Nothing makes the noses turn up of artisanal coffee roasters than the names of the large national private label coffee roasters. It's companies like Royal Cup, Paramount Coffee, Dillano's, and Magnum Coffee, among others.
They're usually invisible to you and me because they're private label, behind the scenes. They'll be at Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, your corner cafe, and your local high-end restaurant. But they're not out making a name for themselves with the coffee drinker, like you and me.
But I've been trying their coffees for a long time and have a secret to share. They do carry some good premium coffees. Sure, they have plenty of grab bags of random Indonesian coffees, Ethiopian what-nots, and Indian Whose-ee-Whatsee. But they have very strong buying power and they can buy up entire estates' outputs at a time.
Royal Cup has a line of single origin coffees. So does Paramount and Dillanos. Magnum Coffee just released a Costa Rica from a single estate and it has more body and floral notes than you'd expect from run of the mill Costa Ricas. Both Paramount and Dillanos have "cause coffees" that donate money towards worthy local causes in the countries and regions where they buy. For instance, Paramount Coffee has "Fair Trade Rwanda Coffee" specifically meant to aid farmers in that war-torn country. Dillanos has its "One Harvest" project carrying single estate coffee from farmers they know in Costa Rica, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Guatemala.
The roasters at these large wholesalers tend to love these single origin and estate coffees. It's their sort of pet projects. Like a car mechanic that fixes Hondas and Toyotas all day but is allowed to work on Lamborghinis on the night shift.
I'm not saying that these are coffees that will win coffee competitions judged by other roasters that can smell the notes that only dogs can hear. I'm saying that I've tried them and they're good. They are excellent demonstrations of single origin character, and they'd fit well with many peoples' tastes. Don't pass them up. If you get a chance, give them a try!