Iowa's capital ranked as the fastest growing city in the Midwest last year, a trend being driven by the likes of Brad Penna and Nam Ho, young Southern Californians who moved here in search of a lower cost of living and a different pace of life. Their ambitious roaster/café, opened just last summer around the corner from the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, is shaking up the city's coffee culture, and the locals—new and old—appear to be loving it. We certainly are.
When I moved away from a grocery store that carried Equal Exchange three or four years ago, I remember checking, and you had to order it directly from Equal Exchange, and wait for standard shipping. I guess thanks to the Whole Foods merger, now you can get this right on Amazon. I was excited to discover this, but the mislabeling is a bummer! Amazon, please fix!
This aptly-named company doesn’t just have a unique platform—they use unique equipment, as well. They roast in a vintage 90 kilo German-built Probat drum roaster retrofitted with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners. If you have no idea what that is/looks like, join the club. It’s just a cool set of words when you string them all together, and they sound authoritative enough that I believe them.

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.
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Very sweetly tart, floral-prominent and rich-toned. Lemon custard, red currant jam, tea rose, maple syrup and dried coconut in aroma and cup. Delightfully crisp and tart, though cohesively resonant in structure; very lightly though buoyantly syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is pert and satisfying, with a lingering sweet crispness and a long aromatic trajectory.
We've featured a few wet-processed brands on this list, but tossing coffee beans into water tanks isn't the only way to treat them! With dry-processed beans, they're set out in the sun to bake until they're ready to be roasted. They can be slightly acidic since they don't go through a fermentation process, but a little kick just adds to the thrill of drinking something so raw and wild.
Both of these amazing organic K-Cup® coffees take it one step further and are Fair Trade certified. To read more about the benefits of Fair Trade coffees, click here. Fair Trade helps to negate the increased cost of growing organically. Surprisingly, in the case of organic K-Cup® pods, this cost has not been passed on to the consumer. The only way to thank these farmers is for coffee wholesalers to abide by a Fair Trade certification, so farmers are not tempted to succumb to cheaper conventional methods. 

First, the Valhalla Java Blend, a dark chocolate and smooth coffee. This coffee is certified organic and arguably some of the most potent on earth. That’s the company mission anyway. They’re proud of the high caffeination that the brews will deliver. Yes, this blend is incredibly potent and highly caffeinated but you’ll be surprised at the well-balanced and flavorful taste the comes along with it, quite a coffee roasting feat.
In addition to that, this java has about 59 mg caffeine in every fluid-ounce of coffee. In fact, its single serving will comprise up to 708 mg caffeine if the serving is of 112 fluid-ounce. It is fairly more than many people could bear for a single day. Despite the coffee being of French roast and of high caffeine content it tastes astonishingly sweet.
Cafe Don Pablo has been working tirelessly for some time now, to deliver a bold and natural coffee experience that lends itself to the lands it was created in. Providing low acidity and deep, rich flavor of milk chocolate with extraordinary notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey, Don Pablo Subtle Earth K-Cups are made of high quality, 100% Arabica coffee. Produced with no artificial substances, and grown at a high altitude where pests won’t disturb the crop, these K-Cups are certified organic by the CCOF.
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.
Perfectly combining dark cocoa and dark brown sugar, the intense dark roasted beans of the best quality Arabica packed into WILD JO K-Cups have no artificial additives and provide a unique, strong taste ideal for those of you who enjoy striking flavors. These organic K-Cups will surprise you with the quality of coffee brewed using superior extraction, without the annoying plastic cup aftertaste that usually spoils the aroma.
Promising review for their Cold Brew Cold Press Elixir blend: "I have ordered a few bags of this and it's become my favorite coffee for cold brew. The grind is nice and coarse; it's been fresh every time I have open a bag, unlike a few more-expensive brands I've purchased on Amazon (that came fancifully packaged, but whose aroma fell short when the sealed bag was opened). The taste is complex and the caffeine level is potent. After a big serving of this, a hummingbird can't keep up with me." —Mr. BBQ guy
Newman’s Own Special Blend is organic, fair-trade certified coffee that provides a strong taste profile with the ease of the K-cup. In addition, this freshly roasted coffee has an amazing, pure smell that will take your favorite daily routine to a higher level. The coffee itself is made up of a composition of medium-roasted Central American coffees and darker-roasted Indonesian beans.
My wife and I are spoiled when it comes to coffee, as she grew up drinking Blue Mountain Coffee (and I started when a young adult). Whereas in Jamaica, Blue Mountain Coffee is quite affordable, it is typically beyond our budget here in the United State. Consequently, we have searched relentlessly for a quality coffee that does not break the budget. Equal Exchange Organic Coffee (Mind Body Soul) is what we view as the best of all alternatives at a mid to lower price range. While we still look forward to Blue Mountain Coffee when we go to Jamaica or when we can afford it here in the U.S., this Equal Exchange coffee leaves us quite satisfied. This coffee is much recommended for those who love a quality full body coffee.
Eight O’Clock Coffee is a sleeper in this set, brand-wise, but a surprisingly enjoyable cuppa. It’s the only brand I tasted about which I had no preconceptions, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s dark without being bitter, and is solidly microwaveable. It’s slightly ahead of the median bagged coffee price in this set but streets ahead in flavor, making it a solid value buy.
The goal is to get the beans to the cup, in whatever way you prefer. When it comes to the actual brewing process, you can take your own path—French press, standard type of coffee makers, or whatever you’d like, but it all starts and ends with the beans and how they’re handled. You need to prepare your beans properly to ensure that rich, smooth flavor you’re after.
What is interesting about this blend is the fact that it uses premium coffee beans from all the major regions in the world. So you will get a bit of American, African and Asian flavors in this blend. And they have also managed to harmonize and balance all the flavors well, resulting in a rich and dark roast. We like the fact that Peet’s provides the roast date on the package.
Coffee blends are exactly that; a blend of two or more roasted beans to create a unique flavor profile. Think of it in terms of wine: a red blend versus a Cabernet Sauvignon. The experienced coffee roaster will match beans to balance bitterness and take the harsh edge of off unrefined beans. A blend could contain several varieties of beans from all over the coffee belt.
Very sweetly tart, floral-prominent and rich-toned. Lemon custard, red currant jam, tea rose, maple syrup and dried coconut in aroma and cup. Delightfully crisp and tart, though cohesively resonant in structure; very lightly though buoyantly syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is pert and satisfying, with a lingering sweet crispness and a long aromatic trajectory.

The Big Bang is a Latin American and East African blend, that celebrates Peets innovative spirit. Coming from a time when ‘Americans drank WWII rationed coffee’ well after the wars, he made sure to change that. Revel in this blend of greatness, and decide for yourself if the tribute to Alfred Peet is enough, or should you seek your own coffee path.
Our unknown brands overwhelmingly ranked high in all of the categories we tested. Our runner up for best overall coffee and unknown brands was Cameron’s whole bean light roast. Cameron’s offers drinkers another option in the sustainable and small batch category, but comes in as one of the most expensive options at $.71 per ounce. Tasters commented over and over that this was a smooth coffee and that taste wasn’t overpowering. The finish of the coffee ranked higher than any other we tested.
Cost per Pound: From High (Very) to Reasonable. One can’t directly compare the price of Top 30 coffees from year to year because the mix of coffees varies too dramatically. In 2018, for example, two coffees on the list were priced as part of a bundle, and, for the first time in 2018, we recognized two bottled cold brew coffees, which are not priced in the same way as coffee beans.
It makes this coffee even more attractive because it delivers the energy rush at its best without side effects. It is a great choice for a product who are morning people. Because they do not require a sucker punch from any heavy caffeinated coffee but a delightful push. In fact, the sweet and fruity notes of this coffee will even tempt the hardback palate people.
Our research was then directed towards the price point and determining what classifies as a “cheap” cup of coffee. If you are heading to Starbucks to grab a grande cup of regular coffee, it will put you back $2.10. McDonald’s premium roast coffee will cost $1.29. Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee is $1.89. Frappuccinos, lattes and mochas will double your coffee cost.
This single cup sampler includes one of each of the following: Marley Coffee Lively Up! Espresso organic dark roast, Marley Coffee One Love Ethiopia Yirgacheffe organic medium roast, Marley Coffee Get Up Stand Up organic light roast, White Coffee organic sea salt caramel medium roast, White Coffee organic French Vanilla, First Colony Espresso Roast organic dark roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Breakfast Blend City Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Colombian Cup Vienna Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic La Bailarina Spanish Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Riviera Roast Italian Roast, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Organic Decaf Peruvian Peak Vienna Roast, Fulton St. Bold Organic, *Caza Trail Extra Bold Medium Roast, *Caza Trail Sumatra Gayo Mountain, *Caza Trail Guatemalan, O Organics dark French Roast, O Organics medium Aztec Blend, O Organics Dark Roast Sumatran, O Organics Medium Roast Nicaraguan, O Organics Medium Roast Ethiopian. *Fair Trade. **In rare cases, based upon availability certain flavors will be replaced with other flavors.
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.
However, Haden Polseno-Hensley, co-owner of Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, whose Ethiopia Kayon Mountain scored 93, pursues a business model committed to organic certification. He observed that organic-certified coffees are often of higher quality than those not certified. He says, “When we started in 2010, we were 100% organic. This was based on philosophical choice, but also marketing strategy. Large grocery store chains, especially ‘lifestyle’ chains, want organics. They want to press the ‘easy’ button when it comes to showing their customers that they have quality goods. Ethiopia is a strange bird, though. While it may be true that most Ethiopian coffees are de facto organic, we’ve actually come to find that the certified coffees are often of a higher quality. Is this because the producers are more attentive to cultivation and processing since they are paying for certificates?”

Whether we're testing our favorite cold-brew brands, comparing coffee grinders, or finding the absolute best-tasting coffee beans on the planet, we're full-blown coffee experts over here at the BestProducts.com office. So when it comes to narrowing down the best coffee makers — let's just say we are totally qualified. Below, seven of our caffeine-addicted coffee-loving editors provided feedback on their absolute favorite coffee maker and why they love it so much.


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.
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.

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