As consumers, we’re always on the hunt for new stuff. And why not? New is better, right? At least, that’s the hope. But in the case of Folgers 1850 Coffee, it’s actually true.
If you haven’t heard of Folgers, you’re probably not American. The company is perhaps the most recognizable brand of morning go-juice in the country. Especially if you were born in the 80s, the red can and jingle probably convinced you that coffee was THE best part of waking up in the morning. I mean, how could you not love that commercial? It showed families reconnecting in the most glorious of ways. “Hey mom, we made it home after all! I tried to surprise you but the Folgers blew my cover.”
I mean this black powder in a big crimson metal can was a symbol of love, connection and celebration. It seemed like there was no problem Folgers couldn’t handle.
What Is Folgers Coffee?
In 1850, two years into the California Gold Rush, a fourteen-year-old James Folger set out with his two older brothers, traveling from Nantucket to San Francisco. While his brothers went to the mines in the Sierra Nevadas, James stayed behind to work at The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills and was made partner in just four years. The company was bankrupt following the Civil War but James forged ahead buying out partners and renamed it J.A. Folger & Co. His coffee in the red can mostly stayed in California until the early 1900’s when it made its way to the east coast. By the 1960’s Folgers moved headquarters to New Orleans where they still roast beans today.
As a youngster, I always felt left out when the adults drank Folgers coffee. After watching those ubiquitous commercials, I felt like I was missing something. But coffee was for grownups. It wasn’t until my first summer job in high school that I got to try Folgers Coffee.
To be honest, after all the commercials, I expected more. Drinking Folgers didn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy. It didn’t inspire me. In fact, it didn’t really taste very good. At that point, my favorite thing about Folgers was that a can was used as an urn in The Big Lebowski.
What Is Folgers 1850 Coffee?
The 1850 brand prides itself on being bolder and smoother than you even thought coffee could be. James Folger was a pioneer in the cupping method of assessing coffee and a stickler for quality and this is where 1850 seems to hang their hat. Believing in their product so much as thinking the level of quality is criminal.
Another thing they pride themselves on is the product’s versatility. They encourage you to give it a brew in drip and single serve machines like the Keurig or Nespresso but also tell you to give it the Chemex or French press treatment.
With 1850, Folgers ditched the red can in favor of a blue bag. In fact, it’s almost unrecognizable as Folgers — if you grabbed a bag of 1850 from the store, you might not have even realized there was a connection. Although the coffee in the 1850 series is available in whole beans, I went with the ground coffee since that’s what most drinkers would probably put in their shopping cart.
A Review of Folgers 1850 Coffee
Because of my previous experience with Folgers, I was skeptical when I heard about 1850. And it only makes sense — the fact that it exists is almost an acknowledgement from the company that their flagship product stinks. Folgers makes six varieties in the 1850 Coffee line including two single origin, but the bag I purchased was called the Pioneer Blend. You can’t fool me — I’ve played enough Oregon Trail to know the pioneers were a hard bunch that made campfire coffee so thick you could chew it.
But no oxen or tastebuds were lost today.
I don’t have a drip machine, so I brewed 45 grams of the Pioneer Blend in my V60 with 720 grams of water. The bloom produced a thick copper head that continued to foam up until about the two minute mark. The brew finished up in around four minutes total. This produced a super smooth, clean cup that hit some roasty dark caramel notes as well as the slightly nutty notes that were promised on the bag.
The Bottom Line on Folgers 1850 Coffee
This was actually a very enjoyable cup of coffee, even if it did taste a little burnt. Also, if you’re looking for a serious buzz, the 1850 Pioneer Blend will keep you buzzed past lunch.
Is it great? Not compared to something from Black & White Coffee Roasters. But sometimes, that’s okay. At just over six bucks per pound, Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is a great option if you’re looking for a week’s worth of good, inexpensive coffee that kicks the shit out of the red can.
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