Here is the absolute best kind of roaster—relentlessly focused, but also accommodating to the curious public. Working from an industrial section of the city's northern fringe, one of the state's top operations offers Friday public cuppings, and tries to keep its door open as much as possible. Should you prefer more traditional café surroundings, that's fine—Blanchard's supplies shops around town, including a sparkling café counter in the lobby at Richmond's stylish new Quirk Hotel.
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.
Early on one of the best places in the country for a really good cup of coffee, New Orleans enjoyed a nice, long rest on its laurels, but that's all over now—today, the city is well served by new shops and roasters, some of them quite good. The opening of this Algiers Point roaster/café, however, feels like a real leveling-up for the local scene—a joint effort between local boy Ian Barrileaux and Seattle native Eliot Guthrie, the two met while working at Donald Link's Cochon Butcher. (They now supply all of Donald Link's restaurants.)

Here is the absolute best kind of roaster—relentlessly focused, but also accommodating to the curious public. Working from an industrial section of the city's northern fringe, one of the state's top operations offers Friday public cuppings, and tries to keep its door open as much as possible. Should you prefer more traditional café surroundings, that's fine—Blanchard's supplies shops around town, including a sparkling café counter in the lobby at Richmond's stylish new Quirk Hotel.
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
Also reviewed here are Black Oak’s Ethiopia Hambela Alaka (93) and Noble Coffee’s Ethiopia Bishan Fugu (93), both of which are certified USDA organic, and labeled as such on the bags. Red E Café’s Homacho Waeno Natural (93; one of two coffees on this list imported by Sustainable Harvest), is in the same category as the Big Creek and Revel coffees noted above: certified organic at the farm level, but with no certification indicated on the bags.
Relatively late to the good coffee game, it's hard to tell just where New York excels most—convincing the world it knows what it's doing when it comes to coffee, or actually setting a damn trend. Amid so much noise and a whole lot of colonization, here is a very good roaster, created by a Blue Bottle and Stumptown grad. (Remember when those beardy West Coasters had to come to town to teach us how coffee was done, just a few short years ago? We sure do.) Not the newest game in town, and slightly off the beaten path, over near Brooklyn's Navy Yard, Parlor, which began life as a pop-up bar in the back of a Williamsburg barber shop, is in every way a gem, and it knows it—their tasting room keeps catch-them-if-you-can, Sunday-only opening hours.
“Let me start off by saying, I FREAKING LOVE COFFEE! And I love trying any new beans I can get my hands on. Usually, I don’t really care for the Colombian beans. They’re among my least favorite. However, these were really darn good. A rich and bold roast-y flavor with dark-chocolate notes. Dark chocolate happens to be another of my vices, and I’ve always liked a good bean that pairs well with it. Upon opening the bag, the smell of the beans permeated our household, and both my wife and I kept saying, ‘I can’t wait to try that coffee!’ … If you like dark roasts that have a bit of a dark-chocolaty flavor, give this a try. I already bought a second bag, and now I really want to try some of Stone Street’s other coffee.”
Who would have guessed that one of the most impressive coffee roasters in the West would have come up in the land of hot drinks abstainers? No doubt the pioneering team behind this single estate-only operation were slightly surprised, too—at a time when Salt Lake had very little good coffee to speak of, they took the plunge; now it's hard to imagine Utah's impressive artisan scene without them.

Café Altura is a regular roast organic decaf coffee that will thrill your senses without you worrying one single second about caffeine. It’s both organic and Kosher. You can drink it any time of the day you choose and, more importantly, it’s so good that you can enjoy it both hot and cold. It also has a very low acidic level, which will do wonders for your gastro-intestinal system.

The Koffee Kult from Hollywood, Florida is a true artisanal passion, roasted in small batches, by hand, to ensure quality. Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee creates an exceptional cup of gourmet coffee that has inspired a cult-like following. The company prides themselves on delivering pure Arabica coffee beans, for a strong, not bitter taste. There’s no filler robusta coffee being used here.
This is my favorite coffee! It's better than coffee I get at local coffee shops that sells for 20 dollars a pound. It's not too strong or too weak. I like to add milk, but this coffee is good black as well. I've tried a couple other Equal Exchange flavors, and I've enjoyed all of them, but Love Buzz is the one I keep returning to. I had originally tried it at a food co-op, and I just got a small amount to try, but as soon as I finished it I had to buy a whole bag of it. It's great that it's also fair traded, meaning people are paid fairly for the work that went into making this coffee.
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.
It feels disingenuous to make pour-over coffee with Folger’s from a plastic tub, but I have done it, and the results are quite drinkable. Canned coffee has a heftiness to it that only the darkest-roast bagged coffee achieves, and often at the expense of flavor. Folger’s is dark enough to mask distracting flavors, thin enough not to coat the esophagus with silty grounds, and so, so cheap. The label  estimates it contains 60 servings—I make my coffee fairly strong, so I might not quite hit 60, but I bet it’d last me two weeks or so, which at $8 a month is cheaper than Netflix. Much like deli coffee, Folger’s has a flavor that depends greatly on proper drinking temperature—it is punishing when tepid. A microwave brings it almost back to where it needs to be, almost, but with such a large tub there’s no reason not to fix yourself another pour-over.
The soul of this coffee is in the high-altitude region of Latin America, which is the one responsible for making the coffee naturally bright and sweet. To be specific, the beans are sourced all the way from Colombia and Guatemala. The premium beans that are used in the production of the coffee provides a medium and smooth body with notes of sweet citrus and chocolate. The company is also known for its programs that help its local farmers as a way of giving back to the community.
This coffee was one of the best whole bean coffee's I've purchased from Amazon. I use it to supplement my normal monthly purchases of Kicking Horse Coffee Kick Ass Dark, Whole Bean Coffee, 2.2-Pound Pouch and Jammin' Java Coffee Lion's Blend, Organic Gourmet Whole Bean Coffee. Medium Dark, Rich & Aromatic., 2.2-Pounds. (Yes I drink a lot of coffee in my house) I found the slight orange hints in the the roast to be very pleasant to the palette but not too overpowering in caffeine. It's very smooth and as my title suggests, no bitter aftertaste. I feel this blend is worth at least a try if you like stronger dark roasts. Tried this in a French press and a conventional machine. Makes a great cup in either.
Bitterness is the result of brewing. If you extract too much out of the ground coffee, the result will be a harsh, bitter finish. This usually happens when the grind size is too fine. The particles are smaller, so the water can touch more of the coffee, and ultimately extract more of it.Bitterness in coffee is something you can avoid by brewing properly. Acidity in coffee is natural and cannot be avoided by brewing. Though, you can “cover” some of the acidity with a dark roast or simply buy beans with a lower acidity.Single Origin vs BlendsMany coffee companies will offer single origin coffees as well as blends.Single origin simply means unblended. It’s a coffee from one specific region, such as an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. A blend, therefore, means it's a few beans, blended into one packet. Duhhh.So why do some people blend beans? There's a good reason and a bad reason.Blends are designed to produce a balance in terms of flavor, body, and acidity. A roaster might blend a coffee with a full body with another coffee that has very bright tasting notes in order to get the best of both coffees in one cup.That's what happens when a roaster knows what he/she is doing. If they don't, they may blend to hide poorly roasted beans among normal beans. Stick to roasters that have a good reputation.Interested in blending the beans yourself? Learn some tips here.PRO TIP: Watch out for companies who blend to save money. E.g if they are selling an expensive bean, they will use it as a blend to make it go further.Roast dateYou know to freshly roasted beans, but how do you know how fresh it is?Top-line coffee roasters include a roast date for their coffee, which lets you know how long it's been since it was roasted. Most coffee experts agree that whole bean coffee retains its freshness between one week and one month after roasting.To make the most of the short time your coffee is at its freshest:Buy only what you know you can use in a few weeks. This comes with a bonus: you get the opportunity to try another coffee right away! Want a medium roast this week, then a light roast the week after that? How about beans from Guatemala versus Colombian beans? Buying in small amounts can help you find the perfect coffee flavor for you.Regardless of your brewing method or coffee maker, brew your coffee within 30 minutes of grinding.Keep your whole beans in a cool, dry place in a container that protects them from light, heat, air, and moisture. Enjoying your coffee within a few weeks of its roast date is crucial, but here are a few other common mistakes you can avoid with a little preparation.Fair TradeFair Trade coffee has been grown and produced to certified standards, which are then upheld across the network of producers, organizations, consumers, and companies.These standards help provide a sustainable income for the farmers and workers who grow and harvest coffee, on an individual and community level. They also reduce the negative impact on the environment where coffee is grown.Offering better trading conditions to coffee farmers, many of whom live in poor and marginalized parts of the world, helps provide better living conditions for farmers and their cities, towns, and villages.In short: This is improving the lives of the people who grow, harvest, and process the coffee beans that we treasure. You can learn more about how it works in our article on Fair Trade coffee here..USDA organicOrganic coffee means that it's grown without pesticides, right? It's a little more complicated than that. There are requirements for growing, processing, and even packaging coffee to ensure that it meets the standards implied in the organic label.And the requirements vary among countries that certify coffee (or other products as organic.The organic certification by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is representative of the kind of standards and qualifications that represent organic coffee. These include the use of natural rather than synthetic fertilizer, shade-grown coffee crops that rely on bird and animal life as natural pest control for the coffee trees, and even ensuring that coffee roasters have only been used to prepare organically grown coffee beans.Aside from the benefits of drinking organic coffee, it's better for the environment as well. Organic coffee orchards don't contribute to deforestation, meaning trees can continue to produce oxygen (which to some of us is almost as important as coffee). It also means that the habitat for animals, birds, bugs, and everything else is left much more intact.Want to know more? Read our article about the details of organic coffee here.THE BEST COFFEE BEANS OF 2019 (WHOLE BEAN COFFEE)Ok, enough with the education. You're ready for the list.Here are 10 beans that you should get on your coffee bean bucket list before you die.#1 - Kona Beans (Hawaii)Kona is the largest Hawaiian island and is the best for growing high quality coffee. The best coffee in American, in fact, voted by Forbes,With an excellent microclimate, the perfect blend of rain and sun, and fertile, volcanic soil, the slopes on the big island just happen to be perfect for growing coffee. Read more about Hawaiian coffee beans here.To get your hands on  high quality Kona coffee, you will have to pay a premium. Not only is coffee from here limited in production and highly sought after, it’s grown in the United States where farmers are paid much more than the average farmer in a traditional coffee growing country.A high quality Kona coffee is worth the money as long as you buy the real thing. Never buy a blend, as only 10% of the blend will be Kona. Always buy Extra Fancy (the grade) as that is the highest quality. With a medium body, low acidity, and rich, smooth taste, this coffee will be an excellent addition to your auto drip or pour over routine. Koa Coffee is our favorite place to buy authentic, quality, coffee beans. >>> CLICK HERE for a 10% discount on Kona Coffee BeansSpecificationsBrand: Koa CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Hawaii, USAType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nutsAroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidityRecommended brew styles: Drip and French Press#2 - Blue Mountain Coffee (Jamaica)Jamaica produces a relatively small amount of coffee each year, and not all of it comes from the Blue Mountain. But the coffee that does grow here is grown at a very high elevation.It’s extremely limited in production and about 80% of each years crop goes to Japan. Plus, these beans are extremely labor intensive to produce, needing to be handpicked from the mountain slopes. The high elevation, cool temperatures and volcanic soil helps result in a harvest that takes nearly 10 months, which is much longer than that of other coffee growing regions.The resulting cup of coffee will be well balanced with a full body, medium acidity with a mildly sweet taste. Some say blue mountain​​ coffee is the smoothest brew they've ever enjoyed.So getting these quality beans in the States will cost you a pretty penny. Is it worth it? Anyone that has tasted Blue Mountain Coffee will say: F-yes.But like Kona, Blue Mountain is one of those coffees that needs to be purchased wisely.Many brands will mislead you into buying their coffee, claiming the Jamaican Blue Mountain name. Avoid blends and any Jamaican coffee priced less than $20/lb. To call a coffee Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend, only a very small amount of the coffee actually needs to be Blue Mountain.The profile of this coffee will make for an excellent drip coffee, whether pour over or automatic. Drink it black and enjoy one of the most sought after coffees in the world.>>> Click here to see the price on REAL Blue Mountain coffee beans.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: JamaicaType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nutsAroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidityRecommended brew styles: Drip#3 - Kenyan AA Coffee BeansKenya coffee beans are among the finest in the world. The effort that farmers go through cleaning and processing these beans is unmatched.Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to the quality of Kenyan coffee is the fact that the farmers are rewarded for better coffee. The government runs an auction in which all the coffee in Kenya is sold. Higher quality coffees sell for a higher price, giving farmers an incentive to improve their crop.AA is the largest sized bean, followed by AB. In Kenya, the bigger the better. Always look for AA. These coffees are characterized by sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy body. Due to the processing, these coffees are among the cleanest tasting in the world.Kenyan coffee beans make for excellent drip coffee, pour over or automatic. The medium-full body and bright fruit notes are sure to leave you smiling with each cup.Want to sip on some hot, flavor bursting, luscious Kenyan AA beans? Try here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: KenyaType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy bodyAroma: Fresh and floralRecommended brew styles: Drip#4 - Peaberry Beans (Tanzania)A peaberry is a single, round coffee bean inside the coffee cherry. A normal coffee cherry holds 2 beans, side by side, each with a flat side. The peaberry is alone inside the cherry and shaped differently.Because of the round shape and the fact that these beans are more dense than most coffee beans, they roast more uniformly. Only about 5% of all coffee beans are peaberry. In order to get a lot of strictly peaberry beans, rigorous hand sorting is required to separate them from their half-bean counterparts. This added labor increases cost.Peaberry coffee beans from Tanzania tend to have a brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitiness.Peaberry is best suited for an automatic dripper or as a pour over. Grab a serving here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: TanzaniaType: Single originTasting notes: A brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitinessAroma: Complex and sweety floral with layered notes of citrus, pineapple or coconutRecommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over#5 - Dark Sumatra Mandheling Beans from IndonesiaThis coffee is named after the Mandailing people who once farmed the coffee in northern Sumatra.Coffees from this area tend to have lower acidity with a sweet, smooth body. The coffee can vary in taste from cocoa and tobacco to earthy and herbaceous. Many people choose to dark roast Sumatra coffees to enhance sweetness and its almost spicy flavor.Coffees from Sumatra as a whole are typically processed with a hybrid method, akin to wet-hulling. This processing method is perhaps the largest factor in the outcome of the coffee.These coffee beans are different, there’s no doubt about that. The fact is, some people swear by it and some people won’t touch it. It’s one of the great controversies in coffee.Due to its full body and low acidity this coffee does very well in a french press or pressure style brewing method.Buy your Sumatran Beans here (to ensure you get the best, fresh beans).SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Sumatra, IndonesiaType: Single originTasting notes: lower acidity with a sweet, smooth bodyAroma: earthy, mossy, funky and mushroomyRecommended brew style: French Press and pressure brewing#6 - Sulawesi Toraja Coffee BeansSulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is an Indonesian island to the east of Borneo. Toraja is the name of the group of people who grow and harvest the coffee here.Coffee is a family business on this island. Many families grow coffee on their property as a means of adding some income to their household, but is often not a priority. Therefore, the coffee infrastructure isn’t very strong.This may be the reason these beans aren’t very common.Coffee beans are partially processed by the family before being sold to a middleman at the local markets. These middlemen then go to the larger processing mills where the beans are completely dried and the work is finished.The best coffees from Sulawesi will be very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notes to it. This coffee will make for a great medium-dark roast, highlighting the sweetness and full body present in the coffee.Brew up a french press or pull a shot with this solid, unique coffee.Click here to try these tasty, yet rare, coffee beans.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Sulawesi, IndonesiaType: Single originTasting notes: Very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notesAroma: Spicy, earthy, musty and woodsyRecommended brew style: French Press and Espresso#7 - Central American Geisha Coffee BeansGeisha coffee beans are among the most unique in the world.Though they can in theory grow anywhere, they have a special reputation when grown in Panama and Costa Rica. The most famous farm is Hacienda La Esmeralda.The Geisha bean was originally discovered in Ethiopia, near the town of Geisha. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this bean varietal made it to Panama.What makes the Geisha bean unique? It has a natural tea-like body with a ton of clear, bright, sparkling flavors such as citrus, mango, peach and jasmine. You may also pick up on some bergamot or vanilla notes..This is a tough coffee to find for a few reasons. Few cafes serve it because it is an extremely expensive coffee and it is served best as a filter coffee. Cafes serve mainly milk based beverages, so it doesn’t make sense for many to serve a coffee that can only be taken black.You’ve likely never had a coffee like this before. It is truly unique. If you enjoy lighter, brighter coffees, this is one you need to try.Start enjoying some of the worlds most sought after coffee after picking up an authentic bag of beans here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Central AmericaType: Single originTasting notes: Natural tea-like body, sparkling flavors like citrus, mango, peach and jasmineAroma: Floral and lemony tonesRecommended brew style: Pour Over and Filter#8 - Monsooned Malabar beans from IndiaMellow flavor lies within the Monsooned Malabar beans from India given their name because of how the wind disperses them during the monsoon season.The beans expand with moisture and create a rich finish - so we recommend trying them if you live in a humid environment to get the most out of the experience.Try brewing these in a french press, moka pot, or espresso machine of any type.SpecificationsBrand: Coffee Bean DirectBeans: ArabicaOrigin: IndiaType: Single originTasting notes: Strong, intense, low acid, tons of syrupy chocolate and dark cocoa tonesAroma: Funky, pungent, mixed spices and herbalRecommended brew style: Espresso#9 - Yirgacheffe Beans from EthiopiaYirgacheffe is regarded as holy among the global coffee community.Ethiopia itself is regarded as the birthplace of coffee and beans from Yirgacheffe are it’s pride and joy. Sidama is a region in Ethiopia that contains the microregion of Yirgacheffe. Within Yirgacheffe, however, are even smaller regions: Adado, Aricha, Kochere, Konga, and more.These coffees are typically wet processed, producing a coffee that is light in body, almost tea-like, with complex fruit and floral notes. Go into any specialty coffee shop and you are likely to find coffee from this region on the shelf. It’s easy to see why these coffees are known as the gateway to great coffee.When roasted lightly, these coffees are excellent in an automatic drip or pour over. They also make for a refreshing iced coffee or cold brew. Try a medium roast or something darker for a tasty shot of espresso.Here's our favorite place to buy freshly roasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe online.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: EthiopiaType: Single originTasting notes: light body, with complex fruit and floral notesAroma: earthy, with cinnamon and strawberry undertonesRecommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over#10 - Death Wish Coffee BeansA new addition to this list is death wish coffee. Simply put; these are USDA certified sustainable, organic, low acid and (very) highly caffeinated coffee beans. If you’re in need of a huge energy hit but don’t want sacrifice quality these are for you.They offer a range of options; whole bean, ground coffee, coffee pods and even a coffee subscription option (if you dare). The common theme: high quality beans with whopping 3-6x more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee.The Death Wish Coffee Company offers so much more than just strong beans. I tried these and was pleasantly surprised by the bean quality and roast profile. You can read our full review here.Buy Death Wish Coffee here.SpecificationsBrand: Death Wish CoffeeBeans: Arabica and Robusta BlendOrigin: Mixed (see store)Type: blendTasting notes: Strong and bold Aroma: strong, nuttyRecommended brew style: French press or espressoYou've Bought The Best Coffee Beans. Now What?By now, you should have your precious beans and you should be enjoying them.If you want them to stay fresh you'll need to think about how you're going to store them. Here are a few tips:Store them in a coffee canisterThe enemies of coffee are air, moisture, heat, and light. This means the best place to store your beans is in something airtight and opaque in a cool, dry place.(Those decorative glass jars may show off your silky brown coffee beans, but for storage, they're not the best. Light breaks down the compounds that give your coffee its unique aroma and flavor.) Metal or ceramic containers will keep out light. And if a container airtight, it's moisture-tight too.If you are buying the freshest whole bean coffee you can (and the roast date says so, right?), they may continue to vent a little carbon dioxide over the week or so that you store them. Some of the best coffee canisters have one-way valves that allow carbon dioxide to vent without letting air (and moisture) in. Finally, think about how much you can store in the canister. You don't need a lot of room if you only buy enough coffee beans for about a week, but if it's too small, you may have to find alternate storage if you buy a pound or so at a time.
Use your own grounds. Reusable K-Cups are a gift from the coffee gods! They're only compatible with the original Keurig machines (though this YouTube tutorial will show you how to reuse a K-Cup with a 2.0), but a reusable K-Cup allows you to refill the cups with your own coffee grounds. You can use an extra-strength ground to make your coffee delicious as well as quick-brewed. The finer the ground, the stronger the flavor.

Seattle got most of the attention, but the '90's were very good to the Windy City, coffee-wise—let's start with Intelligentsia, beginning life as a relatively modest café and roastery in the Lakeview section of town, back in 1995. Like Seattle today, Chicago's scene is wonderfully layered, offering up everything from the unabashedly traditional to the cutting-edge. For the best of the latter, look way, way west—steps from where the notorious Horner projects stood crumbling thirty years ago—to a block shared with another celebrated coffee roaster (Sparrow) and a very good brandy distillery (Rhine Hall). Metric, something of a power partnership between the owner of a popular local café and a talented Intelligentsia vet, roasts its prized beans on a restored 1961 Probat, keeping relatively limited hours in an on-site café and tasting room, where public cuppings are held every Friday morning.
Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.
Run a water cycle. Unless you've just finished using the Keurig, the water in the deposit is likely going to be tepid, meaning lower brewing temperatures (a common problem with the Keurig). Before you brew, run a water cycle to heat up the water and the machine. Follow it quickly with a brew, and the water will be slightly hotter—ergo, a better brewing temperature.
Love yourself enough not to drink Starbucks coffee at home. I don’t know a single black-coffee drinker who prefers Starbucks to Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’d wager the brands’ respective grocery-store offerings are likely to preserve these allegiances. Starbucks coffee black tastes like drip coffee made with day-old coffee instead of water, and the headache it produces is textbook coffeeache—right behind the eyes, accompanied by an involuntary grimace. Additionally, Starbucks coffee is almost hilariously expensive for how bad it is, and for how many other coffees there are to drink. Drink it out in the world if you must, but spare yourself the pain in your own damn kitchen.
To find the best grocery store coffee, we tasted 11 brands commonly found at grocery stores around the country or online. I first conducted this test in July of 2017, but re-tested recently, incorporating a few new coffees that we hadn't tasted in the first round—for example, the coffee from Thrive, which is an online-only grocery store. Epicurious staffers rated the coffees and provided tasting notes. (I myself can be a little forgiving when it comes to bad coffee, so we needed outside opinions.) For every brand, we ordered a medium roast, which was usually "Breakfast Blend" or something equivalent.

“This is the best fair-trade medium roast I’ve found that can be ordered online. I used to live where I could go to a local importer and roaster of beans, and this product almost rivals those beans in quality. The beans come super fresh inside the package and are evenly roasted. The flavor is smooth and deep, with a nice velvety mouthfeel that is normally reserved for darker roasts. My favorite way to enjoy these are with a French press, but they are also delicious from a drip coffee maker and make great stove-top espresso in a Moka pot. When I run out of locally roasted beans I always order these to hold me over.”

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.
“What’s the worst thing about coffee? Bitter. Bitter is bad. Bizzy has conquered bitter with this cold-brew blend. I brew for 24 hours, in the fridge, leaving a smooth, sweet concentrate available when needed. I just pour over ice, add a splash of sweet cream, and abracadabra, magic. The blend is organic, a huge plus [with] a mix of light to dark roasts, perfectly course ground for cold brewing. I’m in love. Thank you, Bizzy!”
My husband thought this blend was okay, though not as good as the Breakfast Blend (he gives 3 stars). I did not like it at all (1 star). It left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth long after the coffee was gone. I tried it both hot and iced, and experienced the same bitterness. We tried making it weaker and stronger than suggested, brewed from different bags, alternated with the Breakfast Blend, and used fresh water - every pot tasted bitter to me and just okay to my husband. Can't recommend.
“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.”
Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.
Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.

Café du Monde, like Chock Full o’ Nuts, is as much a stylistic choice as a gastronomic one, and both require a deep well of cultural identification to stomach on a regular basis. Chicory has historically been used as a coffee substitute as well as a flavoring agent, and chicory coffee in the US is closely associated with New Orleans coffee culture. Café du Monde is named for an actual coffee stand in New Orleans that has been in operation since the 1860s, and may be the best-known domestic producer of chicory coffee, if not the only one. The iconic marigold can includes a recipe for café au lait, the traditional chicory coffee drink sold at the IRL Café du Monde; given the parameters of this coffee taste-test, and the practical concerns of an at-home coffee drinker without the ability or desire to boil milk every morning just to stomach their coffee, I drank it black. This may have been a mistake. The flavor of chicory is interesting, and even initially enjoyable, but the romance was gone for me after about two minutes. I had a similar physical reaction to Chock Full o’ Nuts, my face contorting involuntarily into what I feel compelled to call a Chicory Frown. This worsened as it cooled, but cold black chicory coffee is nothing compared to microwaved chicory coffee. After a single sip I poured it out in the sink. Chicory has its devotees, but I fear the taste is not one I can acquire.


Bright. Lemon. Red Honey. If any of those cupping notes sound like your preference, perhaps you’ll enjoy the Dark Costa Rica Tarrazu K-cup. Grown in the rugged mountains of the “Land of Saints” in Southeastern Costa Rica at over 1200 meters, this is a coffee that lends heavily to those ins search of intense flavor. Costa Rican coffees are often prized for their high notes and their smooth body.
The Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Whole Bean comes from Honduras, more specifically from the Marcala region. Since this is located at a very high altitude, the producers don’t need to worry about insects that tend to affect other coffee production areas. Besides, whenever there is a bug problem, producers plant peppers near to act as a natural repellent. So, no fertilizers are ever used when producing the Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Whole Bean.
The best light roast and whole bean coffee was our top pick, Verena Street – Mississippi Grogg. The office chatter surrounding this taste test made it a staple on the office shopping list and is now in the rotation of coffee blends brewed. Receiving the most eight, nine and tens across the scoring board, people loved the natural hazelnut flavor found in the roast.
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.

The title doesn’t disappoint—this coffee has double the level of caffeine of most premier coffees. It’s hailed as The World’s Strongest Coffee, and for good reasons. It’s not just about the caffeine levels, Death Wish Organic Coffee‘s got that bold, rich, yet smooth and low-acidic taste that everybody is bound to love. Bring out the skull and crossbone bag of coffee beans in front of your friends and play chicken with the coffee maker. You’ll be up all night with the most coffee-tasting coffee this side of anywhere. These folks offer the best return policy on their specific, expertly-roasted coffee bean blend, which is also all USDA-certified organic and Kosher, as well as Fairtrade. Indulge your caffeine cravings with Death Wish.
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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