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Coffee. The other brew.
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Railroader
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Dec 20, 2005, 06:55 AM
 
Alright cafeine heads, I need some recommendations.

I want gourmet recommendations. I am quite happy with the *local coffee company, but I want to buy something gourmet for my in-laws for Christmas. Nothing too exotic, and it has to be nationally available. Or atleast I should be able to order it and have it shipped to my house before Saturday.

Thanks in advance!




* Coffee Beanery, just a few miles from my house.
     
Nicko
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:22 AM
 
What ever you buy just make sure it is freshly roasted and sealed properly and it should taste great.

I would go for Kenya AA, Etheiopian. - they are rich and dark. (ok I'm a little biased)

Since you are in NA you can get free-trade and organic. IMO freetrade makes you feel better, but doesn't mean the coffee will taste much better... however go organic if you can, it just has that something extra (as in fewer pesticides).

ps. Avoid starbucks. They don't know what real coffee is.

Oh and if you want to be really nice, buy them a Bodum French press http://www.bodumusa.com/shop/group_c...47NU4KM74H0KAE
     
Railroader  (op)
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nicko
What ever you buy just make sure it is freshly roasted and sealed properly and it should taste great.

I would go for Kenya AA, Etheiopian. - they are rich and dark. (ok I'm a little biased)

Since you are in NA you can get free-trade and organic. IMO freetrade makes you feel better, but doesn't mean the coffee will taste much better... however go organic if you can, it just has that something extra (as in fewer pesticides).
Any specific name brands or places to purchase on the web? thanks.

ps. Avoid starbucks. They don't know what real coffee is.
Agreed. That's why I buy coffee beanery coffee.
     
Nicko
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:34 AM
 
I used to order coffee from these guys all the time in Canada, they have won many awards, and their coffee is great. I'm sure they ship to the US.

Goldstar Coffee
http://www.goldstarcoffee.com/
     
Maflynn
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:48 AM
 
Kona coffee - from Hawaii. One of the best, I don't have a specific brand, but when I was in Hawaii a few years ago, the stuff was all over the place and always great cofee.
     
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:50 AM
 
I've been a Gevalia drinker for about 9 years. I've tasted most of their blends, and I like every one. In fact, I'm drinking some as I type this.

http://www.gevalia.com/
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Maflynn
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:00 AM
 
It may not be elegant, and it may not be sophisitcated but I drink Dunkin Donuts coffee. I'm not sure if a DD is where you live, but they have the best coffee around.

I go through a pound of coffee about every few/couple of weeks about two , 1lbs pound bags a month)

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moonmonkey
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:02 AM
 
Nescafe gold blend, its worth paying a bit more for the good stuff.
     
scaught
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Dec 20, 2005, 09:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Nicko
ps. Avoid starbucks. They don't know what real coffee is.
cmon now. they may be a giant multinational, but their beans are good.
     
ort888
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Dec 20, 2005, 09:54 AM
 
I suggest Kopi Luwak. Now that is some good sh*t.

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production_coordinator
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Dec 20, 2005, 09:55 AM
 
SIDE NOTE: You may also want to pick up a french press. I've noticed it keeps my coffee a bit more consistent and extracts more of flavor from the bean.
     
lavar78
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Dec 20, 2005, 10:37 AM
 
All coffee is good coffee; some is just better than others.

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DeathToWindows
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Dec 20, 2005, 10:43 AM
 
Ok, having spent the last semester hanging around a bunch of trained baristas at my local non-starbucks coffeehouse, here are my thoughts on the matter.

1. What you are going to do with the coffee should determine what you're buying. An example would be buying House Blend (usually a very flat and boring blend) to run as Espresso shots. As a general rule with drip and french press, I happen to like Sumatra and most of the Ethopian blends.

2. Anyone who is suggesting DD's coffee, things you can buy at the Supermarket or similar - I have to disagree. Almost all of that stuff is exceedingly old (Supermarket) and in the case of DD, hideously overroasted. There is a reason why it is cheap.

3. I'd say, assuming you want good beans for said recipients, to find your local microroaster (either in your area or within 1 day's shipping distance online) and buy there. If this is prohibitive, I am fond of the Illy cans - the product therein makes excellent french press (can't say for drip) and makes a nice if very strong shot. For the mail order route, I'd look into http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/ - they're considered one of the best companies around for roasting and shipping product.

And, before you get any Kopi Luwak, research how you get it...
I've never liked Gevalia (they may have a Warrant Royal for Belgium, but it always tastes flat to me and I'd NEVER do espresso with it).

Don't try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal.
     
Gator Lager
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Dec 20, 2005, 10:47 AM
 
Don't forget Jamaican Blue Mountain. Kinda pricey but good.
     
turtle777
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Dec 20, 2005, 10:52 AM
 
Illy. Awesome italian coffee.

-t
     
production_coordinator
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Dec 20, 2005, 11:11 AM
 
Jamaican Blue Mountain and Folgers Crystals...
     
scaught
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888
I suggest Kopi Luwak. Now that is some good sh*t.
i chuckled.
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:29 PM
 
What kind of coffee do they drink, normally?

Espresso-based?
French pressed?

Intelligentsia makes good coffee, as does Coffee Emergency.

http://coffeereview.com/ is a great place to start looking, too.

Whatever you do, try to have it delivered only a day or two before you plan on giving your gift. Roasted coffee is best within 7 days of roasting, and dramatically declines in quality after that.
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Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777
Illy. Awesome italian coffee.

-t
Italians swear by the stuff, and while I haven't had any better pre-ground stuff, all of their coffees are a little bit on the stale side (whole bean included).

A decent cup, but you could get better for cheaper.
"You rise," he said, "like Aurora."
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught
cmon now. they may be a giant multinational, but their beans are good.
Their beans may be better than most instant-coffee you can buy, but honestly, their whole beans are worse than any other out there. They over-roast a lot of their blends, and they sell beans that are months old.
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turtle777
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stradlater
... while I haven't had any better pre-ground stuff, ...

A decent cup, but you could get better for cheaper.
Isn't that contradictory ?

-t
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777
Isn't that contradictory ?

-t
How so?
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turtle777
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stradlater
How so?
Duh !

Originally Posted by Stradlater
... haven't had any better ...
... you could get better ...
What's your point ?
That YOU never had any better, but it is possible to get better for cheaper, but you never did ?

-t
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777
Duh !


What's your point ?
That YOU never had any better, but it is possible to get better for cheaper, but you never did ?

-t
"Pre-ground" was a very important part of that statement. Most good coffees are whole bean. A surprising amount of flavor dissipates from coffee within an hour of grinding.

Illy's pregrinding and storage methods make it taste a bit better than most pre-ground stuff, but most pre-ground stuff is utter trash.
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turtle777
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stradlater
"Pre-ground" was a very important part of that statement. Most good coffees are whole bean. A surprising amount of flavor dissipates from coffee within an hour of grinding.

Illy's pregrinding and storage methods make it taste a bit better than most pre-ground stuff, but most pre-ground stuff is utter trash.
Ok, now I get it.

-t
     
dark3lf
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Dec 20, 2005, 12:54 PM
 
Another vote for Jamaican Blue.
     
nredman
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:04 PM
 
i usually buy millstone coffee www.millstone.com or byerly's coffee (local grocery store) - i'm sure they are both crappy but i just pour a bunch of sugar and cream in my coffee anyways so

"I'm for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel's."
     
greenamp
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:40 PM
 
My personal favorite right now is Yemen Mocha. It tastes a lot like Kenya but it's a tad bit lighter and more "fruity." In fact, although I do take a bit of sweetener in my coffee typically, I find that I prefer Yemen 100% black.

As far as where to get it I'm not sure. My local coffee shop does their own roasting so I'm a bit spoiled.

Just remember the rule of thumb: 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water (2 tablespoons per 8 ounces works well too for some of the darker roasts).
     
wdlove
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:44 PM
 
Starbucks is my one and only choice in coffee.

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scaught
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stradlater
Their beans may be better than most instant-coffee you can buy, but honestly, their whole beans are worse than any other out there. They over-roast a lot of their blends, and they sell beans that are months old.
id say its better than a bulk food bin of beans, and better than the grocery store whole bean brands. i wont be a staunt defendant of them, but they arent that bad.

that said, you should find a local roaster and support them. the freshness and flavour will blow you away and it will probably be cheaper than starbucks too.

i dont even drink caffeine anymore. hahaha.
     
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Gator Lager
Don't forget Jamaican Blue Mountain. Kinda pricey but good.

I spent some time in Jamaica and drank tons of Blue Mountain coffee every day. Strong & smooth as silk. But it's way too expensive to buy - $15.00 for a 1/2 pound near me!

Second favorite coffee is Starbuck's Whole Bean Italian Espresso. It's just so darn good, I get the shakes thinking about it.

Nearby are many local coffee houses that roast their own beans, but IMO they all taste too smoky and bitter, bordering on over-roasted dirt flavor. Yuck.
     
segovius
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Dec 20, 2005, 04:55 PM
 
Just make sure you go for 100% Arabica - the Robusta bean is the one that gives you the jittery feeling, Arabica doesn't do that.

Trouble is Arabica only grows above a certain altitude and is therefore rare and thus more expensive - hence the practice of mixing the two to make it cheaper.

I find I can have around 4-5 cups of Arabica daily (Illy or Lavazza - Segafredo do a good one too but I forget what it's called) as opposed to only 2 max of a Robusta mix.
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osiris
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Dec 20, 2005, 05:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by segovius
Just make sure you go for 100% Arabica - the Robusta bean is the one that gives you the jittery feeling, Arabica doesn't do that.
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Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 06:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by scaught
id say its better than a bulk food bin of beans, and better than the grocery store whole bean brands. i wont be a staunt defendant of them, but they arent that bad.

that said, you should find a local roaster and support them. the freshness and flavour will blow you away and it will probably be cheaper than starbucks too.

i dont even drink caffeine anymore. hahaha.
I'd say Whole Foods and Costco both have better offerings than Starbucks, but you're probably right when it comes to the average grocery store. Even so, Starbucks wouldn't be that much of a step up.

That said, I roast my own coffee beans. Can't be wrong with <$5/lb. (last time I ordered direct, with a co-op, and got some fantastic-quality unroasted beans at about $2/lb.), especially when it almost always tastes better than even what some specialty roasters offer, and I can always be using beans that are less than a week old in roasted freshness.
"You rise," he said, "like Aurora."
     
wallinbl
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Dec 20, 2005, 06:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by segovius
Just make sure you go for 100% Arabica - the Robusta bean is the one that gives you the jittery feeling, Arabica doesn't do that.
Eh? If I were giving someone some coffee as a gift (a Kona or Blue Mountain or something), how would I apply this information to my purchase? Is Arabica something different than Kona or is there Kona Arabica and Kona Robusta? Sorry, but I know little about coffee and wanted to get my wife something special as a stocking stuffer.
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by wallinbl
Eh? If I were giving someone some coffee as a gift (a Kona or Blue Mountain or something), how would I apply this information to my purchase? Is Arabica something different than Kona or is there Kona Arabica and Kona Robusta? Sorry, but I know little about coffee and wanted to get my wife something special as a stocking stuffer.
Robusta is cheaper and has more caffeine with less [good] flavor; it's primarily used in things like Folgers and other cheap-o, pre-ground stuff. Kona coffee is Arabica coffee.
"You rise," he said, "like Aurora."
     
ghporter
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Dec 20, 2005, 07:26 PM
 
The major problem with Starbucks is that they brew all their coffees way too strongly. A little strong gives you more flavor, but a lot too strong makes the flavor overpowering. I typically order a Grande in a Vente cup so I have room for enough cream to moderate the strong coffee a bit.

Railroader, before you commit to a specific kind of coffee, find out what they like. If they like stronger or milder coffees, that points you toward a range of options. If they don't have a preference (and most coffee drinkers haven't sampled enough different coffees to tell the difference between McDonald's and Starbucks' coffees anyway), then make sure you go middle of the road. And don't lean too much on flavored coffees; these tend to get cloying after a while.

My sister sent me some Coffee Beanery coffee for Christmas last year, and it was great! I got the impression that their place of business is "buyer friendly"- they may just take your mild/strong/don't know ideas and help you find something totally awesome. Ask 'em!

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Dec 20, 2005, 07:39 PM
 
Maxwell House "Original Roast" instant coffee.

mmMMMmmMMMMmmmmmm....



http://www.maxwellhouse.com/maxwellhouse/page
     
greenamp
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter
The major problem with Starbucks is that they brew all their coffees way too strongly. A little strong gives you more flavor, but a lot too strong makes the flavor overpowering. I typically order a Grande in a Vente cup so I have room for enough cream to moderate the strong coffee a bit.

Railroader, before you commit to a specific kind of coffee, find out what they like. If they like stronger or milder coffees, that points you toward a range of options. If they don't have a preference (and most coffee drinkers haven't sampled enough different coffees to tell the difference between McDonald's and Starbucks' coffees anyway), then make sure you go middle of the road. And don't lean too much on flavored coffees; these tend to get cloying after a while.

My sister sent me some Coffee Beanery coffee for Christmas last year, and it was great! I got the impression that their place of business is "buyer friendly"- they may just take your mild/strong/don't know ideas and help you find something totally awesome. Ask 'em!
Actually Starbucks brews 2 tablespoons coffee to 6 ounces water, which is the universally accepted recipe for perfect brewing (2-to-8 works well too). If this seems too strong to you, choose a milder roast and/or add some hot water to your cup.

The thing about coffee is, the flavor of the bean is extracted first in the brewing process, and when that's gone the bitterness of the bean is extracted. The perfect cup of coffee is achieved by a brew which extracts all the good flavor and as little of the bitterness as possible, and the 2-to-6 recipe does this quite well. Of coarse this all depends on the quality of the bean, the roast, and how it was ground.

Check out Making a Delicious Cup of Coffee by Alton Brown.
     
sminch
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:46 PM
 
if you want something totally well thought out and bound to earn you vast quantities of brownie points, buy some green (unroasted) beans and roast it yourself. you can do it in an oven or in a dry frypan / wok on the stove. it might take a few attempts to get the colour right but it's not that hard and tends to impress...

sminch
     
Bandit240
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:47 PM
 
I dont drink coffee, but after reading this thread its making me want to try it. Any good ideas for someone whos never drank the stuff? My family always has coffee in the morning, buts its MaxwellHouse instant stuff.
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bandit240
I dont drink coffee, but after reading this thread its making me want to try it. Any good ideas for someone whos never drank the stuff? My family always has coffee in the morning, buts its MaxwellHouse instant stuff.
It would help if we knew where you were from, so you could try some of the good stuff in a good café. You might even find more help at the CoffeeGeek forums ( http://www.coffeegeek.com/ ).
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Bandit240
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:55 PM
 
Im from Charleston SC. I dont know of any cafes or places like that.
     
Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 08:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by sminch
if you want something totally well thought out and bound to earn you vast quantities of brownie points, buy some green (unroasted) beans and roast it yourself. you can do it in an oven or in a dry frypan / wok on the stove. it might take a few attempts to get the colour right but it's not that hard and tends to impress...

sminch
Invest in a $10 popcorn popper and get much better results with the constant moving of the beans for an even roast. With the oven and stove methods, the result is unfortunately a bit uneven, even if you constantly stir.

Regardless of method, those little things SMOKE, so have a good hood/vent over your stove.
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Stradlater
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Dec 20, 2005, 09:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Bandit240
Im from Charleston SC. I dont know of any cafes or places like that.
I'd recommend asking on the CoffeeGeek.com forums if no one here knows of places in the area. Keep in mind, though, that coffee is a bit of an acquired taste, like wine and beer, and you might need to try it a bunch of times before your buds get used to it and enjoy it. Just don't give up too soon if your first cup tastes too strong add some sugar/dairy if need be
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Railroader  (op)
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Dec 21, 2005, 03:29 AM
 
I decided on a coffee bean roasting kit from Williams Brewing.

I couldn't decide on what to get them, and this looks like the kind of thing they wouldn't buy for themselves. I know they have bought whole roasted beans before and own a grinder.

Thanks for your input.

Now, go back to discussing various coffee brands. I like the discussion.
     
Maflynn
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Dec 21, 2005, 07:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by DeathToWindows
2. Anyone who is suggesting DD's coffee, things you can buy at the Supermarket or similar - I have to disagree. Almost all of that stuff is exceedingly old (Supermarket) and in the case of DD, hideously overroasted. There is a reason why it is cheap.
Old or new I do not know, but what I do know is that Dunkin Donuts coffee is good. Perhaps I'm not a coffee snob like some, perhaps people are just too uptight about the type of coffee. For me DD coffee is good, and it seems many people agree with me, as they sell a ton of bean.
     
Railroader  (op)
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Dec 21, 2005, 10:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn
Old or new I do not know, but what I do know is that Dunkin Donuts coffee is good. Perhaps I'm not a coffee snob like some, perhaps people are just too uptight about the type of coffee. For me DD coffee is good, and it seems many people agree with me, as they sell a ton of bean.
Did you read my first post that started the thread!?!
I want gourmet recommendations. I am quite happy with the *local coffee company, but I want to buy something gourmet for my in-laws for Christmas. Nothing too exotic, and it has to be nationally available. Or atleast I should be able to order it and have it shipped to my house before Saturday.
Would you consider DD "gourmet"? DD may be a nice daily drinking coffee, but HARDLY gourmet.

A windows sells a "ton" of pieces of software, but that hardly makes them a quality software co.
     
DeathToWindows
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Dec 21, 2005, 11:24 PM
 
No, DD ends up right above the "brewed cow dung" end of things... better than instant, but not by bloody much.

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Kenneth
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Dec 21, 2005, 11:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by wdlove
Starbucks is my one and only choice in coffee.
Ditto that... Tully's Coffee isn't that bad as well.
     
 
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