Gevalia in Sweden
Gevalia in the United States
Enough History, already, Kari! What's the Scoop on Gelavia?
The scoop is ... that, depending upon your personal taste in coffee, it's worth at least pouring a scoop into your coffee maker - especially if you, like me, prefer a coffee that won't put hair on your chest. Kraft sent me a 12-ounce sample of Gevalia's "French Roast" variety to review (no, I won't ask why they don't call it something more original like, say, "Swedish Roast"). Upon opening the package and sniffing the ground coffee aroma, I was reminded a LOT of one of Kraft's other major brands ... Maxwell House. And once brewed, it tasted to me like a more palatable version of MH. True to Gevalia's chief claim, this coffee does in fact most definitely provide a "smooth, rich, never bitter taste cup after cup" - and that's a huge selling point with me (ever since I championed my Swedish great-grandmother's preparation of egg coffee on this website primarily because it was so smooth going down that it required neither milk nor sugar).
The other claim on Gevalia's "French Roast" package, I'm not so sure about: that the flavor is "intense" and "complex." It might be intense if you brew an extra-strong pot, but it's no more complex (although, as noted, it is far less bitter) than Maxwell House.
So Should I Buy It?
I think the Gevalia brand is well-worth a try since you can now find it in retail stores (I probably wouldn't bother to purchase it through mail-order). I think that it's a great "everyday" sort of coffee - the kind you drink for pleasure and relaxation, rather than on those days when you're desperate to wake up and need something that will turn your stomach inside out and rev your brain cells from zero to 100% in three seconds or less).
I also would select Gevalia for a great "base" coffee whenever I wanted to experiment by adding my own flavors - vanilla, almond, or cardamom extract, or in instances where I'm trying to emulate the Icelandic "caraway coffee" (kúmenkaffi) traditionally served on the late winter day when the sun first returns over the fjords. Because of its unique non-bitter smoothness and - to be honest - it's rather unremarkable character, Gevalia would be the perfect base to create really memorable coffee drinks whenever you feel like getting in touch with your inner barista.