ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Changes are brewing with Wegmans store-brand canned coffee.
At a time when brands are switching from 100% arabica beans to blends that include less expensive robusta beans, the retailer is taking a different approach to control costs.
Its coffee suppliers have developed a “high-yield” grinding and roasting process that produces the same number of cups with fewer ground beans.
“The system exposes more surface area of the ground bean, so there are more contact points between water and coffee,” said Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president of consumer affairs, in her column last week.
Since the process yields more coffee from each bean, cans of Wegmans coffee will be reduced by an ounce or two, from 13 ounces. It will continue to retail for $1.99.
“You may think I've been sold a bill of goods, but this more efficient system does seem to improve results and our quality assurance people confirmed it,” said Burris.
Wegmans will stick with 100% arabica beans, which tend to produce a better cup of coffee than robusta beans, which cost less and are easier to grow.
During a recent taste test of 37 coffees by Consumer Reports, blended versions scored lower than several 100% Colombian arabica brands.
Although none of the coffees earned “excellent” or “very good” ratings, Starbucks House Blend and Green Mountain Signature Nantucket Blend Medium Roast bested all other brands.