Special Report

America’s Favorite Coffee Brands

3. Café Bustelo

Café Bustelo, whose bright yellow packaging leaps out from the grocery store shelves, was founded in New York City in 1928 by Gregorio Bustelo. Though Bustelo had lived in Cuba, and his Cuban-style coffee became the go-to brew for Cuban (and also Puerto Rican and Dominican) immigrants to the U.S., he was in fact a Spaniard, from Galicia. Now owned — like Folgers (No. 5) — by the J.M. Smucker Company, it remains a staple in Latin American households in this country. Customer reviews on Amazon say things like “For value and taste…you can’t really beat Café Bustelo,” “a very tasty, versatile coffee,” and simply “The best coffee on the planet.”

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2. Starbucks

Founded in Seattle in 1971 and now the largest coffee shop chain in the world by far, Starbucks brands a wide range of supermarket coffee products, including a selection of whole bean and ground coffees, K-Cups, instant coffee, and such ready-to-drink creations as Bottled Frappuccino and Doubleshot Coffee Smoothies. (The chain no longer owns the retail coffees bearing its name: Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, bought that part of the business in 2018 for a reported $7.15 billion.) CoffeeReview gave the Starbucks ground French Roast a tepid review, calling it “pleasant enough” and “about as dark as it is possible to roast a coffee,” but finding that it ultimately “provides little of the pungent, charred intensity buyers of this…coffee type love.”

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1. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts started life as a restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950. (The chain rebranded to simply Dunkin’ early last year, but available coffee packaging seems to still use the old name). From the beginning, it bragged about offering the “world’s finest coffee,” upping its game with the introduction of espresso in 2003. It took another leap forward in the premium coffee world with the introduction of new espresso machines and a reformulated recipe in 2018, and has just announced a $60 million further upgrade for this year. The chain opened Dunkin’ outlets in some supermarkets, mostly in the Northeast, in 2002, but in 2007 entered grocery stores in a major way. According to Extra Crispy (Time Inc.’s breakfast-oriented food site), the brand’s Original Blend is “[light] without being bitter, roasty without being burnt, and…nearly indistinguishable from takeout Dunkin’.”

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All the rest

Additional coffee brands that ranked below the category average were, in alphabetical order: Caribou, Chock Full o’Nuts, Eight O’Clock, Gevalia, Hills Bros., Krispy Kreme, Maxwell House, New England, Seattle’s Best, and Yuban.

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