Belfast native Michael McCrory met Lauren Crabbe behind an espresso machine in San Diego, her hometown. A move up north for school brought the pair to the relatively quiet Outer Sunset section of the city, to the opening of this café, to considerable success (and acclaim) on the roasting front, and then another café, just up the road. All of this good fortune aside, the cafes maintain the feeling of a treasured neighborhood hangout—that is, on days when lines aren't out the door.
After roughly thirty years of experience in the business—this is a guy who roasted something like 70 million pounds of coffee for Peet's, which is a lot—Paul Gallegos is back home and in business for himself with this much-anticipated roaster/café in Albuquerque's atmospheric Old Town. Expect this to be a complete game changer in a town that's been waiting for someone to take things to the next level for quite some time now.
If you’re just entering the home-coffee world, and you truly want the best coffee beans you can possibly get, you’re going to need to know what type of coffee beans you want. There are a total of two origins: arabica beans, and Robusta coffee tree beans. There are distinct differences that will most definitely play into how you enjoy your cup in the morning.
We also asked tasters to guess the brew type (light, medium or dark) and include any flavor notes before anonymously leaving their feedback to later analyze. We have a very diverse group of coffee drinkers, but most tend to drink stronger and bolder coffee. When analyzing the results, we found that the taste testers overwhelmingly liked the stronger tasting light and medium roasts, which matched their pre-testing preferences.

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.


At Equal Exchange, we only use the finest Fair Trade and organic coffee beans available, but we want our Fair Trade coffees to do more than please the palate. It’s our mission to provide Fair Trade coffees that empower small-scale farmers and their communities. Our certified Fair Trade coffees go beyond the cup, supporting women’s leadership at producer co-ops, environmental preservation through crop diversity, improved yields through soil analysis, and much more. When you purchase Equal Exchange Fair Trade coffee, you’re supporting an equitable trade system for small-scale farmers. Learn more about the farmers who provide our Fair Trade coffee, and let us know what you think of the results.
The Hunt Brothers Coffee Beans | Blue Honduras Specialty Coffee | Certified Organic comes from Marcala, a region in Central America that is recognized with a DOP (Protected Origin Denomination). These 100% Arabica beans are grown on a fertile volcanic soil, which is enriched by volcanic lava. The growth process of the coffee is marked by the SHG – strictly high growth. This means that the fruits will mature slowly to make sure they create a full-bodied and deeper flavor as well as a premium taste.
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:
Randy Lint, of Big Creek Coffee Roasters in Hamilton, Montana sent us an Ethiopia Gedeb Halo Beriti (94) that is certified organic at origin, but is not labeled organic. While Lint has been a certified organic handler in the past, he has found the cumbersome process of certifying his roastery not worth the cost, though he is still committed to the associated practices. He says his local customers trust his sourcing, and his business is successful without offering the added reassurance of certification. Nevertheless, Lint acknowledges that this might change as his roastery grows.
This k-cup sampler pack was part of a Black Friday bundle with the purchase of a Keurig coffee maker at an incredible price. Since I bought the Keurig for the work place, I went through the variety of k-cups (2 pods of each variety) kept what were my favorites and took the rest to work. It actually was one the the best varieties in an assortment pack I have seen. I like the dark roasts and this assortment had a nice blend of dark, medium and light/breakfast blends. Was very impressed.

Also try The folks at Louisville's Good Folks Coffee prefer to spend their days behind the roaster, and that's fine, because they're doing great work back there—look for their beans at Please & Thank You, a very popular café, bakery and record shop combo with three locations. Up near Cincinnati, in the very old city of Newport, Carabello Coffee is a highlight—check out their Analog Bar, a reservation-only spot for guided coffee tasting.
Dunkin Donuts is a popular coffee shop chain and they serve whole bean and ground coffee at retail locations and online. All of Dunkin’s restaurant made espresso beverages are now Rainforest Alliance certified and about 30% of their dark roast coffee beans. As for the rest of their coffee, it seems like it could be sourced from anywhere. They do not offer organic varieties so their coffee may contain chemicals and molds. The grocery store Dunkin Donuts coffee is produced by J.M. Smucker which is the same as Folgers.
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.
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.
Am now on my second or third Kilo of Kick Ass...... After first finding Kick Ass, I continued to try other coffees and roasts in a search for "my preferred coffee". I still have other coffees yet to try, but have tried quite a few different high rated coffees... Some were good and some I gave away.... I do know what I want now in a coffee and roast... I want it all !!!! Now is that too much to ask ????? I grind my own beans and use a good brewer with no burner to scorch my coffee.... Kicking Horse is the only coffee that I keep coming back to.... I will tell you that so far I am torn between two favorites...... And they are both Kicking Horse Coffees !!! .... 454 Horsepower and Kick Ass...... The Kick Ass has a far superior body, while the 454 ... full review
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