Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend Coffee: My Review with Photos

Folgers 1850 pioneer blend coffee on a french press

by Nigel Ong

Folgers’ regular coffee blends tend to split opinions. Some are okay with it, but some dislike it so much that they call it rat poison. One good thing is that Folgers do not just sit on their laurels and let it be. They actually try to introduce something better. 

Enter the 1850 roasts. These are Folgers’ attempts to produce premium blends to counter the public perception that Folgers only makes poor-quality coffee. One of the posts is the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend, a medium roast.

In this post, I review the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend. I’ll brew the coffee several ways and then try them. I’ll also experiment with flavorings like milk or creamer before finally comparing them with other common coffee roasts.

About Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend

Folgers do suffer from a reputation problem – many people consider their coffee to be low in quality. Some serious coffee drinkers even see it so low in quality that they call it rat poison. 

I personally do not consider Folgers to be that bad, but not many are willing to actually consider trying the coffee themselves. Many are just happy to follow the crowd and join in the condensation of the coffee.

Folgers understands this and tries to counter the perception by releasing the 1850 Roast series. These are premium roasts, using higher quality coffee with higher preparation standards. 

The 1850 name pays tribute to the Gold Rush era and the generally expeditionary feel of the era. The individual roasts are also given names related to the theme, such as Pioneer, Expedition, Trailblazer, and Black Gold. 

In my hand is the Pioneer blend. This is a medium roast, with 100% Arabica beans. Folgers claims that the roast is balanced in flavor, with nutty overtones. The packaging is also done with more effort, giving a premium feel to the coffee. 

Whether this is true will depend on how the roasting goes. Let’s open up the coffee bag and see.

How Does Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend Taste?

First Impression

I was greeted by a fragrant smell when I opened the coffee bag. This is probably because the coffee is 100% Arabica, which should have a strong aroma. It is slightly acidic, with a citrusy tone. 

There is also some nutty, slightly earthy smell to the coffee. The aroma is toasty rather than toasty. This is the aroma you will enjoy wafting down your hallway on weekend mornings.

Overall, the coffee smells pleasant and comforting. I am confident I’ll get a good cup of coffee from this roast.

As the roast comes as ground coffee, I cannot see what the individual beans look like. There is not much to discuss here, so let’s begin brewing.

French Press

My first brew is the French press. French press brewing allows me to enjoy the coffee with all its oils and particles. I expect a ‘dirty,’ murky, full-flavored coffee with this one.

I pulled out my trusty Bodum Caffettiera French press and brewed a 2-cup batch. I used the 1:12 coffee-to-water ratio recommended by Illy Coffee, similar to my other coffee reviews.

I added 15 grams of coffee and 180ml of hot water at around 185°F (about 85°C). After stirring the coffee ground, I let the concoction brew for 4 minutes before pouring myself a cup. 

The aroma is delicious. A rich, nutty, and sweet aroma accompanies me as I sip the coffee for the first time. 

Is it a rich coffee with a rather full flavor? It is, however, not very smoky. It is much better than the Pike Place Blend, which is so smoky that it is on the borderline of being ashy and charred.

I can pick up nutty notes, perhaps hazelnut, on my first sip. I can also notice some sweetness to the coffee, particularly after I swallowed the coffee, and my tongue is left with the aftertaste. 

As the coffee cools slightly, I also note some citrusy notes. However, I also think it may be tomato or mayonnaise. The acids are not too overpowering, giving the coffee a balanced flavor.

folgers 1850 pioneer blend pour over coffee

Pour Over With Filter Paper

Next up, pour over with filter paper. The idea is to sample the coffee with the particles and some oils removed. I use the following gear to brew my pour-over coffee:

I use the pour-over brewing method from Starbucks. I added 20 grams of ground coffee and slowly poured 360ml of water. I first focused on wetting and blooming the coffee ground when I started, initially pouring just a little bit of water.

Once I cover all areas, I slowly add more water to brew the coffee. It took about 5 minutes to brew the coffee.

The coffee tastes lighter and with more ‘clarity.’ The intensity is also dialed down slightly, perhaps due to having fewer coffee particles floating around in the drink. 

With less smoke, I can detect stronger nutty notes that the coffee packaging mentions. I think it tastes like hazelnut, perhaps almonds. There is also some toast, caramel-like sweetness.


This is a medium roast, but I still went ahead and brewed it as espresso. The idea is to see if I can concentrate the flavor at the crema and taste the coffee even better. I grabbed my Wacaco Minipresso GR and pulled a shot. 

The result is a great-looking espresso with rich, thick crema. When I smell the crema, it does not have much smoke. Instead, I detected some nutty notes and some citrusy acidity.

When I sipped the espresso, the first thing was the general lack of smoke. The Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend tastes not like your regular espresso but more like a Blonde Espresso. 

Instead, I picked up stronger acidity. The acidic notes are citrusy and pleasant. I seem to pick up some floral notes, too, but I am unsure. 

The whole espresso tastes a little creamy, perhaps due to the crema. The finish is also longer when the coffee lingers in your mouth longer after you swallow it. I enjoyed this cup and pulled out a granola bar to munch along as I sipped my espresso.

What Flavorings Work Best With Folgers Pioneer Blend?


I poured a new cup and added a single stick of brown, granulated sugar. With sugar, the coffee becomes shinier and a little silkier. 

Taste-wise, the sweetness combines well with the coffee. I usually find smoky coffee hard to drink when it is sweet, as the smoke and sweetness usually do not jive well. 

The good thing about Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is that it is not a smoky coffee. This avoids the sugar and smoke issue.

The sweetness also cuts into a bit of the citrusy notes. If you dislike slightly acidic coffee, try it with some sugar.


I added a single drop of Equal artificial sweetener into the coffee for the sweetener. Equal is made of Aspartame, one of the most popular artificial sweeteners in the market. 

Like sugar, it does not alter the original taste of the coffee too much. The coffee is still nutty, with hints of citrus notes. Unlike sugar, I noticed the sweetener does not cut into the citrus notes too much. 

What I found odd was the lingering sweetness in my mouth after I swallowed the coffee. This probably has nothing to do with coffee but Aspartame itself.


Next, I poured out another fresh cup of coffee. I added a single shot (about 1 oz or 30ml) of milk this time. I used whole, fresh, UHT cow’s milk here. 

The milk instantly turns the coffee brownish, making it look appetizing. The coffee is also a little bit more dense. When I sipped it in, the coffee felt silkier in the mouth and gilded around smoothly.

The milk also cuts into the citrusy notes, making the coffee earthy. The coffee is strong in flavor, meaning it can take the milk well without losing its taste.


With creamer, I emptied a single Coffee Mate stick into my fresh cup. The coffee turns paler, but not too much. 

I have the coffee a sip, and I do not think a single stick of Coffee Mate is enough. The flavor stays roughly the same without much creaminess.

I added another stick, and this time, it is much better. With two sticks, the coffee has enough creaminess to satisfy me. The creamer also cuts into the acidic notes, making the coffee slightly earthy.


Finally, I wonder how the coffee tastes iced. Ice has a way of muting certain flavors and boosting others in the coffee, making it worth trying. I added half a cup of coffee into a glass stuffed full with ice.

I noticed that the ice helped to bring up the acidity of the coffee and also brought in more earthiness, with some smoke. This means the coffee tasted bitter, with some sourness. 

This is a decent combination, although it cannot compare with the iced Americano you buy from your local barista.

selection of folgers coffee beans house, 1850 pioneer blend and breakfast blend coffees

Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend vs. Regular Folgers Roasts

I decided to sip the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend side by side with the other two Folgers I have in my hand. These are the Breakfast Blend and the House Blend. 

To me, the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is a lot better than the other two. Perhaps the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is prepared and roasted to a higher standard than the regular Folgers. 

I think the Folgers 1850 may be able to handle better brewing methods, such as Chemex. This is because these brewing methods extract many flavors in the coffee, good or bad. With regular Folgers, you may end up with a rough-tasting coffee. 

With regular Folgers, regular brewing methods will do just fine, such as a French press or a regular drip machine. 

folgers 1850 pioneer blend coffee compared with other brands

Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend vs. Regular Medium Roasts

I also thought I’d compare the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend with other regular medium roasts I have in my hand. These are:

To me, these are all I consider as Toyota Camries of Coffee. They are not remarkable but can provide decent coffee tastes to suit many palates. Well, not so much on Pike Place (a lot of smoke), but you get the point. 

The Folgers 1850 may be a bit better than these coffees. I think it has slightly more depth in flavors and can provide a more satisfying sip to drinkers who agree with its flavor.

As for myself, I think the McCafe Premium Roast tastes best on this list, with the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend coming second.

Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend vs. Regular Coffee

I picked up a cup of coffee from the most regular of places, a 7-Eleven. The idea here is to compare the taste of Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend with regular coffee, and see if it will taste better. 

The Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend does taste a little better, and provides me with more satisfying sips. Chances are it will be the same compared to regular coffee from places such as gas stations or other convenience stores.

Who Is Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend For?

Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is an attempt to counter the narrative that Folgers only makes cheap, low-quality coffee. This is a decent attempt, as I think the coffee does taste better than its regular stuff.

The coffee is also quite flexible and can take many flavorings well without losing its original flavor too much. This may be good news if you like to add things to your coffee. 

As for the drinkers, I think the Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend suits those looking for something fancier but unwilling to spend too much on premium roasts from small roasteries. 

The Folgers 1850 Pioneer Blend is also quite balanced in flavor. You can drink coffee and discover your taste preferences if you are new to coffee. Say you like the nutty notes in the coffee. You can then look for single-origin coffees with stronger nutty notes.

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