Love yourself enough not to drink Starbucks coffee at home. I don’t know a single black-coffee drinker who prefers Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’d wager the brands’ respective grocery-store offerings are likely to preserve these allegiances. Starbucks coffee black tastes like drip coffee made with day-old coffee instead of water, and the headache it produces is textbook coffeeache—right behind the eyes, accompanied by an involuntary grimace. Additionally, Starbucks coffee is almost hilariously expensive for how bad it is, and for how many other coffees there are to drink. Drink it out in the world if you must, but spare yourself the pain in your own damn kitchen.
We asked Josh Taves, a 12-year coffee industry vet (who has spent time working as a barista as well as training them) and the director of business development for Denver’s Novo Coffee -- one of the finest coffee shops in the country -- for help. He did a blind tasting of 20 of the most popular K-Cups like a true (and highly caffeinated) hero. In the end, one brand stood out above all else, snagging three of the top four spots, while a few proved to be not worth drinking, no matter how badly you need a caffeine kick.
In terms of flavor, arabica beans win the prize. They brew a more delicate cup of coffee with slight overtones of berry and a high level of acidity. Robustas have a lot more caffeine – nearly twice as much as arabica beans – but they also have a stronger, more bitter taste that can be a bit harsh. Still, there are high-quality robustas available, and these beans do make a good cup of espresso.
“Is it the strongest coffee I’ve had? Probably not. Is it one of the best-tasting? Yes. The flavor transports me to some random and sinful island in Indonesia (a story for another day). Oddly, Death Wish brands its coffee as almost dangerously strong, and strong it is. However, the organic coffee maker should be shouting from the roof about the taste and quality. Yes, caffeine sells, but this is one incredibly great-tasting coffee. I would easily say second best I’ve ever had and certainly the best I’ve purchased at a store.”
Equal Exchange Organic Coffee prides itself on being Fair Trade, and for good reason. They do a lot of outreach and connection with their farmers to make sure they are well taken care of and everything is on the up and up. Currently, their breakfast blend coffee sits at 4.4 stars, along with an Amazon's Choice badge. So Amazon seems to approve of them, enough to recommend them outwardly. Let's see if we can find out what's so good.
Very sweetly tart, floral-prominent and rich-toned. Lemon custard, red currant jam, tea rose, maple syrup and dried coconut in aroma and cup. Delightfully crisp and tart, though cohesively resonant in structure; very lightly though buoyantly syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is pert and satisfying, with a lingering sweet crispness and a long aromatic trajectory.
Enjoying the right cup of joe is paramount to starting your day off on the right foot so, naturally, choosing which brand to enjoy isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Whether you’re concerned about ethical sourcing, sustaining the environment, or you simply want the best taste nature has to offer, organic coffee can be the perfect way to start your day. In addition to hosting fewer (or no) synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides, the soil where organic coffee is grown also tends to be richer in nutrients.
Paul Bonds was never a big coffee drinker—he didn't even like the stuff all that much, and Mississippi, rich in other areas, is just about the final frontier on the American coffee front. None of these disadvantages have held him back from doing incredible work, apparently—BeanFruit has received some very good notices, in the relatively short time since its founding. Apart from public cuppings on Wednesdays at the plant in suburban Jackson, you'll need to look for the product elsewhere, but you'll have no trouble finding it around town—for a sure thing, start at Sneaky Beans, one of Jackson's best coffee shops.
Am now on my second or third Kilo of Kick Ass...... After first finding Kick Ass, I continued to try other coffees and roasts in a search for "my preferred coffee". I still have other coffees yet to try, but have tried quite a few different high rated coffees... Some were good and some I gave away.... I do know what I want now in a coffee and roast... I want it all !!!! Now is that too much to ask ????? I grind my own beans and use a good brewer with no burner to scorch my coffee.... Kicking Horse is the only coffee that I keep coming back to.... I will tell you that so far I am torn between two favorites...... And they are both Kicking Horse Coffees !!! .... 454 Horsepower and Kick Ass...... The Kick Ass has a far superior body, while the 454 ... full review