coffee wars

Companies Are Locked in a Heated Battle to Produce the Best So-so Coffee Imaginable

Walmart’s new Mash-Up coffee, produced by a third-wave roaster in Denver. Photo: Walmart

The American coffee industry long ago perfected the art of awful coffee that tastes like bad cigarettes, and more recently it conquered the high-end of the small-batch and terroir-driven. Some might look at this caffeinated landscape, think, What else is there to be done? and pack up their espresso beans. Others, however, realize that there is still untapped roasted bean water, and are currently locked in a fierce race to the middle.

Enter Walmart, which will now shill $7 fancier coffee, called Mash-Up, made with Denver’s Boyer’s Coffee exclusively available at its stores and on its website. Like your friend’s recently divorced dad asking the kids what’s up with this dance party, one of the owners of Boyer’s parent company Luna Gourmet tells Bloomberg that Walmart “looked to us to educate them.” The bags look like something out of an imitation Brooklyn café, with tasting notes and info on bean origin.

This might sound odd to people who talk about notes of cherry in their macchiatos, but Folgers — the king, queen, and archduke of bad coffee — released its own line of higher-end coffee. Starbucks has that Reserve thing it does. Meanwhile, origin-obsessed third-wave pioneers like Blue Bottle — which is as far from Folgers as you can get — and Joe now peddle … instant coffee. Is this the Upside Down?

Anyway, this is all pointless because Dunkin’ Donuts already has this marketed cornered.

Companies Are Battling to Produce the Best So-so Coffee