Fair Trade International upholds social, economic and environmental development standards (Fairtrade International, 2015). While some of these standards are required to receive certification, some are simply encouraged. For example, they are required to pay the minimum price, offer sufficient health conditions, and cannot use child labor. On the other hand, growing coffee organically is not required, but it is encouraged and rewarded.
"I never thought I’d be so obsessed with such a simple product, but I am! It all started when I got tired of spending so much money on buying coffee and wanted a cost-effective alternative. I needed my own coffee pot, and I needed something small enough to fit at my desk at work. Enter the Mr. Coffee! It’s small, easy to use, but makes a solid cup of coffee (with the right beans, of course).
With all of these wonderful coffee subscription services to choose from, how exactly are you supposed to pick the best one? It all comes down to your personal preferences. If, for example, you know exactly what you like, then one of the more limited services may be right for you. But if you like to experiment, you may want to choose services that send you different coffee every month or have many different roasters to choose from.
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?
Café Altura is a regular roast organic decaf coffee that will thrill your senses without you worrying one single second about caffeine. It’s both organic and Kosher. You can drink it any time of the day you choose and, more importantly, it’s so good that you can enjoy it both hot and cold. It also has a very low acidic level, which will do wonders for your gastro-intestinal system.
Four espressos appear on this year’s list, three of them single-origin coffees. The fourth is a distinguished blend of coffees from a mix of origins—the impressive 96-point Twenty Five by Barrington Coffee Roasters, at No. 6, the only blend on the list. Numerous blends, both espresso and non-espresso, earned 90-94 points but did not ultimately make our Top 30; we recognize some of the best on our list of the Top Coffees by Category.
Also try One of New York's (we're talking about the state now) closely guarded secrets: its less sought-after cities can be pretty great, and certainly for coffee. The gorgeous Tipico would be the envy of any town, but it belongs to an up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood; in Rochester, the pop-up gone brick and mortar Ugly Duck is just one bright star on that city's long-running scene. Meanwhile, in Utica, perhaps the last place you'd expect to find something so up to date, Character Coffee is a multi-roasting outfit with a whole lot of appeal.
The next organic coffee brand is the Two Volcanoes Espresso Coffee Beans. This brand is made from Guatemalan coffee beans grown right at the base of Tajumulco and Tajana, two important volcanoes in Guatemala. Volcanic soil is full of minerals and nutrients which results in premier coffee beans. The blend is a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans.
Also try Portland is all about the bean, and roaster Tandem Coffee rests rather comfortably toward the top of the pile. Blue Bottle-trained, their two shops (with excellent baked goods) are among New England's finest, if a little snobbish about it. For something a little different, stop by Speckled Ax, which brews up its own wood-roasted organic coffees.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, this does not mean that you can no longer enjoy coffee. This product is one of those that you can still drink without worries. This decaf coffee is made using beans that have been sourced from South and Central America. The location is known for producing a mellow coffee despite having been fully-roasted. This is the perfect companion for sweet treats like cakes and cookies. This coffee is made by a family company with almost four decades of experience in the business, providing an assurance of its exceptional quality.
This brand should be called Starbucks’ “dirty little secret”. Although Starbucks prides itself on ensuring ethical and environmentally friendly practices are used in their coffee production and even offers organic varieties, their Seattle’s Best brand doesn’t hold to the same standards. It is basically Starbucks way of competing with cheap brands like Folgers and Maxwell House. They do offer a couple organic varieties.
Some of its one-of-a-kind flavor can be attributed to its origins. Larry's House Blend is grown and sold from North Carolina, so it doesn't have to be shipped across the world to reach your coffeemaker. It's always freshly-harvested and freshly-roasted, and this allows the brand to draw out complex flavors that older, drier beans simply can't hope to match.
If you are thinking of buying K-cups, we have you covered in the rest of this guide. This post, however, will be focused on those that are organic. We will go through five of the top picks that are available on the market and some of the things that make them exceptional. We’ll also give you a quick look at some of the essential factors that you have to consider.
Our OneCup coffee pods are compatible with most Keurig K-Cup 1.0 and 2.0 brewers, as well as Cuisinart, Bunn, iCoffee and other single serve brewers. Our OneCups are the better choice of coffee for your single serve brewer, and the environment, all at a lower cost. Our OneCups are made from plant-based renewable resources, designed to offer a French Press experience to your single serve coffee, maximizing flavor and providing a richer and more full-bodied taste you will love to the last drop.
A popular, professional blend combining the best of Indonesian and African Robusta and Brazilian Arabica coffees, the Lavazza is simply extraordinary by any standard. It provides an intense aroma and a rich aftertaste with unique chocolaty notes. It is an ideal ground coffee for making espresso-based beverages, yet also appropriate for people who enjoy a standard cup of coffee.
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Dark & delicious with full body and a smooth finish. From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.
Promising review for their Super Crema Espresso blend: "If you are expecting a dark and oily roast, this is NOT the espresso for you. Espresso does not need to be this black, bitter tar that some expect it to be. Lavazza Super Crema is one of my favorites, with a beautiful, brown bean that (when ground correctly) yields an amazing shot of sweet and creamy espresso topped with thick crema (with notes of mandarin orange). This is soooooooo much better than the over-roasted BS we so often find in the US." —Corey M.
If you're a no-frills coffee drinker, this simple but flavorful Colombian Peaks pod from ubiquitous coffee brand Eight O'Clock Coffee is for you. It has a well-balanced flavor with a straightforward coffee taste that shines through. Reviewers claim that these pods quickly replaced their morning trip to the coffee house after one taste. These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
In the test, I took into consideration that people have a variety of coffee preferences. Some like a classic French Roast, meaning lots of dark, toasty notes with a full body and robust (slightly burnt, IMO) flavor. More recently, coffee trends have tended toward the lighter, brighter, fruity end of the tasting spectrum, with a fair amount of acid and berry notes. We aimed for a medium roast, which would theoretically appease a variety of tastes and hit in the middle of this spectrum. Still, we picked three different coffees as our favorites so we could cover the spectrum of coffee flavor preferences. In general, we were looking for coffees that tasted nuanced in flavor, not simply burnt or watery. Hints of chocolate, berries, nuttiness, and round, creamy mouthfeel were ideal. We wanted a coffee that would taste good black—and also hold up to added milk.
The next step in the quest for a quality cup of coffee is roasting. The roasting process heats up the beans at temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius; neutralizing the extreme unpleasant flavor profiles of the bean. The newly roasted bean offers nutty, smoky, or spicy flavors. The length of time that the bean is roasted determines the flavor profile and caffeine content. Beans roasted longer have a shiny black appearance and they boast a bitter and bold taste. Also, they are noted by an oily feel. Light roasted beans, which are roasted for a shorter length of time, tend to be sweeter, smoother, and even floral in flavor. If you prefer a lighter smooth taste, you will defer from bolder, darker roasts of equal of even better quality.
Newman's Own Organics Extra Bold K-Cups are by far the best-tasting and highest quality K-Cups available. I either use these or the refillable My K-Cup with locally sourced coffees. For the price and the speed of brewing, it's hard to beat the strength and flavor of Newman's Own. Take it from a coffee-snob who owns more than half a dozen coffee brewers (pour-over, espresso machine, moka pot, high-end drip brewer, etc.) these are the best trade-off of a fast cup of coffee that still tastes great. Also: contrary to popular belief, K-Cups are completely recyclable. They consist of plastic, aluminium and paper and take minimal effort if you are already accustomed to recycling.
This is my new favorite coffee. I love it in the way that makes me ache for morning so I can justify another cup. It is dark and rich. It smells divine. No after taste, no heavy acidity. I also appreciate that it doesn't have any overreaching flavors or sweetness, it's simply coffee. Added bonus is that Equal Exchange coffees are fair trade from small farmers. They do cooperative work with their growers and I have so much respect for them. This will be the first item I do an Amazon subscription service for. Yeah, it's that good.
I drink one cup of coffee to start my day, using a Keurig and refillable K-cup. This can sometimes be less than ideal because the coffee can taste off (usually too weak). I was worried the same would be true about this Breakfast Blend, since those can generally be on the weaker side, but was pleasantly surprised at how bold and flavorful this was. It smells great, too - just opening the bag in the morning helped wake me up!
Occupying a vintage Quonset hut on an out-of-the-way block in the state's coolest town right now, this all-organic, sustainable, small-batch setup brings a lot of passion to the table; Montana has more than a couple of great roasters (see below) and an outsized number of destinations for a great cup coffee, but coming up on nearly a decade in business, this is the place that feels like the whole package, the all-in-one.
In many ways, coffee is like wine. Depending on the area of origin, the degree of roast and grind levels, the taste of a particular coffee can vary drastically. Plus there is also the added layer of mixing different coffee beans to create unique blends. So, finding the best ground coffee brand for you depends entirely on your tastes and preferences. This brings us to the first section of our guide:
This equal exchange coffee not only makes you feel good about buying organic and fair trade products, but it tastes great too! I typically purchase Starbucks coffee, and was a very loyal customer. After reading the reviews, I thought it was worth a try, especially considering I could get three bags less than the cost of two Starbucks. This coffee has little to no acidity or aftertaste and is suprisingly smooth. I think I found a new favorite!
People who prefer dark/deep roast coffees might not appreciate this one as much as I do. Does this taste better than Folgers or Maxwell House? Good heavens, yes. Is the superior character and flavor(s) worth the extra cost? I would say no, for that reason alone. What makes this coffee more than worth the money is that it's organic. The Coffee industry produces one of the most sprayed plants of all. Everyone wants to know if coffee is good for them, well I'd prefer a pesticide-free cup of coffee if I'm going to believe that it's good for me.
Promising review for their Original Black blend: "You can always tell when a company cares deeply about the quality of their products, and RISE is one of those companies. When you pop their tops, these bad boys literally GROWL at you, which I've since learned is an indication of a proper nitrogen-infused beverage (not to mention being just plain cool). I poured mine over ice and watched as a beautiful froth formed on top (the 'cascade,' as they call it). It's delightful, and definitely my new after-lunch pick-me-up!." —Marc
I bought this because they replaced the office coffee-maker with a Keurig machine and it was every employee for himself! I do like the kick that this medium roast blend gives, but the flavor is lacking. The machine brews the coarsely-ground coffee so quickly, that it's not a particularly bold cup. My big issue is that with these products, the cost of the coffee is several times that of buying the beans and grinding them (or having them ground), even at a Starbucks, and the packaging is ridiculous. The amount of non-recycled waste that my usual 3-4 cups/day creates weighs on my conscience. At work, I have gone back to drinking tea.
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.
I have always purchased Equal Exchange whole bean decaffeinated coffee, but decided to try the ground Equal Exchange just to save me time in the morning grinding it and then having to clean the grinder and my husband and I are thrilled with it. It has wonderful full flavor and actually tastes better than the beans I was grinding. I definitely recommend this product.
Coffee nirvana! I bought this for my son who has trouble with very acidic coffee, and we both have been looking for an organic coffee that would really taste good and meet the low acid criteria. The first pot we brewed we brewed weak. Yet, it was surprisingly delicious. It had a mild vanilla after taste and while weak, (our fault not the coffee's), it was quite nice and palatable, both black and with added cream and sugar. The next pot was brewed by my husband who prefers his coffee so strong it doesn't just stand a spoon up, but actually might melt a stainless steel spoon. So, it was brewed VERY strong. Again, delicious! More robust flavor, of course, but did not taste at all overly strong so it suited both his taste and mine. You cannot make a bad ... full review
You might be familiar with one of La Colombe's brick-and-mortar cafés across the country or even their canned Draft Latte line, but we bet you didn’t realize that you can purchase their full line of coffee beans online. What started as a flagship café and bakery in Philadelphia is now an award-winning nationwide coffee brand, and we think La Colombe's Corsica Blend is the best expression of the brand's deliciousness.
Coming from the manufacturer who’s well known for its environmentally friendly practices based on organic, sustainable, and ethical production, One Love K-Cups represent the medium roasted gourmet coffee produced using 100% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee beans. With its balanced, smooth, floral notes, it provides an amazing taste that beautifully combines with brown sugar, vanilla, and exotic spices.
The deity-level status of a coffee roaster hailing from Kansas' snoozy capital used to take the less-informed by surprise; nowadays, it seems less unusual that an operation as world-class as this should be found in such a place. No brash upstart, this—direct trading, single origin-loving PT's has been around since the early 1990's, and is still considered one of the finest source-erers in the land, last year snapping up another roaster with a similar reputation for quality, San Diego's Bird Rock Coffee. Lately, the company has given its retail operation a modern makeover, adding more modern shops in the college town of Lawrence, as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
Beyond being incredibly potent and highly caffeinated, this dark roast is well-balanced and flavorful, with sweet, nutty, chocolatey notes and a surprisingly smooth finish. We feel a disclaimer is in order here: This is not a blend for those who are sensitive to caffeine, but if you’re on the hunt for a dark roast that will wake you up, look no further.
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.