All right, all right: where else, eh?
To my astonishment, Costco carries some decent whole-bean coffees. Not great, but very much on the high side of acceptable. And the stuff is cheap beyond belief.
As you’ll recall, the really good stuff comes from “The Little Guy,”* my favorite local supplier, at $15 a pound — rather more than I care to pay on a regular basis. AJ’s, my former favorite supplier and gourmet grocery market, charges about $12 a pound, but they apparently changed suppliers a few months ago. The espresso is no longer an especially dark roast, and the quality of the bean itself is noticeably inferior to what it used to be. Whole Foods here quit selling bulk coffee. Sprouts’s bulk coffee is excruciatingly bad. Eventually I found an “organic” bulk coffee at the fancy Fry’s supermarket on the fringe of Richistan, where a pound goes for about nine bucks.
And that’s what I’ve been buying: it’s pretty good. Certainly not up to The Little Guy’s product. But more than good enough for gummint work.
The other day I was at Costco with some friends. They use one of those Keurig things, so we were in the coffee aisle looking for their preferred variety of pod. This was an exception for me, because I never go into the coffee aisle there, having been told that all the coffee at Costco is Starbucks.
I personally don’t care for Starbucks coffee. In my experience, it’s low-flavor plonk whose highest and best use is to serve as a medium into which to pour sugar, cream, and artificial flavors. Yuck! The only way to get a halfway decent cup of coffee at a Starbucks is to ask for a café Americano. That will elicit a brew that tastes approximately like a decent cup of restaurant coffee. Which ain’t sayin’ much, but it’s better than what they sell as regular “coffee.”
So anyway, we’re mucking around in the coffee aisle and I happen to notice they carry a “Kirkland” brand, which appears to be different from the bags of “Starbucks” that populate most of their shelves of whole beans. Hm. Read the label: it doesn’t say it’s produced by Starbucks…but that means nothing, since Costco tends to be secretive about its suppliers. And it’s only NINE BUCKS for a fine Costco lifetime supply! A vast, bottomless bag of dark-roast coffee beans beckons.
They also had a make labeled “San Francisco,” hard to resist with a name like that. But the Kirkland was cheaper . . . and . . . why not? It comes in a three-pound bag, enough to last me a month or so. Nine dollah isn’t enough to bankrupt me…if I hate it, I’ll just donate it to someone’s cause. Or…hell, it’s Costco: you can bring ANYTHING back. 🙂
Grabbed that. Turns out to be surprisingly good. Not as exquisite as The Little Guy’s, but very, very good. Better than the Fry’s organic dark roast. Significantly better than AJ’s. And light-years superior to Sprouts.
A month later, having consumed most of the Kirkland bag, I decided to try the “San Francisco” label. It also is pretty good. Not as good as the Kirkland dark roast, but highly creditable. About the same as Fry’s, I’d say. Better than AJ’s, better than Sprouts, surely better than Starbucks.
You can buy this stuff at Amazon, BTW, for a lot more than it costs in the store, and the natives seem to like it: Consumer reviews there range upwards of four stars. Then we have a guy who styles himself as a coffee expert: he loves the stuff. Whether that article is a paid post, I do not know…if it is, I hope he got paid plenty for it, because he goes all out in reviewing the Kirkland varieties. On the coffees I’ve tried, though, I have to say I’d agree with him.
WhatEVER. Give me upward of a month’s worth of decent whole-bean coffee, and you’ve bought my soul…
*Not the store’s name. The affable proprietor was dubbed “The Little Guy” by SDXB within a week of the store’s opening. It’s a tiny coffeehouse in a Walmart shopping center situated on Gangbanger’s Way — draws its clientele from local retirees and from the medical staff at the huge urban medical center across the road.