City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Warning: Worst coffee in world discovered

Written in


So-called coffee

Beware. Approach with caution. This is, without doubt, the worst coffee in the world. I bought this from a supermarket in London’s Arabian wonderland off Edgeware Road because I liked the packaging. I’m afraid it’s grotesque. I threw the whole packet away after one cup. I knew Lebanese Brazilian was never going to be the greatest coffee, but I wasn’t prepared for quite how disgusting it was. It tasted like fish. Still, the packet was nice – I like the panels on the back, mirroring arabic and English script (so both read from the outside in) and the arabic script in the blue ‘steam’ on the front. Any other designers been suckered into buying something this genuinely awful, if not life-threatening, by packaging-attraction?


19 responses to “Warning: Worst coffee in world discovered”

  1. life - listed chronologically Avatar

    Worst Coffee Ever

    Via, the worst coffee ever. I knew Lebanese Brazilian was never going to be the greatest coffee, but I wasn’t prepared for quite how disgusting it was. It tasted likefish. [cityofsound] [via] Mmmm, nothing like a little fish…


  2. Amr Al-Hindi Avatar
    Amr Al-Hindi

    May I ask how did you prepare it? I have used this brand before and I have found it to be good. Here is how I prepare it:

    measure 1 cup of water for each 1 tbls
    start heating water and add sugar to taste
    As the water starts to form small bubbles, add coffee
    bring the water to boil and as soon as the coffee starts rising, remove from heat


  3. Rory S Avatar
    Rory S

    This coffee is a type of ‘Turkish’ style coffee. The fishlike taste is due to the fact that is has been roasted with cardomon pods. If you will remember the coffee was ground very finely and is meant to be prepared in an Ibrik (or Briki), which is a small copper pot heated on a heat source (follow Amr’s directions). If you made it in a frech press pot, a drip filter way or a stovetop moka pot then it will taste odd (even more so with the addition of milk). It is quite an aquired taste but certainly not the worst coffee in the world. That distinction has to go to instant coffees (especially the non-freeze-dried ones).


  4. Greg Avatar

    8 o’clock coffee is nasty. I just bought it and I had 2 cups. Horrible. Bitter and sour at the same time. Even tastes moldy. I’m going to the store right now to replace it with Kroger coffee, which I find quite good.


  5. tom radel Avatar
    tom radel

    The worst coffee I’ve ever tasted has been Krogers whole bean spotlight coffee. I would not wish that coffee on my last boyfriend. The cheap ground coffees from the dollar stores are better.


  6. Bored to Death Avatar
    Bored to Death

    Yeah, It seems that you did not prepare it properly. If you were expecting an American Coffee or an espresso, you definitely wouldn’t like it. This is My Friend Turkish Coffee. One of the best in the region. The first comment above by Amr Al Hindi is the right way to prepare it although i do not agree that you should add sugar before you add the coffee. Actually if you want to enjoy it properly, i suggest that you shouldn’t add any sugar at all.


  7. Bored to Death Avatar
    Bored to Death

    Actually, i forgot something. When you say “one cup of water for each table spoon” it means one Turkish coffee cup: i.e. the equivalent of 1 espresso cup.
    Here’s how:
    You need a Turkish coffee kettle: a pot with a long handle from one side without a lid.
    Boil water in the pot
    Once the water is boiling take it off the heat and add coffee (1 table spoon for every cup and an extra table spoon “for good luck”)
    Heat it until it rises and then take it off the heat.
    stir it a couple of times and put it back on the heat to boil again until it rises.
    Leave it for 2 min to settle and enjoy Turkish coffee the Lebanese way with a Brazilian flavor.


  8. Clark Westfield Avatar
    Clark Westfield

    Yes, that was Turkish coffee and should be prepared as described by Amr. I have heard that in the old days Turks would put sugar in their mouths and drink the coffee through it. However, being a total coffee snob I simply must comment that the Cafe Najjar was most likely stale anyway. We coffee snobs value freshness over everything. Even vacuum packed, ground coffee is stale after a month. Personally I throw roasted beans out once they get more than ten days old. Another thing: Most Brazilians are Robustas which are for the most part inferior to Arabicas. The only reason a Lebanese company would import Brazilian coffee is because it’s cheap. If they wanted high quality beans they should have gone for Yemeni or African beans if they wanted to keep it local and Keep import costs down. As far as finding good coffee goes I always liked a brand called Sahadi but I think it’s been gone for years. Find a local roaster. That’s what I’d do if I wasn’t a home roasting coffee snob. Cheers!


  9. Steve Morgan Avatar
    Steve Morgan

    Given Dan’s imminent relocation to Australia, where he’ll find micro-roasters on every street corner, his stale, fishy coffee experience will soon seem like a bad dream.
    But returning to the spirit of his original post, might I suggest an alternative thread for cityofsound relating to album design. Firmly believing in the rule of thumb that ‘Good Album Cover = Good Music’, I’m always fascinated to find confounding examples where musical treasures are to be found inside a dreadful sleeve. So far my favourite example is Magical Shepherd by Miroslav Vitous, but it would be nice to discover others. The artwork has to be truly excreable though.


  10. Marty Avatar

    Surely the worst coffee in the world has to be Mellow Birds. As I recall it was kind of like a finely powdered instant coffee. I had a cup about 20 years ago and I can still taste it. I’ve no idea if you can still buy it but it used to be advertised by Joanna Lumley.


  11. Café Najjar Avatar

    This is a formal reply from “Café Najjar”.
    First of all, we would like to give you the preparation steps and some other information of a good cup of coffee:
    Save in dry cold place closed not more than 15 days after opening the pack. Preparation:
    3 cups / 3 persons
    Preparation time: 5 to 7 minutes
    Dose: 14g of ground coffee – 180ml of water
    Boil the water in the traditional coffee pot called “Rakwe”. When the water boils, remove the pot from the fire. Use the small spoon to put the coffee in the boiled water, stir well the mixture. Put again on the fire and remove when the coffee starts to rise. Let it rest a few seconds then redo this operation 2 or 3 times: The coffee must rise under fire and rest.
    Rest the coffee for 15 seconds then serve.
    Second, let us give you a glance of our historical background:
    Café Najjar was established in Lebanon in 1957 as a small artisanal roastery in Beirut. In 1997, the small roastery has became the biggest coffee factory in the Middle East. We are the most modern technological and computerized coffee roaster in the Middle East and among the best in the Mediterranean Basin.
    We export to more than 50 countries in the world.
    We buy mainly from Brazil Arabica coffee, the best rio flavors available worldwide. The factory is fully automated and computerized and operate on a preset profile roasting. Then comes the grinders that have the capacity of grinding 6000 kg/hour. After that, the packaging machines with the vacuum gas-flash system and the easy-open bag method. A monitoring center with the most technological and modern machines to test the production over each stage starting from the raw material up till the end product.
    As a reply to Mr. Dan Hill’s comment, first of all, the packaging shown in the picture is the old packaging. We are using the new Double wall packaging since 2001, 3 years before Mr. Hill’s comment. And since the expiry date of the packet is 3 years, this means that Mr. Hill has bought an expired packet. “Café Najjar” is not responsible in any way of the expired merchandise.
    On the other hand, we can say that the Turkish coffee taste is a coffee accustomed for Middle East tasters. The taste, the flavor, the aromatic scent are perfectly adapted to Middle Eastern drinkers. Give us you American coffee or your Espresso Filter Coffee and we will surely not like it. The taste of the Arabic Turkish coffee is a taste of a whole specific nation. We would like to invite you to visit our website: to know more about us and our coffee. Just follow the aroma and it will lead you there.


  12. Tomas Siqveland Avatar
    Tomas Siqveland

    As a Norwegian I was served Turkish coffee during a recent holiday. I must say I fell for it immediately. I then “studied” the art of preparing it in the hotel kitchen, bought a pot and the right kind of coffee and returned home. To this day I have prepared a cup every evening, and I think I’m getting the hang of it. Here’s how I do it:
    Measure one (espresso-type) cup of water, pour it into the pot.
    Add two teaspoons of coffee (e.g. Najjar) and sugar to taste, 1-2 teaspoons. Stir, but leave some coffee floating on top of the water.
    Bring to boil, but remove the pot from the heat when you see bubbles of golden foam break the surface.
    Using a teaspoon, lift the foam from the pot into the cup (lots of aroma, like espresso crema).
    Bring the rest of the coffee to boil for 5 – 10 seconds. Pour it into the cup. Enjoy!
    TS 🙂


  13. jennifer f kidder Avatar
    jennifer f kidder

    Hey, we fell for this “coffee” too! Fish? I designated it dishwater before we saw this blog.
    Now, while the packaging is attractive, it is now 2007, USA, and our decision to buy this junk was swayed by politics: We were looking for Fair Trade coffee, so as not to rip off impoverished workers to the best of our ability; and at the hour and location we found ourselves, the best we could do instead was to support the economy of a middle-eastern country that our country–& more recently its “ally”–has bombed! –against our will and wishes of course. I hope this perchance did somebody some good as I gulp it down.
    As the proprietor of the arabic little store where we bought it said–when I asked if it was truly Lebanese, not American–she said, yes; and “At least THEY have a president.”
    (wow, do people from other countries know that our current king george was installed not elected?! that was heartening)


  14. Café Najjar Avatar
    Café Najjar

    We would like to announce to this site visitors and to the world that the “International Taste & Quality Institute” located in Brussels – Belgium, granted “Café Najjar” an award called the “Superior Taste Award” for three consecutive years.
    Allow me to give you a glance of this European Institute (you can find more details if you visit the website:
    The International Taste & Quality Institute, iTQi, Brussels , is the leading independent Chef- and Sommelier- based organization dedicated to judging, honoring and promoting superior tasting food and drink from around the world.
    For its juries, iTQi works in close partnership with the 10 most prestigious European culinary institutions and the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI).
    In order to evaluate the tastiest food and beverage products, iTQi is closely associated with renowned European Chefs, beverage experts and Sommeliers:
    • Their training and daily profession brings them a unique tasting expertise.
    Sommeliers are trained to evaluate all types of beverages: wines but also spirits, alcohols and all hot/cold beverages like water, juice, tea, coffee, beer, soft drink, etc…
    • European Chefs and Sommeliers are outstanding taste ambassadors. Their image is unanimously recognized by consumers as the symbol of good taste.
    • iTQi actively partners with the 10 most prestigious European culinary organizations: Maîtres Cuisiniers of France and Belgium , Academy of Culinary Arts, Federación de Asociaciones de Cocineros de España, Académie Culinaire of France , Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, Federazione dei Cuochi Italiana, Hellenic Chef’s Association, Verband der Köche Deutschlands and Euro-Toques.
    The Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI) with a presence in more than 40 countries provides iTQi with the finest Sommeliers to test beverages.
    • Different European nationalities are represented in the Juries in order to reflect both Latin and Germanic sensitivities in all their subtleties.
    • iTQi judges are recognized by international authorities and world renowned culinary guides such as the Michelin and Gault et Millau.
    Products submitted to iTQi judgment follow a rigorous evaluation process.
    iTQi and its judges keep total independence and neutrality with regard to any third parties including food fairs.
    After careful verifications, the Superior Taste Awards are officially declared.
    “Café Najjar” congratulates all iTQi winners and wishes them continuous growth to enable them to keep on offering excellent Superior taste products.


  15. Dalia Avatar

    It kinda pissed me off that u didn’t like it, coz everyone i know love this coffee! You probably didn’t prepare it right like everyone else said! I hope u tried preparing it again the right way and liked it! if not then you’re most probably into american coffee or something like that. But you not liking it personally doesn’t give you the right to bash it the way u did, calling it the worst coffee in the world and perhaps poisonous. I wish you could only remove that comment and just say the fact that u didn’t like it…
    Anyways take care dude


  16. Peter Collins Avatar
    Peter Collins

    bleeding heart Worst Coffee in Brisbane! worst service worst tasting poor blackstar coffee….Bleeding heart Worst coffee ever…


  17. Carla SMA Avatar
    Carla SMA

    I just tried this coffee and immediately fed it to the plants and threw the bag away. I did not find the fish taste but it did have the aroma of a scented tampon. Not believing it could be this bad, I looked it up on line to see if I had actually got a recalled lot or the like and found this blog. So….. I pulled it out of the trash and tried it again with the techniques listed above. I guess I just don’t like cardamom, but it was a lot better. I emailed a Lebanese guy from one of my classes and asked him if he wanted it. His response was hostile. Evidently there are some folks from that part of the world that don’t like it either. That being said, calling anything the worst in the world is sort of tacky and unfair. I will keep trying unfamiliar coffees as exploring is one of the greatest pleasures of coffee, don’t you think? And by the way, thank you Cafe Najjar for your posts in here. They were very helpful.


  18. Donna Whiteley Avatar
    Donna Whiteley

    I made the same mistake. I put it through my coffee machine and it tasted awful. I’m quite glad I found this site because after preparing it differently, I actually didn’t mind it. It’s very unique compared to the coffee I can get around the corner. It doesn’t have the classic coffee taste I’m used to. It isn’t my favourite coffee, but I appreciate how different it is from other coffees I’ve tasted.


  19. Dude from Canada Avatar
    Dude from Canada

    Some Vietnamese coffee I have tried is horrible. Most are exceptional depending on age and method of preparation. I actually don’t recommend buying Vietnamese coffee for under $5.00 a tin.
    However, the worst coffee I have experienced (globally) is the Café du Monde sold in an Orange Tin. IT IS BITTER with Chicory and without redeeming qualities.
    The best coffee by far for the price is Cuban coffee. Cuban brands of Cubita, Turquino and Serrano (bean) are amazing brews.
    For K-cups, I recommend Timothy’s in US/Canada.
    Dude from Canada


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: