Coffee Taste Tests

Coffee is one of America's favorite drinks. And coffee blends-are our favorite kind. Consumer Reports tested 37 and has some surprises.

The average coffee drinker consumed more than a thousand cups of coffee a year. And for most people, it's coffee blends.

Consumer Reports' expert coffee testers sipped their way through more than three-dozen coffees to find which ones taste the best.

"A good cup of coffee should be smooth and complex. You don't want any excessive bitterness or off-flavors, like woody, grainy, or papery," said Consumer Reports' Ellen Klosz.

Among the blends tested-Dunkin' Donuts, Starbucks, and long-standing staples like Folgers and Maxwell House.

Klosz says, "None of the blends we tested rated excellent or even good."

And many well-known coffees rated only fair.

For example-Folgers Classic Roast Medium and Maxwell House's Master Blend Mild both tasted grainy and papery.

Klosz says, "We test the coffees black to get the true flavor, but if you normally add cream and sugar, some of the ones we tested would probably be fine."

Those include Starbucks' House Blend and Green Mountain Signature Nantucket Blend-the Medium Roast.

But there are better coffees out there. When Consumer Reports' tested 100% Colombian coffees, it found several that tasted very good even when black.

One to try-the top-rated Eight O'Clock Coffee 100% Columbian.

Consumer Reports also taste-tested decaf blends-13 in all.

Just like the caffeinated blends, none rated excellent or very good, but some were improved by adding milk and sugar. Consumer Reports says for the best combination of taste and price, try Starbuck's Decaf House Blend or Peet's Decaf House Blend.

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