hold until the economy heats back up again, because the stuff is pricey.


Does anyone know if Yukon will be coming back, even just seasonally? I know it was discontinued at the end of last year, but I thought I read that it may return seasonally and I am DYING here...we bought 20 lbs of it when we heard it was discontinued, and it's been a month since we finished it up.


The article didn't say that Eight O'Clock is really the best-best coffee, just best value for the price. How much does a Pound of PPR Cost? I've never actually had Eight O'Clock, but at six dollars or so, I'll try some, just to see what they are talking about. Does anyone know if it's 100% Arabica?

In addition to my partner markout from work, I'm sometimes buying a half pound of whatever organic medium roast my favorite local Indi has that week.

As far as Starbucks coffees, go, Bella Vista comes closest to my ideal cup. Even my SM loves it, and he's a French Roast guy.


@JimC - Starbucks instant coffee? That leaves me shaking my head. At least it is something coffee focused, but something about it seems wrong. You always frighten me a bit though JimC - I notice your gossip is often close to being right on. As a vaguely recall, you were one of the first to mention that bundling would be coming to Starbucks.


Starbucks instant coffee? That's going to be the day coffee dies.

I know we use it in our frappuccinos, but to actually use it as a coffee?

Please someone tell me this is an early April fools day joke. Please! Anyone?


i just have a question and hope someone can point me in the right direction. Is it common for DM's to withhold pertinant information from SM's regarding the operations (safety and security)and to basically interegate the SM's partners and then tell the partners not to tell anyone they had the conversation?


Instant coffee? That depressing, dreadful coffee-like-substance? That Frankencoffee offspring of modern chemistry...at Starbucks? No way! That would be the ultimate stupid idea to come out of Seattle.
Does anyone even buy instant for anything other than camping or church committees anymore? I thought the automatic drip machine made instant coffee obsolete.
We'd never be able to sell it. My latte customer wouldn't buy it, they don't even make coffee at home, that's why I see them three times a day. My bean coffee customers would never buy it, that's why the spend good money for a bag of Starbucks.

It can't be true, can't be.


I don't think instant coffee is going to be a starbucks store product. It is going to be a grocery store product. But it will still be the day coffee dies.

No reputable and sane coffee house (especially none that is taking pride in being some kind of Italian coffee house spin off) would ever go anywhere near an instant coffee. You could probably even kill an Italian coffee house owner by just suggesting to brand an instant coffee after him.

But then again, maybe this is the future of starbucks. We could save a lot on equipment. We only need jars with instant coffee and an instatab - "Voila, here is your coffee sir, freshly brewed right this second. Please don't forget to stir it before you drink it."

And marketing can sell it as an advantage. No wait time at all for a freshly brewed cup of coffee prepared right in front of your eyes. Even available in bold and decaf.

Maybe I should stop giving them ideas...


Me, PLEASE stop giving them ideas. Instant coffee as perhaps the solution to "brew on demand" - "Here's your instant Aged Sumatra ma'am" LOL. Of course, I'm joking, but you're so right. Even if it is a grocery store idea, it's a baaaad idea, and only further downgrades the Siren.


To Javaccino:

Yes, 8 O'Clock Coffee is 100% Arabica beans. I prefer the Original Blend myself--a medium roast which suits the coffee drinkers in my house. We brew it strong and wind up with a well-balanced cup of daily joe.


Maybe I missed something but isn't 4th out of 19 pretty good??

@coffeeslinger -- what you're talking about I've seen happen several times, and it has also happened to me. Usually in the particular circumstance your DM has reason to question the integrity of your store manager either ethically or operationally. A lot of times this happens when a store partner supercedes the SM and goes directly to the DM with a concern. And that concern could be anything...could be the way the SM is treating a partner, could be a cash handling issue, could be a theft issue, could be anything.

I can't say that I agree with this approach. To me it's unethical and unfair to the SM, whose supposed to be left in the dark (but trust me, if that SM has any support in the store, he/she knows exactly what the hell is going on) because they don't want to point fingers without justification.

I'm going to wrap this up because we're off-topic for this thread, but the bottom line is -- it's corporate politics, plain and simple. You'll see it just as much here as anywhere else unfortunately. It's the type of situation where you'll have to figure out if the DM has a legitimate concern to be handling it the way they are, or if they're doing it because they're a spineless, heartless, corporate robot.


Instant coffee, I fear it will soon be on condiment bars across the USA so soon there can be one person on the floor because how much labor can you earn pouring hot water? Customers can brew on demand themselves! :) One question, if it is on the condiment bar will it be free?


Hey, I like Denny's coffee, Waffle House coffee, and locally, Eat & Park coffee. Although, who is the test market based on?


Whoa! Instant PPR.:)


Instant coffee is just dehydrated brewed coffee. What's wrong with that?


The last time i tried instant coffee...I almost puked. Nescafe or whatever its called... LOL!

Pat Nerr

Off topic... Looks like Jim Donald has a job again... he'll be teaching our youth about business and leadership on the UW Bothell campus...

Ol' 55

This is funny. After I left the Bux about five months ago, I hated having to pay for my morning cuppa. I tried Eight O' Clock Coffee, and ya know...it's hot, it's brown, it's got caffeine in it, and I can buy three bags of it for what one bag of Starbucks costs me. I never did think too much about "nutty flavors" at five o' clock in the morning. And I still don't.


"Off topic... Looks like Jim Donald has a job again... he'll be teaching our youth about business and leadership on the UW Bothell campus..."

those that can't do....teach...just kidding. sort of. no offense to any of you teachers out there.


Jim Donald was not the whole problem. He was a scape goat. Howard Schultz was still the Chairman of the Board durring the Donald Administration. We don't really have new management. Things look more out of control now than they did a year ago. A bit of the problem is the economy but the major problems with the company are still a direct result of continued bad management at the top.

On topic though, Starbucks still has the best coffee around. It's the only reason the company is still in business.


This whole topic just saddens me because when I signed on to do this job I had such a passion for the product and a literal thirst for knowledge about our coffee. I would read the coffee and tea sourcebook all the time and discuss coffee and do tastings and pairings and french presses. Now, I literally can't even get away from the register or any other "just barely suriving" task to do any of that. And I am horrified by the loss of all the varieties of coffee and am insensed that we are still doing PPR. I am so over PPR.

Is it just me or does this years Casi Cielo taste "off" to you? This is usually my favorite limited time offering, this year I got one bag and haven't touched it since.

I love the Bella Vista though and couldn't agree more!


Dunkin, McD's and other new and expanding "upstart" coffee companies are encroaching on the premium lots of Colombian/Nariño region beans. Because of this, we are no longer able to purchase enough to maintain a year-round supply in our stores company-wide. The good news is that when Colombia and other now-LTO coffees make their appearances, they will be better, higher quality and more freshly roasted than ever before. Get ready for Sanani!!



Colombia Narino Supremo is now a limited offering, not a all-year coffee anymore.

Which brings up the question: So how did Consumer Reports manage to get Starbucks "Coffee Columbia Medium" for their taste test? Was this done before it was off the shelves, or is pre-ground CNR still on the shelves in supermaket? Do we have a less expensive Colombia that I don't know about?


You may not like instant coffee (personally I can't stand the stuff, it taste flat and stale to me), but a lot of people in this country do. I expect, if SB's actually releases one, it'll do tolerably well. At least it's coffee.

pikes puke

Jim Donald I dont think was the bad CEO he was made out to be. He pushed the music and entertainment a bit far (the record label being the too far part) but I know most of the store in my area are loosing 1k-2k a month just in music and entertainment sales. I also think he did good with retail. Sure, we often had a bit much, but at clearance we still made a killing. I think a lot of Jim's strategies were very good, but could of had better execution. It is virtually the same leadership from the JIm era, and it was Howie who rolled us all under the bus driven by a very ticked of Siren with a Pike's Place banner on the side of it. Ouch. Those tire treads still hurt!

Columbia is seasonal now...which really crack me up. Columbian coffee...seasonal?

But out columbia is VERY good, and one of our best brews. They would be better to push columbia narino on people than the Pike's Puke, which has a velvelty pallet feel of saltwater in the ocean after you've spit it out of your mouth.


Hey if you want to read more about this topic and you like to read the latest news and topic discussions go to energizedforyourlife.blogspot.com check us out and let us know what you want to hear! And were on twitter.

Sharon McEachern

Eight O'Clock Coffee also has a decaf blend that's good. You might consider drinking this unleaded version, particularly if you sneeze with your eyes open. This is not good. You really know that you've had way too much caffeine when you start chewing on OTHER people's fingernails. Before Juan Valdez names his donkey after you, read this:



I just purchased a pound of Eight O'Clock 100% Colombian whole bean and brewed it in a french press, and this is what I think of it:

It's a typical medium roast Colombian, not bad, really, but nothing to get to excited about either. It's drinkable, vastly better than some robutso-laden diner coffees I've had, and I'd probably pick it over PPR.
There is no real flavor profile though, so adding milk and sugar won't do any harm. It tastes like, well, coffee. In fact, if any coffee tastes like just a regular ole American cup-a-joe, this is it.

I just switched to a cup of Guatemala Antigua (I need to get it into my passport anyway, so I figured why not compare). I'm not going to make that comparison though. One is coffee and the other is premium coffee, and the differences are obvious. I will say that drinking the Starbucks Guatemala puts a smile on my face, and that's the only test that's important to me.


Jim C,
If in fact Starbucks has these plans, and you work at Starbucks, why do you share this information in advance?

Wouldn't it hurt the company for a manager or vp or whatever you are to share this in advance?

It certainly doesn't help, does it? So I ask you: why do you do it?


Jim C,
If in fact Starbucks has these plans, and you work at Starbucks, why do you share this information in advance?

Wouldn't it hurt the company for a manager or vp or whatever you are to share this in advance?

It certainly doesn't help, does it? So I ask you: why do you do it?


When I first started training at Starbucks (in 2001) for our Coffee Conversations class we did a side-by-side comparison of 8 O'Clock Coffee in a french press compared to House Blend; 8 tasted weak and soapy! It really gave us a picture of the wonderful nuances a french press can bring out for our core lineup of coffees.


I'm surprised Eight O'Clock coffee did so well... I've found that their coffee leaves a sour after-taste in my mouth

Velvet H.

My local grocery store in Kentucky had only one bag of Eight O'Clock left yesterday. The clerk remarked about the volume sold since the report came out. I must admit, I am a faithful Starbuck's patron, but this morning, I bought the last bag of Eight O'Clock at the store. I love the stuff.


I love our coffee but i can never seem to get a good flavor from any brewer at any store ive worked at. When i brew at home whether in my press or my cheap mr coffee it taste great. Whats the deal? Anybody else experience this? Plus i hear that this consumer report taste tests are never done right that they dont follow the measurement standard. And one last thing i joined on the year before Donald got the axe and I didn't mind the emphasis on retail. The brewing event was awesome i see nothing wrong with pushing a little extra stuff so people can enjoy our coffee like it should be say in one of our presses or machines instead of a percolator. Imagine the loss of revenues too. I mean it can really up your sales when somebody is buying an espresso machine every now and then. Now more than half of the people working(myself included) don't know anything about our machines because there is no emphasis put on selling them.


If course it beat Starbucks... Running hot water through a dirty diaper would beat Starbucks... They are only good at marketing, they don't make real coffee, just soft drinks.

There are unfortunately a bunch of retards who think Starbucks is the best. They think BMW's are they best too. Just a bunch of stupid c0cksuckers who don't know anything.

Lloyd Kerr

I have to agree with CR on this one. If I run out of my regular coffee from Porto Rico in NYC I run down to the local supermarket and get Eight O'clock Colombian beans. Being a so-called coffe snob sure as heck doesn't make one a taste expert. I believe they enjoy telling their friends how much they pay a pound for the lame Starbucks and other "premium" coffee. I could duplicate the taste of Starbucks with Folgers ground by adding a little nitro methane from my race car.

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