Up next, we have Jo Espresso. It is a USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified coffee brand. It is made using the top 2% of all Arabica coffee in the world. It is produced by Jo Coffee Inc. and is one of the top coffee brands in Amazon. This brand has over 5,000 positive reviews and comments to date. The company is a member of several international coffee organizations such as The Roaster’s Guild, Specialty Coffee Association of America, Fair Trade USA, Rainforest Alliance and Slow Food USA.
Many roasters queried us to ask if they could submit coffees they felt confident were farmed without use of synthetic inputs because of their familiarity with the producers. Nevertheless, for this report, we concluded that we needed to stick to reviewing coffees that consumers could be assured were produced under organic conditions using organic protocols. We went so far as to check the organic documentation at the farm level provided by importers for all the coffees we review here.
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.
The main feature of the “FlexBrew” is the removable single-serve pack holder which allows you to choose between pre-packaged coffee pods or freshly ground coffee. While it does make a decent coffee on both settings, if you know you’re only making freshly ground coffee you’ll be happier with a single cup coffee maker that’s designed solely for that, and vice versa.
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.
Although the largest volume of organically grown coffee is produced in Latin America, particularly in Peru and Mexico, Africa also produces significant volumes. We have tested and enjoyed many engaging and distinctive organically grown coffees from Africa over the past couple of years, hence the subject of this report. Our hope was that we would source a range of organically certified coffees from several producing countries on the African continent.
Auto brew features are cool because they allow you to set the exact time you would like to have your brew ready. It is another option that we like, but would not consider seriously enough as a deciding factor. This is not a standard feature on low to mid-range coffee machines, which means that you need to be ready to drop $200 or more if you would like to have it.
The coffee comes well-packaged in a traditional foil-lined bag that seals in freshness. It’s easy to peel open and can nicely be folded shut and secured with clamps that are a part of the package. Great for convenience and storage. The whole beans are nicely roasted and ready to be ground. This particular 12 ounce bag lasted the two of us about 9 days- but we are avid (almost alarmingly so) coffee drinkers. For a typical household I’d assume this bag would easily last 2 to 3 weeks. We tried this coffee with a drip coffee maker, French press, and electric coffee maker. It wasn’t quite dark enough to work with the drip coffee maker and the flavor was very mild and watery when paired with that method. The French press got the best flavor from this coffee and really allowed you to taste the mild nutty flavor. It almost has an almondy undertone. It’s not a sweet coffee and it certainly lacks a ‘punch’ that I appreciate. But it wasn’t bad and I’d highly recommend it for people who want something gentle but flavorful to wake up with.
This coffee has done an exquisite job of marketing. Fair trade, organic, ethical in every sense of the word. And whole bean at that so you’re bound to expect the best flavor- right? This particular flavor ‘Mind, Body, and Soul’ is one that my fiance and I enjoy but don’t necessarily swoon over. It’s a medium blend that isn’t necessarily extremely robust. Both of us prefer a darker stout flavor, but love trying new coffees (especially organic fair trade options), so picked this one up on a whim during an Amazon Pantry order.
Vancouver-based Doi Chaang Coffee is a unique partnership between the Akha Hill Tribe of coffee growers in Thailand, and the roasters and sellers in British Columbia, who split company profits equally. They call this practice “Beyond Fair Trade” and the partnership produces economic growth in the mountain villages of Thailand and the highest quality coffee for consumers in North America.
Café du Monde, like Chock Full o’ Nuts, is as much a stylistic choice as a gastronomic one, and both require a deep well of cultural identification to stomach on a regular basis. Chicory has historically been used as a coffee substitute as well as a flavoring agent, and chicory coffee in the US is closely associated with New Orleans coffee culture. Café du Monde is named for an actual coffee stand in New Orleans that has been in operation since the 1860s, and may be the best-known domestic producer of chicory coffee, if not the only one. The iconic marigold can includes a recipe for café au lait, the traditional chicory coffee drink sold at the IRL Café du Monde; given the parameters of this coffee taste-test, and the practical concerns of an at-home coffee drinker without the ability or desire to boil milk every morning just to stomach their coffee, I drank it black. This may have been a mistake. The flavor of chicory is interesting, and even initially enjoyable, but the romance was gone for me after about two minutes. I had a similar physical reaction to Chock Full o’ Nuts, my face contorting involuntarily into what I feel compelled to call a Chicory Frown. This worsened as it cooled, but cold black chicory coffee is nothing compared to microwaved chicory coffee. After a single sip I poured it out in the sink. Chicory has its devotees, but I fear the taste is not one I can acquire.
In the case of over half of the Top 30 coffees, distinctive tree variety appears to play an important role in generating an exceptional cup worthy of a high rating. There are stars and superstars among the hundreds of varieties of Arabica grown in the world today, and, whether we want them to or not, coffees from these distinguished varieties frequently dominate the very highest ratings at Coffee Review. They include the still rare and expensive Geisha/Gesha variety (three examples on the 2018 list), the various mainly indigenous varieties grown in Ethiopia (three on the 2018 list), the great SL28 and SL34 varieties of Kenya, and (slightly less distinctive but still likely to impress) the big-beaned varieties Maracaturra (one), Maragogipe (one) and the ancient heirloom Bourbon (four on the 2018 list).
This coffee, as I have stated above is delicious. The problem is, that out of the 18 cups, only two didnt fail. The Keurig would start to brew and be about half done, then the foil top of the cup would simply detach from cup in a spot, and the grounds would come spilling out. Almost as if whatever adhesive was used melted. Never had a problem with other cups. So, perhaps this was simply this batch of the product, but a co-worker had expressed a similar issue with Newman's Own cups months prior, but I had just figured that THAT was a bad batch of cups....