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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Perfect Coffee

About a month ago, shortly after we had brought 'Sissy' home from the hospital, my husband announced that we were both too tired to cook and were heading out for lunch. We went to a local chinese buffet, and when the woman came for our drink order, I was so tired that I ordered coffee.

She brought it out in a cheerful looking Christmas mug and I added in my usual sugar packet before sipping gratefully. I was shocked when I tasted it, and had my husband taste it to confirm what I thought: this was some of the best coffee we'd ever had. We sat wondering what it was. Could it be a special asian blend? Was it available online? I asked my husband if we could buy some if it wasn't over $20.

When the waitress came back, we asked her if we could please have the name of the coffee, and if she could tell us where they got it. Her answer was a mumble and a strange look before she walked off towards the kitchen. I shrugged at my husband, offering the suggestion that maybe she had to ask for permission before she could tell us what it was or where to get it.

She came back to the table, still giving us strange looks as she smiled and held up what we'd been so curious about: it was a packet of Nescafé instant coffee. My husband and I burst out laughing, we couldn't believe we'd been sitting around amazed at a simple blend of instant.

We went out that same day and bought ourselves a jar of it for around $6. I soon learned to love my instant coffee, especially with a new baby in the house. I didn't have to clean the pot or dump grinds anymore just to get a little pick-me-up, and the coffee itself was fast to make - I could have a hot cup ready in about a minute. Best of all it tasted great! When we ran out, I headed over to my local Winn Dixie store to see about buying another jar. There were so many different types and flavors of instant coffee, I found myself wondering which was the best one.

I decided I'd just have to hold a taste test. I went over to +Walmart, where they had a smaller variety, but I would save myself about $1 per jar. Since I was only going to test the classic coffee version, it didn't matter anyway. The brands I tested were: Nescafé Clasico, Maxwell House Original, Folgers Classic Roast, and Walmart's own Great Value brand. Price-wise, the coffees all range in price from about 3 to 5 cents per cup, with the Walmart brand being the cheapest, and the Folgers being the most expensive. Considering that your average on-the-go coffee is almost a dollar though, I'm not complaining about the difference between 2 cents!


I used my family's usual weekend coffee-drinking to administer my taste tests, and here's what we found:

Nescafé Clasico
Pros: Coffee tastes like it has a hint of chocolate to it, strong flavor, no bitter aftertaste, comes in a nice glass container that is perfect for reusing.
Cons: Doesn't come with directions saying how much coffee to use, lid is difficult to get off the jar and gets stuck easily.

Maxwell House Original
Pros: Coffee was very smooth, better for drinkers who like a milder coffee taste.
Cons: Avid coffee drinkers found the mix to be too mild and a bit thin, it didn't have that nice coffee-ish smell to it.

Folgers Classic Roast
Pros: Has a strong coffee flavor, grinds smell good, aftertaste is a good one.
Cons: Coffee is a bit strong for those who don't like it weaker, tastes almost smoky at first (but that reminded us of camping, which is fun, so I guess it could be seen as a pro too)

Great Value Brand
Pros: Coffee was very smooth, slightly stronger than the Maxwell House, had a gentle flavor to it.
Cons: It doesn't have a pleasant coffee smell, the jar is so wide that it can be easily dropped.

In the end, the unanimous winner was the Nescafé, with the Walmart brand coming in at second. We used the recommended "rounded teaspoon" per 6 ounces of water to make the coffees, but more or less coffee can be added to match specific tastes.

So I've found my perfect coffee: cheap, easy to make, no clean-up. Who knew instant coffee could be so great?!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, and as always, my opinions are purely my own.

14 comments:

  1. I'm surprised the waitress even gave you the name of the coffee ,not a lot of places gives up their secrets.I Love Walmart's Great Value brand!I'm amazed at how delicious their treats are.

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    1. I seriously feel dumb right now i just realized i haven't left an email just in case i did ever have a winning change lol .Sorry,i've been just so into all your posts.

      cupcakebabe416@gmail.com
      xoxo
      <3

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  2. I always go to dunkin donuts so I think its time I find my perfect coffee in the store with the same guidelines as yours HAHA.

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  3. Do you have Aldi near you, they have a great instant coffee, cheaper than Great Value here in IN.

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  4. I LOVE instant coffee. It's sooo... good with a good amount of half and half and sugar. Yummy!! One of my favorite ways to drink coffee!

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  5. Nescafe.....what a fun surprise!

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  6. I love finding great deals like that!

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  7. Bluecupcake - I was more surprised that I found a good cup of coffee at a chinese buffet!! :D And Katie - Yes we do have Aldi's here, I love shopping with them! I'll have to go try their brand out and see how I like it :)

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  8. My favorite is Dunkin Donuts bean. We buy and grind it at home.
    It is a really smooth and delicious coffee. The DD hazelnut is also great.

    jweezie43[at]gmail[dot]com

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  9. Wow.. its amazing what you can learn if you ask questions. Some restaurants are picky and they will either tell you they dont know they will lie about it. Always a great to learn that something so tasty is so easily accessible to buy.. and for a good price! lol :)

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  10. Folgers Country Blend is my favorite and it is usually cheaper then the regular!!

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    1. I've never heard of Country Blend coffee... I'll have to try it, maybe it's something like what my grandpa used to drink in his farming days :)

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