Eight O'Clock coffee "best buy" -Consumer Reports

NEW YORK Mon Feb 2, 2009 6:00pm EST

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NEW YORK Feb 2 (Reuters) - Consumer Reports rated Eight O'Clock Coffee 100 percent Colombian as its best buy for ground brews, beating well-known brands including Folgers, Maxwell House and Starbucks, the publication said on Monday.

Eight O'Clock Coffee ranked No. 1 -- the best combination of taste and price -- out of 19 ground coffees. At $6.28 per lb, it topped the taste tests and cost less than half the price of brands including Gloria Jean's and Peet's, Consumers Reports said in a news release.

Consumer Reports' testers focused on 100 percent Colombian regular coffees and a blend of different beans for six decaffeinated coffees. They tested for aroma, flavor, floral notes, fruitiness, bitterness and body.

Eight O'Clock was deemed to have a "complex blend of earthy and fruity, with a bright, pleasing sourness," Consumer Reports said.

Following Eight O'clock and also rated "very good" were Caribou Coffee Colombia Timana at $11.76/lb and Kickapoo Coffee Organic Colombia at $14.33/lb. The higher-priced coffees were described having fruity aromas.

Starbucks (SBUX.O) Coffee Colombia Medium, which costs $11.53/lb, was rated "good" and placed fourth among the 100 percent caffeinated Colombian brews, test results showed.

The Eight O'Clock Coffee Company is privately held. Folgers coffee is owned my J.M. Smucker Co (SJM.N) and Maxwell House is owned by Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N.

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, an independent nonprofit organization that does not accept outside advertising or free test samples, the release said.

Full results of the coffee ratings will be available in the March issue of Consumer Reports and online www.ConsumerReports.org Feb. 3. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by David Gregorio)

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