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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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Five Country Espresso Blend

 If your household is anything like mine before Sandy and I have any coffee....Lord help you. Getting two kids out the door and me out to work is a slow rolling car crash every day. Plus, we're both so cranky and tired, it's...just ugly. I see you nodding your head in understanding. That's all pre-coffee. Post-coffee, we're all good.

New to our rotation is Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Five Country Espresso Blend, featuring beans from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, and Sumatra. To say it's "dark" is a bit of an understatement - taking a whiff of some freshly ground beans, there's this potent pugnacity that hits your nostrils in almost a tobacco-esque way. Once brewed, it's not as concentrated, obviously, but there's still this essence and appearance that says this is a coffee to be taken seriously.

But...the coffee doesn't quite hold up to its appearance. First, it's just kinda boring tasting - bittersweet, a bit tinny, kinda one note or two note at best. For having five differently sourced beans, I was hoping for something a little more complex. And, as with most dark roasts, it's doesn't have much of a caffeine boost, either. It's definitely a two-cupper for the morning, but on the bright side, a reliable afternoon warmer-upper without getting too hopped up.

It's an okay cup at best - better than gas station, cheaper than coffee shop, trustworthier than the company pot - but there's better out there on the TJ shelves. I'll finish up the can at work, but it's not a probable repurchase. Bonus points (as always) for being organic and fair trade, though.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Five Country Espresso Blend: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons 

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