Whether you think Trader Joe ‘s is a far-out wonderland of delicious bite foods or the one-seventh circle of hell, you have to respect the stagger come of chocolate they ‘re peddling. We counted 30 varieties on a trip, which made us wonder which were beverage and which were nothing more than gussied up Folgers in goofy, colorful tins. There are a set of options. But which belongs in your coffee godhead ? To determine the best of the best, we rounded up a modest klatch of baristas in Portland, Oregon and hosted a proper cup based on guidelines we ‘ve learned from the fine roasters over at Coava. We acquired irregular heartbeats and eldritch cravings for bum cigarettes in the action, but we ‘re confident we did the dependable work of sorting the gold from the kid so you ‘ll never have to suffer through another burn, bland cup of grocery store store coffee bean again. Without far bustle, here ‘s every variety show of Trader Joe ‘s coffee, ranked from worst to best.
Editor’s note: Trader Joe ‘s changes its offerings apparently every five minutes. If you do n’t see your prefer beans, it ‘s probably they were n’t on propose at the time of this experiment .
- 30. Bay Blend
- 29. Fair trade organic Guatemalan
- 28. Joe’s Dark
- 27. Joe
- 26. Organic fair trade French roast
- 25. French roast
- 24. Costa Rica Tarrazu
- 23. Shade Grown
- 22. House blend Columbia & Sumatra
- 21. French vanilla
- 20. Zambia AA Small Lot
- 19. Organic FT Café Pajaro Blend
- 18. Organic fair trade Breakfast Blend
- 17. Fair trade organic Bolivian blend
- 16. Italian roast
- 15. Organic fair trade shade grown Ethiopian
- 14. Organic fair trade Sumatra
- 13. Bourbon barrel aged
- 12. Organic fair trade Wake Up Blend
- 11. 100% Kona
- 10. Low acid French roast
- 9. New Mexico Piñon coffee
- 8. Select Harvest
- 7. Organic fair trade Five Country Espresso Blend
- 6. Gingerbread
- 5. Colombia Supremo
- 4. Lys Kaffe
- 3. Wintry Blend
- 2. Organic fair trade Honduras
- 1. Kenya AA
30. Bay Blend
You ‘re better off steeping some pennies in a cup of hot body of water than brewing a cup of this “ extremist blue ridicule. ” Unless, of course, you actually live in the Bay Area, in which case you do n’t have any pennies to spare for such a sad experiment. immediately that ‘s blue !
29. Fair trade organic Guatemalan
This bitter “ excess dark ” roast is then organic that it contains overpowering notes of the tease atomizer that dripped off the workers who labored over harvesting it. No parole on whether said wiretap spray was organic, though .
28. Joe’s Dark
We have n’t heard much from Trader Joe ‘s founder Joe Coulombe since his retirement from the company in 1988. The loss wine-and-cigarette ash relish of his signature black knock leads us to assume he ‘s since locked himself in a survey somewhere, chain-smoke Dorals and downing bottles of Two Buck Chuck .
Unlike its dark counterpart, Joe ‘s signature culture medium knock allows more insidious notes of burn carpet and mooch wine to join the party. And what a party it is !
26. Organic fair trade French roast
The initial olfactory property had hard notes of bowling bowling alley couch, while the actual relish had an pungent bladderwrack that goes down barely right when you chase it with a puff from a loosely roll american Spirit .
25. French roast
A life provision of this no-bullshit french ridicule, which is as bitter and fresh as its namesake, would be a great endowment for the alienated aunt of yours who calls a bottle of Diet Pepsi, a Virginia Slim, and a handful of lottery tickets “ breakfast. ”
24. Costa Rica Tarrazu
The experts in our tasting klatch were able to find a little touch of nuttiness to the finish of this by and large dull cup of rib Rican coffee, but a loiter taste of fresh asphalt cursorily ruined whatever joy was to be found in this cup .
23. Shade Grown
The bird-friendly growing method acting of this espresso blend is admirable, but the burnt-toast complete it left in our mouth was excessively close to the olfactory hallucination associated with brain tumors for comfort .
22. House blend Columbia & Sumatra
Anyone who ‘s exhausted hours nervously chugging coffee in the waiting room of an auto-repair shop will feel mighty at family with this understated dark ridicule, which is defined by a pleasant season null with elusive enough burned bottom-of-the-pot smack to remind you you ‘re actually drinking coffee .
21. French vanilla
The overwhelm vanilla olfactory property of this knock ‘s aroma was enjoyable in little doses, but the sour chemical finish tasted more like lotion a divorced middle school teacher would wear than chocolate. Trader Joe ‘s season coffee game is respectable, but you can decidedly do a distribute better than this .
20. Zambia AA Small Lot
Trader Joe ‘s approach of over-roasting beans in hopes of evoking heady flavors — in this case it ‘s a “ heavy body with a sugared, round finish ” — has never been more apparent than it is with Zambia AA. Like a imperial victorian home ruined by an inexcusable paint job, we know there ‘s a estimable attic hiding under this roast ‘s underwhelming notes of toasted dust and sour sugarcoat .
19. Organic FT Café Pajaro Blend
Whereas the Zambia was sullied by a heavy hand with the roast, the smoky finish and heavy body of Café Pajaro tasted like Trader Joe ‘s last figuring out how to make the aggressive “ THIS IS COFFEE ” spirit common to their dark roasts work for the greater good of the bean .
18. Organic fair trade Breakfast Blend
An incredibly average brew in the expansive schema of things, but the light notes of caramelized sugar and campfire soil that lingered on the tongue were nice deviations from the tastes of ash and petroleum we experienced with the buttocks of the Trader Joe ‘s proverbial barrel .
17. Fair trade organic Bolivian blend
Notes of roasted cauliflower and wood-fired pizza are n’t precisely what one looks for in a coffee bean, but the cryptically savory ending of this differently dull medium roast turned out to be one of the most unexpected delights in our stallion taste. It ‘s not a roast we ‘d recommend for breakfast, but the fact that it would pair wonderfully with cold pizza may be precisely the information a disassociate dad would need to invest in a canister of this .
Read more: 8 Best Espresso Powders 2021
16. Italian roast
Our panel unanimously agreed this one tasted like menthol cigarettes, even no one was the least act ashamed of actually enjoying it. Do they still sell Camel Snus in Italy ?
15. Organic fair trade shade grown Ethiopian
man-made floral flavors and a ham-like eat up are foreign bedfellows in a bean grow organically in one of the universe ‘s most celebrate regions, and it ‘s even stranger that we found this one queerly satisfying after a few sips .
14. Organic fair trade Sumatra
Anyone with fond childhood memories of copping a buzz from huffing the tanning agents at the Wilson ‘s Leather in their local plaza ( we all did that, right ? ! ) will feel correct at dwelling with this Sumatran bean, which was one of the few non-flavored beans on the number that actually maintained tasting notes common to its region rather than, say, the plastic-bag-full-of-ham flavors in the former entrance .
13. Bourbon barrel aged
As an avid fan of bourbon barrel-aged beers, I ‘ve tasted more than enough cloyingly dulcet clunkers to make curiosity whether Trader Joe ‘s could pull this one off. Balance is key when you ‘re throwing a bunch of flavors at a coffee drinker ‘s palette, and thankfully the subtle notes of bibulous sweet and a dull sour to the finish do more good than damage for a bean we assume was destined to become french vanilla in another life .
12. Organic fair trade Wake Up Blend
Joe is back with the “ chocolate season coffee, ” this clock time in the shape of a bluff cup that may adenine well be a cancel and sniff ad for the factory in which it was roasted. There ‘s nothing smooth about this one, but sometimes a hot, wet smack in the boldness that says “ YOU ‘RE DRINKING A CUP OF COFFEE ! ” is precisely what you need in the dawn .
11. 100% Kona
Anyone who knows anything about this rare hawaiian bean knows that if you ‘re paying less than $ 30 per pound, it ‘s credibly bullshit — either it ‘s been stepped on and blended with cheaper beans, sourced from the dregs of this robust region, or it ‘s just plain previous. That being said, TJ ‘s extend is without a doubt the best grocery store variety of Kona, with a smooth, first gear sourness up presence and a identical dim nip on the eat up that ‘s just adequate of a tease to trick your brain into thinking it ‘s the real thing. Add an surly hibiscus print shirt and the dulcet tones of dormcore ace Jack Johnson to the blend and it ‘ll be about like you never left the Big Island after your honeymoon was over !
10. Low acid French roast
A noticeable theme among TJ ‘s dark roasts is their eldritch resemblance to cigarettes, but even those oh-so-terrible cancer sticks have a way of worming some measure of relish that triggers a pleasure center or two into your mind. The first gear acidic french roast tasted more like a re-lit joint than a puff off a smoke, which is a compliment of the highest order that brought back fond memories of learning how to hand-roll your own from a surly kid while studying overseas in France .
9. New Mexico Piñon coffee
sort of like the chicory coffee bean of New Orleans, the Land of Enchantment has softly upped its coffee game by spiking it with ground up piñon nuts. The consequence is a delicate balance of fresh and buttery notes that offers a fantastic season option to more mainstream flavors like hazelnut or irish cream. New Mexico itself is tragically underestimate a far as states go, but until you muster the courage for that sojourn to a place locals half-jokingly refer to as “ The Land of Entrapment, ” possibly a cup of their finest export away from cheap sarapes and Hatch chiles will convince you it ‘s worth your while .
8. Select Harvest
No real purist would agree to the slug of tasting all these coffees, but even the least ostentatious members of our dialog box had a hard time wondering why Trader Joe ‘s would blend two beans from such discrete growing regions into one cup. regardless, it resulted in a taste we could only describe as “ upgrade blandness, ” which consisted of an ultra-smooth season up front man that lingered always so slightly with notes of molasses and an enjoyable metallic tingle .
7. Organic fair trade Five Country Espresso Blend
relative to the stagger number of aggressively bad offerings found in the Trader Joe ‘s portfolio by now, this toasty and balmy blend got senior high school marks for being gentle, childlike, and inoffensive. If you ‘ve ever secretly longed for the unfussy pleasure of in-flight chocolate on a cross-country JetBlue flight, a trip to Trader Joe ‘s seems to be the most cheap and stress-free means to bring it home with you .
Gingerbread gets a bad rap ascribable to the offensively # basic condition of its cousin, pumpkin zest, but we ‘re here to tell you that not all seasonal worker flavors are created peer. Rather than gussy up a politic, meaningless season ( badly, do you evening know what pumpkin tastes like by itself ? ) with boodle, spiciness, and everything not courteous, Gingerbread creates a vibrant and lemony cup of vacation good that ‘s never excessively sugared to turn away flush the most steadfast of anti-flavored-coffee crusaders. If you ca n’t bring yourself to drink it, the least you can do is brew up a pot in stead of that disgusting “ Holiday Cheer ” -scented Yankee Candle you fire up every December. Can you drink a candle ? Well … do n’t answer that. just use this rather !
5. Colombia Supremo
From its aroma down to its end, Colombia Supremo stood out as the beginning cup in our taste that had a pure, unchained essence that stood in defiance of Joe ‘s obsession with roasting the smithereens out of their beans. This one could easily go toe-to-toe with more expensive offerings from heavyweights like Stumptown and Blue Bottle, although the miss of freshness was a slender knock that kept the hints of chocolate and balmy sourness from leaping out of the cup like they normally would at doubly the price .
4. Lys Kaffe
From the Wes Anderson-inspired promotion, right down to the thin and syrupy beginning sip, Trader Joe ‘s crack up at a norwegian light roast is by far the quirkiest, most uncharacteristic chocolate in the batting order. Considering their beloved of dark roasts, it ‘s slightly ironic the packaging itself alludes to how the roast “ brings out the nuances of the brew, ” which is cause for business that Joe has something to hide. As advertised, the beans ‘ origins of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania provide ennoble suggestions of wine and berries, both of which may have been lost if the roaster had left these cooking for even a small measure longer. aside from looking cool on your ledge, this is a fantastic choice for daily consumption that wo n’t reprogram your natural language into thinking that light coffee bean is weak and useless .
3. Wintry Blend
If you ‘re a Trader Joe ‘s shopper who ‘s still on the fence about season coffee, it ‘s time to take armory of your cart and have a long, hard expect at your life sentence. You claim to be besides good for this iconic, once-a-year oblation dusted with red gum and spices, yet you ‘re buying adequate peanut butter-filled pretzels and General Tso ‘s chicken to survive at least three coincident Snowpocalypses ? Please. The jig is up, my supporter. Just succumb to the lowbrow drivel earth of season coffee — it ‘s much more playfulness, and the cool, smooth, semi-sweet finish of Trader Joe ‘s Wintry Blend is the perfective gateway drug. Sooner or former you ‘ll be experimenting with peppermint mocha flavored cream pitcher and the divine chemistry of mixing hot chocolate with coffee, but fear not : Wintry Blend moves fast, and fair ampere soon as you ‘re cook to hook it to your veins directly, it ‘ll all be gone .
2. Organic fair trade Honduras
It was an absolute enchant to find a cardinal american chocolate that had all of its bright, crispen, and balmy characteristics entire after worming its means through the TJ ‘s issue chain. This bean was a tad dark than the super-light offerings we ‘re used to from boutique roasters in the Pacific Northwest, but the beans still had that lightly buttery olfactory property that comes to life when you send beans from Coava or Upper Left through the mill. This is a all-around cup that ‘s mellow through and through, making it a fantastic pick for a day by day drinker that ‘ll keep the caffeine shakes at bay every dawn .
1. Kenya AA
Some of the best beans in the world are sourced from the tableland around Mount Kenya, but it takes a deft refer with the roaster to keep the rich flavors of cocoa, wine, and citrus that make them such a hot commodity entire. Can Joe be trusted to not torch them into a deplorable, smoky memory ? After several cups of Kenya AA, one of the highest grades of the stuff on the market, we can say with certainty that he can. With a bluff, chocolatey body and a light prickling of citrus and red wine that coats the tongue ever so slightly, it ‘s safe to say this is the most pure-to-form chocolate you ‘ll be able to find anywhere amongst the colorfully packaged wares of Trader Joe ‘s. After spending some time with this excellent bean, the effort expended in grading the others felt was mentally relegated to learning the truth about The Matrix : we can go back to being felicitous and dumb with an inferior product, but now that we know this exists, why would we ? We ‘ll leave you now with that lapp cognition of a option so monumental you never expected it to go down in the aisle of your far-out neighborhood grocer : Do you choose the cheap and bite beans of comfort, or the rare and classy beans that will challenge everything you thought you knew about grocery shop coffee bean ? Sign up here for our casual Thrillist electronic mail and subscribe here for our YouTube groove to get your fixate of the best in food/drink/fun .Pete Cottell is a hardened coffee industry veteran who moved to Portland purely because they don’t believe in dark roasts here. Follow his screeds against chain-smoking yokels who prefer to have the flavor torched out of their coffee @VanifestDestiny