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.
Although the largest volume of organically grown coffee is produced in Latin America, particularly in Peru and Mexico, Africa also produces significant volumes. We have tested and enjoyed many engaging and distinctive organically grown coffees from Africa over the past couple of years, hence the subject of this report. Our hope was that we would source a range of organically certified coffees from several producing countries on the African continent.
Healthy Coffee Rule #3) Single Origin Coffee Is Better. Why? Because while "Blended" Coffee like a "Breakfast Blend" might sound cool... there's a much higher likelihood that at least one of the bean varieties that went into that blend was contaminated (coffee has been commonly known to be contaminated with energy robbing mold), meaning the entire batch is now contaminated.
My parents drank Hazelnut Maxwell House for as long as I can remember, and used the empty metal canisters to store Ajax sponges and toolshed sundries. As a result I’ve always had a soft spot for canned coffee, and Maxwell House in particular, but of the canned coffees I tasted, it’s the best. Maxwell House is thoroughly uncomplicated, and it’s a difficult coffee to describe with much specificity. It is a perfectly reasonable (and quite cheap) starter coffee—that is, a coffee to start the day with—and one that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for affordability. It turns a bit as it cools, taking on a bitter aftertaste, but a quick drinker with a small mug should get by OK. A single caveat: Don’t microwave Maxwell House and expect to enjoy what comes out; it tastes unmistakably like airplane coffee, which in the grand hierarchy of complimentary coffee ranks just below single-serving hotel room coffee. For the price, even a coffee Scrooge like me would say you ought to just make a new pot.
Counter Culture was originally founded in 1995 and was one of the early leaders in the specialty coffee movement. Today, they focus on sustainability and quality and offer several different roasts that you can choose from. They have several different subscription plans available, but their most popular is the single-origin subscription, which gets you two 12 oz. bags of coffee with each shipment. With this coffee subscription you can have your coffee delivered to your door every one, two, three or four weeks.
By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you'll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door. (They don't. Not for miles.)
All these processes take more time and care, and therefore more labor, and therefore increase the price of the coffee. But these coffees also simply taste better, and provide a more satisfying experience. The fact that these methods tend to be organic and socially responsible is a byproduct of the care and attention to quality that these specialty coffees require.
I got this coffee because it was on clearance. I didn't even know Paul Newman made coffee in addition to salad dressings. I figured it would be decent. I was right. It's not great coffee, but if you aren't fussy about your coffee, you will be satisfied. And for the price, you can't go wrong. If it wasn't on clearance, I would have bought Peet's coffee or something similar.
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Similar to the product that has been mentioned above, this is also a coffee that is perfect if you do not want to upset your stomach after enjoying your caffeine fix. The acid is 70% lesser compared to most of the coffee you can find on the market. There are also no additives, so you can be confident about the purity that you can enjoy in every cup. Plus, there is no pronounced bitterness, but it can provide a full flavor in every sip. Lastly, it is also rich in antioxidants, which makes the coffee good for your health.
And while you could certainly buy an expensive cup of coffee on your way to work, it’s far more economical – and often, far tastier – to brew your own. But how do you know which beans make for the best cup of brew? Should you buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee? What’s the difference between robusta and arabica? And does the degree of roasting affect the flavor?
If you want to savor some unique coffee flavors, the smaller artisanal brands are a great option. And Jo Coffee doesn’t disappoint in that regard with this premium blend of certified 100% pure Arabica coffee. The brand only sources from the top 2% of arabica growers in the world. And they do have some impressive certifications, including FairTrade and Organic. The flavor is very bittersweet, reminiscent of cocoa and brown sugar.
The coffee comes well-packaged in a traditional foil-lined bag that seals in freshness. It’s easy to peel open and can nicely be folded shut and secured with clamps that are a part of the package. Great for convenience and storage. The whole beans are nicely roasted and ready to be ground. This particular 12 ounce bag lasted the two of us about 9 days- but we are avid (almost alarmingly so) coffee drinkers. For a typical household I’d assume this bag would easily last 2 to 3 weeks. We tried this coffee with a drip coffee maker, French press, and electric coffee maker. It wasn’t quite dark enough to work with the drip coffee maker and the flavor was very mild and watery when paired with that method. The French press got the best flavor from this coffee and really allowed you to taste the mild nutty flavor. It almost has an almondy undertone. It’s not a sweet coffee and it certainly lacks a ‘punch’ that I appreciate. But it wasn’t bad and I’d highly recommend it for people who want something gentle but flavorful to wake up with.
“So thrilled with this coffee. I happened upon this brand when searching for low-acidity coffee and purchased based on the positive reviews. I’m not typically a dark-roast fan; however, I haven’t been able to drink coffee in over a year due to GI issues, so I wasn’t about to be picky. I ordered and prayed this low-acid coffee would be the solution to my problems. Could I really drink coffee again without feeling like a bonfire is roasting my insides? Well, I’m pleased to report that YES! Yes, I’m able to drink coffee again — and it’s DELICIOUS! The dark roast is so smooth and not bitter at all; no funky flavor due to the low acid content. My co-workers love the taste as well. Most importantly, my belly is as unaffected as if I drank a glass of plain water. Thanks, Java Planet, for restoring my sanity and allowing me to resume my daily coffee routine I so sorely missed.”
The professionally crafted Kauai Coffee is 100 percent Arabica Hawaiian coffee, providing you a taste of the island paradise in each cup. Select beans are expertly roasted fresh from the fields and then ground to make a mild, smooth, and aroma-rich coffee. This may be a relative newcomer in the coffee world, but the quality makes it stand out, with it being a proud USA-made product.
Two roasting companies placed three coffees each on this year’s Top-30 list: Barrington Coffee Roasters (Massachusetts) and Dragonfly Coffee Roasters (Colorado). Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (California), JBC Coffee Roasters (Wisconsin), and PT’s Coffee Roasting (Kansas) each placed two. This concentration of coffees from certain roasters was definitely not by design. In fact, we did our best to reduce the number of coffees from any one roaster on the list—we would prefer to have more roasters appear on the list rather than fewer.
Cameron’s 32-ounce pack of dark roast specialty coffee offers delicious flavor with organic benefits. Customers who drink Cameron’s appreciate what they describe as aromatic, with a full, deep and smooth flavor. Some appreciate the shiny beans, which indicate that they have a nice oil balance and some notice that the brand has a hint of chocolate flavor. But, there are long-time customers who feel that the overall quality of this coffee has been suffering from a lack of freshness due to roasting the beans and then not packing them in vacuum packed bags.
First, I don't know jack about coffee, so take this for what it's worth. I thought this was decent coffee and it is organic which is a plus, but it is too finely ground for my use, goes right through a metal strainer and will require a paper filter. The taste is definitely a medium roast which I am perfectly happy with, and it is better than the free stuff I get at work.
If we’re discussing organic, attention-to-detail coffee producers, this discussion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Koffee Kult and their process. The dedication starts with direct trade relationships with their coffee farmers around the world, support for micro-lot farms, and finishes in house when they apply the iconic Koffee Kult label. Don’t forget the impressive roasting process.
Made from hearty Indonesian beans, these medium-roast coffee pods have deep and woodsy notes that are nicely balanced out by a fruity berry flavor and nice bright acidity. Reviewers describe this blend as their go-to single-serve morning roast because of its smooth, rich, "down-to-earth" flavor without any bitterness. These pods are compatible with any Keurig single-serve coffee machine.
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.
This is made by the same manufacturer as the coffee that has been mentioned above. However, this is not decaf. It is a dark French roast, which uses premium beans from South and Central America. It has an intense and smoky flavor, which may not be appreciated by all. This is for those people who like their coffee to have a strong character. It is made only with the ripest red cherries that have been roasted by experts to extract the maximum flavor in every cup.
This box contains 100 cups of organic breakfast blend coffee, grown in Columbia and made with 100% Arabica beans. Breakfast blend is popular with many coffee drinkers as it has a mellow and smooth flavor with a touch of citrus brightness and a light, nutty finish. This coffee is also Fair Trade-certified and organically grown, making it a smart choice for those who value naturally-grown coffee beans and want to support the farmers who harvest it. Enjoy these cups at home in your single-serve brewer or bring a few to work for an afternoon lift if your breakroom has a single-serve machine.
In retrospect, the dominating presence of Ethiopia should have come as no surprise. Ethiopia usually vies with Mexico as the world’s second-largest producer of certified organic coffees, after Peru. And, certifications aside, almost all of Ethiopia’s coffee is farmed without synthetic inputs of any kind, largely because farmers can’t afford them. A study done in 2014 by the International Coffee Organization estimated that 95% of Ethiopia’s coffee is de facto organically grown. Nevertheless, only 10% of that coffee is eligible for organic certification because the rest is not fully traceable back to the cooperative or farm where it was produced.
Of the 14 samples we received of organic-certified coffees produced in Africa origins outside Ethiopia, nine were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and two were from Uganda. Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda contributed one sample each. These 14 coffees ranged in scored from 84-91, with five scoring 90 or above, a good showing, and encouragement for those who may want to consider buying organic coffees from these origins. The vast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which contributed nine samples, has established itself as a source of fine specialty coffee through the development of the SOPACDI cooperative in the far eastern part of the DRC, just across Lake Kivu from Rwanda. This rapidly growing cooperative now has 5,600 members and is apparently succeeding its goal to help heal wounds left by the latest in eastern Congo’s seemingly endless string of horrific civil wars. The cooperative’s coffees typically carry both organic and Fair Trade certification and can be quite attractive in the style of the pungently spicy, sweet-savory coffees that often come out of the African Great Lakes region.
HI Benji! Happy New Year! I enjoy reading your articles. I get most of my whole bean single origin specialty coffees from Lakota Coffee Co in Columbia, MO. The roastmaster does an exceptional job with all of his coffees. I was curious …. do you like Indian Monsooned Malabar? Three of my other favorites are Papua New Guinea, Guatemala Antigua, and Tanzania Peaberry.
Something that kept coming up in our research was “conscious consumerism,” or awareness of the impact your coffee makes on the community, environment and overall quality of life of those who harvest and grow it. Campaigns for products free from animal testing, bee friendly pesticides, compostable packaging and sustainable farming are all part of conscious consumerism.
Featuring 100% Arabica Beans for high quality taste, and having USDA Organic credentials, First Colony Coffee is packed in 24 ounce bags of dark roasted beans. Many customers enjoyed the rich dark flavor they found in this rainforest blend. A few experts felt that their cup was average in taste. Some recommended cold brewing the beans, while others recommended grinding the beans at the last minute before brewing to enhance the flavor, using double the amount recommended per every six- ounce cup of coffee. Most appreciated that the coffee is advertised as Fair Trade.
This is similar to the coffee that has been mentioned above, but the main difference is that it is a darker roast. Because of this, the flavor tends to be more pronounced. Still, you can expect that there is no extreme bitterness. It should also be noted that it has up to seven times more antioxidants compared to what you can find in green tea. It has been through a unique roasting process that has been developed exclusively by the manufacturer to reduce its bitterness by as much as 70%.
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....