The important factor to consider with your coffee source is the processing procedure in the location from which it came. For example, coffee beans that are sourced from Ethiopia or Brazil are processed naturally and result in bold and fruity flavors. Africa processes their beans in a washed process that produces more well-balanced and complex flavors with noticeable acidity when roasted. On the other hand, coffee that is sourced from Central and South America tends to be more expensive due to the processing method that reduces mold on the beans.
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!
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The Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Natural roasted by Ben’s Beans (92) happens to be certified organic, but co-owner Glen Lundstrom is willing to purchase quality coffees that are farmed organically but do not have certification if his trusted importers recommend a particular coffee. He says, “We are looking for coffees that are grown and processed free of any sort of chemical intervention. We specialize in certified organic coffees because this provides our customers with a level of confidence that the coffees are grown and processed using healthy and sustainable practices. However, we also realize that, because many of these coffees come from smaller farms, organic certification is not always an economically viable option, even though [the farmers] may grow and produce the coffees using the same practices as a certified farm. That is why we rely heavily on our import partners to provide us with background information on the farms and processors of any coffee we purchase.”
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?
For our search through the sea of delicious coffees available for purchase online, we stuck to mostly whole-bean coffee blends to narrow down the playing field because we find buying whole beans to be most economical for the average consumer. Whether you use a classic drip coffee machine or a pour-over coffee maker at home, these coffee bean brands will make sure you start your morning off on the right foot.
Known best for proximity to the Wind River Mountains, this small town about an hour and a half down the road from the rarified air of Jackson got lucky when a father and son team with Wyoming roots came home after accruing years of experience to open one of the most forward-looking multi-roaster operations in the state. Check out the shop's suddenly-must-have Mavam Espresso set-up.
Also try The recent transformation of Los Angeles café culture has been an absolute pleasure to observe—from the just-right Civil Coffee in Highland Park to the cutting-edge Coffee Hall in Chinatown (look for local roaster Compelling Coffee in the rotation) to local legend Tyler Wells' downtown kiosk, Nice Coffee, to the initially controversial (but really, very good) Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights, for the most exciting developments, look east.
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
Gregg Parker is a writer and puppy enthusiast who divides his time between Los Angeles and the rest of the world. A graduate of the University of Southern California, his eclectic career has involved positions in education, health care, entertainment, nonprofit fundraising, technology, and literature. A points and miles expert, he's well-versed in all topics related to travel, including luggage and travel accessories. Other areas of expertise include pet care products, teaching resources, kitchen appliances, and anything related to coffee or barbecue.