Sunday, September 10, 2017

Surprisingly Not A Dark Blend: Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee Is Good For Lovers Of Strong Coffee!

The Good: A potent blend on its own, Nicely caffeinated, Good aroma, Easy to prepare
The Bad: Comparatively expensive, Flavor does not hold up against creamers
The Basics: Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee might get consumers to pay more for the brand name, but the truth is, it is a medium blend that is flavored much closer to a dark blend, thrilling consumers who want a strong, coffee flavor!

Ever since I found myself in Michigan, I have been excited by the variety of coffee brewers in the midwest that have not had market penetration out East, where I grew up. One of the biggest chains in the Midwest is Caribou Coffee (reviewed here!). Like many other coffee shops, Caribou Coffee has taken to marketing to the home brew market and my first experience with their in-home coffee is the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast coffee. I lucked out and found a 10 oz. bag of whole bean Medium Roast at my local discount store for just under $4, but most consumers are likely to pay two and a half times that for the same size. Is it worth it at the full price? I would say it is right on the cusp. For those who love a strong coffee flavor, yes, it is a good coffee, even at the higher price point. But, for those who like a robust blend and garnish their coffee with creamer or sugar, the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Blend is a tougher sell at full price.


Caribou Coffee is a premium coffee chain that competes through the Midwest with Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. The standard size for Medium Roast is a 10 oz. bag.

The Medium Roast Blend is an aromatic blend that smells potently of coffee beans and it is a caffeinated blend. This is is a bit more aromatic than most medium roasts I have tried, but does not have the bitterness of a dark blend, which is nice.

Ease Of Preparation

Medium Roast Coffee is fairly easy to prepare, though because it is a whole bean coffee, it does require one to grind the beans first. Open the bag; Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is vacuum sealed when first purchased, so when it is opened, the bag will likely plump up a little. Then, place the beans in a coffee grinder. I still have a Cuisinart Supreme Grind Coffee Grinder (reviewed here!) that has does an excellent job of holding up over the years. The Caribou Coffee Medium Roast 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 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 Medium Roast Coffee in and then brew through your coffee maker. The directions recommend using 2 Tbs. to 8 oz. of filtered water and that nets a very strong cup of coffee.


Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee smells robustly of coffee without having the more burned aroma that often comes from darker roasts. The Medium Roast Coffee is aromatic and its scent is very inviting to anyone who is looking for a strong cup of coffee; indeed, it insinuates a very potent blend from the scent that comes from the coffee maker or cup when the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is brewing or freshly poured!

On the tongue, the flavor of the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is strong and rich, without being noticeably bitter. The best characterization I have for the flavor of the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is that it is flavored like a highly concentrated coffee, as opposed to being a darker flavor. The difference is that the Medium Roast Coffee tastes like one is drinking a lot of a medium - not earthy, not burnt in its flavor - coffee with each sip, without the bitterness and with more body than most medium roasts I've tried. The Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is flavorful with a very pure, clean coffee flavor!

With a single tablespoon of creamer, the Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee becomes a bit sweeter and takes on a noticeably more watered-down flavor. Because the Medium Roast Coffee is not noticeably bitter to begin with, adding creamer does not make it less bitter. However, it does lose some of its potency bringing out the flavor of the water in the coffee with whatever creamer is added to it.

The Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee leaves a coffee flavored, but not bitter, aftertaste in the mouth that endures for about five minutes after the last of it is consumed.


This is coffee, not something that appears on the nutrition pyramid! Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee does not contribute anything to one's daily recommended allowance of anything. In fact, the bag does not have any ingredients, so I am forced to assume all that is in this blend is coffee beans, which would fit what it tastes like.

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 does not appear to have undergone any of the chemical processes that sometimes cause complications in decaffeinated coffees.


Medium Roast Coffee ought to be stored sealed in its bag with the top firmly closed. Coffee is known to absorb flavors of food nearby it, so keeping the top tightly closed 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 and our bag did not seem to have an 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.


Caribou Coffee Medium Roast Coffee is a good blend for those who like strong coffee, despite the expense, but for those looking for the coffee house experience at home, they are likely to find the Medium Roast Coffee does not hold its own sufficiently opposite common additives.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Amora Intenso Blend
Dunkin' Donuts Cinnamon Coffee Roll Coffee
Trader Joe's Dark Blend


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

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