Folger’s coffee originated in California during the gold rush era. The San Francisco-based Pioneer coffee company saw a market niche for coffee that was ready to brew, rather than unroasted green beans. Teenaged J. A. Folger began as a carpenter building Pioneer’s first mill, and by 1872 owned the company outright. The newly renamed Folger’s company expanded throughout the west, becoming part of Proctor and Gamble in the 20th century, and later being acquired by Smucker’s. Folger’s Classic Roast is a top-selling mass-market brand.

Ingredients in Folger’s Classic Roast

The list of ingredients on the iconic red packaging is very straightforward. Folger’s contains 100 percent coffee, according to its labeling. No additives or preservatives are listed. Some Internet sites and web forums serving the Celiac’s and gluten-intolerant community have received reports of adverse reactions from Folger’s coffee, but these are uncommon. The company’s position is that its product contains no naturally occurring gluten and that they take all appropriate steps to prevent cross-contamination.

The Beans in Folger’s Classic Roast

Coffee beans are grown in warm climates around the world. Warm days and cool nights are ideal for coffee production, and the best coffees are grown at higher altitudes to take advantage of this. Altitude is not a guarantee of quality but, all things being equal, higher-grown coffees have a flavor advantage over lower-grown coffees. Folger’s describes their coffees as being “Mountain Grown,” which implies but does not specify high altitude. Folger’s beans are sourced from most of the world’s growing areas.

Robusta vs. Arabica

The world’s coffee beans are divided into two major varieties. Arabica plants produce coffee, with deep, complex flavors and aromas. Robusta coffees are higher in caffeine, but have simpler flavors with harsh and bitter tones. Arabica plants are more demanding and harder to grow, while the accurately named robustas can be cultivated in a much wider range of areas. This makes robusta beans cheaper, and therefore popular in mass-market brands. Folger’s Classic Roast is a blend of robusta and arabica beans, with the arabicas used to moderate the roughness of the robustas.

The Brewed Coffee

Folger’s Classic Roast is a medium-roasted blend, with uncomplicated and unassertive flavors. Its flavor profile has remained essentially constant over the years, and is thought to be much the same as the original 19th century blend. The brand remains popular, although consumer expectations are rising in the wake of Starbucks’ success.