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.
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.
Years in the making, this inspired (and inspiring) flagship location for an established local roaster features an in-house bakery (Ibis, their own), a roasting plant, along with three levels of hangout space, including a rooftop deck. Kansas City coffee is pretty top drawer, and has been for a while now (Thou Mayest, Quay, Magnolia, Oddly Correct), but this happy spot in the city's Crossroads district has pretty much blown the doors off. Nobody's complaining.
Consider how you take your coffee. If you drink your coffee black, then you might want to lean towards the brands on our list with the highest reviews for taste. On the other hand, if you take your coffee with milk and sugar, concentrate on the prices. Additives and flavorings can mask the taste of the coffee a bit, so you don’t necessarily need the higher quality beans.
K-Cups were created by Keurig to be used with their specialized Keurig machines. Shortly after the original line of Keurig machines was released, coffee makers began to release their own generic-brand K-Cups. Over time, Keurig began to lose market share to these other coffee makers. They released the Keurig 2.0 machines that were ONLY compatible with K-Cups manufactured by Keurig.
This was my first time purchasing Newman Own's brand coffee. I was impressed with the high reviews found online from various sites that I picked up a box. The coffee has nice smooth flavor but bold enough to give you that boost to revive you from sleep. I have already used half the cups and none have had any issues in the Keurig. No grounds in the bottom of my cup and punctures without fail. I will be buying this brand again.
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.
The Hunt Brothers Coffee Beans | Blue Honduras Specialty Coffee | Certified Organic comes from Marcala, a region in Central America that is recognized with a DOP (Protected Origin Denomination). These 100% Arabica beans are grown on a fertile volcanic soil, which is enriched by volcanic lava. The growth process of the coffee is marked by the SHG – strictly high growth. This means that the fruits will mature slowly to make sure they create a full-bodied and deeper flavor as well as a premium taste.
Archer Farms is Target's in-house brand. This coffee is organic and fair trade, and I will say that it was one of the more memorable, flavorful coffees. It tasted fruity, floral, and a little acidic. It has a kind of funkiness to it. There were also some notes of bitterness at the end, however, that made me think it was slightly over-roasted, and just a hint of that dirty-water aroma coffees can sometimes have. This is a solid, flavorful option, though, with plenty of nuanced flavor that makes it worth buying when you're at Target.
This stuff is awesome, no kidding. It arrived with another brand I decided to try. I wanted side by side comparison. Both brand beans were oily, which means they are fresh, and both smelled great. BUT, this coffee here had a much more rich flavor, and was less money! This coffee has subtle hints of chocolate, but don't let that scare you away, it blends well for an absolutely awesome cup of coffee. Highly recommended.
The Marley Organic is a full-bodied organic decaf coffee that is so good you will actually want to get off your regular caffeinated one. It is also mildly acidic and a medium dark roast, as well as Kosher. What you will love most about it is the fact that it has very subtle hints of vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa, and soft spices, making it a true gourmet coffee.
When you want full-bodied, exceptional flavor, your best bet is to go 100% Colombian. Kirkland’s signature top rated coffee beans promise to give you that even grind you’re after, seamlessly blending through your premier coffee maker or pour over coffee maker, pouring into your cup like strands of velvet. You’re really hunting down the best coffee beans for one reason, and one reason only: flavor. You want the best coffee beans to meld into your Sunday morning cup, allowing you to lean back, relax, and enjoy that earthy, fantastic cup of coffee. Dark roast lovers will get the most out of Camerons Specialty Coffee, and unanimous coffee enthusiasts will love the insanely inexpensive cost of a whole three pounds of this delicious roast.
Over the course of the year, we reviewed fewer than a dozen darker roasts. Most were medium-dark at best; some barely that. The majority of darker roasts we reviewed were sent by roasters in Taiwan and most were espressos, reflecting both the time-honored espresso practice of emphasizing chocolate and sweetness through moderate dark roasting, as well as, perhaps, a preference in Taiwan for more traditional styles of espresso as opposed to the lighter-roasted, brighter style of espresso now popular with the leading edge of North American roasters.