Firstly, let me caveat. The following are just my opinions and impressions. If I missed something, please invite me back to show me what I missed. I am not a professional, just an enthusiast who has been growing and tasting coffee on and around my farm in the Boquete Valley in Panama.
My pilgrimage started out at the coffee bar with Alex the barista. Actually, Alex was not immediately obvious but eventually showed up and the conversation went something like this............
Me: Hi, I would like a tall regular coffee, can you tell me about this coffee?
Alex the Barista: It is a medium roast from Small World Coffees (Great reputation Princeton roaster)
Me: Where is this coffee from?
Alex the Barista: Princeton
Me: Sorry, I meant origin
Alex the Barista: OK I think they are based in New York State
Me: Do you know where the beans come from?
Alex the Barista: No, maybe there is something on the packets
Me: Can we look at the packets?
Alex the Barista: Here, they are delivered in this big plastic tub everyday -oh just a clear plastic tub no label. But they do deliver every day.
The coffee was bitter and was darker than a medium roast! It was also served in an Allegro coffee cup with their mission and label.
Not the best of starts. However, I decided to move on to the coffee aisle and see if I could find anything there. Here is my video of the coffee aisle with my notes attached. Princeton people obviously care about the sustainability, organic descriptors and such like or at least they have labels and claims to that affect + almost all the labels also clearly describe the roast.
BUT what exactly is inside? None had the type of bean, none had the way the beans were processed. Some did have flavor descriptors like 'fruity' which implies natural processing, but that was all. Only one of the Mexican coffees had clear origin - ie Country and coffee growing region or at least altitude descriptor. Also, freshness was an issue for me. Most recent roast I could find was over a week old, that was good - most had a 'use by' date - 90 days!
So...........I went on to the bins. These are bins of coffees that labelled with roast dates in the last 24hrs - GREAT. They are beans out in the open, getting oxidized by the hour. They should still be very fresh though, wonder why they don't have a nice coffee smell? Here you did get country of origin and approximate roast - but no other indication of quality at all. The wholefoods own blend was suspicious looking, admittedly at between $8-9 per lb this is cheap. BUT the roast is very uneven. Dark beans and the light ones all mixed in. Would not be surprised if this is an unintentional blend.
At this point, I was asked to stop filming. Apparently, all filming should be approved by the manager 'for marketing' reasons. Well, I was about done anyway. Back home to the same beans I brought with me - will continue my search for good coffee next week.