The Good: Good flavor, Caffeinated, Great aroma
The Bad: Expensive (paying for name)
The Basics: My love of Panera Bread restaurants led me to try Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee and I find myself impressed!
Easily, the joke that has gotten the most mileage over the years in my household is a mockery of the commercial for Thomas's Bagles. There was something delightfully over-the-top about the incredulous exclamation a young person made upon witnessing that "Thomas's makes bagles?!" that was so delightful and campy that it remains a mainstay of mockery in my home. So, there was something predictable about the exclamation that went through our home when we discovered that Panera Bread now sells its coffee on the retail market!
Living, as I now do, in the virtual middle of nowhere, one of the things I have missed the last few years is easy access to Panera Bread (reviewed here!). So, when I discovered the bag of Panera Bread coffee at my local grocery store (inexplicably on clearance already, arguably because people in this area aren't familiar with the chain and have a hard time recognizing good coffee), I bought it immediately.
My first experience with the Panera Bread retail bag of coffee is the Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee.
Based on the success of Panera Bread, a chain of coffee shops, Panera Bread is releasing its blends in retail venues, which is pretty cool - it didn't just sell its name to another company. This is a 12 oz. foil bag of ground coffee. Because it is not whole bean, no grinding is required.
The Italian Espresso Coffee is an aromatic blend that smells potently of coffee beans and it is a caffeinated blend. This appears to be one of Panera's darkest retail blends.
Ease Of Preparation
Italian Espresso Coffee is remarkably easy to prepare, no advanced culinary degrees necessary! First, open the bag. The Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased, so it puffs up a little when it is first opened. Simply measure out one heaping tablespoon for every two cups of water in your coffee maker. The Italian Espresso Coffee is intended for automatic (drip or percolating) coffee makers. This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed. It blended up great in my Hamilton Beach coffee maker (reviewed here!) using the permanent filter (reviewed here!) I use for all my coffee brewing.
Brewed such and consumed within twenty minutes of brewing a pot, the Italian Espresso came out wonderfully!
The Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee has a rich, deep coffee scent to it. It effervesces well into a room and anyone who likes coffee will enjoy the scent of the aroma. Indeed, from the moment I opened my bag of Italian Espresso Coffee, I was pleasantly overwhelmed by the dark coffee scent to this blend. Brewed up properly, Italian Espresso Coffee has a potent coffee scent to it that foreshadows a powerful coffee blend.
The Italian Espresso blend is exactly as the aroma insinuates it will be: this is an intense, dark coffee that is the embodiment of what coffee is (at least to those of us who love coffee). Those who are used to medium or light blends, will be bowled over by the rich, dark nature of the Italian Espresso. It is like a super-concentrated coffee flavor (three cups of coffee in one, no watery aftertaste) without any additional flavoring. The Italian Espresso is a perfect embodiment of coffee flavor.
The Panera Bread Italian Espresso is a potent-enough blend that creamers and sugar might sweeten it (reduce the overall acidity and bitter late-flavor), but not diminish the coffee flavor of this blend.
This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, the bag does not have any ingredients outside 100% Arabica Coffee.
This is a caffeinated blend, though and it feels like it! This has enough caffeine to pop one's eyes open between the taste, aroma and caffeine. Because it is a caffeinated coffee, it appears to not have undergone any of the chemical processes that sometimes cause complications in decaffeinated coffees.
Italian Espresso Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its container with the top firmly closed. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the top on is highly recommended. There are different schools of thought on refrigerating open coffee and I have a very clean refrigerator with a lot of ways to segregate coffee, so I tend to come down on the side of refrigerate it. The container makes no recommendations on that count. The bag of Italian Espresso Coffee I picked up last week had a July 5, 2015 expiration date, so this coffee might not be an ideal one to stock up on (unless one is a daily coffee drinker)!
After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. This does not seem like an ideal coffee to make a second pot with (second brewings I attempted came out about 1/2 as potent as the first brewing) unless one is in a household with a number of people some who like powerful coffee and others who like powerful water. These grounds may be thrown in the trash when used or put in a compost pile, if available. Coffee grounds make great compost and these are no exception!
Panera Bread Italian Espresso Coffee is a pretty wonderful coffee. This is arguably the best way to get strong, espresso coffee flavor without the need for an espresso maker.
For other packages of coffee based on retail chains, please visit my reviews of:
Dunkin' Donuts Apple Pie Coffee
Tim Horton's Fine Grind Blend
Starbuck's French Roast
For other food or drink reviews, please check out my Food And Drink Index Page for an organized compendium of review links!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.