Kenneth Davids is a coffee expert, author and co-founder of Coffee Review. He has been involved with coffee since the early 1970s and has published three books on coffee, including the influential Home Roasting: Romance and Revival, now in its second edition, and Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, which has sold nearly 250,000 copies over five editions. His workshops and seminars on coffee sourcing, evaluation and communication have been featured at professional coffee meetings on six continents.
I got a toasted multiseed bagel + cream cheese, as well as a chai latte with soy milk. They have plenty of pastry and coffee options, and they support a great cause, i.e., economically just and environmentally sound trade partnerships (paraphrased from their website just FYI). The toasted bagel was perfect for the slightly rainy and chilly day, and I appreciated how the chai latte wasn't too sweet.
Many roasters queried us to ask if they could submit coffees they felt confident were farmed without use of synthetic inputs because of their familiarity with the producers. Nevertheless, for this report, we concluded that we needed to stick to reviewing coffees that consumers could be assured were produced under organic conditions using organic protocols. We went so far as to check the organic documentation at the farm level provided by importers for all the coffees we review here.
“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.”
The question remains, once a bag is open, how long does it last? There are a few factors to consider. The first usually depends on the roast date, the closer to the roast date the fresher your coffee is going to to taste. Next is the coffee bean type, ground coffee doesn’t maintain its fresh taste very long. Seattle Coffee Gear says that ground coffee sealed in a cool, dark place will stay fresh for about two weeks, while properly stored whole coffee beans will stay at best quality for about four weeks after opening at room temperature. Oxygen is your biggest enemy here.
For most individuals, waking up with fresh cup of coffee is definitely one of the best ways to get out of bed. And we can only find very few brands having a rich taste and health benefits which can be offered in a best organic coffee brands. These brands are normally harvested from different locations including Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. The organic coffee contains some of the most intense flavors in the market today. In addition to offering you the kick start in the morning, organic coffee can reduce the risk of chronic disease, improve your lifespan and make your life better.
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.
With a lot of coffees in the market today, it is good to have the name that you can recognize. First Colony organic fair trade whole bean coffee is certainly all that and will remain to be a superb purchase. This coffee is cost effective and widely recommended. It is also the most popular choice among most individuals. It is packed in warm and self-merchandizing bags that facilitate value, freshness and quality.
Nescafe is a huge multinational brand of coffee owned by Nestle. We commend Nescafe partnering with for the Rainforest Alliance, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), and the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) to be sure they are following internationally recognized sustainability standards but they do not offer organic certified coffees. Therefore, their coffee’s may contain chemicals and mold. They only offer instant coffees, ground coffee, or pods so again, freshness is a concern.
In order to save energy (it is the right thing to do), look for a unit that comes with an auto-off timer. Leaving the internal tank heated and ready to brew will continue to drain some energy, even though minimal. If you are making 7-8 cups of coffee a day, this could make sense. It takes around 300 watts of power for a Keurig machine to brew a K cup if it has been preheated.
Subtle Earth whole bean light roast is one of the only coffees that made our list, boasting both certified organic and GMO free ingredients. You can tell the care that is taken from farming to finish when looking at the story of Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth coffee. Our tasters picked out a number of fruity and herbal flavors, but what won everyone over was the sweet finish with no added flavor in the beans. Costing you only $.53 per ounce, this flavorful cup provides more than just a boost of caffeine, it can also boost your savings.
They have the premier design, but do they hold up to the standard? Judge this coffee by its wrapper, and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be blown away. This medium roast is roasted in Canada, certified Fairtrade, organic, Kosher, and straight out of Central and South Africa. These beans go through a rigorous process before getting into the package, and getting to you doorstep. Only a true blue coffee company who understands their customers go to such lengths, and that’s exactly what Kicking Horse Coffee does for you. Don’t compromise on one feature for another—organic coffee beans, roasted to perfection, and they’re waiting for you.
When I moved away from a grocery store that carried Equal Exchange three or four years ago, I remember checking, and you had to order it directly from Equal Exchange, and wait for standard shipping. I guess thanks to the Whole Foods merger, now you can get this right on Amazon. I was excited to discover this, but the mislabeling is a bummer! Amazon, please fix!
Many attribute Alfred Peet and his small coffee shop established in Berkeley, California in 1966 as the beginning of the craft-coffee movement in the United States. Peet’s Big Bang was introduced in 2016 as a special blend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the coffee shop, but it has since garnered quite a loyal following and become one of the brand's most popular varieties.
The deity-level status of a coffee roaster hailing from Kansas' snoozy capital used to take the less-informed by surprise; nowadays, it seems less unusual that an operation as world-class as this should be found in such a place. No brash upstart, this—direct trading, single origin-loving PT's has been around since the early 1990's, and is still considered one of the finest source-erers in the land, last year snapping up another roaster with a similar reputation for quality, San Diego's Bird Rock Coffee. Lately, the company has given its retail operation a modern makeover, adding more modern shops in the college town of Lawrence, as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
This K-cup coffee stays true to its name – it is really good. It is made using organic Arabica coffee beans grown in Sumatra and South and Central America. It is also a good thing that it is in a variety pack, allowing you to experience different flavors, which include French Roast, Donut Shop, and Breakfast Blend. Lastly, if you are looking for organic biodegradable K-cups, it is also worth looking at this product since it is made with a recyclable packaging.
The most exciting thing here is the fact that the beans are air roasted. Not many coffee brands do this because the process is complicated and takes quite a while. As a matter of fact, less than 1% of all coffee is roasted this way. However, for Kona, it provided unique taste as well as ease of use in different type of coffee makers, French press coffee makers, and cold brew machines.
Africa and Indonesia grow the world’s supply of robusta beans. These harsher and more caffeinated coffee beans cost less than arabica beans, as the Coffea canephora plant is hardier than the arabica bush and produces far more cherries at a younger age. Supermarket brands, instant coffee, and inexpensive coffee is almost always ground from this type of bean.
This k-cup sampler pack was part of a Black Friday bundle with the purchase of a Keurig coffee maker at an incredible price. Since I bought the Keurig for the work place, I went through the variety of k-cups (2 pods of each variety) kept what were my favorites and took the rest to work. It actually was one the the best varieties in an assortment pack I have seen. I like the dark roasts and this assortment had a nice blend of dark, medium and light/breakfast blends. Was very impressed.
This coffee was not only organic, delicious and full bodied, it also is fairly traded. This ensures that the small growers of the coffee beans get a fair price for the coffee and are not exploited by large companies who make all of the profit. I have been a big fan of fairly traded coffee for many years now. Equal Exchange is a great product and a great concept.
Update: I have discovered since my original comments, a simple way to completely remove the slight bitterness of this coffee. A nice local health food store owner, told me to add a "pinch" of Bob's Red Mill Baking Soda to my cup of coffee. Wow, it made Equal Exchange Breakfast Blend Coffee taste as good as the finest organic coffee I have ever tasted! With that said, I will continue purchasing this great organic coffee.
Lastly, we’ve got Ethical Bean Coffee Sweet Espresso. Guilt-free coffee at its finest. This company was found in Guatemala back in 1999 and it's main focus has been investing into local farmers and their communities so those farmers produce the best product out of sheer joy and happiness. As they say, fair trade is not only a marketing slogan for this company, it is an integral part of its entity.
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.
Tiny Footprint Coffee is the world's first carbon-negative coffee company, meaning they make sure to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit during the process of importing and roasting their coffee. One of the main ways they accomplish their goal is donating a portion of the proceeds earned from every pound sold to fund reforestation in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest. So yeah, this is good coffee, but it's also a lot more than that.
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.