Review: Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee (2024)

With claims such as ‘big’ and ‘bold’ made by the brand, I was incredibly excited to try the Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee. Plus, there have been a lot of positive comments about this coffee online, so I was eager to see if the hype was justified.

Sadly, I do not share the same opinion as a lot of the people that have left comments about this coffee online, and in this review, I will explain my reasons why.

But first, let me give you a little bit of background about this coffee so you get a good idea regarding what I was expecting and the claims that the brand makes regarding this product.

Why I had high hopes

I had high hopes for Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee for a number of different reasons. The first reason for expecting a lot was because of the claims made by the company itself. Now, I know that businesses are going to always rave about their products, so I was not expecting there to be a lot of negative remarks!

However, how could I not get excited with words like ‘bold flavor’? Plus, this coffee is 100 percent clean with no artificial preservatives or anything of that nature, so that is always a positive. Another reason why I was excited to try this particular blend of coffee is that there had been a lot of positive comments online. This added to the anticipation. However, my coffee hopes were dashed, and I will explain why below.

Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee Review

Sold in mild green packaging, the product itself is a little bit underwhelming. It doesn’t stand out when compared with other coffee brands on the market. Of course, the green gives the nod to the clean and eco-friendly approach of the product, so I can understand why it was chosen. However, it does make the coffee blend into the background. Nevertheless, I could forgive the boring packaging for some great flavor. Sadly, I did not get that either.

Upon brewing the coffee, the aroma was very weak. It smelt like hot chocolate rather than coffee. There was no strong coffee smell to go with the chocolate aroma. In fact, this is a theme throughout the entire coffee because when I had my first taste, all I could taste was chocolate. Panera says that the coffee has chocolate notes. However, I would say that the chocolate is way more than a mere note! It completely takes over the coffee, and it is incredibly overwhelming.

I was also surprised to find that the coffee was bitter and acidic, which was another disappointment. In fact, I was not able to finish my cup, so this tells you everything that you need to know!

Does everyone agree?

So, does everyone agree with my opinion? Am I being overly harsh about Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee? I was shocked to see that this coffee blend actually has a pretty good rating online. As mentioned, this was one of the reasons why I was looking forward to trying the coffee for myself.

However, I can only assume that those who purchased this drink were looking for more of a chocolate drink than a coffee drink, as this is precisely what you get.

Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee Score

It is a shame to say that I really was not impressed with the Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee. The most I could give Panera Bread Dark Roast Coffee was 2 out of 5 stars. You could even say that this is generous when you consider the fact that I was not able to finish the cup of coffee.

However, one thing I can say about the coffee in a positive light is that I do appreciate the brand’s efforts to create a clean cup of coffee. They have worked hard to ensure there is nothing artificial about the drink, and this is something that you have to applaud. However, the acidic nature of the drink and the overwhelming chocolate flavor means that I won’t be drinking this coffee again, and I certainly cannot recommend it.

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Nathan is the founder of The Darkest Roast (featured in the NY Times, Yahoo, and Tasting Table). He is a self-taught coffee expert and has tried 100s of coffees from around the world. Nathan's goal is to help you find the best coffee, so you only drink the best.