What is the best ground and roasted coffee on the market? see test

O coffee our daily life has a bitter price – the Ground roasted coffee leads the ranking of high food prices, with an increase of 50.24% in the Broad National Consumer Price Index (IPCA). On account of this, the Palate decided to test some of the most popular supermarket brands in order to help you choose a more cost-effective everyday product.

The drink that is the passion of the Brazilian is weighing on the pocket

Photo: Farknot_Architect / iStock

To carry out this task, we convened a strong jury, composed of five experts (see below), who blindly tasted 11 samples of the traditional line of brands; “special”, “export”, “intense”, “extra strong” versions, among others, were left out of the panel.

Each juror received at home a box containing uncharacterized portions of these coffees, identified only by numbers, in addition to the preparation instructions (40 grams of powder for 600 milliliters of water). As the most popular of the extraction methods, the coffees were strained through a Melitta paper filter.

The analysis took into account the qualities and defects found in the samples in three aspects: aroma, body and flavor. A good coffee, like wine, should have a soft touch in the mouth, in addition to being full-bodied and naturally sweet. The acidity, which makes you salivate at the end, is also expected. Bitterness, contrary to popular belief, is not desirable. It can even appear, but only when the drink is more concentrated, due to the natural flavor of caffeine.

the tasting

“The great challenge was to find the coffee’s shine (sweetness and acidity) in the midst of so much bitterness”, complained one of the judges. It happens that the big industry usually chooses to more intense roasted coffees to hide possible defects, caused by the low quality of the raw material or the lack of care and rigor in the production process. But it is also true that this very dark roast pleases “an audience that has gotten used to this standard of drinking”, recalls another juror.

Despite this, some samples managed to surprise part of the jury by presenting, albeit timidly, notes of sweetness – usually nuts and caramel – and a certain acidity at the end. Apart from the last places in the ranking, cafes, in general, proved to be “capable of serving the general public in everyday consumption, without greater sensory pretensions”, mainly due to the cost-benefit ratio (despite the high prices), nailed the specialist Ensei Neto. To give you an idea, a special coffee, produced by hand, on a small scale, costs twice as much as the market coffees.

“We need to work to make quality coffee more accessible to everyone here in Brazil. It is not fair that we are the largest coffee producer in the world, that we have the most incredible coffees in the world and that most of our population still drinks a drink of inferior quality. How about we try to go up a notch?”, challenges Giuliana Bastos.


1st Three Hearts

(R$ 16.59; 500g, in the Sonda)

Well, the packaging warns: “the flavor that falls in love”. And it was even the subtle notes of acidity and sweetness, with a hint of chocolate and fruit, perceived in the mouth, that ensured the coffee’s first place – even if the bitterness was present. In the aroma, there were notes of earth, hazelnut, nuts, burnt caramel. The body was considered medium. “It’s an OK coffee, you can drink it at the meeting or before work. There’s a little bitterness on the tongue at the end”, defined one of the judges.

2nd Melita

(R$18.99; 500g, without Carrefour)

The second place has very light notes of sweetness and acidity, with a “bitterness on the tongue” at the end. On the nose, the judges noticed subtle aromas of dried fruits, brown sugar, milk chocolate, but also of mothballs and straw – which made the product lose some points. It has a medium-low body, good persistence and, according to one of the judges, “it pleases those who like a less intense brewed coffee. It has potential”.

3rd Strong

(R$ 17.98; 500g, without trims)

A big surprise in the blind tasting, the coffee with a little-known name around here is, in fact, the second line of Três Corações. It has medium body, good structure and discreet astringency. On the nose, it has a soft aroma of brown sugar, yellow fruits, caramel and bread, but also defects, such as the smell of a car seat. In the mouth, “perhaps due to the slightly less accentuated roasting and the coarser grinding, it was the one that presented the lowest bitterness and the greatest balance among all”, stated one of the jurors, while the other defined: “good for brewed coffee from day to day day”.

4th Café do Ponto

(R$ 20.79; 500g, at Pão de Açúcar)

Despite not having won the podium, the coffee did well in the sensory evaluation. On the nose, the judges identified floral, fruity and spicy aromas, but also a light burnt aroma. With light to medium body, “no harshness”, it features sweet notes of caramel, honey and chocolate, in addition to subtle acidity. “Bitterness is present, but less intense than in most cups,” added one of the judges.

5th caboclo

(R$ 13.98; 500g, in the Sonda)

“Where’s the sweetness of this coffee? It’s gone”, highlighted a juror. The roasting, probably very intense, contributed to a basically bitter coffee, with notes of carbonization. Despite this, it delivers interesting aromas during preparation, such as nuts, peanuts and a light woody feel. “It’s not all bad. With a little more effort, it could become an everyday cafe”, ventured one of the judges.

6th Pele

(R$15.49; 500g, without Carrefour)

Despite the “medium roast” stamped on the packaging, it lost many points due to its intense bitterness, with a prolonged aftertaste of burnt. Even so, the medium-bodied coffee presented some acidity in the mouth and a very subtle sweet aroma. “There’s a caramel at the bottom.”

7th Mocha

(R$ 15.80; 500g, without trims)

The aroma of “burnt, car seat and grandma’s drawer” might scare off a keen taster. In the mouth, however, the coffee came out better than expected: it turned out to be a medium-bodied, astringent, slightly acidic and sweet drink, with a present bitterness, which, for one of the judges, resembled “soluble coffee”.

8th Good Jesus

(R$ 17.98; 500g, without trims)

“Strong and tasty”, praises the packaging of the coffee that is from the same family as Melitta. Well, if strong is synonymous with bitter, the slogan delivers what it promises. “It’s a coffee that almost deceives us, because it presents fruity and sweet notes. But, little by little, these notes are disappearing and giving space to the burnt and ash flavor. The finish is unpleasant and persistent”, summarized a juror.

9th pylon

(R$ 23.08; 500g, in the Sonda)“The strong coffee of Brazil” has an intense aroma of dark roast, with woody notes and burnt rubber. In the mouth, it is full-bodied, astringent and so bitter that it is impossible to identify other relevant flavors. “It makes your throat burn,” complained one of the jurors. This is the Traditional version of the brand’s coffees; In the market, the Intenso and Extraforte options are also available.

10th Brazilian Coffee

(R$14.89; 500g, without Carrefour)

In the percolator, the coffee gave hints that it would not pass the jury’s sieve: it had a strong smell of burnt coffee, with notes of bad fermentation and medicinal aroma. In the mouth, the taste of medicine persists, accompanied by a very intense bitterness, which appears early on and leaves an unpleasant aftertaste on the tongue.

11th Garden

(R$12.99; 500g, without Carrefour)

According to the packaging, it is a “medium roast” coffee, but it was not what it looked like to the judges during the blind tasting. Starting with the aroma of burnt rubber, which reveals a very intense dark roast. In the mouth, it was an astringent coffee, with low acidity, medicinal notes, in addition to a very intense unpleasant bitterness.

the jurors

He is an economist and financier, but he found his great passion in gastronomy. He serves as financial, strategic and coffee service advisor to food and beverage businesses. And alert: “bitter is a defect, see?!”

Specialist in coffees, he works as a beverage and food consultant. He is also the author of the blog Um Café para Dividi, published by Paladar. Averse to the demonization of traditional coffees, “since there are coffees for all preferences”, he considered the samples tasted “quite level, with some good surprises”.

A journalist, she is editor-in-chief of PDG Brasil, a website specializing in coffees, and is also the creator of Grão Coletivo, which brings together coffee shops and micro roasting plants from all over the country. At the tasting, she grimaced at a lot of coffees, but was also surprised by some notes and textures. “The pleasure that a well-made coffee can provide is immense.”

She is a barista, creator of Coffee Week and runs The Little Coffee Shop, which is due to reopen next month. Disappointed with the quality of the coffees tasted in the tasting, she said: “better to drink less coffee and invest in quality coffees”.

He is a journalist and columnist for Espresso magazine. She is the curator of the International Coffee Week (SIC), the largest specialty coffee fair in the country, and the Brazilian version of the São Paulo Coffee Festival. “I invite consumers who want to try new flavors to immerse themselves in coffee beans, in different experiences, as it is worth testing.”

What is this smell?

Car seat smell? Burnt tire? From grandma’s drawer? These and other terms – such as wet cardboard, corral and horse sweat – are commonly used by tasters to describe aromas and flavors perceived in the tasting of coffees, wines, cheeses, beers. It is worth emphasizing that these adjectives refer to sensory perception and not to the composition of the products. “Some say that the coffees produced by the big industry are adulterated with wood, cereals, among other materials, which is very difficult. Inspection is heavy”, ponders Ensei Neto. If you want to be sure, look for seals such as the one from Abic (Brazilian Coffee Industry Association) on the packaging of coffees, for “purity and quality”.

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