When Four Barrel veterans Tim & Elisha Griffin opted out of San Francisco, they landed in Fargo, where their small shop (handed over from a previous owner) quickly rose through the ranks in a city already mindful of the benefits of a solid cup of coffee. Right now, they're working with Heart, out of Portland, but rumor has it they'll be roasting their own soon, not to mention moving to a larger location in Fargo's happening downtown.
Many roasters queried us to ask if they could submit coffees they felt confident were farmed without use of synthetic inputs because of their familiarity with the producers. Nevertheless, for this report, we concluded that we needed to stick to reviewing coffees that consumers could be assured were produced under organic conditions using organic protocols. We went so far as to check the organic documentation at the farm level provided by importers for all the coffees we review here.
By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you'll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door. (They don't. Not for miles.)
As coffee consumption increased, and the value of coffee beans as an agricultural export grew, many farmers moved coffee off of hard-to-reach forested hillsides and grew it at lower elevations, in dedicated coffee fields, for ease of cultivation and harvesting. This transition from coffee as a plant grown in forested mountains to a plant grown on plantations has had an array of far-reaching effects.

Brought to you by the Death Wish Company, Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend is a top-ranking ground coffee made from beans sourced from Indonesian and Central and South America’s very best. It is a masterful artisan roast, carefully processed to yield maximum rich flavor along with a reinvigorating caffeine content. Its coffee beans are expertly selected and carefully roasted for an ultra-strong, bold, yet at the same time, surprisingly smooth cup of coffee.
Coffee Kult ground coffee is a nice blend of choice Colombian-Brazilian coffee beans. The blend has 100% premium-grade Arabica beans which are smooth, rich, and medium bodied. Such high-grade beans are expertly roasted and blended to make the Coffee Kult Medium a must-try for any coffee enthusiasts. Coffee gourmets happily appreciate a cup of coffee made with this choice beans blend and so should you.
We have a Saeco machine, my husband drinks espresso and I like regular coffee. We're used to darker roasts but this one was nice, smooth, flavorful. I thought a medium roast would be too light for an espresso, but my husband said, "this is a tasty coffee." If you eat it with fresh homemade cream scones, it'll tastes even more delicious! Someone said the oiliness of the beans interfered with the burr grinder in their machine, but my husband does regular maintenance on our Saeco and it's been functioning great for over 5 years now (previously he used Lavzza for 2-3 years, then we switched to Costco Sumatra roast coffee, which was awesome, and a few other trial brands here and there.)
Eight O’Clock Coffee is a sleeper in this set, brand-wise, but a surprisingly enjoyable cuppa. It’s the only brand I tasted about which I had no preconceptions, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s dark without being bitter, and is solidly microwaveable. It’s slightly ahead of the median bagged coffee price in this set but streets ahead in flavor, making it a solid value buy.
The Hunt Brothers Coffee Beans | Blue Honduras Specialty Coffee | Certified Organic comes from Marcala, a region in Central America that is recognized with a DOP (Protected Origin Denomination). These 100% Arabica beans are grown on a fertile volcanic soil, which is enriched by volcanic lava. The growth process of the coffee is marked by the SHG – strictly high growth. This means that the fruits will mature slowly to make sure they create a full-bodied and deeper flavor as well as a premium taste.
Many of us cannot envision a life without that morning cup of coffee. Legend has it that we owe a debt to frisky Ethiopian goats for the discovery of coffee! Whatever the truth in that story, there is no doubt that coffee first originated in that region of Africa. If you are a coffee fanatic, there has never been a better time for your tribe than right now! There are innumerable versions and blends of coffee available in the market, with considerable variations in taste, aroma and caffeine levels.

The professionally crafted Kauai Coffee is 100 percent Arabica Hawaiian coffee, providing you a taste of the island paradise in each cup. Select beans are expertly roasted fresh from the fields and then ground to make a mild, smooth, and aroma-rich coffee. This may be a relative newcomer in the coffee world, but the quality makes it stand out, with it being a proud USA-made product.

Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.

A startup from Vermont, our friends at Brothers Coffee Company select a new roaster each month that has found a new and innovative way of facing a challenge the coffee industry faces. Not only will you get fresh, top-tier specialty coffee, you’ll also help enact real change around the world. Along with the coffee, subscribers receive information on the roasters, their coffee, and why they were selected for the month, making every month a new story. They also donate $1 per subscription to Grounds for Health, a non-profit that screens and treats women for cervical cancer. If you love coffee and want to make sure your money is being used well, Brothers Coffee is the subscription for you.
This equal exchange coffee not only makes you feel good about buying organic and fair trade products, but it tastes great too! I typically purchase Starbucks coffee, and was a very loyal customer. After reading the reviews, I thought it was worth a try, especially considering I could get three bags less than the cost of two Starbucks. This coffee has little to no acidity or aftertaste and is suprisingly smooth. I think I found a new favorite!

A. “Fair Trade Certified” means the farmers were paid a fair wage, no forced or child labor was involved in the growing or picking of the beans, the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals was limited, and the coffee plantation practiced sustainable farming methods. You’ll find many brands of coffee certified as Fair Trade, particularly specialty brands. The Fair Trade Certified program is an international program run by TransFair USA.


Promising review for the Medium Roast Original blend: "After drinking one cup of this, I became Canadian, eh. It gave me the confidence to finally try ice skating; before I knew it, I was stopping on a dime and blasting snow chips at tiny children. If you can't take the ice, get out of the rink. Also, I was a lot nicer to people. Pretty sure this is a drug that's making all Canadians pleasant and good at ice sports. My optimum pot is 10 cups of water and seven scoops of this magic stuff." —Amazon Customer
Promising review for the Medium Roast Original blend: "After drinking one cup of this, I became Canadian, eh. It gave me the confidence to finally try ice skating; before I knew it, I was stopping on a dime and blasting snow chips at tiny children. If you can't take the ice, get out of the rink. Also, I was a lot nicer to people. Pretty sure this is a drug that's making all Canadians pleasant and good at ice sports. My optimum pot is 10 cups of water and seven scoops of this magic stuff." —Amazon Customer
For coffee to be considered organic, it should meet some important criteria. First of all, it should be free of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other types of synthetic additives. Secondly, it’s essential for coffee not to be produced by the usage of irradiation, genetic engineering, or industrial solvents. Finally, it’s important that the soil where the coffee is grown had been organically treated at least 36 months before the certification.
If you are a coffee purist, there’s no argument; buying whole beans and grinding them yourself is the way to go. You’ll get the freshest cup of coffee this way; once ground, coffee beans start to oxidize, reducing and altering the flavor. Grinding your own beans also lets you tailor the grind to your preferred coffee-making method. You’ll need a coffee grinder to do your own grinding, however.
With this Colombian grown organic coffee in a K-cup, this is the perfect caffeine fix that can stimulate the senses. Similar to other dark roasts, you can expect notes of dark chocolate in this coffee. The beans have been through a long roasting process, which also means that the acidity is reduced. There are also toasted notes with the aftertaste of this coffee, but you do not have to worry since it does not have a pronounced bitterness.

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