So I've been reading Kenneth Davids book about home roasting and so by extention it made inquire a bit more into his website, coffeereview.com where he had an interesting article about store bought preground coffee this month. He and his fellow tasters pitted preground coffee from big brand name roasters, Yuban, Starbucks, Illy, Dunkin' Donuts and a few others that are available nation wide.
I thought it was nice to see this sort of thing from a coffee site that does a lot of reporting on high-end coffee that is normally bought whole bean and fresh. If you are one of those people that has maybe made the jump to fresh coffee, but maybe not the jump to grinding your own I think the above article might be the little push you need as the notes for all of the coffees sight an immediate degradation of the coffee upon brewing going from "aroma (surprisingly complex and lively) to cup (flavor begins to fade) to finish (empty and exhausted). One can only conclude that these pre-ground coffees came out of the package tired."
What I found really interesting was the description and ratings of both Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts coffees. They lambasted Starbucks offerings as being cheap imitations of the whole bean coffee that they offer at their cafe locations. While Dunkin' Donuts on the other hand came out the winner of this cupping, so I guess the nation really does run this stuff!
But even at Dunkin' Donuts best score of 86 it still comes up short of many of the coffees on this site that have been scored by coffeereview, just look at how many 90 plus coffees are avaible by roasters like Paradise and Klatch. Not to say that a high score is indicitive of enjoyment, but rather it just shows the great quality and to truely experience that quality from start to finish in your cup you need a grinder.
Speaking of a grinder any grinder will do, even the ten dollar whirly blade specialy will show an improvement in your coffee than the preground coffee you buy.
In my searching of the coffeereview site I was very pleased to see that Roaste's own West Bean Coffee has many coffees rated above 90 and recently their Guatemala Santa Isabela Espresso rated a 92. That one went on my short list of new coffees to try on this site!