Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.
Your morning cup of coffee is no joke. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. A good cup can keep you energized, alert, and positive all morning, while a bad (expensive) cup can make you as grouchy as Garfield on a Monday. According to the National Coffee Association, 86% of Americans brew their own coffee at home. The average coffee drinker has about 3.3 cups a day, or 1,200 a year. That’s why it’s especially important to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to coffee. 
“My wife and I have tried most of the higher-end, mail-order, and micro-roasters and finally found our go-to coffee. Really a great cup of coffee. We have always liked to freshly grind and brew our coffee, and prefer to use a French press. This coffee is not burned, bitter, or acidic. Not really a dark, dark roast. More of a medium-dark roast. Perfect. Has a slightly nutty, chocolaty, and full-body taste. For overall quality, I would give it four-and-a-half stars — but with this price point, quality, and [the fact that it] is organic, this coffee is a no-brainer.”
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.

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I suffer from MS, it got a lot worse this year and my doc gave me six months to get better on my own before she puts me on meds. So this coffee is a big part of my natural recovery. Along with yoga, meditation, tons of antioxidants and probiotics, I make coffee combutcha and use (I know, yuk) coffee enemas, daily. Extreme detox! This brand was recommended on some website I found, I it works amazing! I feel like a million bucks after the enemas! Watch me recover completely and start running marathons before the big pharma catches me in it's ugly claw!
French press - French press coffee involves "pressing" your coffee grounds to the bottom of a container instead of filtering them the traditional way. While you can use any type of bean to make your grounds, there are certain roasts and coarseness levels that work best with a French press, so you'll want to do some research before you start experimenting.
If the original Death Wish Coffee is too strong for you, this is one that will be worth a try. The main difference between the two is that the Valhalla has a lower caffeine content and it also has a lighter roast. To be specific, it has a medium dark roast. It is a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, which have been sourced from India, Sumatra, Guatemala, Peru, and Honduras.
Newman’s Own is a feel-good coffee—it’s organic, all company profits go to charity, and Paul Newman’s little dad-hot cartoon face on the bag grins approvingly at your choices. Its flavor is uncomplicated, and it tastes like the last coffee of the day should taste—a 3 p.m. pick-me-up that tows you calmly to the end of the workday rather than punching you in the eye-bags like a morning coffee needs to. This is the most expensive in the bunch, at $16.46 per pound, and isn’t so far ahead of Green Mountain ($13.32/lb) that it’s worth the splurge on anything but ethical or aesthetic grounds. Moreover, it falls short of Green Mountain in thermal shift and microwaveability: flavor deteriorates in proportion with temperature, and after microwaving dries out the inside of one’s mouth—not a problem if you’re a quick drinker, but sippers beware.
Our search began at the local grocery stores to see what was widely available to shoppers. We noted the ubiquitous blends and recorded their price per ounce. We then went to the reviewers on Amazon.com where coffee was available in all varieties. We considered options on Amazon, Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh to find the best-rated cheap coffee options.
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.

In fact, coffee fans who find the acidic flavors of some coffees too bitter and unpleasant have begun routinely drinking low acid coffee. The acid content of these brews is minimal, and the other flavors of the bean are more refined and “brighter.” In particular, notes such as fruit, nuts, and chocolate are said to be much more readily detectable in low acid coffees.
Many reviewers pick up notes of honey, almonds, and dried fruit in the flavor profile with zero bitterness and low acidity. Ideally, this blend would be finely ground, brewed as a traditional espresso, and served in a smaller format, but many reviewers coarse-grind this blend and brew it using their drip coffee maker or French press with great success. Most reviewers actually claim that they've switched to Lavazza for their everyday morning coffee from other more well-known American brands.
Our search began at the local grocery stores to see what was widely available to shoppers. We noted the ubiquitous blends and recorded their price per ounce. We then went to the reviewers on Amazon.com where coffee was available in all varieties. We considered options on Amazon, Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh to find the best-rated cheap coffee options.
Do you know what the best way of enjoying a truly great cup of organic decaf coffee is? Knowing exactly what it is you’re drinking. Decaf coffee is special, in the sense that, having no caffeine, people generally drink it for the taste, flavor, and that longing feeling of enjoying coffee without the harmful effects caffeine has on the human body. Therefore, there is no better idea than to inform yourself.
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.
The top-rated Reunion Island Sidama (94) is Fair Trade as well as organic-certified. Anne Wiseman, marketing coordinator for Reunion Island, says that it’s important for the company to offer organic-certified coffees, and that their organic selection is growing with consumer demand. Reunion Island has committed to carry this same organically-certified Sidama, from the same importer and producers, on an ongoing basis.
Folgers brand topped the Harris Poll Coffee of the Year list. The classic brand has an array of highly ranked flavors which cost about 32 cents an ounce. But if you like your coffee dark, this might be the brand for you. Their French Roast blend ranked #1 on the Huffington Post’s list of best store-bought French roast coffee, mainly because of it’s “pleasant flavors.” The Black Silk blend is also a deal, at $7.64 for 27.8 ounces, which has been praised for it’s great flavor without the burnt aftertaste that plagues so many other dark roasts.
This year, for the first time, a coffee from Hawaii earned top honors, the 96-point Kona Mocca™, grown and roasted in Holualoa, Hawaii by Hula Daddy Kona Coffee. In the review published in November, it was described in part as “A marvel of a coffee, inviting and esoteric, chimerical and grounded, all at once.  Enchantingly rich, intensely floral, unique. Dried black cherry, tea rose, Cognac, chocolate fudge, gently scorched almond wood in aroma and cup.” This rare coffee with its tiny beans and striking cup is available only on the Hula Daddy website through their allocation list.
K-Cups were created by Keurig to be used with their specialized Keurig machines. Shortly after the original line of Keurig machines was released, coffee makers began to release their own generic-brand K-Cups. Over time, Keurig began to lose market share to these other coffee makers. They released the Keurig 2.0 machines that were ONLY compatible with K-Cups manufactured by Keurig.
You can make iced coffee/tea as well, plus hot chocolate and a range of different brews in different sizes. There’s a permanent micro-filter basket that you can replace with paper filters. Of course, we could not resist and quickly swapped the filters for some testing. But, the paper filter did not yield any noticeable difference in the quality of the brew when compared to the permanent filter.
My husband and I decided that if we are going to be drinking something everything morning for the next 50 years of our life, we want it to be organic. Fair trade just happens to be another bonus. Both coffee and sugar are the highest sprayed crops in the world. Coffee especially so we first made the switch over this brand and tried this flavor first. We grind it at home and brew it with an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters. The combination of grinding it fresh every morning and brewing it with the aeropress makes for the best cup of morning coffee EVER. We use a simple Krups 203-42 Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder with Stainless-Steel blades, Black and simply grind it for 15-18 seconds. We also switched sugars and now use organic and fair trade sugar as well along with locally bought raw milk. The best sugar for this is Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6).
Also try The recent transformation of Los Angeles café culture has been an absolute pleasure to observe—from the just-right Civil Coffee in Highland Park to the cutting-edge Coffee Hall in Chinatown (look for local roaster Compelling Coffee in the rotation) to local legend Tyler Wells' downtown kiosk, Nice Coffee, to the initially controversial (but really, very good) Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights, for the most exciting developments, look east.
All these processes take more time and care, and therefore more labor, and therefore increase the price of the coffee. But these coffees also simply taste better, and provide a more satisfying experience. The fact that these methods tend to be organic and socially responsible is a byproduct of the care and attention to quality that these specialty coffees require.

Back in the day, preparing coffee is a time-consuming and complicated task. Today, it has become a lot easier, especially with the introduction of innovative coffeemakers, including the one from Keurig. With the latter, you can use revolutionary K-cups to prepare your coffee quickly and without guesswork, guaranteeing consistent and delicious taste.


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Lake Winnipesaukee might be next door, but the historic center of Laconia, an old mill town, isn't exactly a thriving tourist destination—at least not yet. This cheerful micro-roaster and café, across from the shuttered (apparently, not forever) Colonial Theatre, is one in a small group of businesses—including a proper butcher shop, just next door—helping to invigorate the old town center.
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.
Also, to be purely selfish and not think about the planet for a moment, organic coffee often simply tastes better. Grown in their natural environment, the beans take longer to mature, and develop a deep, complex flavor without as much acidity. Of course, the finished taste of a cup of coffee has as much to do with the roasting and brewing as it does the origin of the beans, but organic coffees generally come out far ahead in taste tests.
We are using a Fair Trade certified green coffee, but we do not participate in the Fair Trade system. We have our own program called "Sharing Certified." Check it out here. We are a family of coffee growers ourselves, and we only purchase specialty-grade coffee at a premium over the market from other growers whom we've had decades-long relationships with.
People who prefer dark/deep roast coffees might not appreciate this one as much as I do. Does this taste better than Folgers or Maxwell House? Good heavens, yes. Is the superior character and flavor(s) worth the extra cost? I would say no, for that reason alone. What makes this coffee more than worth the money is that it's organic. The Coffee industry produces one of the most sprayed plants of all. Everyone wants to know if coffee is good for them, well I'd prefer a pesticide-free cup of coffee if I'm going to believe that it's good for me.
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).

I was pretty disappointed in this local coffee spot, unfortunately. I walked in and the staff seemed in disarray. I waited 15 minutes for a coffee, watching other people who ordered after me get their drinks filled. They had forgotten my order as it turned out, and when I asked about it, they were not too friendly in understanding what happened. After I finally pushed about needing to go, they finally made my drink, but I only had a couple minutes to finish it. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with their service at all. And my coffee was nothing impressive. Not worth the price in my opinion.


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.
As you’ve already guessed, this organic decaf coffee was made for Keurig Single Cup Brewers. Therefore, you need to own one prior to buying this coffee. Once you do, you will be able to enjoy this amazingly bold, refined, and smooth dark brew that will sooth your heart and your senses. The blend is a medium and dark roast, and the coffee itself has been decaffeinated by the water process.
We've featured a few wet-processed brands on this list, but tossing coffee beans into water tanks isn't the only way to treat them! With dry-processed beans, they're set out in the sun to bake until they're ready to be roasted. They can be slightly acidic since they don't go through a fermentation process, but a little kick just adds to the thrill of drinking something so raw and wild.
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 daughter bought this coffee and gave it to me. She liked the idea that it was organic & free trade and so did I. This coffee is really good. I ran out so I bought a similar brand fair trade, Colombian and organic from a local store and could really tell the difference. The other coffee was bitter, no matter how I much I used, whereas with this coffee even when I make it stronger it is very smooth and tastes great the only problem I have is that I drink more of it than I should. I have ordered it again and set it up on Subscribe & Save, may as well save where I can.
“My husband is a coffee addict, and I’m a bit of a fanatic about chemical additives and such. When I saw organic coffee offered for review, I knew I had to get this for him. Here is his review on the coffee: ‘I typically like bolder, dark-roast coffees. Once in a while I’ll mix it up when I’m out, and I’ll order a medium-roast brand. As far as buying an entire bag for home, I’ve grown tired of most medium roasts and do not want to waste money on tinny flavored coffee. This medium roast, however, is at the top of the bracket. I had to look at the bag a second time to make sure it was actually a medium roast. Very impressive full flavor.’”
It is a nice smooth mild and non-acidic coffee *BUT* it does not have the distinctive taste of Ethiopian, or any African coffee I have tried. I love African coffee. In fact, the only reason I am ordering coffee is that noone brings African coffees into Hawaii :( :( For many years I had Single Origin Coffees Tanzanian Gombe Reserve - Whole Bean 10 oz on subscription, but then they raised shipping to $30 making it impractical. I first tried Coffee Bean Direct Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3) which was either burned, or poor quality beans; tasted burned and left a bitter aftertaste. I had a similar experience with their Kenya reserve, and so with 10 pounds of bad coffee in my freezer tentatively tried a sampler Coffee Masters Around The World In Twelve Coffees Variety Pack, 1.5-Ounce Packets (Pack of 12) and was very impressed with the quality and roast, and so ordered several of their single origin whole bean. All of them were very nice and it has been my roaster of choice here (I have several of their ocffees on subscription) until the price hike.
If you are looking for an eco-friendly way of having your coffee using a K-Cup, you should not only choose the organic coffee but also pay attention to the characteristics of its package. Pay attention to find a K-Cup which is recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable (you’ll be able to see this mark on the package). Not all of the producers provide this type of cups but if you have the possibility of choosing a completely environmentally friendly option, don’t hesitate to do it. The coffee cultivation soil will appreciate it.
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.
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
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.
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