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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Hi everyone. Let's make a morning cup of coffee with Yuban Breakfast Blend Ground Coffee product!

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 3, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's hard to review something so based on personal preference as ground coffee. Objectively, these Yuban beans are packaged perfectly well, the instructions on the side are well-written and helpful, and when I opened the vacuum-locked bag, the seal popped satisfactorily and the beans smelled fresh. Everything else is, literally and figuratively, a matter of taste.

Opening the bag and inhaling deeply, my first thought was "Mmmm ... Folgers." Yuban is a mass-market brand, better known for its big cans than for specialty roasts in small bags. I find that very light roasts like this one work best when you scoop them sparingly -- too much ground coffee for the amount of water you're using and you wind up with what strikes me as an unpleasant, woody taste. Perhaps surprisingly, this Yuban is actually quite similar to the light roast Lavazza sells, a can of which I received on almost the same day as the Yuban came in the door.

Myself, I prefer a little more jazz in my java and so the next morning I mixed in a scoop of dark roast from another vendor with my Yuban and that worked a lot better for me. But for people who like a smooth and unassertive note in their morning coffee, Yuban strikes me as a satisfying way to go. (Plus, they say it's good for the planet or something, if you're into that sort of thing.)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If I find it on sale, I would not hesitate to buy it. But you have to understand, I'll buy just about any brand purporting to use 100% Arabica beans, as is the case with this one. But that is pretty much the extent of my coffee elitism. I don't particularly care for Kenny G's brand of jazz and his coffee is far too overpriced for my sensibilities.

Likewise, I'm sure the environmentally friendly, socially conscious marketing may hold a degree of attractiveness for many potential consumers. It's nice to know, but I don't know if I buy into it from the Kraft Corporation. Their assessment of fair reward to the growers and my views may not coincide, however that's a tad hypocritical because I would probably purchase the coffee if it cost less and Hugo Chavez was featured sipping a steaming hot cup on each and every bag.

This is a light roast, with a mild, non-acidic taste assuming you do not let it sit and sear in a coffee pot as I tend to do as the day progresses. I can appreciate the taste differences between premium brands and typical supermarket varieties but the distinctions are just not that important to me...or I'm cheap. So, at the projected price of around 39 cents per ounce, it's still a few bucks beyond Maxwell House's breakfast blend, at an approximated cost of 31 cents per ounce, if one is interested in this six 12 ounce bag deal.

It has a very pleasant aroma when the packaging is first opened, and I follow the same practices with ground as I do with whole beans by storing the unused portions in the freezer. I use one level tablespoon per 6 ounces of water although with a 12 cup drip coffeemaker I use a tablespoon or so less.

For those who enjoy a nice, unadulterated cup, or four, of a pleasant-tasting lighter brew, this is one that can be considered. If your tastes gravitate towards per cup orders in polysyllabic verse, this brand is too pedestrian for you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A couple of years ago, my wife, a woman with two PhDs in coffee consumption and a masters degree in coffee maker operation, bought a subscription to ConsumerReports.com JUST to see their reviews of coffee. She tested probably every single one of the top rated coffees, and since then mixes a certain percentage of coffee A with flavored coffee B every morning. I think she is slightly mad, but she does brew a good cup of joe.

We tried Yuban recently, and I fully believed that my wife would mock me for having ordered it (I, after all, have only an associates degree in java sampling). But much to my surprise, the Yuban scored high on her rating scale. Aromatic, lively, hearty, full-bodied, the Yuban had a rich, earthy coffee flavor, and my wife has purchased another 12-ounce bag from the local store, which is a great sign. She still likes to mix in a certain amount of flavored coffee, which is fine with me, and I suppose, another good sign.

Long story short, if she bought it again (and I really am serious about her buying that online subscription just for the coffee ratings!), then color me impressed. I enjoyed it, too. ;^)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was sent a sample bag of the Yuban Breakfast Blend Ground coffee. It is very good coffee, I think, but very mild. I prefer a much darker and bolder roast, so I wasn't crazy about this particular blend. However, the quality is good. I would compare it to Starbucks Breakfast Blend-- another good, but mild coffee. If you normally drink gourmet coffees, this one won't disappoint you, I don't think. My husband and I are big coffee drinkers and we try to stick with Starbucks or Peet's. If you normally drink Maxwell House and Folger's, you should be very pleased with this brand.

After that first pot, I've been mixing it with a different brand French Roast, and have been enjoying that blend.

I would try the Yuban darker roasts, since I can tell the quality is actually very good.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Coffee: The coffee arrived very quickly. My order was placed on a Thursday. It arrived the following Monday by USPS. Of course, this was a single bag provided for review. A shipment of six may be handled differently.

At home, I make coffee by placing about a tablespoon of the ground coffee in a paper filter in a funnel and then pouring heated water into the filter. I noticed that this coffee was somewhat lighter than my usual coffee. This is not a surprise. This version of Yuban coffee is rated mild. It is not the usual very dark coffee that Yuban is known for. Certainly, it would not satisfy the typical Starbucks fan. I found that the coffee did have a mild but pleasant taste, comparable to coffee served at my local diner. It is a good breakfast coffee, although I am used to drinking stronger tasting coffee.

Cost: The cost is quite reasonable: $27.42 for six 12-ounce bags comes to $4.57 per 12-ounce bag. This is only a little over half the usual supermarket cost for coffee. However, coffee may degrade with storage. The question for each coffee buyer is then how long does it take to use 4-1/2 pounds of coffee. Can the coffee be stored for this period of time?

Protecting the Environment: Yuban, like Maxwell House coffee, is a Kraft brand. In the promotion of its coffee, Yuban makes an issue of its environmental concern. This requires some investigation. On the Yuban web site, it is stated: "As the world's largest supporter of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans, Yuban helps to protect the environment and support the people and wildlife in coffee-growing regions."

Not everyone is happy with the practices of Kraft. According to the PBS Independent Lens "The Rainforest Alliance coffee only makes up less than two percent of Kraft's coffee bean purchases, and the 30 percent minimum certified beans means that in order to keep prices low, the other two-thirds of Yuban's coffee must contain non-certified beans. While the certification includes fair labor practices, it does not constitute fair trade and does not set a minimum price paid to farmers. Kraft has yet to purchase fair trade coffee."

Others go further in their criticism of Kraft. The World Wildlife Fund has released a report "Gone in an Instant: how the trade in illegally grown coffee is driving the destruction of Rhino, Tiger and Elephant Habitat." According to the WWF, "Illegally grown coffee is mixed with legally grown coffee beans and sold to such companies as Kraft Foods and Nestle among other major companies in the U.S. and abroad." The coffee is being grown inside Indonesia's Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. This park is home to endangered Sumatran tigers, elephants, and rhinos. About one third of the park has been lost to illegal agriculture, mainly coffee growing.

So do you applaud a company for its good practices or condemn it for its bad practices or both? Perhaps by buying Yuban coffee that is in some way environmentally friendly, we can encourage Kraft to devote more of its resources to buying "good" coffee beans and less to buying coffee that may contain illegally-grown beans.

The review rating is based upon the coffee itself, not the environmental discussion.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If I were to coin a phrase to describe a character who was not only weak willed, but also on the shady side I'd call him a "weak cup of coffee." For instance, I'd call Freddy Corleone a "weak cup of coffee." Or maybe I'd call a weak cup of coffee a Freddy Corleone. Either way...

I suspected I was in trouble with this eco-sensitive Yuban just by the packaging. It fills all the requirements of being an "eco-cliche." The palette is brown and green, and the cover photo is of a sun-dappled forest - somewhere - could be Latin America, could be Wisconsin. And then there's the clever guilt inducer: The Coffee You Make Can Make a Difference. OK, Yuban Coffee, a Maxwell House brand, owned by Kraft Food Global whose parent is Altria (formerly Philip Morris) is looking for a new niche. Caveat Emptor: Whenever a multinational goes green they're in it for the green - expect chicanery. This green Yuban is a minimum 30% Rainbow Alliance certified coffee, the smallest amount possible to gain certification. That gives us 70% business as usual. 30% green is an attempt at market share, not earth stewardship. Is it better for the environment? Yes. Is it better for the workers? Yes. (But please see Yuban's pedigree for a balancing of the scales.)

The next sign of trouble came when I opened the package. I actually had to stick my nose into the bag in order to get an aroma. Bad sign. This was the breakfast blend, so I didn't expect a very dark roast, and my expectation was more than met. Pale would be a good word, beige might be better. Maybe this is their "beige blend." The coffee was also as dry as stale tobacco.

On to the flavor: Yuban (Rainforest Alliance) Breakfast Blend brews up a thin cup of coffee.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 16, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There is nothing wrong with the taste of this coffee. But that is faint praise. It's a nice mild blend for a gentle good morning. Nothing objectionable, nothing bad. But there are better. And if you're thinking of buying this for the tag line "The coffee you make can make a difference" or the green "Rainforest Alliance Certified" stamp or the "conserving the environment & supporting coffee farmers" claim, let me read the fine print for you: "Minimum 30% rainforest alliance certified coffee". Thirty percent was never a passing grade at the schools I attended. In fact, 30% really roasts my beans! The packaging looks good, but the coffee tastes more like the Kraft Foods Global, Inc, blend that it really is.

It's not organic, and the doing good claim is not good for up to 70% of the coffee. So while the taste is fine, I think I'll be buying Newmans Own or some other organic coffee that makes even more of a difference. There are plenty more great fair trade coffees -- with no bitter smallprint aftertaste.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Really, the only thing this coffee has going for it over other coffees is its origin, benefitting local and disadvantaged growers. That's a good thing, but it doesn't make the coffee taste any different than any other coffee. It's a "breakfast blend," but it's not entirely clear why this coffee should be made for breakfast as opposed to after dinner? More caffeine? Yeah, it seems that way, just a bit.

It's not bad coffee, make no mistake. It's no better, no worse than any other brand of coffee you'll pull off the shelf. It does its job, and tastes just fine. But if you're into helping out the supply end of the commodity, then this is the one for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When you think of stores whose central product is coffee, one of the things you have to think about is the great variety of coffee they offer. Obviously, the array of personal tastes for coffee is huge or stores would not offer the variety they do. Therein lies the problem in providing a review for coffee. What may have meaning for me may not - or probably will not - have meaning for you.

When I first opened the bag, I was surprised at the powerful smell from the coffee. I thought the smell had a vaguely burnt smell included in it, though I failed to detect a burnt flavor to the coffee on drinking.

Given my proviso regarding personal taste, I think that the flavor of this coffee is mild and smooth. I put quite a lot of coffee in the filter before brewing, so I was a little surprised that the flavor was as mild as it was given the amount of coffee I used. I also did detect a bit of an aftertaste that I have a hard time identifying.

My wife and daughter also tried this coffee and had exactly opposite opinions. My daughter prefered this coffee over our usual brand of Folgers. My wife could hardly wait to go back to Folgers. I suspect my wife prefers the more full-bodied taste of Folgers over the mild flavor of this coffee. I think my daughter likely finds the heavier taste of Folgers to be too strong and enjoys the milder flavor of the Yuban.

The bag seemed to be functional and did a nice job of preserving the coffee's flavor. The bag advertises that the coffee contains a minimum of 30% Rainforest Alliance Certified (TM) coffee as well as USDA Organic coffee beans. However, I failed to figure out the other coffee beans mixed with the Rainforest Alliance Certified and USDA Organic coffee beans. The bag also notes that the coffee consists of 100% arabica beans, which are believed to be the first cultivated coffee beans and which contain less caffeine than other varieties.

I can understand how any brand of coffee will have an array of ratings because of how personal drinking coffee is. I prefer coffee with a bit more "bite" than this coffee, and I will likely not go out of my way to drink this coffee again. On the other hand, my daughter found the flavor to be excellent and preferable to our usual Folgers. My wife went the opposite direction and wanted to get back to our usual brand as soon as possible.

If you like coffee and you like getting the benefit of the pep coffee can give you in the morning with a mild flavor, this coffee could be for you.

Good luck in figuring out whether this coffee is for you!
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