Taste Test: Best Big-Brand Coffees

In eight blind taste tests, eight staffers sampled 34 coffees (house or classic blends) from nationally available brands, prepared according to package instructions via automatic drip and French press.
Brandy Rushing

BEST DECAF WHOLE BEAN: Peet's Coffee Decaf House Blend, $13.50 (12 ounces)

Peet's comes alive with a freshly roasted aroma, full body, and a complex, nutty flavor with just the right amount of acidity. It's a bracing pick-me-up even for the caffeine-shy java addict.

BEST GROUND: Peet's Coffee House Blend, $11.95 (12 ounces)

Peet's Freshness Pledge, which ensures their coffee is sold within 90 days of roasting, pays off: rich, earthy notes of roasted nuts, vanilla, and bittersweet chocolate, with a round, well-balanced finish.

BEST WHOLE BEAN: Allegro Coffee Café Blend, $9.99 (12 ounces)

We loved this coffee before we even took the first sip—it has a rich, fragrant aroma, hinting of pumpkin pie spices. Each cup had a welcome edge of bitterness that mellowed into a smooth, toasty finish.

BEST DECAF GROUND: Dunkin' Donuts, $6.49 (12 ounces)

Silky, medium-bodied brew plus budget-friendly price—how far they've come.