So we have been drinking our own coffee exclusively for a few months now. We have had coffee coming out of our ears while trying to settle on our initial offering list. So today my wife and I decided to try a cup of coffee from a national brand (I am not going to say who it was because I don't want to get into that). We compared a "house blend" side-by-side with a cup of our Espresso Blend.
Initial thoughts were pretty funny. First of all the coffee from the shop had the distinct aroma of new tennis ball. No really! I even got out a can of Wilsons to compare. Then there was the slight aftertaste of ammonia (or as my wife said, cat pee). But once you got past these elements, it was an enjoyable cup, though a bit boring. It had some nice roast flavors but the bitterness was overpowering, and there was almost no finish or origin flavor. My best guess is a combination of lower-quality beans, dark roast, and staleness led to this disappointing flavor. As for the tennis ball scent, I have no clue.
Now, I am a bit biased since it is my coffee... but with the side-by-side comparison here are the differences I noticed with our coffee. It first of all had much less bitterness, and in fact the bitterness had a different quality, mixing with sweetness rather than astringency. The aroma was sweet with caramel and chocolate, maybe some cherry (food smells are a definite improvement). The flavor had a definite progression to it starting with some brightness, building into caramel and a bitter-sweet lingering finish. By contrast the shop coffee hit briefly with roast and bitterness and then quickly dissipated.
If you do get a chance to buy our coffee, try a side-by-side test with your grocery store standard. My hope is that you will find our coffee spectacular enough to be worth your time and money.