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Home » Maxwell House Coffee Review: Is The Discount Brand Any Good?

Maxwell House Coffee Review: Is The Discount Brand Any Good?

You may think instant coffee has no place in a world moving towards specialty coffees. But brands like Maxwell House Coffee are still kicking and offering affordable prices for your brews.

Maxwell House Coffee was first invented in 1892 by a coffee salesman named Joel Cheek. It started as instant coffee, which was sold exclusively to the Maxwell House hotel. 

Is the discount brand any good? This review of Maxwell House Coffee has the answer.

Summary: Maxwell House Coffee

  • Quick and convenient budget-friendly coffee.
  • A vast selection of over 200 coffee products.
  • Available as whole bean, ground, single-serve pod, and instant.

Maxwell House Coffee is not only our favourite coffee brand, it is also one of the most cost effective brands on the market!

– Maxwell House International Coffee Customer

The Maxwell House International Coffee Review

Maxwell House was the brainchild of coffee broker Roger Nelly Smith and Joel Cheek, who had been researching the ideal coffee blend. Their production speed led the coffee industry at the time, but the taste left something to be desired due to limited technology and poor coffee quality (1).

Has the coffee quality and flavor improved over the last hundred years? We’ll get into that, as well as the selection and variety, sustainability, and brewing methods for Maxwell House Coffee. 

Maxwell House International Coffee Review
  • Coffee Quality And Flavor
  • Selection And Variety
  • Sustainability
  • Brewing Methods

Coffee Quality And Flavor – 3/5

All coffees from Maxwell House used to be Arabica-Robusta blends. Since 2007, Robusta has been removed, except from the instant and Maxwell House Master Blend coffees. Maxwell House Coffee proudly tells the media that their coffees are “good to the last drop” (2).

Currently, there is no official way to assess the quality of instant coffee . . . We need to create a standardised language to objectively assess the quality of these products, as well as describe their flavours and aromas.

Here at Home Grounds, we always encourage you to source the best whole coffee beans from a roaster directly for the highest quality (3). As Maxwell House Coffee focuses heavily on pre-ground coffee, you may not get the most freshness and flavor out of your brews.

Where Is Maxwell House Coffee Made?

Maxwell House Coffee is made in Jacksonville, FL, Houston, TX, and San Leandro, CA (4). The first facility was built over 120 years ago, back in 1910, by the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company. It is still the biggest producer of roast and ground coffee compared to all of its other main coffee-producing facilities. 

Maxwell House is an American brand owned by Kraft Foods, Inc. However, since this company split over a decade ago in 2012, the rights to Maxwell House Coffee are shared by Kraft Heinz in North America and JDE Peet’s in the rest of the world.  

In What Decade Was Maxwell House Coffee First Produced And Introduced In Canada?

Maxwell House Coffee was first produced and introduced in Canada in the 1970s. It was brought over as part of a product line known as General Foods International Coffee. 

Is Maxwell House Good Coffee?

Yes, Maxwell coffee is good. While it is by no means specialty coffee, it is popular for its smooth bold coffee notes, fresh flavors, and pleasant aromas.

Selection And Variety – 4/5

Here are the best Maxwell House coffees ranging from whole beans to ground coffee to K-Cups.

Maxwell House Ground Coffee (Original Roast Filter Packs)

maxwell house coffeeoriginal

Ground coffee just got easier. Not only is it pre-ground for your convenience, but you also get to skip another step in the coffee-making process. 

This original medium roast comes in ten single-serve bags of pre-portioned ground coffee. 

Simply pour one of these Maxwell House coffee packs into your coffee filter. For some fancier flavors, try hazelnut, smooth and balanced, 100% Columbian, or half-caff.

Maxwell House Instant Coffee (Original Decaf)

Maxwell House coffee Instant Decaf

Enjoy the rich medium decaf instant coffee option for the classic signature original Maxwell House Coffee Blend minus the caffeine jitters. You’ll get the same great original smoothness in this decaffeinated coffee sealed in an easily openable lightweight jar. Just add hot water.

Maxwell House Cafe Style Flavor (French Vanilla Single Serve Sticks)

Maxwell House Cafe Style Flavor (French Vanilla Single Serve Sticks)

Get an Iced French Vanilla Latte instantly. Maxwell House offers packs of six 0.57 oz. single-serve sticks of flavored instant coffee to enjoy anytime. Top with water or milk. This drink mix contains milk and sugar, so check if this fits with your dietary preferences or restrictions first.

Maxwell House Coffee Pods (Vanilla Hazelnut)

Maxwell House Coffee Pods (Vanilla Hazelnut)

Fire up your Keurig and pop in one of Maxwell House’s recyclable K-Cups. Bursting with deliciously toasty vanilla and hazelnut tasting notes, this medium roast Maxwell House Coffee K Cup is a delight for a quick and sweet wake-up. A case contains a dozen K-Cups.

Maxwell House Iced Coffee (Max Boost Vanilla)

Maxwell House Iced Coffee (Max Boost Vanilla)

The Maxwell House Max Boost Vanilla Iced Coffee has 180 mg of caffeine in an 11-ounce bottle to keep you up and running for all your important to-dos. 

This vanilla-flavored powerhouse has double the caffeine of the typical Maxwell House coffee. 

Maxwell House Whole Bean Coffee

maxwell house whole bean

Whole bean is always the best coffee option for a flavorful brew, as long as you have a quality burr grinder at home. A cup of Maxwell House Coffee from these freshly ground beans yields little bitterness and a smooth bold taste.

Sustainability – 2/5

Maxwell House International does not offer Fair Trade or Organic coffee, nor are their beans traceable to the origin. However, they did receive praise in 2020 for launching zero-waste compostable coffee pods.

Brewing Methods – 3/5

Maxwell House Coffee fits all manner of brewing methods. The ground coffee or whole beans are suitable for pour over, drip, moka pot, and French press. They have a broad selection of K-Cups for single-serve brewers, and even those with no coffee maker can enjoy instant coffee.

Things we liked:

  • Affordable and widely available coffee.
  • Great product variety.
  • Offered as whole bean, pre-ground, K-Cups, and instant.

Things we didn’t like:

  • Not organic or Fair Trade.
  • Low coffee quality.
  • No sustainability information.

Do Not Buy Maxwell House International If… 

You’re seeking an environmentally-friendly choice – If you want to feel like you’re giving back with every brew, know that 4% of the profits from every Waka coffee purchase are donated to support clean water initiatives. Even its packaging is recyclable. Another sustainable option is Folgers coffee, which works to advocate for environmental practices as well as human rights, safety measures, and improving quality of life for farmers.

You want more nuanced tasting notes – The Starbucks Via instant coffee is more for coffee connoisseurs in a hurry than someone needing a quick caffeine fix. The Latin American Pike Place roast, for instance, has hints of toasted nuts and cocoa in a harmonious cup of flavors.

The Verdict

Maxwell House International excels in coffee variety and affordability, with over 200 coffee products. However, the brand lags in sustainability and coffee quality, two areas that are becoming increasingly important. So is this coffee, in fact, “good to the last drop”? It’s up to you to decide based on your priorities.

maxwell house original blend coffee filter pack

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  1. Helena Coffee. (n.d.). History Of Instant Coffee. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://www.helenacoffee.vn/history-of-instant-coffee/
  2. Market Watch. (2007, July 24). Kraft to remove robusta beans from Maxwell House coffee blend. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/kraft-to-remove-robusta-beans-from-maxwell-house-coffee-blend
  3. Zanin, R. (2023, January 17). How can we assess the quality of instant coffee? Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2023/01/how-can-we-assess-the-quality-of-instant-coffee/
  4. University of North Florida. (2010, January 2). Maxwell House Coffee Plant 1, Jacksonville, FL. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/historical_architecture_main/2246
Dasha Toptygina
I am a writer who delves into all manner of things related to coffee, cats, and characters. I started drinking coffee daily in university and now my entire work, life, and personality all revolve around procuring the perfect brew. I start every morning with yoga, French Press coffee, and some special creative time devoted to working on a magical cat café story... but, more on that later.

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