Sumatra: Earth, Chocolate and Change 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 […] Apr 09, 2019 | 0 Comments
On the other hand, the appearance of certain coffees on our list also suggests the value of continuity and tradition in processing. All four Kenya coffees in the Top 30 were subject to the meticulous Kenya variant on wet-processing that has been helping produce consistently great coffees in Kenya for decades. The two Sumatra coffees owe their distinction in great part to refined application of the decades-old “wet-hulling” process still largely unique to Indonesia, particularly to Sumatra. See our 2016 report Learning from Sumatras for more on wet-hulling and sensory distinction.
Chock Full o’ Nuts styles itself as the quintessential New York City coffee. The quintessential New York City Coffee has less to do with brand than with point of sale—a nameless coffee cart on a Manhattan corner—but it is the only coffee brand I know of to offer three distinct varieties of half-caf. Its per-pound cost approaches bagged coffee, making it a questionable deal among canned brands. Chock Full o’ Nuts has the teeth-sticking effect of good chicory coffee without, I believe, containing chicory. Its flavor has a tinge of burnt bread and an aftertaste that causes the corners of my mouth to turn down involuntarily. It is undrinkable cold, but do not attempt to drink reheated Chock Full o’ Nuts. This is the fire extinguisher of coffees—in the event of catastrophe you’ll be glad you have it, but it’s not for blowing out a candle. 
However, one of the selection criteria for the Top 30 coffees is value or affordability, measured by price per pound. Many of the coffees on our list are priced in line with similar, though usually less distinguished, single-origin specialty coffees in the marketplace. Half (15) of the coffees on the list cost $25 or less per pound. Four were priced at $20 or less per pound, namely: No. 4 Lexington Coffee Tarime Tanzania (95 points; $14.75/12 ounces), No. 6 Barrington Coffee Twenty Five (96 points; $14.25/12 ounces), No. 23 Big Shoulders Coffee Roasters Burundi Buhorwa  (94 points; 15.00/12 ounces), and No. 28 Paradise Roasters Ecuador Pichincha Typica (94 points; 13.95/12 ounces).
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.
Nescafe is a huge multinational brand of coffee owned by Nestle. We commend Nescafe partnering with for the Rainforest Alliance, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), and the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) to be sure they are following internationally recognized sustainability standards but they do not offer organic certified coffees. Therefore, their coffee’s may contain chemicals and mold. They only offer instant coffees, ground coffee, or pods so again, freshness is a concern.

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.


“Is it the strongest coffee I’ve had? Probably not. Is it one of the best-tasting? Yes. The flavor transports me to some random and sinful island in Indonesia (a story for another day). Oddly, Death Wish brands its coffee as almost dangerously strong, and strong it is. However, the organic coffee maker should be shouting from the roof about the taste and quality. Yes, caffeine sells, but this is one incredibly great-tasting coffee. I would easily say second best I’ve ever had and certainly the best I’ve purchased at a store.”

This coffee, as I have stated above is delicious. The problem is, that out of the 18 cups, only two didnt fail. The Keurig would start to brew and be about half done, then the foil top of the cup would simply detach from cup in a spot, and the grounds would come spilling out. Almost as if whatever adhesive was used melted. Never had a problem with other cups. So, perhaps this was simply this batch of the product, but a co-worker had expressed a similar issue with Newman's Own cups months prior, but I had just figured that THAT was a bad batch of cups....


Equal Exchange Organic Coffee prides itself on being Fair Trade, and for good reason. They do a lot of outreach and connection with their farmers to make sure they are well taken care of and everything is on the up and up. Currently, their breakfast blend coffee sits at 4.4 stars, along with an Amazon's Choice badge. So Amazon seems to approve of them, enough to recommend them outwardly. Let's see if we can find out what's so good. 
The Organic Coffee Co. produces this light and flavorful blend of the south and central American beans. The company comes directly from the source, where it is grown without herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers. It is Fair Trade and responsibly grown, plus USDA certified as organic. The coffee is grown only on shade grown, bio-diverse farms in Panama. The company also has a community aid program which has worked to restore thousands of rainforest acres.
We couldn’t have a cheap coffee article without mentioning McCafe coffee! Rounding the top three, McCafe medium roast scored well among known coffee brands, but ranked seventh in our overall tasting list. Homebrewing this cup of coffee will only set you back $.50 per ounce, very reasonable and below average in cost. Our testers were split if this was either a medium or dark coffee, but either way it ranked well on quality. Our tasters also liked the balanced nature of this brew and included comments such as “bitter, but smooth” and “acidic, but fruity.”

Providing a perfect mixture of high-quality medium roasted coffee from Indonesia and Latin America, Caza Trail K-Cups will take your coffee routine to the next level. The smooth, moderately acid taste with a well-rounded finish is what makes these K-Cups so special. In addition to its great flavor, Caza Trail Coffee also has Fair Trade and USDA organic certification.

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.
Most of the beans touted on this list are whole bean; you must grind them yourself or go to a coffee grinder. While inconvenient for some, the benefits of buying whole bean are plentiful. When you grind the beans daily it releases oils, keeps them fresh, and it allows you to chose the coarseness of the grind. A coarse grind will not capture as much flavor profile as a fine grind. The difference in the grind denotes an espresso from a Turkish coffee or latte for example.

The coffee bean is technically a seed, and it is tucked inside the fruit of the coffee plant; much like the stone pit of a cherry. It is called a bean simply because of the physical resemblance. While many varieties of coffee beans exist, the two most common types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans dominate the market. They lend to a smoother, slightly acidic taste and they are usually, although not always, deemed the higher quality bean. Robusta beans, as the name suggests, tout a bolder and more bitter taste. They contain at least twice the amount of caffeine as their Arabica counterparts.
Newman’s Own Special Blend is organic, fair-trade certified coffee that provides a strong taste characteristic for the mixture of medium and dark roasted coffees. At the same time, it offers a soft and refined taste with interesting ashy and woody notes that give this coffee a special, bold taste that you may enjoy even if you are not a fan of strong coffee. In addition, this freshly roasted coffee has an amazing, pure smell that will take your favorite daily routine to a higher level.
Organic coffee is a good choice if you want to keep track of your health as you continue to have your favorite coffee. With organic coffee, you can enjoy a cup of coffee every day without consuming chemical traces. Organic coffees are slowly roasted to bring out a full-bodied taste and flavor. You will also realize that most organic coffees are organic and kosher certified.
Coffee grown in the sun in fertilized fields produces more seeds (coffee beans) more quickly than coffee grown in the shade, but coffee grown in the shade produces a higher quality coffee with a better flavor. Growing coffee in the sun not only requires the use of fertilizers, but has led to wide-scale deforestation and habitat loss for wildlife species. Coffee grown in its traditional forested setting creates valuable habitat for many bird species. 
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.

The best medium roast coffee we tested was Marley Coffee, which came in third overall in our test. Marley is an organic, ethically-farmed and 100% Ethiopian blend with herbal tastes including fruity wine undertones. Our testers loved the taste and finish of this coffee and guessed it was either a light or medium blend. One tester loved the “watermelon or green tea” undertones and most mentioned the unique taste that was a welcome change in the morning. Marley Coffee ranked as the most expensive coffee we tested at $.87 per ounce. Money well spent according to our testers.
When you choose the Peak Performance Organic, you can rest with the confidence that you are enjoying the cleanest, healthiest cup of coffee possible. It is a top quality ground coffee that offers a rich taste and a powerful flavor that stays with you for hours after drinking it. The reason behind this being that it is made of high altitude coffee beans from the Guatemalan highlands, a type of coffee that packs you with antioxidants, thus providing an almost therapeutic benefit along with a powerful taste.
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.
Sumatran Reserve by Green Mountain is made of 100% Arabica coffee, these single-serve K-Cups are famous for its exotical, lush, sweet taste and complex mixture of heavy aromas typical for Indonesian coffee. Dark roasted coffee used for the production of Sumatran Reserve K-Cups represents an extraordinary mixture of brown sugar taste and delicate spicy notes. These organic K-Cups packed in a beautifully designed box that symbolizes their eco-friendly production, are USDA, Fair Trade, and Orthodox Union Kosher certified.
"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."
If you want the extra strong caffeine effect you expect from Death Wish, but in a more flavorful package, Valhalla Java might be what you need. It still retains that overdose of caffeine the brand is famous for. But it also has a smoother mouthfeel and better flavor than their standard blends. The medium dark roast has flavors reminiscent of cocoa and nuts. As with other Death Wish products, you get ethical FairTrade certifications as well.
Strength control is understood to be regulated by the ratio of coffee to water. For example, more ground coffee and less water would result in a stronger brew. But, how does that work with a single serve machine, when you cannot regulate the amount of coffee and yet you can regulate the strength and volume of water simultaneously? In other words, you can select an 8-ounce drink to be strong or weak, but without changing the amount of coffee.
Don Pablo, que rico! Yes, the Don Pablo gourmet organic decaf coffee is definitely one you have to try if you are a true coffee lover. This Colombian Supremo light roast prides itself in tasting exactly like traditional coffee, only without the caffeine you are trying to avoid. Apart from that, it also has slight hints of cocoa, natural caramel, and just a touch of citrus. Yumm!
This coffee was not only organic, delicious and full bodied, it also is fairly traded. This ensures that the small growers of the coffee beans get a fair price for the coffee and are not exploited by large companies who make all of the profit. I have been a big fan of fairly traded coffee for many years now. Equal Exchange is a great product and a great concept.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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.


Now that we have a better understanding of how complex coffee is, we had to find the best coffee maker to ensure quality control for each brew. We chose the award winning and Speciality Coffee Association of America’s Certified (SCAA) Home Brewer: the OXO – On Barista Brain nine cup coffee maker. This was also the winning machine in our review of the best drip coffee makers.
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.

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.


The coffee is great and the staff is lovely. Would definitely recommend trying oat milk in any of their drinks - especially the iced latte. I'm bummed they no longer serve their spring roles because those were a great grab-and-go option. They do have an ample assortment of pastries, though! If you're there in the morning there's always a selection of cookies, scones, muffins etc.
On a personal level, I am a die hard black tea drinker and have had trouble not only finding organic black tea where I live... but also a company that is not green washed. Not only have I found an organic black tea that I love the taste of but also there is a variety of black teas I can choose from! Doing my research I have also found that this company has integrity in addition to simply having great products. On a professional level I started in a catering/food services posi...tion which I switched over to Equal Exchange coffee and I am constantly and consistently getting compliments on my coffee service being the best they have had, and have had customers that choose me over the local competitor for breakfast events. I am sold on the quality of this product, which is a game changer in my business, and the model is great for my conscious at the same time.
I found an interesting study from the Japanese which showed that 99.8% of the pesticides used in farming coffee beans, was burned off in the roasting process. So even though it is almost as clean as organic and not as harmful as one might think, it still lacks the quality in terms of organic fertilizers and culitivation not to mention the storing and shipping which greatly effects quality! I prefer organic all the way but it was an interesting informative article about that study. Here’s the link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23154763 
×