Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Coffee snobbery

I grew up thinking that coffee was disgusting. During my first trip to college, in the pre-coffee-shop-on-every-corner days, coffee was still disgusting. Then, one day, I had my first taste of decent coffee. It was a darker roast served in the union of my fourth college. As a mom working part-time and going to school full-time this yummy concoction soon became my best friend.

In the mid-nineties Starbucks came to a suburb near us. I was hooked. When we moved to Southern Indiana a few years later I couldn't wait for a trip to Indy for my Starbucks. Then I went to Europe and experienced Italian coffee. Oh my! That set me on a search for the closest flavor I could find to that dark richness.

Now I live in a city with a pile of Starbucks plus several good local coffee shops. (And possibly the worst coffee in most of the retaurants!) I can get great coffee without trying. I can pick my cup based on my mood and what sounds good. But it still costs money, so when I was offered three free pounds of coffee to review for my blog, I couldn't say no.

The coffees are Folgers Gourmet Selections. I was dubious about trying them because I still can barely tolerate the Folgers that is the standard at my mom's. But I decided that I would give them a try. They sent me three kinds. The first one I tried was the "Lively Columbian." This is described as a medium roast. The smell when I opened the bag cued me in on what was to come. It smelled like the coffee at McDonald's. That isn't good.

There is a characteristic that I associate with cheap coffee. It is a flavor that comes out mostly in the aftertaste that I can best describe as sour. It's an unpleasant twist on the wonderful bitterness that good coffee has. This was sour.

The second one I tried was the "Vanilla Biscotti." I've never been a fan of flavored coffees, although my mother-in-law buys good quality ones and I always enjoy those at her house. This one didn't taste vanilla as much as it tasted sweet. And it, too, had the sourness.

The last one I tried was the "Morning Cafe." This was a light roast. Surprisingly, I liked this one the best. It wasn't a coffee that I would search out or buy, but it was the only one that I didn't dump out. It was still a bit sour, but the flavor was gentler. I'm not a gentle coffee drinker, but this one, at least, didn't taste bad.

Now, if you're a Folger's drinker or like McDonald's coffee, don't take offense. And if you do like these, you'll probably love the Gourmet Selections.


Favorite Apron said...

I love the way flavored coffee smells, but can never detect the flavor. I've been wondering if it's just sprayed with air freshener.
I am trying to teach myself to like French Roast and thus drink less of it, but I'm still stuck on the medium variety.

Marie N. said...

A fair review -- thank you :-)

I've loved coffee as long as I can recall. I bagan drinking it regularly at 5. It is great, poured hot, over ice cream!!!

I can't tollerate Starbucks. I thoroughly enjoy Arabica (sans coffee house patrons!) and my most favorite are the little local coffee shops that are not franchised.

Jane said...

I love a good Arabica. One of the local coffee houses has a really nice med/dark roast Arabica that is really good.

Polly, I don't know what they do to the flavored coffees. I've often wondered.

My favorite coffees are some of the Asian & African beans.

Charity said...

My husband's favorite coffee is on the surgical floor in the hosptial where his father has had heart surgry. When ever I have had babies he walks down to that foor for his favorite cup of Joe. He also likes the really dark roasted coffee I am a little more into the medium blends.

Marie N. said...

I love the aroma of flavored coffees too. I can taste some of the flavors but usually only if I add sugar to the coffee -- that is not usually to my taste.

~Jennifer said...

Interesting review! Like I said in mine, I'm not a connoisseur, so it's interesting to hear what a more sensitive palate experiences. ;-)

To me coffee is mostly coffee no matter what, unless it's bad. There have been a couple of times, however, where I find a cup that I'm in love with. I've never been smart enough to inquire what type or brand, though.

KaY said...

I've sent some free Folgers stuff to my cousins. I hope they like it. Sorry you didn't enjoy it that much.

I'm a coffee freak myself.

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