thoughts from New England

Late Night Coffee Roundup May 26, 2006

Filed under: coffee — tim @ 3:21 am

Apologies for the lack of updates. Baby on the way and all that, but tally-ho, here's some more.

As a third-shifter as well as a coffee freak, these go hand in hand like cream & sugar. Well, like cream, since I can't stand the sweet stuff in my joe. I've travelled around these lands in search of delicious coffee and I'll discuss a few, in ascending order of greatness. This is subject to change, however, because I'm sure someone somewhere can scrape some coffee grounds out of the dumpster and run sewer water through the filter to create a more horrific brew. That being said, I present to you…

7-11 — Absolutely horrible. Doesn't matter the location, doesn't matter the freshness, all I have ever experienced from every 7-11 is disgusting coffee. It tastes as though they used dirt for grounds and brake fluid for water. Avoid this at all costs. I cannot believe that people actually pay money for this stuff time after time. It's called "Cafe Select" — Select what, select the worst beans around? Maybe they heard about the coffee beans that are supposed to be exquisite because a sloth or some other jungle animal craps out and they got this stuff instead. Mud would be an understatement. I tried this once, and ended up throwing away the entire cup. I figured it was a bad brew, it had been sitting there late at night, untouched for hours and I probably got a raw pot, so I gave it another shot. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice….won't get fooled again.

Overall rating: Crappy with a hint of petroleum.

New England Coffee — This isn't much better. This is the brand around here that is often found in gas stations, diners, but I see that it's also available in your local supermarket. Because of its varying preparation, it can range from very crappy to moderately tolerable. Often times it has been made days ahead of time and ferments to a fine brandied state, which is by no means as enticing as it sounds. Still, I try to avoid this coffee at all costs because of its markedly burned & bitter taste with hints of the local sewer water.

Overall rating: Varies, but dependably sludgy.

Burger King — Burger King recently revamped their coffee with what they call the BK Joe. More like BK No.

Overall rating: You're better off licking the King's boots.

Green Mountain Coffee — Again, Green Mountain Coffee is a local (but huge!) coffee operation in these here parts, and is often found in many a gas station. It really varies by location, because sometimes you can find a place that brews great GMC and some places just brew sludge. I've had both, and I can't remember who makes good coffee and who makes bad coffee, so I just press on and ignore it.
Overall rating: Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Panera Bread — I know I'm biased here because of my employment by them, but when I make my own pot on the overnights, I like it. I make it stronger, putting in one and a half amount of beans as requested for a half a pot. And it comes out good! The featured dark roast used to be much better a few years ago, but it's tolerable (and free for me). However, when I have it as made by a daytime associate, it ranges from drinkable to dump-it-on-the-highway. Most of the times it's way too bitter and lacking any real flavor.

Overall rating: Good for me, iffy for you.

McDonald's Newman's Own Organic Green Mountain Coffee — By now you should all have Green Mountain Coffee in your local McD's. Have you seen their commercial where a guy goes over to the McD's, tastes the coffee and yells back to his coworkers "It's good!" and they cheer? The advertisement couldn't have been more accurate. This is actually a consistantly decent and usually pretty enjoyable coffee. I think it's the Organics or the consistant brewing methods employed by McD's (and the assumed regular changing of the water filters in the restaurants as opposed to the lack thereof with your local gas stations), but either way I'll actually go back there to get some in the future.

Overall rating: Surprisingly good.

Dunkin Donuts — Everytime my sister comes back north, she leaves here with at least 6lbs of Dunkin Donuts coffee in her bag. She used to live in Rhode Island where there is more Dunkin Donuts than there are people, and perhaps they put an implant into her brain to make her drink this coffee and only this coffee. Either way, Dunkin Donuts puts crack into their coffee and the legions of idiots who wait in the drive thrus are only testament to this, not to mention that I'm a mile from the highway right now and on that mile there are no less than 5 Dunkin Donuts (and that's not including the 6 more up the street in the opposite direction for 3 miles), and I'm not even in Rhode Island (I'm in New Hampshire). Either way, Dunkin Donuts is usually pretty good, I mean IT'S THE BEST GO GET SOME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111 soon I'll be selling my possessions to fuel my habit, but for the time being I can manage. The only downside is the heaping helping of attitude that comes from the employees; most times they hate the world and you as well. I prefer the locations where I can see if they're spitting in my coffee or now.

Overall rating: Consistantly decent.(is it just me, or does DD's new slogan "America Runs On Dunkin" just seem….ironic considering the amount of running their customers do?)

Starbucks — I am one of the few who does not like Starbucks. I don't have one nearby and even when I pass them, I pass on them. They've always struck me as bitter and overpowering, missing out on the nuances that the delicious coffee bean has to offer. I'll have them again someday, but I'm a regular drip kind of guy, I don't like the lattes or the frappiattocinos or whatever they've come up with for an affordable $15/cup.

Overall rating: Eh.

There you have it, folks. A wrap-up of widely available coffees that you can get on the go. As always, a local roaster is the best, but when those are not available, I hope this helps.


5 Responses to “Late Night Coffee Roundup”

  1. Lu Says:

    In all honesty, one of the hardest parts about moving to Virginia was the adjustment to a life without Dunkin’ Donuts. I love their coffee. It’s almost always fantastic. They put too much cream in it, but since I have it so infrequently now, I’ll allow it. (I think the best part of my job in Rhode Island was that no matter where in the city I was doing my home visits, there was always a Dunkin’ Donuts on my way back to the office. I think I had 5 to choose from. Woonsocket is not big.)

    Starbucks = way too strong, usually, but it will do in a pinch. We are lucky enough to have some really good local coffee places, so I don’t often have to go there. Next time you visit we will go to Greenberry’s, Java Java, and Cville Coffee. Yum.

    Whole Foods makes good coffee too (like beans to buy and make at home) but you don’t have a Whole Foods. That’s sad.

  2. keren. Says:

    My baby time passed!

  3. nonsequitur Says:

    BRING ON THE STRONG SLUDGE!!! Real coffee doesn’t allow cream to change it’s shade ;-P

  4. JK Says:

    First of all, I appreciate the amount of time you put into this piece. Clearly, you have a love for coffee, as do I.. Although frankly, I’m not sure you know what you’re talking about.

    I’m a fourth generation family member of New England Coffee. My family (and the Dostou family) has owned the company for 90 years. We are celebrating this year.

    I’ve worked for the company since I was a child. There are very few jobs within the company that I have not personally done. In my last position I was a foodservice Salesman. I managed over 300 accounts from Cambridge to Framingham. I know, have tasted, and competed with every coffee company in New England.

    With all of my experience in the coffee industry, I can say without a doubt that I completely disagree with your assessment. I understand these are your opinions, and what taste good to me may not taste good to you. I can respect that. But when I saw the clear contradictions in your opinions I felt the need to speak up.

    New England Coffee Company supplies Dunkin with their coffee. You hate New England Coffee but you like Dunkin. They are one in the same.

    You did however touch on one point that can drastically affect the taste of coffee. That is of course the preparation, the amount of time it sits on the burner, and the water it’s brewed with. All of these factors can contribute to a very bad cup of coffee.

    But bash the restaurateur, not the supplier. Obviously, we cannot police the thousands of accounts we have.

    I can only tell you that we do supply them with some damn good coffee. We didn’t become the largest manufacture, distributor and roaster of coffee in the Northeast for nothing.

    Just some food for thought.


  5. tim Says:

    ok dude, but you didn’t even respond to my email! Customer love? Not likely.

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