This is loosely on the quality of storing your beans: if you’re a coffee connoisseur, and you’re grinding away every day, be sure to leave your grinders clean. Coffee oil will gather and taint any new beans that enter the grinder—no matter how fresh, no matter how exquisite—and essentially ruin your experience. When preparing your beans, be sure to keep your machines clean.
There were two surprises at the bottom of our list, Starbucks and Maxwell, which ranked lowest for brands you know, as well as our overall list. These two coffee giants both received bad scores in taste and finish categories. Comments included “overly acidic,” “slightly burnt” and “basic.” Both costs were below average per ounce. Maxwell was the least expensive coffee that we tested at $.23 and Starbucks ranked in the middle at $.55.
“So thrilled with this coffee. I happened upon this brand when searching for low-acidity coffee and purchased based on the positive reviews. I’m not typically a dark-roast fan; however, I haven’t been able to drink coffee in over a year due to GI issues, so I wasn’t about to be picky. I ordered and prayed this low-acid coffee would be the solution to my problems. Could I really drink coffee again without feeling like a bonfire is roasting my insides? Well, I’m pleased to report that YES! Yes, I’m able to drink coffee again — and it’s DELICIOUS! The dark roast is so smooth and not bitter at all; no funky flavor due to the low acid content. My co-workers love the taste as well. Most importantly, my belly is as unaffected as if I drank a glass of plain water. Thanks, Java Planet, for restoring my sanity and allowing me to resume my daily coffee routine I so sorely missed.”
So of course they cost more than mass-produced, mass-roasted, mass-distributed coffees that you can buy on supermarket shelves. They are a completely different class of product, with a different cost analysis. Coffee doesn't cost more just because it's organic. It costs more because more human time, care, and attention went into it. And that time and care shows up in every cup, and is worth every penny.
The best light roast and whole bean coffee was our top pick, Verena Street – Mississippi Grogg. The office chatter surrounding this taste test made it a staple on the office shopping list and is now in the rotation of coffee blends brewed. Receiving the most eight, nine and tens across the scoring board, people loved the natural hazelnut flavor found in the roast.
Very sweetly tart, floral-prominent and rich-toned. Lemon custard, red currant jam, tea rose, maple syrup and dried coconut in aroma and cup. Delightfully crisp and tart, though cohesively resonant in structure; very lightly though buoyantly syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is pert and satisfying, with a lingering sweet crispness and a long aromatic trajectory.
Professional coffee roasters roast green organic coffee beans by heating them in a large rotating drum. After about 5 to 7 minutes of intense heat, much of their moisture evaporates and the beans turn a yellow color and smell a little like popcorn. After about 8 minutes in the roaster, the "first pop" occurs. At this point the organic beans have doubled in size, crackling as they continue to expand. Many roasters stop the roasting process after the "first pop". Not Starbucks! After 10 to 11 minutes in the roaster, the organic coffee beans reach an even brown color and oil starts to appear on the surface of the bean. At somewhere between 11 and 15 minutes of roasting, the signature Starbucks flavor develops in the organic beans. The "second pop" signals that the organic coffee is ready to sell under the Starbucks label.
And while you could certainly buy an expensive cup of coffee on your way to work, it’s far more economical – and often, far tastier – to brew your own. But how do you know which beans make for the best cup of brew? Should you buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee? What’s the difference between robusta and arabica? And does the degree of roasting affect the flavor?