PurelyCoffeeBeans wonders where you get your bulk coffee beans from! These days I get many of my regular Costco coffee beans from the same place that sells kimchi and hot dogs! Sorry, but no prizes for guessing where that is! It seems you can buy pretty decent coffee beans from here, too.
What can I learn about Costco Coffee?
What is Costco? Does Costco sell coffee?
Initially, I was surprised by the best coffee brands available (though not all are necessarily good coffees or good coffee beans) and the prices.
Typically, we can buy a decent sized bag of beans there for about the same price as 1/2lb bags purchased in-store at a well-known coffee shop. While I’m not so sure the quality is the same standard, I’m finding that the beans are pretty decent in terms of roasting, size, and packing quality. I have yet to return a bag, though I came fairly close with one purchase of First Colony coffee.
Why should I buy coffee at Costco? What are the pro's & cons?
I've written this in short form for you, based on my experience of buying coffee beans at Costco over the past few years:
- Great prices on coffee beans
- Large bulk purchases possible
- Decent range of coffee beans
- Some Costco brands are great
- Great grinding machine available
- Use it soon or it goes 'stale'
- Beware coffee already on sale a while
- It's easy to buy TOO much
- Variety is difficult to find
- Some Costco brands are just not that great (really)
- Product substitution: where companies sell 'lookalike' products of dubious quality.
- You have to be a member (annual fee: $55.00)
Overall, I do recommend Costco as a good place to buy coffee despite those cons. So this short article will describe some of the Costco coffee beans you can buy but let me start by saying: there are no branded "Costco" coffee beans per se. But as you read the article, you'll see that generally, the Kirkland brand is the closest thing to that.
Amazon Also Sells Coffee
What's more, even after Kirkland stopped selling directly on Amazon to focus on the Costco online store, you'll still find their products listed extensively throughout Amazon. If you don't want to spend the $55.oo on annual membership of Costco, there is another way to try some of these great coffee, with delivery to your door. It's called Amazon!
Yes, Amazon also sells many of the same coffee brands at great prices, with free shipping if you're already a Prime member of Amazon.
When you join the Amazon Prime program, you also get additional benefits, but the prime reason is for 2-day delivery. It's a great way to try these coffees, especially if there's no Costco store near your home. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial for yourself, and get some decent coffee.
What kind of coffee can I buy at Costco?
First up are the Kirkland Coffee (Costco's own private label brand) beans that are available. These are generally in three basic categories:
- the House Blends (House, Decaff and Espresso Roast);
- the Specialty Kirkland Coffee that includes Columbian coffees; and
- the Signature Series Roast that includes Sumatra French Roast,Rwandan, Guatemalan Roast (my current favorite) and several others.
You can read more about these coffee beans on the Kirkland coffee page. For me, this is a frequent addition to my trolley!
Does Costco sell good coffee? What about premium brands of coffee?
Costco coffee beans seem to have three price points: Starbucks roasted coffee beans and full-Starbucks coffees. We've tried both. Recently we bought the Costco labeled "Winter Blend" … I guess it’s their equivalent of the Christmas blend on sale at Starbucks. It was pretty pricey by Costco standards.
But the quality of the beans was only satisfactory: misshaped, broken, lots of coffee dust, different-sized beans, and a little over-roasted. Although the price was marginally less than Starbucks-branded coffee, the quality was not typical Costco quality.
You will also be able to buy full-brand Starbucks coffee blends on sale at Costco: including their Breakfast blend, French Roast blend, and one or two others seasonal offers.
The deals are pretty good, too. But you won't always be able to find the particular Starbucks Coffee Roast you like. On the day we went we were able to find the Breakfast blends and the French roasts. On another trip, we found the Autumn Blend, and the Winter Blends.
Occasionally, we've spotted other kinds, too. So keep your eyes opened for these! They do represent good value if you drink these coffees on daily basis!
There is also a regular at the stores where I live: Millstone coffee Columbian Blend, which though pricier than my regular purchase is actually a very nice blend of coffee beans. You won't find the full range available there, which is a real pity.
Other brands seen in Costco...
- First Colony Coffee;
- Magnum Exotics Coffee;
- San Francisco Bay Coffee;
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters; and
- Jose's Coffee Beans.
What other coffee equipment can I find at Costco?
There are some really good coffee beans at Costco, but what about buying coffee equipment? Well, there are some things that I really like about purchasing both Costco Coffee and Costco coffee makers.
How can I return unneeded or faulty coffee equipment? No Quibble Return
If you buy something at Costco, you can (if you need) return the product if you are not satisfied with it, even without the receipt as long as you haven't expired the membership which allowed you to buy the item.
For that, I'm pretty thankful for such a generous return policy, as I'm always losing my receipts! While there doesn't seem to be an expiration date for most things (probably) because we buy things and consume them fully.
This return policy can give you confidence in purchasing coffee machines that you haven't had a chance to try out such as the more expensive espresso makers or top of the line grinders, both of which can be costly mistakes!
Why is there only a limited choice?
It's Costco. So they will only sell one or two items in a particular product category (except TVs it seems!) I like the fact that the limited selection actually simplifies decision making. While I would love to see more variety, the bare-bones selections can help you speed to a decision: though often it's a 'yes/no' decision!
The last time I went to look for a coffee maker there, I had three choices: a traditional drip coffee maker, an espresso maker, and a rather attractive electric coffee siphon. While I recognized the brand names of the selection, I already had a drip coffee maker and the espresso maker was too expensive. The only thing left for me was the siphon coffee maker. I quickly decided that it was something I didn't need!
You will often find really good brands featured in Costco's sales for Costco coffee makers: I've seen Philips, GE Coffee Makers, Zojirushi, Bunn, Jura, Gaggia, DeLonghi, Saeco, to mention just a few. You will find that they seldom sell bad brands or bad products, their own product selection criteria are quite strict, and whatever you buy, you will find that their
Grinding Coffee Beans at Costco's
Take a look at the video of grinding coffee beans at Costco. Costco's have good quality grinders that will help grind your coffee quickly. Just remember to choose the right grind size for your coffee maker, and you'll be fine.
Oh, and remember, if you grind it too rough, you can always grind your Kirkland coffee a little more at home. But if you grind it too fine, you're limited in your choices of making coffee.
I suggest that you subscribe to the Costco Connection Newsletter Online Edition which often features coffee recipes. You can even search the archives for past editions.
Quality Coffee Makers, Quality Coffee, plus Sensible Refund Policy.
While the selection of Costco coffee beans and coffee makers will vary from day to day, with a smart phone/iPad on hand, you should be able to determine whether the item on sale is actually a decent model at a good price quickly.
Just simply check out coffee maker ratings on popular shopping sites. And remember, many 'Costco' brands are also found easily on Amazon.com themselves for quick delivery to your house, just in case it isn't convenient for you get to one of the Costco stores.
Customer Feedback - Costco Coffee
There is a fascinating discussion over at FrugalWoods over the benefits / price when you buy Costco Coffee. Here’s my comment on their discussion entitled “Is Costco Coffee Any Good? We Bravely Discover”.
I’ve noticed over the years that Costco has a rotation of coffee beans that it sells in-store. It’s more than likely due to the seasonality of the coffee beans themselves, I’ve loved buying the various blends from Guatemala, Rwanda, Sumatra, Colombia, PNG, etc. but I also found them selling different blends, too. And the price points are similar.
Although what seems to be expensive are the Starbucks own brands they occasionally sell. Of course, you’ll notice that the roasting point of all the blends tends to the medium or medium~dark to dark roast.
If you prefer lighter roasts, like Starbucks ‘blonde’ or cinnamon roasts, you really have to look elsewhere. And it can get a little tedious drinking the same coffee blend FOREVER, esp. if the beans are ‘past’ their best.
The discussion’s really worth a read, if you’re trying to economize (let’s face it! Not everyone – self, included – has the means to purchase fresh bags of Panama Geisha every week!
What are the best coffee brands, find out here!