Does Expensive Coffee Taste Better Than Cheap Coffee?

Is it really worth it to spend more money on coffee? Does it actually taste better? 

We are pretty sure we already knew the answer to those questions, but we wanted to find out for ourselves. We bought one “expensive” coffee from a roastery called Lavanda in San Miguel de Allende. This coffee costs $12 dollars for 250 grams (8.8 ounces). We also purchased a more economical coffee from a local coffee roaster that costs $3.50 dollars for 250 grams. The specialty coffee from Lavanda costs more than THREE TIMES more than the cheap coffee. But does it actually taste better? 

Here’s what we found: 

-The cheap coffee had little to no aroma. The coffee just didn’t smell that good at all. 

-The expensive coffee had very intense and pronounced smells. It smelled like a box of Fruity Pebbles! 

-The cheap coffee tasted “like garbage”! Ok maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but it wasn’t great. It just tasted very meh. Most similar to something you would get from an old dinner. 

-The expensive coffee was a flavor explosion in your mouth! It tasted like Gushers and Fruit Rollups! 

It was incredibly easy for Hillary to determine which coffee was which. Between the smells and flavors (or lack thereof), it wasn’t really much of a challenge. 

But here’s the thing, not everybody wants a coffee that tastes fruity and unique. Tastes are pretty subjective. If you are used to drinking low quality coffee, tasting coffee that is acidic and smells like Fruity Pebbles is going to be pretty strange at first. This person is probably going to prefer the “cheap” coffee all the way! 

Cheap coffee is cheap because it typically has no unique flavors. Specialty coffee is expensive because it is difficult to harvest and process coffee that is high enough quality to produce unique flavor profiles in the end product- put more simply, it’s much more rare. 

This of course was just one taste test. It’s possible that with other selections of cheap and expensive coffees we would have had different opinions. We will save that for another episode of Spilling the Beans. 

We will see you in the next one!