Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.
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.
Valhalla Java prides itself on providing a strong cup of coffee that’s both organic and fair trade. Plus, if you don’t like it, Death Wish Coffee Company does the total opposite of what their name implies. Rather than having employees sitting around sending endless vibes of ill-fortune and destruction your way, they give you back your money — no harm, no foul.
"I know this is the most basic version of a coffee maker, but I love it. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and isn’t too complicated for someone who isn’t picky about their coffee. I make two of the large options, let them cool, and then pour them over ice for iced coffee. Plus, you can get K-Cups in practically every brand of coffee. My regular pick is Starbucks' K-Cups."
There's never been a better time to be a coffee drinker here in the United States. After decades of sporadic gains, the years surrounding the turn of the century saw this country enter into something like a Golden Age of caffeine consumption. Today, the effects of this seismic transformation are being felt not only in each of the 50 states, but around the globe, as well. And we're not done yet. With the elder statesmen of the bean-fueled revolution now all but household brands, and with the idea of a true American café culture no longer limited to a select handful of fortunate cities, the marketplace appears hungry for further exploration and experimentation. We are, once again, ready for the next level.
My husband and I decided that if we are going to be drinking something everything morning for the next 50 years of our life, we want it to be organic. Fair trade just happens to be another bonus. Both coffee and sugar are the highest sprayed crops in the world. Coffee especially so we first made the switch over this brand and tried this flavor first. We grind it at home and brew it with an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters. The combination of grinding it fresh every morning and brewing it with the aeropress makes for the best cup of morning coffee EVER. We use a simple Krups 203-42 Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder with Stainless-Steel blades, Black and simply grind it for 15-18 seconds. We also switched sugars and now use organic and fair trade sugar as well along with locally bought raw milk. The best sugar for this is Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6).
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.
Coffee is grown in several places around the world. All of these locations share proximity to the equator, a cool-to-moderate tropical climate, rich soil, and, in the case of arabica beans, a high altitude. And while you might assume that a coffee bean from Brazil is really no different from a coffee bean from Kenya, there actually are subtle taste differences depending on where the beans were grown.
I personally prefer an Espresso machine, which is ideal for me as they can create Lattes, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Espresso and so many more. Espresso machines pressurize hot water which extracts the coffee from a pod. They can be used at home and there are also bigger versions that are used in cafés. Generally, they’re quick and efficient and require minimum maintenance.
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.
With this Colombian grown organic coffee in a K-cup, this is the perfect caffeine fix that can stimulate the senses. Similar to other dark roasts, you can expect notes of dark chocolate in this coffee. The beans have been through a long roasting process, which also means that the acidity is reduced. There are also toasted notes with the aftertaste of this coffee, but you do not have to worry since it does not have a pronounced bitterness.