Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trader Joe's 100% Kauai Coffee Beans

If it's alright with you folks, I'll review the coffee that is produced by percolating hot water through these coffee beans, rather than the coffee beans themselves, as I have never eaten the beans au naturale, and I imagine you don't intend to either.

Well, at first glance, you can be pretty certain this stuff's from Hawaii. I'm sure they wanted to dress each can in its own button-down Hawaiian luau style shirt, but decided that would unnecessarily raise the cost of the product. So instead, they just covered the label with stereotypical Hawaiian flowers, palm trees in the background against a lovely orange Hawaiian sunset. Legend has it this beautiful cove is where some of the writers of "Lost" hid after the final episode aired to avoid the wrath of disgruntled fans, furious about that cop-out ending to the series.

Kauai is indeed the northernmost of the Hawaiian Islands, and they apparently grow the best coffee beans there...on the "leeward" side of the island. To save you from Googling "leeward definition," like I had to, I'll go ahead and let you know that "leeward" is a nautical term meaning "the direction in which the wind is blowing."

The can boasts that these medium-roasted beans are "aromatic, earthy, and sweet," and that's exactly what they are - or rather, what the coffee derived from these beans is. I'm not used to coffee being so bold, and yet so sweet. There's usually an unpleasant bitterness that I need to cover up with cream and sugar in any "bold" coffee. Not so with this magical island blend. I imagine the beans were grown and harvested by the Menehune's themselves - that's part of what gives the coffee such unusual properties...oh, no wait...it's the volcanic soil, according to the can. But of course, Trader Joe's can't claim publicly that they're exploiting the Menehune's. So it's probably both. Both volcanic soil and magic from the Menehune's. The Menehune's were on that episode of "Full House" where Danny Tanner took the whole fam to Hawaii; that's how I know about them. Man, that show ended way better than "Lost" did. I'm really bitter about "Lost." That whole debacle really tainted my feelings about Hawaii.

But, thankfully, this coffee is among the things that are restoring my opinion of our great 50th state. Remembering that episode of "Full House" didn't hurt either.

Anyway, the coffee is good. 4 from me. 4 from Sonia. Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

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