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.
“WE LOVE THIS COFFEE! I’ve been buying this coffee for about eight months now, and I’m finally getting around to writing a review because it’s SO GOOD that I have to share. We have tried other coffees — lots of others — but we like this one the best. The Organic Medium-Dark Roast whole bean is not too dark, not too mild; the beans are just oily and perfect. We drink our coffee black, and its flavor, aroma, and taste are delicious! Not bitter, just tasty black gold.”

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.
"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."

We are using a Fair Trade certified green coffee, but we do not participate in the Fair Trade system. We have our own program called "Sharing Certified." Check it out here. We are a family of coffee growers ourselves, and we only purchase specialty-grade coffee at a premium over the market from other growers whom we've had decades-long relationships with.
A. “Fair Trade Certified” means the farmers were paid a fair wage, no forced or child labor was involved in the growing or picking of the beans, the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals was limited, and the coffee plantation practiced sustainable farming methods. You’ll find many brands of coffee certified as Fair Trade, particularly specialty brands. The Fair Trade Certified program is an international program run by TransFair USA.
This is the best Organic variety pack of K-Cups by far! I have found so many great coffees! I have yet to find a bad coffee in this assortment. Here are a few I especially like: Green Mountain Organic Sumatra ACEH Dark Roast, ,Caza Trail Sumatra Gayo Mountain Organic, Marley Coffee, 365 Organic Columbian Cup Vienna Roast, and First ColonyOrganic Espresso Roast. Perfect selection for coffee lovers. Thank you Pantry Essentials! Have reordered 3 times already!
Coffee blends are exactly that; a blend of two or more roasted beans to create a unique flavor profile. Think of it in terms of wine: a red blend versus a Cabernet Sauvignon. The experienced coffee roaster will match beans to balance bitterness and take the harsh edge of off unrefined beans. A blend could contain several varieties of beans from all over the coffee belt.

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.
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.

A coffee crop also requires a great deal of water, particularly when it is being grown quickly. It takes 37 gallons of water to produce enough beans for just one cup of coffee. Coffee is often produced in countries with a shortage of water, such as Ethiopia, and the combination of high water consumption and high fertilizer and pesticide use can lead to water degradation and pollution in water runoff.

You won't be disappointed with these Newman's Own Organic Extra Bold K cups! They definitely deliver on bold flavor as well as an intoxicating aroma. I looked forward every morning to brewing that first cup of Newman's Own and drinking it in, in both taste and appearance. Perfect for those that take it black and holds up wonderfully to splashes of cream for when a more comforting indulgence is called for. Highly recommend.


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.
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....
Of the two at-home iterations of Big Coffee, Dunkin’ Donutsand Starbucks, I prefer Dunkin’. It’s more drinkable black—lighter without being bitter, roasty without being burnt, and far easier on a pre-bagel empty stomach on my way out the door. Home-brewed Dunkin’ is nearly indistinguishable from takeout Dunkin’, and even aside from being cheaper per cup, drinking it at home saves styrofoam. Dunkin’ Donuts Original has a gentler thermal shift than most coffees in its price range, continuing to be enjoyable all the way down to room temperature, but if you’d like to freshen the heat it is admirably microwaveable.
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.
This coffee was pleasantly surprising. I usually like extra bold coffees, and they comprise the majority of my K-Cup purchases. But this coffee is a medium roast. Under normal circumstances, I probably would not have purchased it. But the store was out of my usual brand/flavor so I decided to try it. Wow! This is a great coffee! Rich flavor without any bitterness. I will happily add it to my favorites list. I will definitely purchase this again, and again and again!
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.
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.
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.
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:
New England Coffee was the dining hall coffee at my New England college—a bit on the nose, but a strong choice. Like Green Mountain coffee, New England Coffee locates its mythology north of Connecticut; its packaging includes a covered bridge, horse-drawn carriage, red barn, mill race, and church steeple in a landscape painted à la Grandma Moses. I hardly noticed I was drinking my pour-over cup until it was half gone, which is, unexpectedly, high praise for a cup of coffee. Like inexpensive wine, inexpensive coffee is best when its flavor is innocuous. A hint of sour coffee stomach waits in the wings, but with a hearty breakfast alongside, New England Coffee is a safe and delightful option.
Subtle Earth whole bean light roast is one of the only coffees that made our list, boasting both certified organic and GMO free ingredients. You can tell the care that is taken from farming to finish when looking at the story of Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth coffee. Our tasters picked out a number of fruity and herbal flavors, but what won everyone over was the sweet finish with no added flavor in the beans. Costing you only $.53 per ounce, this flavorful cup provides more than just a boost of caffeine, it can also boost your savings.
Our coffee testers do love a strong and bold cup of coffee, so though we expected it to rank highly, Death Wish sat in the middle of the pack due to its low marks in aroma and taste. It did gain major points for its finish though, where tasters noted that it was smooth, but had some overpowering bitterness to it. If you need a large jolt of energy with intense flavor, look no further than Death Wish coffee.

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.
Breville BES870XL – a high-quality espresso maker, 100% comparable to the fully-automatic machines! The barista-quality coffee takes less than one minute to make from bean to espresso. This machine is more for people who appreciate the great coffee, if you are looking for a simple machine that prepares a coffee with one push, look elsewhere, like the Nespresso machines.
As more and more coffee companies cave to the temptation to adulterate with soy beans sprayed with chemical flavors and questionable trade practices, Equal Exchange may be the last coffee company standing to offer organic whole beans sourced from small producer coops, and roasted at a worker owned facility stateside. The company maintains its commitment to fair trade and supports many worthy causes. I recently had cause to engage in a lengthy discussion with reps at Equal Exchange and consider their inteigrity (and really great tasting coffee!) unsurpassed.
I was craving Rooibos tea but still wanted a kick, so the barista suggested I mix two up and didn't charge me extra for it.  She was super friendly and had a giant smile on her face the whole time - truly delightful. I like that their ingredients are sustainably sources and that all they do is geared to a good cause as a whole. I'll be sure to stop by again soon!

From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.
Stumptowns Mountain Coffee is of course, an organic blend but really shines through the pack with an offering of blended fruit and chocolate flavor notes. This brand is very serious about their coffee, it’s reported that they once held the record for paying the most for a batch of coffee beans and often pay their farmers three to four times the value for coffee beans. They truly appreciate the farms that produce for them, and that’s a huge part of what the organic initiatives are trying to accomplish, beyond just labeling a package of beans.
Most coffee consumed in the continental United States (in QSR restaurants and most cafes,) are arabica bean-originated. Arabica coffee is what you’ll often hear or read as “mountain-grown” coffee, due to its necessity for being grown at elevations of 18,000 feet or higher. It’s the ideal climate to grow these perfect beans, package them, and maintain their environment, or “perfect coffee eco system,” until consumption.
Randy Lint, of Big Creek Coffee Roasters in Hamilton, Montana sent us an Ethiopia Gedeb Halo Beriti (94) that is certified organic at origin, but is not labeled organic. While Lint has been a certified organic handler in the past, he has found the cumbersome process of certifying his roastery not worth the cost, though he is still committed to the associated practices. He says his local customers trust his sourcing, and his business is successful without offering the added reassurance of certification. Nevertheless, Lint acknowledges that this might change as his roastery grows.
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....
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