Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.
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.
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?
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There is no beating around the bush with this brand. When you buy Death Wish, you know exactly what you are getting: a higher dose of caffeine than your body should need, like ever. There is a market for robust coffee out there, and these guys are there to cater to those caffeine-heads. The brand has all the right certifications, including FairTrade. And despite using robusta beans, they have managed to keep the taste at least tolerable, which is quite an achievement.
This blend is made from a mix of beans ethically sourced from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico, and is named after the ancient Mediterranean island. The Corsica blend has deep, dark, chocolatey notes and a robust flavor, making it a bold roast many love to drink first thing in the morning. Many reviewers specifically note that this is their "go-to morning blend" since it's both strong and versatile. The cocoa notes in this blend make it pair especially nicely with milk or cream, although it can certainly stand alone and be sipped black.
A trio of talented locals, passionate in equal measures about coffee and their city, joined up last year to create one of New England's most modern multi-roaster cafes, on an appealing block at the heart of Connecticut's struggling state capital. Success was far from assured, and the sailing hasn't always been entirely smooth, but at least in this corner of town, things are looking up.
Out of all the coffee subscription services I’ve tried, these guys did it the best! Not only do they know how to source really great coffee from some of the best roasters, their packaging design was top-notch. As a designer myself, I was highly impressed. Their coffees are all single origin. It’s a signal that they truly care about great coffee by supporting the farmers who grow the beans and the roasters.
The Caza Trail Coffee is a perfect blend of selected coffees from Indonesia and Latin America. This coffee is USDA certified organic and Fair Trade Certified and Kosher. It’s free from chemicals and artificial additives. The coffee is bold yet smooth, fine finish that is full-bodied with moderate acidity. You will find this organic coffee great for busy mornings or when you just require an on-the-go treat.
Also try The Portland hype may be leveling off (now it's just expensive, like everywhere else), but the coffee remains some of the best on the continent—if you haven't yet, make tracks for Coava, which managed to impress noted stickler Jerry Seinfeld, who filmed an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee here. Over in Old Town, meanwhile, there's something utterly appealing about the self-described "snob free" ethic behind the very good Deadstock, opened by a former designer at Nike.
That is a lot to ask for a cup of coffee, and not all coffee brands will be able to meet all three criteria. This doesn't necessarily mean the company isn't socially responsible: it is often the case that these designations are difficult to achieve all at once and still produce coffee at the volume and price necessary to satisfy the market. But they are good things to watch for when you compare brands and taste organic coffee.
I try to eat & drink all-organic whenever possible, including my coffee, in order to avoid ingesting toxins. Certified organic coffee (in this case, certified by QAI--Quality Assurance Intl.) is grown & processed w/o pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, & other potentially harmful chemicals. So, Newman's Own 'Organics' Coffee is my daily 'go-to' coffee. I like the flavor of this 'Newman's Special Blend Medium Roast - Extra Bold' organic Arabica coffee. It's smooth, rich, hearty, & full-bodied, not bitter & not too acidic. It produces a pleasing aroma every morning from my Keurig B70 Platinum coffeemaker. I don't use any sweeteners, but I do stir in some Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Crème. Mmmm! You do sacrifice some freshness & flavor for the convenience of K-Cups vs. grinding your own beans. But the extra time & mess of coffee grinding are luxuries I can't afford in the rush of weekday mornings. One negative, & the reason for just 4 stars instead of 5: I do find that I sometimes get a stale box of K-Cups, even when the future 'best buy' date on the bottom of the 18-pod box is up to 20 months away, as was the case just last month w/a carton stamped w/an April 2019 'best buy' date. The distributor is Keurig Green Mountain. One wonders just how this coffee is initially stored, then transported, & then finally stored again after it arrives at Best Buy's facilities. For my part, I always keep the K-Cups stored in a cool, dry place, as recommended.