As a mildly employed freelance writer, I have little disposable income, a lot of time on my hands, and strictly rationed vices. One such vice is coffee, which I drink more of than most people I know—even other freelance writers. But, despite my quantity-over-quality brewing habits, I’m capable of mustering some taste, and of standing by preference with reasoned conviction. So, with limited resources for fanciness and a desperate addiction in mind, I set out to determine which basic, widely available coffee brand should stand out from the rest on the grocery store shelf. I enjoy a Blue Bottle pour-over as much as the next fiend, but a $3 morning coffee is above my pay grade. I drink most of my coffee at home, from a bag of grounds that costs around $8, reupped on a bi-weekly grocery run. My choice of bag is usually determined by habit, or price, or shelf height, with less care than I take choosing a bar of soap, though I use both daily. When it comes to choosing a regular coffee—travel-mug, after-dinner, Sunday-morning coffee—which is best?
Compatible with all Keurig machines, the brand prides themselves on their authentically organic products. Conventional coffee free of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, the coffee is even grown at high altitude to increase the quality. Creating denser beans at higher altitudes, the coffee is filled with antioxidants and a rich, flavorful taste. And best of all, they have a 100 percent happiness guarantee.
To return to geography, 26 of the 30 coffees on the list were roasted by companies in the United States. Roasters from 12 U.S. states are represented. California roasters lead the rankings, with six representatives overall. Five coffees were roasted in Colorado, three in Taiwan. One coffee—the Gorilla Conservation Kanyoni—was roasted by a company in Uganda.
Our trusty testers rated this coffee a 7.55 out of 10 on our overall testing scale. In the aroma category the coffee scored a 7.60 and received the most 10’s out of any coffee we tested. Those who like strong black coffee rated the aroma low with the thought it was going to be “fruity” or “weak,” but were pleasantly surprised with the taste. The coffee finish rated highly as well at 7.80 out of 10. Tasters specifically noted the caramel finish. Most guessed incorrectly that this was a Medium coffee roast.
Another great thing about organic coffee is that it helps the environment. When coffee beans are grown in fields that have been chemically treated for mass production, the soil is poisoned and the local ecosystem suffers for it. Meanwhile, organic coffee doesn't damage the earth, and it's harvested in a way that emits less carbon into the air. It's often grown in the shade, too, so it encourages and utilizes tree growth. You'll battle deforestation, climate change and environmental pollution all at once!
Randy Lint, of Big Creek Coffee Roasters in Hamilton, Montana sent us an Ethiopia Gedeb Halo Beriti (94) that is certified organic at origin, but is not labeled organic. While Lint has been a certified organic handler in the past, he has found the cumbersome process of certifying his roastery not worth the cost, though he is still committed to the associated practices. He says his local customers trust his sourcing, and his business is successful without offering the added reassurance of certification. Nevertheless, Lint acknowledges that this might change as his roastery grows.
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Packed in 8 ounce bags of ground coffee, this is one of the products in the Marley Coffee line. It contains 100% Arabica coffee beans, which have been roasted in the United State of America. It is USDA approved as 100% organic and Kosher. Once the bag is opened it is recommended that it be consumed within three weeks. It is an excellent choice for making smooth, non-acidic coffee. Some consumers enjoy it as espresso, cappuccino, Mochas and Lattes.
When Four Barrel veterans Tim & Elisha Griffin opted out of San Francisco, they landed in Fargo, where their small shop (handed over from a previous owner) quickly rose through the ranks in a city already mindful of the benefits of a solid cup of coffee. Right now, they're working with Heart, out of Portland, but rumor has it they'll be roasting their own soon, not to mention moving to a larger location in Fargo's happening downtown.
What we love about this coffee is its blend of economy and flavor. This is one of the most affordable coffees out there, ounce for ounce. And despite being so cheap, it doesn’t compromise too far on flavor. Being a medium roast, it does have a bitter yet slight acidic aftertaste. The packaging is large and generous, and it uses Mountain Grown beans for superior aroma. The brand also sports UTZ Certification for Sustainability.
The first thing you need to know about this organic decaf coffee is that it comes in whole beans. Therefore, this means that you will have to ground it yourself at home. The amazing thing about this, if you ground just enough beans for one cup every morning, you will be able to taste freshly ground coffee every single day. It doesn’t get better than this! The Decaf Hurricane Espresso is a dark and robust roast that will win your heart in no time!