Kim Westerman is a licensed Q-grader, a longtime food, wine and travel writer and a certified sommelier. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Bites, and many other publications. She happily brings her sensory training in wine to the evaluation of coffee in Coffee Review’s Berkeley lab. She also handles communication with roasters and review logistics.
Four espressos appear on this year’s list, three of them single-origin coffees. The fourth is a distinguished blend of coffees from a mix of origins—the impressive 96-point Twenty Five by Barrington Coffee Roasters, at No. 6, the only blend on the list. Numerous blends, both espresso and non-espresso, earned 90-94 points but did not ultimately make our Top 30; we recognize some of the best on our list of the Top Coffees by Category.

My wife and I are spoiled when it comes to coffee, as she grew up drinking Blue Mountain Coffee (and I started when a young adult). Whereas in Jamaica, Blue Mountain Coffee is quite affordable, it is typically beyond our budget here in the United State. Consequently, we have searched relentlessly for a quality coffee that does not break the budget. Equal Exchange Organic Coffee (Mind Body Soul) is what we view as the best of all alternatives at a mid to lower price range. While we still look forward to Blue Mountain Coffee when we go to Jamaica or when we can afford it here in the U.S., this Equal Exchange coffee leaves us quite satisfied. This coffee is much recommended for those who love a quality full body coffee.
Available online in five-pound bags or at various locations in bulk bins, this organically grown Guatemalan coffee is produced by mainly Mayan farmers in the Department of El Quiché. Equal Exchange is a co-operatively owned business founded in 1986 focused on sustainability and social responsibility. Visit www.equalexchange.coop or call 774-776-7389 for more information.

No study we have seen links prepared or brewed coffee, including espresso, with significant levels of contaminants. Typical is a 2008 Australian study which meticulously tested a wide range of coffee beverages purchased randomly in the Australian food service market and found that “there were no detectable levels in any of the coffee [beverages] sampled. This included all 98 pesticide residues, 18 PAHs, beryllium, mercury and ochratoxin A.” The key findings summary concluded that “The overall levels of chemical contaminants identified in this survey are generally considered to be low and are consistent with those reported in other comparable surveys both in Australia and overseas.”
Also try One of New York's (we're talking about the state now) closely guarded secrets: its less sought-after cities can be pretty great, and certainly for coffee. The gorgeous Tipico would be the envy of any town, but it belongs to an up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood; in Rochester, the pop-up gone brick and mortar Ugly Duck is just one bright star on that city's long-running scene. Meanwhile, in Utica, perhaps the last place you'd expect to find something so up to date, Character Coffee is a multi-roasting outfit with a whole lot of appeal.

Who would have guessed that one of the most impressive coffee roasters in the West would have come up in the land of hot drinks abstainers? No doubt the pioneering team behind this single estate-only operation were slightly surprised, too—at a time when Salt Lake had very little good coffee to speak of, they took the plunge; now it's hard to imagine Utah's impressive artisan scene without them.

A great thing about this coffee is that it keeps the unique, characteristic flavor no matter how you combine it. It goes amazingly both with milk and sugar, and it doesn’t lose its aroma even when you add whipped cream to it. In accordance with this, you won’t make a wrong decision if you choose Newman’s Own Special Blend for the preparation of iced coffee.
It depicts the source of organic coffee to be from the place called Yemen and Indonesia. However, there is a blend of Arabica in this pack which many of the coffee fanatics cherish. In fact, there are some regular Mocha Java consumers who hardly seem to switch to another brand because of the sweet bitter taste. It is the energy rush of this coffee that will leave you mesmerizing about the roasting methods.
“My wife and I have been searching for great coffee for a while now, and after trying a few different blends from Intelligentsia, I decided to check out Kicking Horse, as they’ve always had great reviews on Amazon. This has easily been the best decision I’ve ever made with regards to coffee. Kicking Horse is my new favorite, with their Kick Ass blend leading the pack. It’s a dark-roast coffee, but it’s not like the garbage you get at Starbucks with an acidic or burned flavor. This is a full, smooth flavor that any coffee lover will absolutely love … Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark is, by far, my new favorite coffee, and I am no longer searching for anything else to try. This one’s getting an Amazon Subscription.”
Having one of the East Coast's best roasters representing your state is very nice, and we're super happy for North Carolina and everything, but it's fascinating to see that decades on, Counter Culture, now every bit a national brand, still pretty much dominates the regional scene. Apart from Friday cuppings—always open to the public—at training centers in Durham and Asheville, you won't find Counter Culture coffee bars, which is okay, because it turns out that some of the state's top shops—for instance, the twin locations of Jubala Coffee, next door in Raleigh—act as terrific brand ambassadors.
What we love about this coffee is its blend of economy and flavor. This is one of the most affordable coffees out there, ounce for ounce. And despite being so cheap, it doesn’t compromise too far on flavor. Being a medium roast, it does have a bitter yet slight acidic aftertaste. The packaging is large and generous, and it uses Mountain Grown beans for superior aroma. The brand also sports UTZ Certification for Sustainability.
Strength control is understood to be regulated by the ratio of coffee to water. For example, more ground coffee and less water would result in a stronger brew. But, how does that work with a single serve machine, when you cannot regulate the amount of coffee and yet you can regulate the strength and volume of water simultaneously? In other words, you can select an 8-ounce drink to be strong or weak, but without changing the amount of coffee.
I think I would try other coffees from this brand and would probably really like their darker flavors. For people who really want a lot of kick to their coffee I wouldn’t suggest this particular one though. Great things about this particular brand include the fact they are fair trade and organic. They source their coffee beans from small locally owned farmers who practice natural farming. Although my coffee connoisseur attitude does inspire me to occasionally indulge in a new Starbucks option, I always feel much better when I’m conscious about what I buy and opt for brands that seem more aware of their farmers practices and wellbeing. Fair Trade is a great option for the ‘ethically aware’ coffee shoppers out there.
Cameron’s organic whole bean has greatly grown in popularity because of specialty coffee it gives that is rich in flavor. They only choose most flavorful Arabica beans from all over the world. They are then blended and roasted carefully in small batches before they are being rushed to consumers for them to enjoy the truly wonderful cup of the coffee. Some of the finest plantations where Cameron sought its coffee beans from include; Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Sumatra, Jamaica, and Columbia. This coffee guarantees that it complied with meeting the strict environmental standards and most of their organic varieties are grown and processed without the use of herbicide, pesticides, or chemicals.

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A double shot of modernity for the capital city's handsome but still sleepy downtown, this up-to-speed café from Auburn's Prevail Coffee Roasters plants a flag for the future, just down Dexter Avenue from the seat of state government. Housed in temporary digs just now, the café will ultimately land inside an impressive (and almost completed) mixed-use complex just over Court Square, carved from Montgomery's iconic Kress building.
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.

This blend is a combination of Central American and Indonesian coffee blends. Because of this, you can expect a rich body that comes with a well-balanced flavor. It is bold but refined. The strength of the coffee, meanwhile, does not mean that it won’t be smooth. It is also a medium roast, so it is in the middle ground. With this coffee, you will have the caffeine boost that you need to wake you up in the morning or perk you up any time of the day.


This is an exceptional Honduran coffee from Marcala region. Because of the altitude where café don Pablo gourment is grown, there are no insecticides used to prevent insects from interfering with the crop and damaging it. In case you find any bug problem, the farmers will definitely plant peppers as the natural form of the bug repellent. This guarantees that the coffee beans are not tainted by many chemicals. This coffee is very dense and has a depth of flavors that are roasted correctly to give out the natural flavor characteristics and a wonderful sweetness. Their coffees are roasted fresh so that they can order in a multiple small batch. They focus on quality hence providing an excellent organic coffee to consumers.
The idea of a K-Cup is definitely going to turn off a coffee snob. They like to have total control over the coffee—from the roasting to the grinding to the brewing to the preparing (God forbid you add milk!). They may consider using their own beans in a reusable K-Cup, but the fact that they can't control the brewing temperature and duration of the Keurig machine means they will look at the K-Cups the way they would a cup of convenience store coffee.
If you want a sampling from multiple independent coffee roasters all at once, this is the coffee subscription for you. There are many small roasters that have popped up all over the country and many are too small to operate their own subscription service. So they’ve partnered with companies that offer coffee subscriptions and pull from this pool of smaller roasters.
In the search to find the best K-Cup® coffee, a common question is, "Are Organic K-Cup® pods available?" We are happy to say yes; organic K-Cup® coffee does exist, made by two very reputable roasters; Green Mountain and Newman's Own. I will admit the sheer lack of choice is a bit disheartening, however, when the choices are superior, maybe it is all we need!

The next step in the quest for a quality cup of coffee is roasting. The roasting process heats up the beans at temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius; neutralizing the extreme unpleasant flavor profiles of the bean. The newly roasted bean offers nutty, smoky, or spicy flavors. The length of time that the bean is roasted determines the flavor profile and caffeine content. Beans roasted longer have a shiny black appearance and they boast a bitter and bold taste. Also, they are noted by an oily feel. Light roasted beans, which are roasted for a shorter length of time, tend to be sweeter, smoother, and even floral in flavor. If you prefer a lighter smooth taste, you will defer from bolder, darker roasts of equal of even better quality.

If you want the extra strong caffeine effect you expect from Death Wish, but in a more flavorful package, Valhalla Java might be what you need. It still retains that overdose of caffeine the brand is famous for. But it also has a smoother mouthfeel and better flavor than their standard blends. The medium dark roast has flavors reminiscent of cocoa and nuts. As with other Death Wish products, you get ethical FairTrade certifications as well.
Don't forget to account for the amount of coffee in the pod. Get your kitchen scale out and weigh them. Barista Prima Italian Roast and Pete's Major Dickasons both boast impressive weights (about 18g). Generally speaking, the more coffee in the pod, the stronger the brew. If you look at the box, they will disclose the amount of coffee. The weight I mention is the total weight of coffee and the pod.
The Hawaiian Islands are known the world over for beautiful beaches, diverse microclimates, and both active and dormant volcanoes — pretty much paradise, as the cliché goes. Hawaiian culture is both uniquely American and, in many ways, happily incongruous with mainstream American culture. One island in particular, Hawai’i Island (often called the Big Island), produces […] 

Caribou gets several things right with this rich blend. The mix of premium Indonesian and American arabica beans results in a very complex yet smooth flavor profile. It has everything from woody, to sweet, spicy, and fruity notes. The overall flavor is bittersweet, but with enough acidity to make it lively. This is a 100% Arabica coffee, sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers in Asia, South, and Central America.
Ben and Jessica Schellack bootstrapped their way to building one of the best roasting operations in the state, this year bringing home a Good Food Award—not their first, either. That's quite the climb from their early days in the rented basement of a New Brunswick non-profit. Today, a lively café, just across the river from Rutgers' Old Queens campus, hence the name, is a hub of creativity.
A great big thank you to Taber @fancyandstaple for having us out Saturday evening! We had a wonderful time seeing and serving you all coffee. We appreciate the opportunity to have been a part of such an artistic and lively night with so many other local makers like @fortwaynerising @madanthonybrewing @bloominbrewtique @birdandcleaver @thepoemmarket @slinsenmayer and #belleandthestrange ...and now you can pick up 12oz bags of Conjure Coffee @fancyandstaple !
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Balanced with full body, rich flavor & sweet overtones. From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.

At the absolute most, if you’re looking to preserve beans in their original packaging, you can refrigerate your beans, but never freeze them. Coffee beans are naturally oily, even the dryer roasts. It’s part of what keeps the flavor going strong. When the oils freeze to the beans, they become stale-tasting, even though you’ll be defrosting them. It changes the beans entirely.
Coffee is grown in several places around the world. All of these locations share proximity to the equator, a cool-to-moderate tropical climate, rich soil, and, in the case of arabica beans, a high altitude. And while you might assume that a coffee bean from Brazil is really no different from a coffee bean from Kenya, there actually are subtle taste differences depending on where the beans were grown.
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.

Amazon went for the bold, and they got it. This full-bodied roast is undeniably bold. We found it comparable to an Italian roast, with less acidity. There is a pleasant fragrance while brewing. The coffee stays strong even at the 12 oz. setting. Even cream and sugar won't take away too much from the boldness. The quality build of the cups stays consistent, as does the taste. Sits at a lower price point than most.
Java Planet is owned and operated by a family, producing certified USDA Organic coffee which is 100% free of chemicals and pesticides. The company roasts their Columbian coffee beans in small batches and put the date right on each bag. It is Fair Trade specialty coffee with a smooth, full flavor, and as some customers noted, a heavenly aroma. It’s a popular favorite with many coffee lovers.
Here's the truth: K-Cups are packed with the same coffee ground you would buy in your grocery store or supermarket. Flavored coffees are made by spraying propylene glycol on the coffee beans/ground, then adding the flavoring oils or liquids afterward. The propylene glycol helps the beans/ground to hold the flavor, and it acts as a preservative. Every time you drink flavored coffee—whether it's in a K-Cup or a regular coffee machine—you're ingesting propylene glycol and natural and artificial flavorings.
We chose the Mount Hagen organic decaf coffee because it presents the readiness of the instant coffee. This means that all you need to do in order to prepare it is to mix it with some hot water. After that, you can enjoy a delicious, steamy cup of hot coffee. One jar of this amazing brew holds approximately 60 cups, even if you’re generous while using a spoon!
This weekend at the tasting room you can find some rad new @apolis market bags that we collaborated with @shopassembly and @themaingrainbakery to commission. Thanks for coordinating, @juneandjae! Drop us a message if you’d like to buy one online and have us ship it (we have pretty limited quantity). Come check them out! #centralwisconsin 📷 @juneandjae
All of these questions are enough enough to make you want to reach for … well, a cup of coffee. Luckily, we’ve performed the coffee research for you. We reviewed the best advice from top experts as well as feedback from coffee drinkers in general. The recommendations above and buying guide below will help simplify your quest for the best-tasting cup of home-brewed coffee.
This might seem like an elaborate set-up, but we actually came about all this after struggling for a couple of years drinking coffee and getting sick from it. I finally discovered that I am sensitive to the acids in coffee. This put me on a lot of research on coffee, the acids in it, how it is made and the best ways to grind and brew it. Both my husband and I are fairly frugal but after reading that coffee is the worst sprayed crop in the world except for Christmas trees (ever notice how Christmas tree farms have nothing but dead ground around the trees.... yeah, exactly like that!), we made the decision to do this. Also, I now can enjoy and drink coffee every morning without any abdominal pain.
Cameron’s 32-ounce pack of dark roast specialty coffee offers delicious flavor with organic benefits. Customers who drink Cameron’s appreciate what they describe as aromatic, with a full, deep and smooth flavor. Some appreciate the shiny beans, which indicate that they have a nice oil balance and some notice that the brand has a hint of chocolate flavor. But, there are long-time customers who feel that the overall quality of this coffee has been suffering from a lack of freshness due to roasting the beans and then not packing them in vacuum packed bags.

The Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Natural roasted by Ben’s Beans (92) happens to be certified organic, but co-owner Glen Lundstrom is willing to purchase quality coffees that are farmed organically but do not have certification if his trusted importers recommend a particular coffee. He says, “We are looking for coffees that are grown and processed free of any sort of chemical intervention. We specialize in certified organic coffees because this provides our customers with a level of confidence that the coffees are grown and processed using healthy and sustainable practices.  However, we also realize that, because many of these coffees come from smaller farms, organic certification is not always an economically viable option, even though [the farmers] may grow and produce the coffees using the same practices as a certified farm.  That is why we rely heavily on our import partners to provide us with background information on the farms and processors of any coffee we purchase.”
I'm drinking this as I write the review. It doesn't seem to have the same distinctive flavor that Colombian coffees are known for. However, this may be attributed to it's organic state. This is the first organic Colombian that I've ever tried. I've found that you have to use more coffee than normal to get any real flavor from it. Not bad, but not one that I'll order again.

Kicking Horse Coffee is the #1 best-selling whole bean coffee in Canada, known for their passion for the highest quality beans. Not only are they the best-selling organic, fair trade coffee in Canada, but they are also consistently rated as one of the best workplaces, with exceptional values and 20 years of doing the right thing for their customers and for the planet.
Newman's Own Organics Extra Bold K-Cups are by far the best-tasting and highest quality K-Cups available. I either use these or the refillable My K-Cup with locally sourced coffees. For the price and the speed of brewing, it's hard to beat the strength and flavor of Newman's Own. Take it from a coffee-snob who owns more than half a dozen coffee brewers (pour-over, espresso machine, moka pot, high-end drip brewer, etc.) these are the best trade-off of a fast cup of coffee that still tastes great. Also: contrary to popular belief, K-Cups are completely recyclable. They consist of plastic, aluminium and paper and take minimal effort if you are already accustomed to recycling.
Who would have guessed that one of the most impressive coffee roasters in the West would have come up in the land of hot drinks abstainers? No doubt the pioneering team behind this single estate-only operation were slightly surprised, too—at a time when Salt Lake had very little good coffee to speak of, they took the plunge; now it's hard to imagine Utah's impressive artisan scene without them.
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