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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Friday, February 5, 2016

SHOT O' JOE: Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic Bolivian Blend

 Listen: I'm not a coffee snoot by any stretch. I mean, I can taste the difference between gas station and coffee shop coffee, between Starbucks and a respectable cup*, and I won't touch the stuff from vending machines at my job...but when I read descriptions on coffee cans, 90% of the time, I can't easily discern the "earthy" or "fruity" or whatever descriptor words get tossed on there. Light vs medium vs dark roast - sure. Much beyond that, dicey at best.

 That is, until I met Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic Bolivian Blend.

Says right on the front: "sweet caramel flavor." Now, I drink my coffee black, nothing added...and there's absolutely something to this coffee that makes it taste like someone slipped in a small flavor shot. Without any enhancement, it's noticeable enough for a schlub like me. Darn good beans, these are. Most days, a cup or two is exactly what I need to earn the right to go home to the wife and kiddos.

I've been drinking my way thru a cannister at work over the past few weeks, and I'm impressed. If I were to pay something $2 or $3 for a decent-sized cup of it, I'd be happy....and this was pretty inexpensive, probably right around $8 or $9 for the almost-pound. Tremendous deal, especially for it being organic and fair trade. I might have myself a new regular here.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic Bolivian Blend: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
* Not all Starbucks coffee is bad - some of their fancier ones are just fine. But a cup of their regular stuff? Tastes like the burned charred remains of some ancient coffee bean burial rite. Will do in a pinch, but far from my first choice.  

Photo courtesy of www.coffeequest.com. Kept leaving mine at work and forgot to snap a pic myself :(.  


  1. I'm just like you- coffee is coffee. That's all it is to me. But if you're saying you can taste the difference, I must give it a shot!

  2. YES! I've been drinking this stuff for a couple years and it is vastly under-appreciated.

  3. I agree on both counts. This is good, reasonably priced coffee. Starbucks plain black coffee is horrible.

  4. Have not tried this yet, but I will! My current fave is the Sumatra, and I was drinking Cafe Pajaro for a while. This sounds like a mellower and sweeter option (and I usually drink it black or just milk/cream). From my Aeropress, of course. ;)

  5. I love the Guatemalan from Starbucks problem is, its always sold out (at the mkt)... and yes, the 'regular' from Stars isn't so great, I think its because they have it sitting for a long time..