By Mike Thayer
Like so many working stiffs, I've GOT to have my coffee in the morning to get jump started. Traditionally, I'm a Folgers Classic Roast kind of guy and I doctor my coffee with some hazelnut flavored creamer. So no, I'm NOT a coffee snob. I don't do the whole beans and a coffee grinder thing, screw that, buying ground coffee works just fine for me.
But in trying to eliminate some sugars from my diet, I've dropped the flavored creamer from my morning routine, switching to real, heavy cream. The various flavored brands of coffee creamer range 5-10 grams of sugar per serving, heavy cream weighs in at 0.1 grams. But in making that change, my coffee was far less enjoyable. I missed the hazelnut! So during my next visit to the grocery store, I picked up some hazelnut coffee. On that trip, I picked up a bag of Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut and you can read that review here. To sum, it was OK, but I enjoyed the way I used to have my coffee, better. A classic roast + hazelnut coffee creamer is better than the Dunkin' Donuts version of a hazelnut coffee doctored with some simple, heavy cream. It left me wondering if there wasn't something better out there in a hazelnut grind. Would such a coffee be Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly, or will I have to settle for something less-than-stellar, something just not as good as how I used to enjoy my cup of Joe?
Here's the list starting with the worst Hazelnut coffee of the lot. Figuring into the evaluation was price, aroma, availability and most importantly, taste.
Dunkin': Over-priced and disappointing. The coffee delivers on the nutty flavor and it's a smooth taste, but I will say the coffee as prepared per the package instructions brews up rather weak. The instructions recommend 1-1/2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water, I recommend two.
Eight O'Clock: This is good coffee. The medium roast is spot on, the hazelnut notes are there, good aroma, nice finish. The recommended measurement on the bag is 1 - 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water, leaving a little wiggle room for how weak or strong you like your coffee. It's a good coffee, but not the best coffee.
Folger's: With Folger's Classic Roast being my traditional go-to coffee, I expected the same reliability in flavor from the hazelnut version. It didn't disappoint. The hazelnut is obvious, present in both the aroma and flavor. The grind makes a good cup of coffee. The directions call for one tablespoon of coffee for every six ounces of water and that's one thing I've always liked about Folger's, they're not bashful with their grind, a scoop is robust and doesn't brew up weak like Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut did.
Green Mountain: Good coffee but a light roast, so the recommended 1 heaping tablespoon of coffee per 6 ounces of water will brew up a bit weak, you may want to adjust to taste. For a more robust cup of coffee, go with 2 tablespoons. Overall, this is a pleasant hazelnut coffee, not as aromatic as others, but each sip is good nonetheless.
Great Value: This coffee is surprisingly good, delivering on everything in the package description. All those notes are there and the recommended measurement of 1 heaping tablespoon per 6 ounces of water is spot on. At just $3.99 for a 12 ounce bag, this coffee is most definitely a repeat buy. It's better than Dunkin, smoother than Folger's and just a smidgen below......
And the top Hazelnut flavored coffee is......
Seattle's Best: The package calls for a rounded tablespoon per six ounces of water and that is spot on, brewing to the strength I like. The grind was very aromatic in the package, everybody likes to take a deep inhale of coffee from a freshly opened package right? And while brewing you get a nice aromatic whiff permeating through the house. The taste delivers and is on par to how I used to enjoy my coffee, a classic, regular roast with hazelnut flavored creamer.
$pend Wisely My Friends.....