Folgers Gourmet Vs. Hawaiian Isles Kona Blend Ground Coffee:
“I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time.”
As I get older in my years and my responsibilities in the Air Force move slowly from the flight line to the office, I’ve been taking up new hobbies and added new parts to my lifestyle. One of those hobbies now is trying out new ground coffees. I was never much of a coffee drinker, but I’ve come to love and respect the caffeine carafe. I’m still in that exciting phase of trying out new coffees to see which one I truly like. Here is a comparison of two special ground coffees.
First, we have Folgers Gourmet, known for those giant red, plastic canisters of boring Classic Roast that has stuffed the coffee fund cabinets for seemingly centuries. For a couple of years now they’ve been trying their hand at making gourmet and flavored coffee that my coworkers cannot stand. “That’s froo froo stuff,” they say. Maybe it is. But has Folgers overstepped their bounds by making gourmet coffee flavors like hazelnut crème, caramel drizzle, and vanilla biscotti, to name a few?
Next, we have Hawaiian Isles Kona Blend Ground Coffee; Kona coffee is supposedly grown only on a small chain of Hawaiian Islands and is specially made. They dry-roast the beans and process them with some special technique and come in various grades depending on the number of peaberries picked. I’m not sure what all that means just yet, but does it matter when it comes down to the taste?
Comparison of Folgers Gourmet Vs. Blend Ground Coffee:
Comparing the two coffees, I picked two different flavors. I made them just like I make my skin moles: black. I judged them for cost, taste, freshness, and bag design.
1: Cost. They cost about the same, between 3 and 4 bucks a bag and those prices were just right for the products.
2: Freshness: The freshness level is about the same. I usually go through a 10-ounce bag of coffee in a month’s time. I keep it in the fridge because I heard it makes the coffee last longer. The Folgers gourmet didn’t really change taste until the 3rd week, whereas the Kona blend started changing taste close to the third week.
3: Bag design: The Folgers Gourmet bag has a simple, elegant design. The bag says to me “hey, I’m Folger’s little brother who gets pedicures from now and then but still likes the ladies. Wanna taste?” It has a re-sealable top that manages to stay together for at least a month. The Kona bag is white with a sunset scene of presumably Hawaii, complete with the palm tree silhouette. It was definitely the more attractive of the two. However, you have to keep up with the small, gold clip that you use to seal the bag.
4: Taste: I went with the Vanilla biscotti flavor from Folgers. This was a hit with the “froo from” haters in the office because the smell is absolutely divine. You KNOW its vanilla once the first drips hit the bottom of the carafe. The smell was incredible and maintains through the day and ultimately adds to the taste of the gourmet coffee. I found myself taking big sniffs before sips. I did truly get that Italian café feel I was supposed to get. This was a surprise to me. Folgers, maybe you aren’t so hard after all!
As for the Kona blend, I tried the chocolate macadamia nut flavor. I didn’t really get it. It tastes fine, it’s not bad, but it’s nothing special, either. It didn’t smell much more different than any other Colombian roast I’ve made in the past. There is a richness to the taste but again, nothing stands out.
I hold up the Folgers Gourmet as the winner and give it props for special taste and breaking out of the Folgers mold. I’m willing to try another flavor of Kona down the road, but I’ll be sure to get the 100% Kona fancy roast. It seems like getting the blend version of Kona only gives you 10% Kona. That’s like getting a gourmet burger that’s only 10% Angus and 90% cow that wasn’t feeling well that day. But for now, I’m sticking with Folgers and I’m going to try other flavors. Even the froo from haters love it now.