Ethiopia coffees, whether certified organic or not, are produced from tree varieties native to Ethiopia and grown virtually nowhere else. These varieties tend to produce coffees with typically striking cup character: bright, lively and balanced in structure and intricately engaging in aroma and flavor. Furthermore, the best mills in Ethiopia are also ingenious and meticulous in their processing methods. Classic wet-processed or “washed” Ethiopia coffees (in which fruit skin and pulp are removed before drying) tend to highlight floral and citrus notes, while “natural”-processed Ethiopias (beans are dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed) lean toward lusher fruit and deeper flowers. Fine examples of organic coffees prepared by both processing methods appear in this month’s reviews.

Organically farmed and sustainably produced, this blend comes from the southern part of Costa Rica. This region boasts abundant vegetation and rich volcanic soils that makes ideals conditions for coffee plantation. Coffee beans are only purchased from 100 percent USDA organic certified farms in Brunca region. It produces coffee blend which has a medium roast that has flavor hints of laurel and apple and an aroma of freshly coffee. The coffee is dense and has got a pleasant lingering aftertaste.


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.

Coffee can be compared to wine in terms of flavor because it is also affected by soil, altitude and the region in which it’s grown. The two types of coffee bean options are Arabica and Robusta, but what does this mean? The easiest way to categorize the two is by the altitude in which they grew. Arabica beans are grown in the mountains at an altitude above 2000 feet, while Robusta coffee is found below that, typically on flat plantations.


The price is the exact average price of all the coffees we tested. The name Mississippi Grogg might throw you off, but this family owned and operated processing center is based in Iowa along the Mississippi river valley. Verena Street is 100% sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified coffee farms, is fairly traded and kosher. If you are a conscious consumer and look at where your money is being spent, we recommend checking out some other unknown brands we tested as well.
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.
“WE LOVE THIS COFFEE! I’ve been buying this coffee for about eight months now, and I’m finally getting around to writing a review because it’s SO GOOD that I have to share. We have tried other coffees — lots of others — but we like this one the best. The Organic Medium-Dark Roast whole bean is not too dark, not too mild; the beans are just oily and perfect. We drink our coffee black, and its flavor, aroma, and taste are delicious! Not bitter, just tasty black gold.”
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.

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.
Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee was started by Don Pablo coffee growers and roasters, an arm of the Burke Brands LL.C. It is certified organic and Non-GMO by CCOF. This coffee is made from special Honduran beans from the Marcala region. No chemicals were used on said coffee beans. The coffee cherries were used as fertilizer in lieu of insecticides. Additionally, the farmers also practice vermiculture. In this process, worms are used to break down organic food wastes to become fertilizer, and plant peppers are used as repellents. The Marcala region in Honduras is a known producer of excellent beans. 
Evaluated as espresso. Complex, juicy, richly tart. Almond, dark chocolate, guava, tangerine zest, star jasmine in aroma and small cup. Light, very silky mouthfeel; chocolate, fruit and flowers all carry into a cleanly sweet, delicately drying finish. Flavor-saturated in three parts milk: almond, chocolate, guava, flowers all resonate in rich, custardy balance.
Café Altura was established in 1980 in Ventura, California. The beans are sourced from the district of Villa Rica – Pasco, Peru. Aside from fresh ground coffee, said company is also known for their whole bean coffee, canned coffee, instant coffee and mountain water decaf. The Café Altura Ground Organic Coffee is sold in eight flavors namely: dark roast, dark roast decaf, fair trade dark blend, fair trade classic roast, house blend, French roast, regular roast and regular roast decaf. Café Altura brands their coffee as a biodynamic coffee. It is called biodynamic because the coffee farmers take into account the biodiversity surrounding the farm.
Most organic coffee brands purchase their beans from "fair trade" farms. These farms don't use child or slave labor, and they pay their workers a fairer wage than others in the industry. When you shop organic, you can be proud that you're supporting good business practices instead of shady, cost-cutting measures from companies that are only concerned about their bottom line.

Café Bustelo is technically the cheapest coffee on this list because it’s sold in both a can and a vacuum-packed brick, but in a can it’s only third-cheapest, after Maxwell House and Folger’s. Unlike the other coffees under consideration, Café Bustelo is espresso ground, which is much finer than drip ground. This, in addition to the dark roast of the coffee beans, makes it a robust sipping coffee. I double-filtered my pour-over to avoid too much coffee silt, but the flavor was undiminished. It tastes like any other coffee made with double the grounds, and is complexly awful reheated. Café Bustelo is truly motor oil coffee, which is not necessarily a mark against it—it’s likely to burn a hole through even the most memorable hangover, and will propel you forcefully into the next two to three hours of your life. This is not for the faint of heart (seriously, I’m having palpitations as I type this) but ultimately is quite drinkable.
A startup from Vermont, our friends at Brothers Coffee Company select a new roaster each month that has found a new and innovative way of facing a challenge the coffee industry faces. Not only will you get fresh, top-tier specialty coffee, you’ll also help enact real change around the world. Along with the coffee, subscribers receive information on the roasters, their coffee, and why they were selected for the month, making every month a new story. They also donate $1 per subscription to Grounds for Health, a non-profit that screens and treats women for cervical cancer. If you love coffee and want to make sure your money is being used well, Brothers Coffee is the subscription for you.
According to researchers, regular or conventional coffee is steeped in pesticides and other chemicals. The result of a study conducted by CS Monitor found that over 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are being used to grow regular coffee. It suggests that in one cup of coffee, there could be over 1,000 chemicals present that can be linked to illnesses and health issues.
To further our research, we asked all of our coffee testers if they would spend an extra $1.00 on a product if it was proven that the company directly benefited the community or environment. Each tester said yes. In addition, when looking at overall ratings online, organically and sustainably-sourced coffee rated higher overall compared to your typical Arabica coffee.
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).

Back before the nation's capital had a whole lot going on in the way of local coffee, Chris Vigilante was roasting for local restaurants in the basement of a District row home. These days, his product is a firm D.C. favorite, even if home base is a somewhat sprawling roastery, café and social hub, just over the line in Prince George's County. The company's adopted home seems to be agreeing with them—a second, also rather impressive space has now opened doors near the University of Maryland campus in College Park.

Keurig produces this certified, high-grade coffee from Colombian Supremo Arabica coffee beans, using an FDA-approved roasting process. The result is a low acid coffee that’s free from harshness and bitterness while retaining essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Also, the coffee is kosher-certified, and it’s produced in a nut-free facility.
The price is the exact average price of all the coffees we tested. The name Mississippi Grogg might throw you off, but this family owned and operated processing center is based in Iowa along the Mississippi river valley. Verena Street is 100% sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified coffee farms, is fairly traded and kosher. If you are a conscious consumer and look at where your money is being spent, we recommend checking out some other unknown brands we tested as well.

This organic breakfast blend coffee is quite good, but it has a slight bitterness. I am having difficulty finding my usual brand, so decided to give Equal Exchange a try. I am not unhappy with this product, but the bitterness which happens at the trailing end of a sip, is noticeable. Having said this, I will not hesitate (when the need arises) to order it again.

The pleasures of a fine traditional Sumatra are not quite conventional coffee pleasures. The characteristic layering of chocolate, pungent fruit and earth notes in an exceptional wet-hulled Sumatra may mildly turn off coffee drinkers who enjoy more orthodox coffee pleasures: juicier, sweeter fruit, say, or more citrus and flowers, or a suave balance with no […]
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.
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