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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Produced by Equal Exchange, this coffee is a blend of French Roasted and Full City coffees. The content is gourmet Arabica beans. The beans are fairly traded in Latin American from small farmer cooperatives. The resulting coffee is said to have flavors of chocolate brownie, toffee, malt, and caramel corn. It is a deep and rich blend which customers enjoy because it is not bitter, has a wonderful aroma, and is fresh when it arrives.
Formerly a multi-roaster subscription, Moustache is now roasting everything in-house to maximize freshness. In fact, they go from beans in the roaster to a box in the mail within about 5 hours – which is pretty darn impressive. Another thing we like about Moustache is that they are working top-notch importers and sourcing over 70 different kinds of coffee so you could join the weekly plan and never get the same coffee twice in a year. That’s a sampler’s paradise!
Kim Westerman is a licensed Q-grader, a longtime food, wine and travel writer and a certified sommelier. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Bites, and many other publications. She happily brings her sensory training in wine to the evaluation of coffee in Coffee Review’s Berkeley lab. She also handles communication with roasters and review logistics.
A popular, professional blend combining the best of Indonesian and African Robusta and Brazilian Arabica coffees, the Lavazza is simply extraordinary by any standard. It provides an intense aroma and a rich aftertaste with unique chocolaty notes. It is an ideal ground coffee for making espresso-based beverages, yet also appropriate for people who enjoy a standard cup of coffee.
Promising review for their Dark Roast blend: "I've always been wary of cults: the blind loyalty, bad punch, separation from family, etc. However, after going through about 40 pounds of Koffee Kult Dark Roast in the last year, I'm now a well-informed and dedicated drinker of exceptional koffee with my whole family. Yes, even my 9-year-old loves this stuff." —Ben V
On the other hand, from our inception Coffee Review has been committed to starting with what we actually experience in the cup, not with product categories or marketing considerations or fashion. It is true that we took into account some extrinsic factors like value, rarity and sustainable intentions into account when we narrowed the number of very high-rated coffees from about 100 to 30, but ultimately, sensory quality and distinction in the cup, as determined by blind-tasting and as reflected in rating, was the entry point to consideration for the list and the primary influence on where coffees landed on it.

As a mildly employed freelance writer, I have little disposable income, a lot of time on my hands, and strictly rationed vices. One such vice is coffee, which I drink more of than most people I know—even other freelance writers. But, despite my quantity-over-quality brewing habits, I’m capable of mustering some taste, and of standing by preference with reasoned conviction. So, with limited resources for fanciness and a desperate addiction in mind, I set out to determine which basic, widely available coffee brand should stand out from the rest on the grocery store shelf. I enjoy a Blue Bottle pour-over as much as the next fiend, but a $3 morning coffee is above my pay grade. I drink most of my coffee at home, from a bag of grounds that costs around $8, reupped on a bi-weekly grocery run. My choice of bag is usually determined by habit, or price, or shelf height, with less care than I take choosing a bar of soap, though I use both daily. When it comes to choosing a regular coffee—travel-mug, after-dinner, Sunday-morning coffee—which is best?

I think I would try other coffees from this brand and would probably really like their darker flavors. For people who really want a lot of kick to their coffee I wouldn’t suggest this particular one though. Great things about this particular brand include the fact they are fair trade and organic. They source their coffee beans from small locally owned farmers who practice natural farming. Although my coffee connoisseur attitude does inspire me to occasionally indulge in a new Starbucks option, I always feel much better when I’m conscious about what I buy and opt for brands that seem more aware of their farmers practices and wellbeing. Fair Trade is a great option for the ‘ethically aware’ coffee shoppers out there.
This K-cup is compatible with all Keurig coffee machines. It is made using beans that have been grown in lands at high altitude. This means that the coffee is denser, and it is also more potent in terms of the antioxidants that it contains. Best of all, there is a satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer. If you are unhappy in any way with this coffee, you can have it returned and you will be given an unconditional refund.
Revisiting the Andes: Coffees From Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia The three coffee-growing countries that range along the Andes south of Colombia — Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia — have rich and storied coffee histories. When Coffee Review last dove in to this region, with reports in 2010 and 2013, we found many impressively solid, softly balanced coffees in the Latin-American tradition — all produced from […] Mar 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
The not-so-big city at the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster already had Square One Roasters—apparently, there's room for yet another great. Founded by a Blue Bottle/Parlor vet with local roots, this roaster's sensitively-mod retail operation sits just off Penn Square, across a very charming alleyway from the city's historic market hall. Carefully sourced coffees are fascinating, sometimes quite unusual, service can be downright gracious—this is one of those places everyone ought to come to take notes, to see how it's done. 
But that also means finding the best coffee brand for you can be a long, laborious process of trial and error. If you are a beginner, check out our reliable but short guide to find the right coffee grinds/blends for you. And if you are a seasoned veteran who just wants to explore some new mixes, then head straight to our list of some top rated Coffee blends available online. And if you are in a hurry, check out our handy comparison table!
“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.”
It depicts the source of organic coffee to be from the place called Yemen and Indonesia. However, there is a blend of Arabica in this pack which many of the coffee fanatics cherish. In fact, there are some regular Mocha Java consumers who hardly seem to switch to another brand because of the sweet bitter taste. It is the energy rush of this coffee that will leave you mesmerizing about the roasting methods.
One of the best things about this product is the fact that it went through the Techno Roasting process. The latter is an FDA-approved procedure, which has the benefit of eliminating the acid in the coffee that causes heartburn. This also preserves the qualities of the coffee, such as the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To add, it also removes the bitterness of the coffee while retaining its rich body and flavor. This means that you can enjoy unadulterated coffee with the purest flavor and aroma.
At the absolute most, if you’re looking to preserve beans in their original packaging, you can refrigerate your beans, but never freeze them. Coffee beans are naturally oily, even the dryer roasts. It’s part of what keeps the flavor going strong. When the oils freeze to the beans, they become stale-tasting, even though you’ll be defrosting them. It changes the beans entirely.
Coming in 5th on the list overall and 2nd on the known brands list, Dunkin’ Donuts medium roast scored major points as a great coffee choice. Testers were all over the place wondering what kind of roast this was due to its strong aroma and bold taste. Our office testers who enjoy a bold cup of coffee ranked this very highly in taste and finish, but others listed it as harsh and acidic. One tester noted that they enjoyed the coffee more when they let it cool down and added ice to it. We loved that idea! Another wallet friendly choice, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will only cost you $.44 per ounce.
As one of the few products we have reviewed, that comes in hermetically sealed pressurized cans; this brand deserves some applause. The package results in an intensely fresh coffee powder. And illy is an excellent option if you want the authentic Italian taste. Their products are certified ethical by DNV. The coffee blend contains 100% pure Arabica beans sourced from growers across the world.
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.
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.
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.
Cafe Don Pablo has been working tirelessly for some time now, to deliver a bold and natural coffee experience that lends itself to the lands it was created in. Providing low acidity and deep, rich flavor of milk chocolate with extraordinary notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey, Don Pablo Subtle Earth K-Cups are made of high quality, 100% Arabica coffee. Produced with no artificial substances, and grown at a high altitude where pests won’t disturb the crop, these K-Cups are certified organic by the CCOF.
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. 
While there are some places you can find the best coffee, there are many places that you should definitely not buy coffee from.Where To AVOID:The Grocery store - They often sell low-quality coffee beans with a long shelf life. (The exception here is Whole Foods and other artisan stores, which carry coffee from reputable roasters.)Amazon - Again, it’s the question of freshness. It is often roasted ahead of time so it could be packaged, shipped and stocked in the warehouse. PRO TIP: Even if the Amazon listing says “Fresh Roasted,” it might be 6 months old, as that is fresh in comparison with many of the other store bought beans. Yikes!HOW to Choose The Best Coffee BeansWhat type of coffee should you choose? Sometimes coffee bags are covered in words that don’t mean anything to us.Let’s decipher some of those for you.Arabica beans vs Robusta beansArabica beans are far superior to Robusta in terms of flavor and quality. They can be grown at higher elevations, giving the beans more time to develop their favor.Robusta beans contain more caffeine than Arabica. They are also much more disease resistant and produce a higher yield. That is why farmers still like to grow robusta, even though they sell for a much lower price.Robusta is grown for companies that produce instant coffee and other lower quality, grocery store blends. You probably won’t see a roaster advertising their Robusta coffee. Stay away from it if you love great coffee.Acidity and BitternessDifferent coffees will have different amounts of acid content.Acidity is not a bad thing, as that is what gives coffee its natural flavor. Some people like more, some like less. The acidity present in coffee has more to do with taste as opposed to pH, though many claim acidity in coffee to cause digestive issues.Coffees from Africa are typically characterized by a higher acidity, with fruity or floral tasting notes.Coffees from places like Brazil or Sumatra tend to have a much lower acidity with cocoa and nutty notes.PRO TIP: A big part of it has to do with growing altitude. Coffee's grown at lower altitudes generally have lower acidity level. Read this article if you want to learn more about low acid coffee.
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.

Fair Trade International upholds social, economic and environmental development standards (Fairtrade International, 2015). While some of these standards are required to receive certification, some are simply encouraged. For example, they are required to pay the minimum price, offer sufficient health conditions, and cannot use child labor. On the other hand, growing coffee organically is not required, but it is encouraged and rewarded.
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.
The Sunshine State has its share of interesting new cafes, but this extremely good roaster transcends not only its peers, but also bests the top offerings in many other states in the Southeast, and perhaps beyond. And here we are, still just talking about the coffee—the energy of Panther's cafes, which function as life hubs in a growing number of neighborhoods, from Coconut Grove to Little Haiti, is typically something approaching electric, and never to be missed. Don’t start a South Florida day without a visit to Panther.

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.


This isn’t a particular brand of coffee apart from their parent company Green Mountain (which, by the way, is a pretty good coffee according to the brand qualifiers we used here) but a brewing method. While convenient for the consumer, this method has created a huge amount of waste sent to landfills each year. The plastic pods cannot be recycled easily by most cities and therefore have to be disposed of. Here’s a good video that further explores the issue. The traditional way to make coffee produces very little waste since coffee grounds are compostable and readily biodegradable.
I bought this coffee originally at a local organic co-op market and was happy to find it on Amazon. Great flavor, robust but mellow - a truly delicious decaf bean. It's wonderful to find this organic, small farmer co-op and I'm happy to be a participant. I bought the whole bean decaf coffee and that extra freshness is a good cup of coffee. I brew this coffee in a Bialetti Moka Express, the old fashioned way and it is a great combo. I have also brewed this in a standard Mr. Coffee drip maker and it's a great cup that way as well. I'm a new regular customer
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:
Yoo-hoo. Our aprons vendor, @ziyada_bemore, is in town from Patna, India, and they’re popping up at the coffee bar tomorrow, Saturday, March 10, from 11a-3p. Come check out all their handmade goods, and support a great cause — cup of coffee in hand. Ziyada creates opportunity and well-paying jobs for women in the impoverished Indian state of Bihar. *** Stop by their pop-up for a belated #internationalwomensday celebration. 📷: @jrwade_photo
This year, roughly 100 coffees scored 94 points or higher, a tribute in large part to the ever-intensifying innovation and dedication of the world’s leading coffee producers and roasters. Obviously, all of these 94+ coffees are worthy of celebration, as are the exceptional coffees hovering just behind them at 93 and 92. We couldn’t squeeze them all into our Top 30.  We forced ourselves to select the 30 that we felt were worthy of particular recognition.
A weekend morning, or at least part of one, spent in the lobby of the Dean Hotel, which is where you will find the very best coffee shop in the coolest big city in New England right now, is always time well spent. Look for these guys at the RISD Museum, too, where they've recently partnered with the school on the excellent Café Pearl. Easily one of the most memorable multi-roaster operations between New York and Boston.
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.
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When Four Barrel veterans Tim & Elisha Griffin opted out of San Francisco, they landed in Fargo, where their small shop (handed over from a previous owner) quickly rose through the ranks in a city already mindful of the benefits of a solid cup of coffee. Right now, they're working with Heart, out of Portland, but rumor has it they'll be roasting their own soon, not to mention moving to a larger location in Fargo's happening downtown.

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.
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