While some people look forward to their weekly trip to the grocery store, I’ve always absolutely dreaded it—that is, until I fell in love with Trader Joe’s. From the cauliflower gnocchi that I lean on as a meal multiple times a week to the cookie butter that’s my ultimate treat, I’ve dabbled in just about every one of their exclusive products. But I realized recently that I hadn’t even begun to dip my toe into Trader Joe’s coffee—which felt like a sin to me as a coffee lover.
read this if you're in your saving era this summer
To no one’s surprise, Trader Joe’s coffee section is pretty extensive, and from refrigerated, single-serve lattes to tons of instant coffee options, it was hard to know where to start. So I set out to accomplish the ultimate feat: trying every TJ’s coffee product I could get my hands on, so you don’t have to.
After weeks of testing and my blood pumping with caffeine, my opinions are set and I’m ready to let the world know which are worth trying, and which you should pass on. All of the coffees are ranked out of five cups, with five being the best and one being the worst.
Ready to take fewer walks to your nearest Starbucks? Here’s my ultimate guide to all of Trader Joe’s coffee.
1. Organic Cold Brew (single-serving bottle)
I feel that of all the coffees, I am the strongest critic of cold brews. Some veer really bitter and acidic and make me feel truly ill, but when I find one that I like, I really like it.
These little single-serving bottles are a nice treat to keep in the fridge for when you’re having one of those mornings and a regular coffee just won’t cut it. This cold brew was smooth and strong and positively lovely.
2. Coconut Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
I love the idea of a coffee concentrate (you only have to use a little and then dilute it with water or milk), and this one was good without being too sweet or coconut-y. I put a splash of milk in it and it tasted like a regular coffee with a little coconut milk in it. It wasn’t my favorite, but if you like coconut, you’ll really like this.
3. Instant Cold Brew
To be honest, no instant coffee is that amazing, but of all the ones I’ve tried, this one is my favorite. I’m not entirely sure what makes this instant cold brew instead of just instant coffee, but I’ve kept one of these in my apartment for the past year and find myself reaching for it quite a bit. I wouldn’t say it tastes exactly like real coffee, but I love that I can have a decent iced coffee in a pinch—no cooling required.
4. Cold Brew (multi-serving jug)
Of all of the cold brews I tried from TJ’s, this was my least favorite, but that honestly might have just been based on personal preference. Like the label says, this stuff is bold, and it was a little too much for me. If you like your coffee extra strong, you’ll really enjoy this one.
5. La Colombe Oatmilk Draft Latte (single-serving can)
This is obviously not Trader Joe’s brand, but they carry it at Trader Joe’s and therefore got a spot on this list. There’s a La Colombe close to our Chicago office, and their oatmilk draft latte has always been the coffee I go and get as a true treat; it is one of the best coffees I’ve ever had in my life and nothing compares. The canned version is honestly very, very similar, and if I had it my way I’d have a fridge stocked full of these and would drink one every single morning.
6. Organic French Roast Cold Brew Concentrate (multi-serving jug)
This was by far and large my absolute favorite find from this entire excursion. It’s another concentrate, so I did a third of this, a third water, and a third oat milk, and it was a $6 coffee experience that veered me away from Starbucks for an entire week. I ran out of this and literally stopped the next day to buy two more to keep in the fridge. It is smooth and slightly sweet and doesn’t taste too acidic, and this will be a forever staple in my fridge. I cannot sing its praises enough.
7. Organic French Roast
I’m new to the French Press life (my parents got one for me this past Christmas), and I’ve been on the hunt to find a new coffee that I really like using in it. Alas, this was it. This is an amazing ground coffee option to keep on-hand in your kitchen, and is super affordable and comes in a can, which to me is far superior to the ones that come in a bag and require other storage from me.
8. Cold Brew Coconut Cream Latte (single-serving can)
I don’t ever mind my coffee being on the sweeter side, but this stuff was sweet. It could not be heavier on the coconut milk and I did not enjoy it at all, even as a sweet lover. It was so creamy that it almost tasted thick, which was a bizarre experience I don’t care to have again.
9. 100% Colombian Instant Coffee
Again, instant coffee isn’t exactly a luxury, but more a necessity and a good thing to have on hand as a backup; however, on an instant-coffee scale, this was actually really good. I made it hot, and I could see myself drinking this in the fall and winter when I’m craving hot coffees rather than cold ones. If you put this in a blind test, I don’t necessarily think I’d know it was an instant coffee, and that means it’s a winner.
10. Ristretto Espresso Capsules (Nespresso-compatible pods)
In an utter fool’s move, I bought these not realizing they were for a Nespresso, a machine I don’t own. Therefore I will not be ranking them, but thought they were noteworthy due to the fact that I associate Nespresso pods with being something you need to order online, these are pretty affordable, and you can pick them up at Trader Joe’s.
11. Instant Coffee Packets with Cream and Sugar
OK, these are not great, but I still respect the hell out of them as something you can use on a road trip or trip in general when the only other option is a gas station coffee. It’s a one-and-done situation that is sometimes simply necessary, and while I wouldn’t use them when I have my kitchen available, I’m going to stick them in my glove box, and that earns major points.
12. French Vanilla Cold Brew (single-serving can)
My coffee flavor of choice is always vanilla, so I was extremely excited about this, and it lived up to my expectations. Besides the La Colombe (which to be fair is kind of cheating since it isn’t Trader Joe’s), this was my favorite canned/bottled coffee I found. It’s sweet enough without being too sweet, and if you put it in a glass with some ice, you can honestly trick yourself into thinking it’s a latte you got at Starbucks.
13. Medium Roast Coffee Cups (Keurig-compatible pods)
I have a Keurig and am a lover of it, but the right pods are absolutely essential. I am extraordinarily picky with them, and really only stick to a couple of go-tos, but these passed my test. They’re an absolutely lovely classic, medium-roast coffee that tastes like a brewed cup, not like it came from a Keurig, which is obviously exactly what you want.