Name Brand vs. Store Brand Coffee Taste Test

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Name Brand vs. Store Brand Coffee Taste Test

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Vonnie was staring at the wall of boxes of K-Cups for her single serving coffee machine, looking for the name brand breakfast blend that she normally uses.  Unable to locate it, she grabbed a box of the store brand that had just recently become available and put it in the cart.  

I was surprised that she was willing to give it a try, as she is known for not being much of a fan of generic or store brand products.  She fully admits it.

She's also very picky about her morning coffee.

The next morning, she brewed a cup of the store brand coffee, mixed in her creamer and sugar, and took a sip. 

"That's not good," she said, "I mean, it's OK, but I won't buy it again."

A few minutes later, she suggested that she brew a cup of the brand name (she had a few left), and perform a taste test to see if she could really taste the difference.  I heated up the store brand in the microwave so it would be of comparable temperature.  I then poured a little bit of each type into two identical glasses and had her close her eyes.

I handed her the cup containing the store brand.  She carefully brought the cup to her mouth, took a sip, and nodded her head while saying, "Mmmmm, that's the good kind."

Then I handed her the second cup.  Taking a sip of the name brand coffee, she said, "Yeah, that's not so good.  Well . . . ?"

She tasted each of them several times, opened her eyes, and exclaimed, "I honestly can't tell the difference!"

She was surprised when I revealed her first impression favored the less expensive store brand. 

The price difference between the two is significant.  The name brand coffee runs $10.79 vs. $6.79 for the store brand.

"It goes to show you, how powerful the mind is," Vonnie said.

Generic or store brand products will not always be equal in quality to name brands.  Not everyone will have the same opinion of the same product.  My point is that these products should not be excluded simply because they are generic or store brand. 

They should be viewed as just another option that can be tested to see if they meet your needs or your family's needs.

If I can turn my wife into a believer, maybe you should give it a try too! 

Do you have any favorite store brand products that you prefer? Have you ever done a blind taste test to see if you can really tell the difference?

Related Links:

Would You Lie to Your Wife to Save $1.29?

Store brand vs. Name Brand Grocery Shopping Taste Test

Date Night at the Grocery Store


Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc.Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt and A Straight Talk on Debt blogs. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • Aldi's cola. I think a 12 pack is $2.29. Can't tell the difference between it and Coke.  I also can't tell the difference with their Frosted Mini-Wheats.

  • Thank you for this tip.  I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to some name brands vs. some generic brands.  It's interesting that your wife thought of the taste-testing idea even though she was quite certain at first that she didn't like the generic coffee.  The road to debt-freedom involves a lot of self-examination.  I'll think twice next time I reach for the name brand :  )

  • I would argue that the K-cup method is already more expensive than using ground coffee :) but to each his/her own. I like Lavazza--it's great and fairly priced for Italian espresso blend.

  • Thanks for the tips,'s hard to beat $2.29 for a twelve pack!

  • I was surprised as well, Prudence....she's a habitual store brand naysayer.  But then again, we've been married for almost 17 years and she never ceases to surprise and amaze me.  :)

  • That's true, Thomas.  On the other hand, one cup is all she drinks in the morning so even if we busted out our 4 cup coffee maker, either she figures out how many grounds she needs for 1 cup, or we waste coffee.  Kcups also give you the convenience of being able to have many different kinds on hand without them going bad.  Coffee grounds you have to buy a significant amount of one yes you pay more for the convenience factor.  Thanks for stopping by!

  • Haha. I'm not a coffee snob per so but I totally feel for your wife. There are a few Kcup brands that I HATE and I've gotten to know the difference, Having said this, I've tried a store brand recently and didn't mind it. Though I like the fancier name  brands better, if I'm being honest, I can drink one of the generics available. I've found the Folgers Premium Colombian to be a decent medium. Name brand box of 12 is $10-11/box; generic $6.99/box and Folgers is $8.59/box.

  • You should do a blind taste test of the Colombian to a similar store brand, Catherine.  :)   But then again maybe there isn't a store brand that is the same brew as the Colombian - that is one thing that made this such a great test - the two flavors were just simply a  medium roast breakfast blend so it was a valid taste comparison.  Thanks for sharing, Catherine!

  • Store brands always taste better because they cost less :) When I started budgeting, groceries were the biggest budget busters. Well, they were until I started buying store brand EVERYTHING. Pepper, cheese, canned soup mustard, you name it and the store brand sells it for less. I don't even make coffee anymore, the gas station down the street from my home has a members mug discount - if you buy one of their mugs (for about $12.00) you can get free coffee any time. The mug has more than paid for itself and I haven't paid for coffee in two years. It certainly isn't the finest coffee I've ever had, but it's not bad and hey if it's free it's me!

    With all that said, I will add that I only drink Diet Coke, the store brand diet sodas just don't do it for me. But I do compensate for my soda snobbiness: I only buy when there is a sale and then I load up. Luckily, where we live there are many stores competing with each other and soda is always on sale somewhere (my favorite sale is buy 2 12pks, get 3 free which runs almost every other month at one of the stores).

  • "If it's free, it's me!"  <------ That's awesome,'re quote made me laugh so hard.  :)    I agree that there are some products where the name brand is so much better such that it's worth paying the higher price.  I'm not sure I've run across any store brand items that I'd say "well, it's not quite as good, but it's tolerable because of the lower cost."   The store brands we buy (and we do buy a lot of them) I feel are just as good as the name brand - my all time favorite are the Walmart Great Value Oreo knockoffs.  Can't tell the difference and they're WAY cheaper.  I mean, so I've heard....I would never buy a package for the kids and then single handedly polished them off in 2 days.  That would never happen.  LOL.

  • Trying and testing store brands is smart. One time we tried a store brand laundry detergent and it turned out just fine. We saved about 10 dollars doing that. On the other side of that we tried store brand soup and we didn't like it. So check and compare you will probably find some savings and some items you will like just as well as the name brands.

  • You nailed the point of my post dead on, Dennis - great to hear from you!

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