“Trader Joe’s Coffee” Fine Coffee with a Sensible Price

Nationwide, more and more people are opting for Trader Joe’s Coffee. Whether out of convenience, taste, or social responsibility, these beans are growing in popularity.

Sold in cutesy little cardboard cans, these packages give the appearance of a large amount of beans (compared to 12-ounce amounts sold elsewhere in bags), typically for a reasonable price.

My first take on Trader Joe’s Coffee, many years ago, was met with some opposition within myself. I had just returned to the States from Bali, Indonesia, so when I saw Bali Blue Moon I had to have it! Though Trader Joe’s version was inexpensive, I was disappointed to find it had nothing (and I mean nothing!) in common with what I’d been drinking in villages throughout the island.

So I went without trying any more of Joe’s “joe” for a time, only to find that my curiosity got the best of me. Costa Rican Tarrazu seemed like a safe bet, especially since at the time I tended to enjoy Starbucks Tarrazu. Turns out, they’re not the same. Go figure. I didn’t know if it was the quality of the beans, the different packaging, or the cost that was throwing me off, though. Trader Joe’s coffee didn’t seem fresh, good, or worth the money, regardless of how little they were asking.

Fast forward to 2015. I shop at Trader Joe’s more now, on a fairly regular basis. It’s usually for more than just Two Buck Chuck (even though it’s now three bucks, which just doesn’t have the same ring to it). So, I tried it again. Agonizing over which coffee to get, I chose the Dark French Roast. I don’t know why. The can is blue. I like blue.

It is 100% Arabica whole bean coffee, so that’s a selling point, for sure. I was actually kind of excited to open it up when I got home. You know how it is – you have to love the smell of your coffee before you can love the taste. It smelled okay, but it didn’t make me melt. I brewed some up and added cream (dark roasts are my justification for enjoying “real,” heavy whipping cream). The good news: it held up to the cream. Though I didn’t love it, it wasn’t bad.

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The Ultra Dark blend is true to its name. This is DARK for sure, and smoky – like kissing a smoker. Admittedly, not a huge fan.

But while tightening up my budget, I haven’t given up on Trader Joe’s coffee. Something has to work for me, right? For as much as I hate asking for help, I did so last week. Excuse me, which type of coffee would you say is the best? I asked, tugging on the shirt sleeve of an employee. She fixes her messy bun the way I do, so I thought she’d know what to suggest for me.

Luckily, I was right. I was directed to JOE. Apparently a top seller, this medium roast is akin to standard fare – nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary. Some may say it’s plain. But, that’s okay. Frankly, I like it. Will I drink it every day? Nope, but out of necessity is a good stand-in.

I suppose it’s like anything – some products you’ll like, some you won’t. At the reasonable, low prices for Trader Joe’s coffee, finding your proverbial needle in a haystack could be worth the effort.

  1. Reply
    stevenp June 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Try the Cafe Pajaro (with the parrot/toucan.whatever on the can). A darker roast, tastes rich and not burnt, smooth and full-flavored. I like it a lot better than the Bay Blend, which is a similar roast.

    • Reply Juan Miguel
      Juan Miguel July 30, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Hello Steven,
      Thank you for suggestion! I will try it out!

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