Counter Culture was originally founded in 1995 and was one of the early leaders in the specialty coffee movement. Today, they focus on sustainability and quality and offer several different roasts that you can choose from. They have several different subscription plans available, but their most popular is the single-origin subscription, which gets you two 12 oz. bags of coffee with each shipment. With this coffee subscription you can have your coffee delivered to your door every one, two, three or four weeks.


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.)
In retrospect, the dominating presence of Ethiopia should have come as no surprise. Ethiopia usually vies with Mexico as the world’s second-largest producer of certified organic coffees, after Peru. And, certifications aside, almost all of Ethiopia’s coffee is farmed without synthetic inputs of any kind, largely because farmers can’t afford them. A study done in 2014 by the International Coffee Organization estimated that 95% of Ethiopia’s coffee is de facto organically grown. Nevertheless, only 10% of that coffee is eligible for organic certification because the rest is not fully traceable back to the cooperative or farm where it was produced.
For the first time we allowed ready-to-drink, cold-brewed, pure black coffees into consideration for the Top 30. Two superb cold-brewed, bottled coffees made the list, the Bird Rock Red Bourbon Honey-Processed Cold Brew at No. 17 (94 points) and the States Coffee Reserve Cold Brew (from a Tanzania single-origin coffee) at No. 21 (also 94 points). For more on the cold coffee trend see our report Cold-Brewed Black Coffees: Quality in a Can.
The second best organic decaf coffee on our list is Caza Trail Coffee. The dark imperial flavors inside actually come from a blend of coffees from Indonesia and Latin America. It has moderate acidity and a well-rounded finish. Caza Trail offers both classic and flavored coffee. Therefore, you can either have a traditional pick me up or take a break and reward yourself with a spiced coffee.
There is no beating around the bush with this brand. When you buy Death Wish, you know exactly what you are getting: a higher dose of caffeine than your body should need, like ever. There is a market for robust coffee out there, and these guys are there to cater to those caffeine-heads. The brand has all the right certifications, including FairTrade. And despite using robusta beans, they have managed to keep the taste at least tolerable, which is quite an achievement.
Fair Trade International upholds social, economic and environmental development standards (Fairtrade International, 2015). While some of these standards are required to receive certification, some are simply encouraged. For example, they are required to pay the minimum price, offer sufficient health conditions, and cannot use child labor. On the other hand, growing coffee organically is not required, but it is encouraged and rewarded.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is unusual among the grocery store coffee set in that it references neither the coffee-growing regions of the equator nor any city associated with coffee culture—New York, Vienna, etc.—instead staring wistfully off in the direction of the Green Mountains of Vermont. This is a thoroughly pleasant coffee, light-roasted and gentle on an empty stomach, as mine often is at the coffee hour. Green Mountain has an impressive thermal shift, remaining drinkable even as it cools—even to an avowed hater of iced coffee. It microwaves decently, too, buoyed gently back to drinking temperature without darkening into bottom-of-the-pot creosote, making it a solid choice for even the coldest of kitchens.
Packed in 8 ounce bags of ground coffee, this is one of the products in the Marley Coffee line. It contains 100% Arabica coffee beans, which have been roasted in the United State of America. It is USDA approved as 100% organic and Kosher. Once the bag is opened it is recommended that it be consumed within three weeks. It is an excellent choice for making smooth, non-acidic coffee. Some consumers enjoy it as espresso, cappuccino, Mochas and Lattes.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is unusual among the grocery store coffee set in that it references neither the coffee-growing regions of the equator nor any city associated with coffee culture—New York, Vienna, etc.—instead staring wistfully off in the direction of the Green Mountains of Vermont. This is a thoroughly pleasant coffee, light-roasted and gentle on an empty stomach, as mine often is at the coffee hour. Green Mountain has an impressive thermal shift, remaining drinkable even as it cools—even to an avowed hater of iced coffee. It microwaves decently, too, buoyed gently back to drinking temperature without darkening into bottom-of-the-pot creosote, making it a solid choice for even the coldest of kitchens.
These K-cups worked great and made a good cup of coffee. I generally prefer a lighter roast. The flavor was very bold and for a dark roast was very good. There were no grounds or oils on the top of the coffee. It was best as the first cup of coffee in the morning as it was not decaffeinated. The cups functioned in the coffee maker well and removed most of the water in the cup after brewing so you don't drip coffee on the counter. Since this is Paul Newmans's brand I do fee like I am helping because they donate most of the profits to charity so I feel better when I use their products. Overall a good product for people that like a dark roast coffee.
I have tried other Newman's Own products and they have all been good. So, I thought the coffee would be too. It was not. I could not even finish the cup and I like all types of coffees, including bold. Thinking it was a fluke with either the K-cup or the coffeemaker, I made another cup. It was the same: bad. In the future, I will stay away from Newman's Own coffee and continue buying the other coffees available for the Keurig.

I am no coffee expert, but do enjoy 1-3 cups of coffee a day. I recently read of all pesticides used in coffee so decided to go organic, I've tried many from different places but this is by far the best cup I've had, my girlfriend thinks so too. It's very mild and can definitely feel the caffeine rush w/o going over the board like the energizer bunny. I ground the beans every morning while she takes the shower and throw them in our bobble presse (http://www.amazon.com/Presse-bobble-The-Brewer-Black/dp/B00T088TTM) with wonderful results. Can't think of a better way of starting our morning. #InLove
Seattle got most of the attention, but the '90's were very good to the Windy City, coffee-wise—let's start with Intelligentsia, beginning life as a relatively modest café and roastery in the Lakeview section of town, back in 1995. Like Seattle today, Chicago's scene is wonderfully layered, offering up everything from the unabashedly traditional to the cutting-edge. For the best of the latter, look way, way west—steps from where the notorious Horner projects stood crumbling thirty years ago—to a block shared with another celebrated coffee roaster (Sparrow) and a very good brandy distillery (Rhine Hall). Metric, something of a power partnership between the owner of a popular local café and a talented Intelligentsia vet, roasts its prized beans on a restored 1961 Probat, keeping relatively limited hours in an on-site café and tasting room, where public cuppings are held every Friday morning.
I sat down in their amazing coffee shop and met Justin and his team, and decided to partner up with them on a different subscription plans. The beans are roasted in their shop and shipped straight to your door – and I can attest firsthand to how incredible the coffee is. Click here to learn more about their story and try Carabello Coffee for yourself.
It was about time for a café au Parisienne on our list. Say hello to Bulletproof, a whole bean coffee that strives to find the absolute perfection as far as a cup of Joe can go. Every single bean that you will find in your own pack or this organic decaf coffee has been handpicked by a skilled person in the deep of Central America when it was ripe and ready to be enjoyed. Therefore, all you need to do is sit back and enjoy.
One of the biggest rising names in premier coffee beans, Café Don Pablo, brings us another exceptional, small batch, artisan roasted bag of coffee beans. Not only are these premier coffee beans GMO-free, but their specific blend of beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil will leave you wondering why you didn’t find Don Pablo sooner. If you’re a finnicky coffee critic, then we don’t need to preach this fact to you—you’ve been let down by far too many different blends, each claiming to be the most optimal flavor and body balance, while falling flat. Don Pablo is a premier coffee company that should always come first when you think of quality. Be sure to also check out our list of the best instant coffee for more great items like this.
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.
My husband thought this blend was okay, though not as good as the Breakfast Blend (he gives 3 stars). I did not like it at all (1 star). It left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth long after the coffee was gone. I tried it both hot and iced, and experienced the same bitterness. We tried making it weaker and stronger than suggested, brewed from different bags, alternated with the Breakfast Blend, and used fresh water - every pot tasted bitter to me and just okay to my husband. Can't recommend.
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.
I have always purchased Equal Exchange whole bean decaffeinated coffee, but decided to try the ground Equal Exchange just to save me time in the morning grinding it and then having to clean the grinder and my husband and I are thrilled with it. It has wonderful full flavor and actually tastes better than the beans I was grinding. I definitely recommend this product.
On the other side of the caffeinated spectrum, the Canadian brand, Kicking Horse Coffee has been creating organic, Fair Trade coffee for several decades now. Proud of their place of business, they roast these premium beans to perfection, three-thousand feet above sea level, near the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River. Whether it’s the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains or the altitude, something about their process delivers incredible flavors.

You need to buy the right road that’s going to suit your palette, but that’s not going to do you any good if you can’t store them in a proper location. You need to maintain proper temperature control and oxidization. It also depends on how tightly-packaged your beans were upon arrival; sometimes, it’s not in your hands. That’s why you need to go with a supplier that you trust, someone who has your best interest at heart when it comes to maintaining integrity and flavor.
There is no beating around the bush with this brand. When you buy Death Wish, you know exactly what you are getting: a higher dose of caffeine than your body should need, like ever. There is a market for robust coffee out there, and these guys are there to cater to those caffeine-heads. The brand has all the right certifications, including FairTrade. And despite using robusta beans, they have managed to keep the taste at least tolerable, which is quite an achievement.
×