Is Starbucks really the best coffee?

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Coffee taste test (Photo: Creatas)

Nothing like a strong cup of tasting cup of Joe to get the day started – and while it’s no surprise that brewing your own cup at home is cheaper than making a daily run to the coffee shop, we want to know: which store bought brand taste best? Does price dictate quality?

To find out, we camped out in New York’s Bryant Park to conduct our own Savvy Spender coffee taste test. 

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First, our methodology: We selected five store brought grounds and used the same brewing method for all. Then, in a blind taste test we asked coffee lovers to rank the brands (A-E) based on taste and strength, from one to five, with five being the highest score. Here’s what we brewed:

(A) Starbucks House Blend Medium Roast
(B) Dunkin Donuts Original Blend Medium Roast
(C) Folger’s Classic Roast
(D) Gevalia House Blend
(E) Walmart Great Value Arabica Medium Roast

Ahead of our informal test we found that Consumer Reports and its team of experts have given some thought to this question, as well. They conducted their own study and tested 75 brands of coffee.  They found that for about 25 cents per 6-oz cup, Starbucks House Blend came in with a rating of 57 out of 100. But, for 15 cents less per cup, Folger’s came in close with a rating of 41, which were both considered “good.”

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The overall winners in our Savvy Spender taste test?

#1 (E) Wal-mart. Great Value Arabica Medium Roast. This brand averaged #1 for both strength and taste. Best of all this was our cheapest brand at just $3.38 for 11 ounces.

#2 (A) Starbucks House Blend Medium Roast. It turns out America’s #1 coffee joint also makes an impressive house blend.

#3 (D) Gevalia. Testers say the taste was better than it’s strength.

#4 (C) Folgers. The opposite was true. Strength surpassed taste.

#5 (B) Dunkin Donuts. Taste testers complained it just wasn’t strong enough.

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No matter which coffee brand you prefer Consumer Reports suggests the following considerations when buying coffee.

1.     Consider how you like it. Milk and sugar can sometimes go a long way.
2.     Choose a good coffee maker. Temperatures that reach 195 to 205 degrees help to avoid a weak or bitter brew.
3.     Consider grinding your own beans for a fresher flavor.

We want to hear from you: What is your own favorite store-bought brew? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit.

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