In the test, I took into consideration that people have a variety of coffee preferences. Some like a classic French Roast, meaning lots of dark, toasty notes with a full body and robust (slightly burnt, IMO) flavor. More recently, coffee trends have tended toward the lighter, brighter, fruity end of the tasting spectrum, with a fair amount of acid and berry notes. We aimed for a medium roast, which would theoretically appease a variety of tastes and hit in the middle of this spectrum. Still, we picked three different coffees as our favorites so we could cover the spectrum of coffee flavor preferences. In general, we were looking for coffees that tasted nuanced in flavor, not simply burnt or watery. Hints of chocolate, berries, nuttiness, and round, creamy mouthfeel were ideal. We wanted a coffee that would taste good black—and also hold up to added milk.

This best-selling medium roast blend from The Original Donut Shop is smooth, well-balanced, and downright delicious paired with your favorite donut. Reviewers love this blend's pastry-shop-sweet aroma and nutty flavor that hits just the right spot in the morning. Dunking is encouraged! These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
Described by taste-testers as "nutty, earthy, smooth, and bold," these Sumatra Dark Roast pods from Starbucks are so bold in flavor that some reviewers claim they can actually be brewed twice to cut back on waste. Herbal and earthy, this single-origin coffee blend is not to be missed. These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
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.
Overwhelmingly, the lesser known brands ranked higher and received more detailed tasting notes. When searching the description of these brands, you will find more information on specific origin, details in roasting and care in the small batches. The attention to detail made from the farming to the roasting will set you back a few more dollars, but know that along with a more satisfying cup of coffee you are also doing your part to better the world.
We used our favorite drip coffee maker, the Bonavita 8-Cup Brewer, to brew all of the beans. We used coffee and water measurements recommended by the Bonavita brewing instructions: 70 grams of ground coffee for the 8-cup machine. We drank each coffee hot, at first black, then with milk added if that's how the taster preferred their coffee. When possible, I bought whole beans and ground them (we wouldn't recommend buying pre-ground coffee), but a few of these coffees only come—or are much more commonly found—ground. It's worth noting, however, that all of our winners were whole bean coffees in this second round of tasting.
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 is similar to the coffee that has been mentioned above, but the main difference is that it is a darker roast. Because of this, the flavor tends to be more pronounced. Still, you can expect that there is no extreme bitterness. It should also be noted that it has up to seven times more antioxidants compared to what you can find in green tea. It has been through a unique roasting process that has been developed exclusively by the manufacturer to reduce its bitterness by as much as 70%.
Organic certification at the farm level is overseen by various regional agencies, but, unlike sellers of organic vegetables, who don’t need further certification to sell organic produce, coffee roasters must also be certified in order to legally sell coffee that is labeled “organic.” Roasters must supply the certifying agency (different in each state) with certification paperwork from the farm and importer, as well as undergo annual inspection to ensure that organic coffees are handled in areas separate from non-organic, in much the way Kosher food is certified. This process involves both a one-time application fee and an annual inspection fee, fees that many small-scale roasters complain they cannot afford.
This coffee was pleasantly surprising. I usually like extra bold coffees, and they comprise the majority of my K-Cup purchases. But this coffee is a medium roast. Under normal circumstances, I probably would not have purchased it. But the store was out of my usual brand/flavor so I decided to try it. Wow! This is a great coffee! Rich flavor without any bitterness. I will happily add it to my favorites list. I will definitely purchase this again, and again and again!
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.
Dunkin Donuts is a popular coffee shop chain and they serve whole bean and ground coffee at retail locations and online. All of Dunkin’s restaurant made espresso beverages are now Rainforest Alliance certified and about 30% of their dark roast coffee beans. As for the rest of their coffee, it seems like it could be sourced from anywhere. They do not offer organic varieties so their coffee may contain chemicals and molds. The grocery store Dunkin Donuts coffee is produced by J.M. Smucker which is the same as Folgers.
Yoo-hoo. Our aprons vendor, @ziyada_bemore, is in town from Patna, India, and they’re popping up at the coffee bar tomorrow, Saturday, March 10, from 11a-3p. Come check out all their handmade goods, and support a great cause — cup of coffee in hand. Ziyada creates opportunity and well-paying jobs for women in the impoverished Indian state of Bihar. *** Stop by their pop-up for a belated #internationalwomensday celebration. 📷: @jrwade_photo
If we’re discussing organic, attention-to-detail coffee producers, this discussion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Koffee Kult and their process. The dedication starts with direct trade relationships with their coffee farmers around the world, support for micro-lot farms, and finishes in house when they apply the iconic Koffee Kult label. Don’t forget the impressive roasting process.
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.
Bold but smooth – this is what you can expect in this product. It is an extra-bold medium roast, which is why it offers the best of both worlds. It is made using beans that have been sourced from Indonesia and Latin America. In terms of its flavor profile, it has moderate acidity, full-body, and a well-rounded finish. It is made using 100% Arabica beans. Lastly, when it comes to compatibility, the manufacturer notes that it is compatible with Keurig 1.0 models.
I found an interesting study from the Japanese which showed that 99.8% of the pesticides used in farming coffee beans, was burned off in the roasting process. So even though it is almost as clean as organic and not as harmful as one might think, it still lacks the quality in terms of organic fertilizers and culitivation not to mention the storing and shipping which greatly effects quality! I prefer organic all the way but it was an interesting informative article about that study. Here’s the link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23154763
If you want to try a variety of coffee that’s customized to your taste, you can’t go wrong with Craft Coffee. When you sign up, you’ll be asked how much coffee you drink at home, what type of coffee you drink and who your favorite roasters are. Based on these choices, you’ll be matched up three different roasters each month that will deliver their coffee to your door. Some roasters may be familiar to you, while others won’t. If you love to experiment and broaden your horizons, Craft Coffee is a great option.

Coffee is also on the top ten list of products sold around the world. This makes it one of the most important ways for farmers and workers to earn their living. More than 25 million people work with coffee daily. Buying organic coffee helps to keep their environments and the coffee we drink each day healthier. Here are some tasty choices for exploring coffee the organic way:
very reasonable priced coffee shop conveniently located near north station/TD garden. I ordered a small latte with skim milk, EMPHASIS on skim. It was extremely tasty and there was enough caffeine to keep me going through the day. They must have had some sort of mix up with my drink because I was having some dairy/lactose related problems after finishing my drink...

Our coffee testers do love a strong and bold cup of coffee, so though we expected it to rank highly, Death Wish sat in the middle of the pack due to its low marks in aroma and taste. It did gain major points for its finish though, where tasters noted that it was smooth, but had some overpowering bitterness to it. If you need a large jolt of energy with intense flavor, look no further than Death Wish coffee.
Black Oak Coffee Roasters from (Ukiah, CA) was my personal favorite and I’m glad to see it made your list as well! I do find it odd that it was on your list as it seems that you favor the lighter roasts and I’m opposite in my flavors. There are only 2 coffees that are not roasted in the U.S., is this because you haven’t tried too many outsides of the U.S. or do you find that they are just better in the US? Also thanks for taking one for the team and trying out the Black Rum Espresso because there is no way I would pay that price!
This is my first purchase of this brand I couldn't be happier. The coffee is bold, smooth, and delicious! I love the ethical practices and committment to fair trade and organic production- the primary reason I purchased it. I will buy this again! However- noticed that EE did not have the 3 pack in stock recently. I had to go with another brand, but I am skeptical that it will taste as good. EE is pricier than most, but I think it's worth it. I may not buy it every time I need coffee, but it's certainly top of my list in the rotation.
As one of the few products we have reviewed, that comes in hermetically sealed pressurized cans; this brand deserves some applause. The package results in an intensely fresh coffee powder. And illy is an excellent option if you want the authentic Italian taste. Their products are certified ethical by DNV. The coffee blend contains 100% pure Arabica beans sourced from growers across the world.
I drink one cup of coffee to start my day, using a Keurig and refillable K-cup. This can sometimes be less than ideal because the coffee can taste off (usually too weak). I was worried the same would be true about this Breakfast Blend, since those can generally be on the weaker side, but was pleasantly surprised at how bold and flavorful this was. It smells great, too - just opening the bag in the morning helped wake me up!
Ethiopia coffees, whether certified organic or not, are produced from tree varieties native to Ethiopia and grown virtually nowhere else. These varieties tend to produce coffees with typically striking cup character: bright, lively and balanced in structure and intricately engaging in aroma and flavor. Furthermore, the best mills in Ethiopia are also ingenious and meticulous in their processing methods. Classic wet-processed or “washed” Ethiopia coffees (in which fruit skin and pulp are removed before drying) tend to highlight floral and citrus notes, while “natural”-processed Ethiopias (beans are dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed) lean toward lusher fruit and deeper flowers. Fine examples of organic coffees prepared by both processing methods appear in this month’s reviews.
Organic Coffee is grown with organic fertilizers, which mimic natural growth and decay processes of the environment. Growing coffee under the shade of trees using organic mulch requires less irrigation, conserves water and encourages forest preservation. Following these organic practices stimulates the environment's ability to defend against disease and encourages sustainability. Organic Coffee products available include Organic Coffee that is caffeinated, decaffeinated, flavored and instant.
Both of these amazing organic K-Cup® coffees take it one step further and are Fair Trade certified. To read more about the benefits of Fair Trade coffees, click here. Fair Trade helps to negate the increased cost of growing organically. Surprisingly, in the case of organic K-Cup® pods, this cost has not been passed on to the consumer. The only way to thank these farmers is for coffee wholesalers to abide by a Fair Trade certification, so farmers are not tempted to succumb to cheaper conventional methods.
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.
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.
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).

After tasting many coffees that were either completely bland or singed to bitter oblivion, Thrive Market's coffee was a welcome relief, as it offered flavor that was actually nuanced. "Aroma!" wrote my colleague Joe (note the exclamation point). "Woodsy, dark chocolate. Bright! Finished fruity, with a flavor of raspberry and copper." Other tasters also noted that this coffee was brighter than the rest, and offered nice fruitiness. The coffee has a relatively thin body, so those who like a rounder, creamier texture might find it lacking It was not so light and thin, however, that it didn't hold up nicely to a bit of milk—and you could still taste the chocolatey, woody notes through the milk, whereas many coffees lost all distinct flavor when dairy was added. Another bonus: this coffee comes in a huge 24-ounce bag, and at $12.99 for that size, it's an incredible deal.
This specific Equal Exchange Organic coffee is their Breakfast blend. It is in fact a blend of their Medium roast and Fresh Roasted coffees. It has a great body, terrific aroma, but the taste and aftertaste seem to lack a bit. However, everyone's taste for coffee is different. If you like a sweeter tasting coffee with chocolate undertones, great because that is what this one has. If not, you probably will not like this one. Customers have also reported that the Breakfast Blend has low acidity which is great to see. High acidity can ruin an otherwise great coffee.
Organically farmed and sustainably produced, this blend comes from the southern part of Costa Rica. This region boasts abundant vegetation and rich volcanic soils that makes ideals conditions for coffee plantation. Coffee beans are only purchased from 100 percent USDA organic certified farms in Brunca region. It produces coffee blend which has a medium roast that has flavor hints of laurel and apple and an aroma of freshly coffee. The coffee is dense and has got a pleasant lingering aftertaste.

Our research was then directed towards the price point and determining what classifies as a “cheap” cup of coffee. If you are heading to Starbucks to grab a grande cup of regular coffee, it will put you back $2.10. McDonald’s premium roast coffee will cost $1.29. Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee is $1.89. Frappuccinos, lattes and mochas will double your coffee cost.

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.
Coffee Review’s goal is to celebrate coffee roasters, farmers and mill-owners who make an extra effort to produce coffees that are not only superb in quality but also distinctive in character. In particular, we aim to honor the dedication of coffee producers large and small who, with the support of their roaster and importer partners, are crafting a range of sensory excellence and diversity that has never existed before in the history of the beverage.
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