I was excited when Aldi first started offering Fair Trade coffee. I was even happier when they added two single-origin, organic Fair Trade varieties in the Barissimo line: one from Peru, and one from Honduras. The packaging tells you that the Peruvian coffee comes from the San Pablo Estate and the coffee from Honduras is grown in the Montecillos region. Having never been to either place, that doesn’t mean much to me, but it might to a more refined coffee connoisseur.
Single-origin organic Fair Trade certified coffee is the holy grail for people like me who love coffee but worry about both pesticides and poor labor practices. In a word, modern hippies. Both of these varieties meet those standards and for a great price ($4.99). They are both good medium-roast varieties, but with slight differences in taste.
These are packaged as whole bean coffees, but you don’t have to own a coffee grinder to get them to the right consistency. I’ve had good success using my food processor as a grinder. You can also use a blender or grind by hand by putting the beans in a bag and rolling it with a rolling pin (or having your kids do it, though you should double-bag it in that case.)
I use a French Press, so I need a fairly coarse grind– larger pieces than pre-ground coffee provides. If you use a drip machine, you need to grind it much more finely. However you brew your coffee, refer to your machine’s manual to know exactly how course or fine your grind should be.
Barissimo Fair Trade Certified Organic Peru Coffee
The Peruvian variety is my favorite of the two. It has a mild, medium (but not boring) flavor with slightly sweet, caramel undertones. It’s mild enough that I don’t add cream to it like I do with stronger coffees. You can use cream or sweetener if you prefer, but they could mask the subtleties of the flavor.
Barissimo Fair Trade Certified Organic Honduras Coffee
The Honduran coffee is also a medium-roast, but the flavor is less complex than its Peruvian cousin. It has a slight chocolate undertone, but overall, the flavor is a little darker and significantly plainer — it reminds me of Folgers coffee. It’s a passable medium-roast cup, but it’s not very interesting. I’ve tried it with cream, and it doesn’t significantly change the flavor.
If you prefer medium-roast coffee but want to support independent organic farmers, then either one of Aldi’s Barissimo Fair Trade Certified Organic coffees will work for you. I personally recommend the Peruvian variety, but the Honduran coffee is fine if you’re used to typical name-brand coffees like Folgers or Maxwell House.