Exploring the Coffee Wonderland of Costco

Yesterday was an exciting day, venturing into a place I don’t often go—Costco. The mission? To snag one of every coffee product available and put them to the test. The experience felt like diving into the deep end of a caffeinated wonderland. Upon arrival, we navigated through the aisles, deliberately avoiding the pods and instant coffees. Our cart quickly filled up as we selected whole bean and pre-ground options, all while battling the relentless Oregon rain on our way out. It was clear this tasting journey was going to be more intense than initially planned.

Back home, we set up a cupping station to evaluate the diverse range of Costco coffees, rating each on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s worth noting that Costco’s coffee selection varies regionally, so you might not find the exact same options in your local store. Undeterred, we dove right in, starting with some notably dark and intensely roasted varieties. From Kirkland’s decaf blend to their Colombian Supremo, our taste buds were in for a rollercoaster ride. The journey through French roasts, house blends, and even a charmingly named Major Dickason’s blend from Pete’s Coffee, promised an adventurous exploration of flavors and aromas.

Navigating the Coffee Aisle

Upon entering Costco, the mission was clear: to purchase one of every coffee product available, with the exception of pods and instant varieties. Maneuvering through the aisle, the cart filled quickly with whole bean and pre-ground options. The selection process was made challenging by the sheer variety of products, each promising a unique tasting experience. Oregon’s relentless rain accompanied the journey, making it a quintessential Pacific Northwest outing.

Back home, a cupping station was set up to evaluate the assortment of coffees. The plan was to rate each coffee on a scale of 1 to 10, an endeavor that promised to be both exciting and revealing. Of note, Costco’s coffee selection can vary regionally, so some of the coffees found might not be available everywhere. Nevertheless, the tasting began with high anticipation.

The Dark Roasts

The journey started with some notably dark and intensely roasted varieties. Kirkland’s decaf blend was described as very chemical, while their espresso blend fared slightly better but still didn’t impress. The 100% Colombian coffee from Kirkland was well-received, earning a score of four for its balanced profile. The whole bean version of the same coffee initially received the same score but was later upgraded to a five for its sweetness and low bitterness.

The Kirkland Signature French Roast was heavily smoky and received one of the lowest scores. In contrast, the San Francisco Coffee French Roast was slightly better, scoring a two. The Starbucks French Roast, with its charcoal-like profile, was also poorly received. Pete’s Coffee offered a slightly more favorable dark roast with their Major Dickason’s blend, which scored a six for its balance and chocolatey notes.

Exploring Medium Roasts

Moving on to lighter roasts, there was a noticeable difference in the bean density and moisture loss during roasting. The Mexican single-origin coffee from Kirkland stood out for its detailed information on the bag and its lighter roast. It scored an impressive eight for its notes of caramel, chocolate, and roasted peanuts, making it a favorite.

The Pleasant Hill Farms Restaurant Blend, a medium roast, was described as neutral. It wasn’t great but not terrible either, scoring a four. Another noteworthy medium roast was the Portland Coffee Roasters’ house blend, which fared well with a score of seven. Its local appeal and balanced profile made it a standout among the regional options.

Surprises and Standouts

While many of the coffees were mediocre, there were a few surprises. The Pete’s Major Dickason’s blend, with its intriguing backstory, turned out to be a pleasant discovery. Similarly, the Mexican single-origin coffee from Kirkland was unexpectedly delightful, scoring the highest among all the sampled coffees.

Other coffees that stood out were the Portland Coffee Roasters’ house blend, which scored seven, and the Kirkland whole bean Colombian Supremo with a score of five. These coffees managed to offer a balanced and enjoyable experience, making them worthy of a second purchase. Despite the overwhelming variety, the tasting revealed a few hidden gems in Costco’s coffee aisle.

The Costco coffee tasting journey proved to be an eye-opener, revealing a wide spectrum of flavors, from the unpalatable to the surprisingly delightful. The intensity of trying 14 different coffees back-to-back offered a comprehensive glimpse into the diversity of Costco’s coffee aisle, even if it resulted in some palate fatigue.

The standout coffees were certainly few, but notable mentions include Pete’s Major Dickason’s blend and Kirkland’s Mexican single-origin, both scoring high for their balanced profiles and enjoyable flavors. These gems made the entire endeavor worthwhile, demonstrating that even within a bulk-buying haven like Costco, one can find coffee worth savoring.

While many of the dark roasts, like the Kirkland French Roast and the Starbucks French Roast, fell short of expectations with their overpowering smoky and charcoal-like profiles, the medium roasts brought a refreshing change. The Mexican single-origin coffee scored the highest, showcasing its nuanced notes of caramel, chocolate, and roasted peanuts.

In summary, the tasting highlighted that Costco’s coffee offerings are a mixed bag. Some selections might not be impressive, but there are hidden treasures, especially among the medium roasts, that coffee enthusiasts could appreciate. This expedition through Costco’s coffee selections underscored the importance of exploring a variety of products to find those rare, delightful surprises.