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.
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.
In fact, coffee fans who find the acidic flavors of some coffees too bitter and unpleasant have begun routinely drinking low acid coffee. The acid content of these brews is minimal, and the other flavors of the bean are more refined and “brighter.” In particular, notes such as fruit, nuts, and chocolate are said to be much more readily detectable in low acid coffees.
Café Britt produces 12-ounce bags of dark roasted coffee and sells them in 2 bag sets. The company uses 100% organic fertilizers and grows its bushes underneath native tree species, preserving the agro-ecosystem of the region. This single origin variety is preferred by chefs from around the world. Since 1991, the company has produced this rich coffee with its hint of apple aroma. It is medium dark and not acidic.
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.
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.
Our unknown brands overwhelmingly ranked high in all of the categories we tested. Our runner up for best overall coffee and unknown brands was Cameron’s whole bean light roast. Cameron’s offers drinkers another option in the sustainable and small batch category, but comes in as one of the most expensive options at $.71 per ounce. Tasters commented over and over that this was a smooth coffee and that taste wasn’t overpowering. The finish of the coffee ranked higher than any other we tested.
The second best organic decaf coffee on our list is Caza Trail Coffee. The dark imperial flavors inside actually come from a blend of coffees from Indonesia and Latin America. It has moderate acidity and a well-rounded finish. Caza Trail offers both classic and flavored coffee. Therefore, you can either have a traditional pick me up or take a break and reward yourself with a spiced coffee.