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?

ChesterVKeurig is probably the most expensive crap on the market, as far as non-gourmet goes. I've had plenty of their flavored coffees and I have never tasted anything from them except PLAIN coffee. I even got a box of Gloria Jean (not knowing Keurig bought them out) Butter Toffee, and although it has a SLIGHT toffee smell, it tastes like plain coffee. I am ashamed that Dr Pepper lowered the quality of Gloria Jean coffee when they bought them, because I love Dr Pepper and I loved Gloria Jean. And Keurig is a waste of money, plain and simple. I've had a lot of "generic" and "no-name" brands that have more taste and are more fragrant that these big brand names. I've found that the Victor Allen brand of coffee from Big Lots is probably the best I've had so far, for plain and flavored coffee pods. And depending on the time of year and the sales they have, I can get a 24 count pod box for about $12.00-$15.00. Which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the $20.00-$40.00 boxes of 12-16 pods that the big names have. Better flavor, better aroma, better taste, and a lot less expensive..........guess which one I buy?
Let's face it: Some single-serving coffee pod flavors tend to have a bit of a bad rep because they can sometimes taste watered-down, over-roasted, or even bitter. Luckily, more and more major coffee brands have created delicious varieties that combine the ease of single-serve coffee pods with proven great flavor. From sustainably sourced brands to smaller artisanal roasts, these coffee pods are all top-rated picks.
Also try As you might expect in a city that’s been at it for some time now, coffee is for everyone in Chicago, not just the cool kids. Back of the Yards Coffeehouse, for example, is a true oasis in a tough neighborhood, while down in impoverished Englewood, the non-profit Kusanya Café & Roastery has been holding down the fort since 2013. Up on the North Side, the still-scarred (but fast-gentrifying) Uptown neighborhood has Everybody's Coffee, a passion project from a group of fun-loving coffee snobs, living in a local commune. (Author disclosure: These same coffee snobs got me addicted to the stuff, back in the mid-'90's.)
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“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.”
Coffee Kult ground coffee is a nice blend of choice Colombian-Brazilian coffee beans. The blend has 100% premium-grade Arabica beans which are smooth, rich, and medium bodied. Such high-grade beans are expertly roasted and blended to make the Coffee Kult Medium a must-try for any coffee enthusiasts. Coffee gourmets happily appreciate a cup of coffee made with this choice beans blend and so should you.
Relatively late to the good coffee game, it's hard to tell just where New York excels most—convincing the world it knows what it's doing when it comes to coffee, or actually setting a damn trend. Amid so much noise and a whole lot of colonization, here is a very good roaster, created by a Blue Bottle and Stumptown grad. (Remember when those beardy West Coasters had to come to town to teach us how coffee was done, just a few short years ago? We sure do.) Not the newest game in town, and slightly off the beaten path, over near Brooklyn's Navy Yard, Parlor, which began life as a pop-up bar in the back of a Williamsburg barber shop, is in every way a gem, and it knows it—their tasting room keeps catch-them-if-you-can, Sunday-only opening hours.
Promising review for the Dark Italian Espresso blend: "Over the past 30 years, I've spent a small fortune on exotic brews. But, when the last of my protected-rain-forest coffee bean was harvested in South America, I was flustered. The vendor claimed it was too expensive to continue harvesting (despite how much they charged for importing those beans), and a friend suggested I try Eight O'Clock. I love strong and bold coffee, and this reasonably-priced coffee foots the bill; I've been a fan since my first cup. It's amazing that after spending thousands the past 30 years to chase a rain-forest bean in South America, and what I wanted was in my local market all along. What a dufus snob I was!" —AMG
To further our research, we asked all of our coffee testers if they would spend an extra $1.00 on a product if it was proven that the company directly benefited the community or environment. Each tester said yes. In addition, when looking at overall ratings online, organically and sustainably-sourced coffee rated higher overall compared to your typical Arabica coffee.
A coffee crop also requires a great deal of water, particularly when it is being grown quickly. It takes 37 gallons of water to produce enough beans for just one cup of coffee. Coffee is often produced in countries with a shortage of water, such as Ethiopia, and the combination of high water consumption and high fertilizer and pesticide use can lead to water degradation and pollution in water runoff.
Another early top player in the coffee game—think Alterra, Ancora, others—Wisconsin had one hell of a head start, so it shouldn't be any surprise that one of the country's top roasters (Intelligentsia-trained) can be found in a village of 200 people way up in the mostly rural center of the state. Their tasting room keeps very limited hours, but it's worth the effort to get here. If that's out of the question, not to worry—you'll find them carried all over the state, not to mention well beyond.
Featuring 100% Arabica Beans for high quality taste, and having USDA Organic credentials, First Colony Coffee is packed in 24 ounce bags of dark roasted beans. Many customers enjoyed the rich dark flavor they found in this rainforest blend. A few experts felt that their cup was average in taste. Some recommended cold brewing the beans, while others recommended grinding the beans at the last minute before brewing to enhance the flavor, using double the amount recommended per every six- ounce cup of coffee. Most appreciated that the coffee is advertised as Fair Trade.
I work right by Equal Exchange and like to go on walks mid morning to grab my coffee. Working in this area, there's a lot of options for coffee. I tried Equal Exchange because I wanted to be more ethical in my purchasing decisions despite paying more. I heard good things about Equal Exchange from my coworkers but I experienced really bad service which is really unusual in places like this (I think). The cashier was SO rude to me especially when I asked if they had any flavors to put in the coffee. It was a bummer because normally my walks at work to coffee shops are one of the best parts of my day! The coffee is really good here though, so I may come back in hopes to interact with more friendly employees.
Featuring 100% Arabica Beans for high quality taste, and having USDA Organic credentials, First Colony Coffee is packed in 24 ounce bags of dark roasted beans. Many customers enjoyed the rich dark flavor they found in this rainforest blend. A few experts felt that their cup was average in taste. Some recommended cold brewing the beans, while others recommended grinding the beans at the last minute before brewing to enhance the flavor, using double the amount recommended per every six- ounce cup of coffee. Most appreciated that the coffee is advertised as Fair Trade.

Also try The folks at Louisville's Good Folks Coffee prefer to spend their days behind the roaster, and that's fine, because they're doing great work back there—look for their beans at Please & Thank You, a very popular café, bakery and record shop combo with three locations. Up near Cincinnati, in the very old city of Newport, Carabello Coffee is a highlight—check out their Analog Bar, a reservation-only spot for guided coffee tasting.
In order to determine the best coffee beans in the world we will have to journey to where in the world coffee grows. South America dominates coffee plantations. Brazil alone contributes to more than 40 percent of all coffee production worldwide. Optimally, coffee grows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in an area known as the coffee belt. Virtually all the coffee beans you purchase will be grown in this region. Even though the coffee beans are harvested in this region, they may be roasted elsewhere. We will cover roasting in the next section.
Caribou gets several things right with this rich blend. The mix of premium Indonesian and American arabica beans results in a very complex yet smooth flavor profile. It has everything from woody, to sweet, spicy, and fruity notes. The overall flavor is bittersweet, but with enough acidity to make it lively. This is a 100% Arabica coffee, sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers in Asia, South, and Central America.
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.
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