Cream Of The Bean

A $2 cup of coffee every working day will cost you up more than $500 for the year.

A panel of expert coffee tasters ranked a traditional, quick-not-gritty alternative: preground coffee, bought by the sack. The March issue of Consumer Reports Magazine is running a taste test on 100 percent Colombian caffeinated preground beans.

Eight O'Clock Coffee at $6.28 a pound, or just 15 cents per cup, topped the list. Runners-up were Caribou Coffee and Kickapoo Coffee, at $11.76 a pound and $14.33 a pound, respectively.

These three were marked "very good" coffee choices, even when sipped black.

Starbucks Corp.'s Colombia Medium came in No. 4, the best of the "good" bunch, due to its pronounced burnt flavors, said Consumer Reports Home and Yard editor Bob Markovich.

Milk and sugar may help to mask the taste flaws of coffees rated "good" and below.

The taste test took place last November and December.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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