Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Enough To Sell Anyone On Trader Joe's: Trader Joe's Dark Coffee Satisfies!

The Good: Great flavor, Wonderfully caffeinated, Good aroma
The Bad: Expensive
The Basics: Trader Joe's Dark Coffee is one of the few dark roasts for home brewing that holds its own against flavored creamers and still will thrill those who love dark coffee!

On my recent trip out of state, I had my first direct experiences with Trader Joe's. I had tried a smattering of Trader Joe's products in the past, but I had not ever been to a Trader Joe's market until a few weeks ago. There, I discovered a variety of very cool products and I picked some up to bring home with me. One such product was the Trader Joe's Dark Coffee, which I have been enjoying daily since I returned home.

Trader Joe's Dark Coffee might well be one of my new favorites for home brewing coffee!


Trader Joe's is an upscale grocery store that has been steadily climbing to the top of the annual lists of Best Places To Work and seems to cater to an upscale clientele, which means they are not everywhere in the United States. The standard size bag for the Dark coffee is a 13 oz. bag and that has endured for a couple of weeks around my heavy coffee-drinking house.

The Dark Blend is an aromatic blend that smells potently of coffee beans and it is a caffeinated blend. This is intended to be a bold coffee and it does come across as that, from the aroma to the first sip!

Ease Of Preparation

Trader Joe's Dark Coffee is remarkably easy to prepare, as are most ground coffees! First, open the bag. Trader Joe's Dark Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased, so when it is opened, the bag will likely plump up a little. Then, measure out one heaping tablespoon for every two cups of water in your coffee maker. This Dark Coffee is intended for automatic (drip or percolating) coffee makers. This is NOT an instant coffee. As a result, it needs to be brewed and I use a Hamilton Beach machine (reviewed here!) with a Crucial coffee permanent filter (reviewed here!).

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, which you put the Dark Coffee in and then brew through your coffee maker. The directions recommend making a pot at a time and use this coffee within a week of opening the bag. As long as the bag is kept closed in an airtight container, it seems to remain fresh beyond the recommended week.


Trader Joe's Dark Blend smells rich and robust, exactly like one would hope for from a dark coffee. The coffee aroma is powerful, distinct and enough to open up one's eyes with its delicious, roasted bean scent.

In the mouth, the Trader Joe's Dark Blend is bitter and strong. The flavor is black and earthy, without ever tasting burnt or even a hint of watery. Instead, the Trader Joe's Dark Blend tastes like a concentrated blend of coffee - like drinking five sips of a medium blend coffee in a single sip of the Trader Joes's Dark Blend. The coffee flavor is appropriately dark and concentrated with a bitterness that is distinct to great coffee without ever stepping over the flavor line into being unpleasantly bitter.

The Trader Joe's Dark Blend can be accented with a creamer well. I write "accented" for accuracy; the Trader Joe's Dark Blend is one of the few coffees I have reviewed where it maintains its richness and strong coffee flavor when creamer is added to it. In other words, creamers are unable to overwhelm the coffee flavor, making it an ideal coffee for blending with flavored creamers.

Trader Joe's Dark Blend coffee has a slightly bitter aftertaste that does not endure long in the mouth long after the last of it is consumed.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Trader Joe's Dark Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, this coffee is made entirely of Arabica Coffee beans with no other additives, flavors or preservatives.

This is a caffeinated blend 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.


Dark Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its bag with the top closed and folded down. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the top folded tight 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 Trader Joe's bag makes no recommendations in that regard, though the bag of Dark Coffee I bought a few weeks ago had a March 10, 2018 expiration date.

After brewing, coffee grounds ought to be disposed of. 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 grounds are no exception.


Trader Joe's Dark Coffee is an exceptional dark coffee and it is enough to please those who love truly rich, dark blend, despite the initial expense being comparatively higher than other home brew brands of similar quality.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Seattle's Best Level 5
Starbucks Espresso Roast
Lavazza Super Crema Espresso Coffee


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

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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