Photo: Getty Images
In 2006, Target -- which has 1,752 locations in 49 states (Vermont is the only state without a Target store) -- began buying up coffee from micro-batches with Cup of Excellence designation.
What's "Cup of Excellence?" It's the top award given to coffee beans -- the equivalent of a Grammy or an Oscar for the coffee industry. A panel of judges conduct cuppings (coffee-speak for tasting) a total of five times during the competition, which is hosted in the country of origin.
Coffee farms in nine different countries participate: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Rwanda. The winner's coffee is then sold to the highest bidder during an online auction -- and ultimately brought to coffee drinkers in the United States.
Last year Target bought beans from five Cup of Excellence winners, including the winner from Colombia. Currently Target is selling coffee from the Cup of Excellence 2009 winner (Flor de Mayo) in Bolivia, with farmer Pedro Castro Conurana at the helm. But you might never notice, because it's packaged under the store's in-house label, Archer Farms. To find it, search for the 10-ounce bags (or tins) of Archer Farm coffee beans marked "Cup of Excellence." The best part? The price: Only $15 for a 10-ounce tin of whole beans. You'll have to shop in person, though -- the coffee isn't available online.
- Get great coffee recipes from our sister site, Kitchen Daily.