Friday, May 1, 2015

An Expensive Way To Get Awesome Coffee: Higher Grounds French Roast Coffee!

The Good: Incredibly dark coffee flavor, Very caffeinated.
The Bad: Comparatively expensive, Exceptionally weak when prepared by the directions
The Basics: Higher Grounds French Roast Blend Coffee has a higher cost of preparation/use than other, comparable coffees!

I love dark coffee. I like coffee strong, bitter and highly caffeinated. So, when I found a bag of Higher Grounds Coffee French Roast Very Dark Roast coffee at my local discount store, I was pretty thrilled. After a week's worth of making this blend up, though, I've discovered it is unfortunately flavored. Properly prepared, it is exceptionally weak; made stronger, it is wonderful and dark, but one goes through the bag of coffee so much faster than one ought, making for far less of a value than it should have been.


A seemingly local roaster to where I now live, Higher Grounds produces a number of blends. French Roast Blend is one of the darkest blends by Higher Grounds and it was cool to find it discounted, though regularly and brewed strong enough, it is actually one of the more expensive brands on the market. French Roast Blend is an intense, coffee-flavored coffee that lives up to the serious coffee drinker’s expectations only when brewed with more than the recommended amount of coffee in the basket. Higher Grounds French Roast Blend comes in a 12 oz. plastic bag of ground coffee. Because it is whole bean, grinding is required - I recommend the Cuisinart Supreme Grind Coffee Grinder (reviewed here!). The bag has an easy way to reseal the bag, so the French Roast Blend Coffee is easily protected from absorbing scents of other foods.

French Roast Blend Coffee is a fairly aromatic blend in and out of the bag and it is caffeinated.

Ease Of Preparation

French Roast Blend Coffee is remarkably easy to prepare, no advanced culinary degrees necessary! First, open the bag. Higher Grounds French Roast Blend Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased. Then, grind the beans and procure a scoop (not included) and measure out two heaping tablespoons for every 6 - 8 fl. oz. of water in your coffee maker. French Roast Blend Coffee is intended for automatic (drip or percolating) coffee makers, like my Hamilton Beach coffee maker (reviewed here!). This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed.

Consult your coffee maker's instructions for how to brew the coffee. However, as far as the basics go, you'll need a coffee filter, like the Crucial Coffee #4 Permanent Coffee Filter (reviewed here), in which you put the French Roast Blend Coffee and then brew through your coffee maker. The directions recommend making a pot at a time. Higher Grounds does not make an explicit recommendation about refrigerating the bag after opening it, though they do recommend cool, dark and dry for places to store the coffee.


The French Roast smells like coffee. The aroma is inviting to anyone who loves coffee (which I do!), but there is nothing in the scent of this coffee that is anything other than coffee.

Prepared in the proportions the bag recommends - 2 Tablespoons per 6-8 fl. oz. of water - the French Roast tastes like watery, medium roast coffee. I was not prepared for the disappointment of a Very Dark Roast which was easily overcome through the simple addition of creamer!

Adding one additional Tablespoon of the Higher Grounds French Roast coffee, the French Roast is potent, bitter and coats the tongue with a powerful, almost overwhelming coffee flavor. The Higher Grounds French Roast is strong and flavorful with a smoky, roasted flavor that is strong enough to retain its coffee flavor (but not its overwhelming bitterness!) when creamer is added to the more concentrated brew.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Higher Grounds French Roast Blend Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything.

This is a caffeinated blend and it feels like it! This has enough caffeine to pop one's eyes open and I found it to be pleasantly caffeinated when I wanted to keep awake and the aroma itself opens one’s eyes and nose! Because it is a caffeinated coffee, it appears to not have undergone any of the chemical processes that sometimes cause complications in decaffeinated coffees.


French Roast Blend Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its bag. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the bag sealed 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. Stored properly, this coffee might have easily made stayed fresh for years (ours had an expiration date of August 13, 2015), but we went through the 12 oz. bag in less than a week after we opened it.

After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. This does not seem like an ideal coffee to make a second pot with (though a second brewing came out 3/8 as potent, which is about as strong as a standard cup of weak/medium coffee). These grounds may be thrown in the trash when used or put in a compost pile, if available. Coffee grounds make great compost.


Higher Grounds French Roast Blend Coffee is fine, when made overly strong, but that ruins any economic benefit of the whole bean coffee. For me, that makes a big difference and makes it a much softer "recommend" than it ought to have been.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Seattle’s Best Level Five
Maxwell House Dark Roast
Gevalia Medium/Dark Blend


For other drink reviews, please check out my Drink Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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