Gourmet Coffee Beans from… Aldi? Barissimo Tanzania Review

Gourmet Coffee Beans from… Aldi? Barissimo Tanzania Review

We love good quality coffee. Going through beans, trying different varieties of roasts and origins, keeps our coffee interest fresh and exciting. However, depending on how much you drink, and how refined your tastes are, a coffee habit can add up. Even if you are brewing at home with one of the many fine specialty coffee makers, keeping beans stocked in your kitchen can be expensive.

Gourmet beans offered in the usual 12 ounce bags from my local roasters, or national reputable companies, run the price of 15 to 20 dollars. One bag is easily used up in a week in my household. Although much more economical than paying for daily coffee shop drinks, drinking good coffee at home can easily run the price of ~80 dollars a month! Given, when I’m in a jam or feeling cheap I will buy coffee off the shelf of big box grocery stores. These are usually mid-tier beans that are the best mainstream stores can offer. They come with a lower price tag and unpredictable, maybe satisfactory results at best.

Despite my fine, uncompromising, expensive tastes in coffee, I generally LOVE a bargain. So while perusing the national grocery chain Aldi, I discovered they are putting more effort into offering GOOD coffee.

For those who have never had the pleasure of shopping at one, Aldi is a grocery store that is known for very low prices. It has a German origin going back to the early 1900’s, while first being run by brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht. Aldi is short for Albrecht-Diskont. It’s known for providing high quality, natural and organic products at a discount, having higher wages for its workers, and being environmentally friendly/lowering its carbon emissions.

Fine beans, delicate flavor, under $6, AND cute original artwork?

It became my preferred grocery store a few years ago due to the permanent, unbeatable price of its 16 ounce box of organic spring mix ($3.69). I also had fun looking at some of its strange, exotic global food that I didn’t know anything about. Most of the packaged goods are private label. Simple, basic products while very low prices. The coffee was never on my radar, as it usually had some ground coffee varieties and k-cup pods that never screamed “gourmet”.

 In 2015, Aldi changed its private coffee label to Barissimo. Under this name, many of the coffees are still ground, vague beans with disguising flavors like vanilla and hazelnut. They also have ready-to-drink sweet, milky iced coffees bottled a la Starbucks.

Some time last year is when I noticed whole bean, single origin coffee on the shelf. With the importance of quality groceries over affordability to more and more people, even discount grocers like Aldi have taken note. While I was there last week I bought a can of whole bean coffee sourced from Tanzania that looked promising. I have to tell you, the price for these 12 ounces of beans was ONLY $5.79 !! Could good quality, single origin coffee be had for such a price? That is 1/3 of what I usually pay.

Barissimo Passport Series Coffee; Tanzania

Yes, the 12 oz can of beans boasts “Single Origin Passport Series”. It also says it is 100% arabica beans, medium roasted, from Mbinga, Tanzania. It is Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means the nonprofit helps the farmers optimize their crops and business structure to avoid being exploited for their work.

aldi coffee beans
This Tanzanian medium roast looks good!

It is not stated anywhere on the product or where I could find online where the beans are roasted, or when. The can has a “best by” date of at least five months, as I bought the beans in March 2019 and the date listed is before August 2019. With this, I was worried that the beans may have been sitting for a long time. Upon inspection though, they looked evenly roasted, matte with just some oily spots that indicate a good looking batch of beans. Being securely packed and with the frequency of turnover in products on Aldi shelves, I don’t believe staleness will be an issue while buying beans.

Being an African-grown coffee, similar to Ethiopian, the Tanzanian beans hold a bright, fruity, acidic flavor. The medium roast did showcase the flavors well. I brewed a cup in my Aeropress, and took notes of grapefruit, and black tea upon first taste. The underlying flavors of cinnamon, honey and molasses lingered afterward. It had a medium body which made for an ideal cup of black coffee with layers of flavor and depth. The coffee is a winner for me!

While I have some go-to coffee beans that are consistently excellently flavored and roasted, that I will return to, even if they cost >$15.00 per bag, I must mix things up in between. These quality, affordable beans offered from Aldi are a great filler for those weeks when you want to lower your coffee budget.

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