Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like knife sharpeners), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ’em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about the best coffee machines, found the best pour-over coffee setups and French presses in every material, and even asked baristas and coffee roasters about their favorite coffee grinders and coffee makers, here we’re rounding up the best organic coffee beans you can find on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
When I moved away from a grocery store that carried Equal Exchange three or four years ago, I remember checking, and you had to order it directly from Equal Exchange, and wait for standard shipping. I guess thanks to the Whole Foods merger, now you can get this right on Amazon. I was excited to discover this, but the mislabeling is a bummer! Amazon, please fix!
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.
Get a one-pound bag of the Dark Roast blend for $14.99 (also available a 32-ounce or give-pound bag) or a 16-ounce bag the Thunder Bolt blend for $14.99+ (available ground or whole bean, and also in a 32-ounce bag). This is another brand that sometimes packages their beans with small stones, which, I must reiterate, is a really common thing that just happens during the bean collection process.
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.
It really does make for the best coffee in the world if you grind it right, brew it right and use wholesome ingredients. My husband threw out his old coffee pot and went from being a die hard pot of Folgers a day to simply drinking four shots of this in the morning. We both feel like we are drinking delicious coffee from Vienna every morning. We tried this flavor first, but we are going to try the Equal Exchange Coffee, Organic Colombian, Whole Bean,12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 3) next by the same brand. We prefer light roasts instead of darker roasts like French. Incidently, most people don't know this, but the lighter the roast - the more caffeine in it and in our opinion, the better the flavor. Darker roasts seem to really kill the flavor of coffee and you run the risk of more oils and higher acid and bitter flavor. I don't really know why people like dark roasts and I think it is more the sound of it than the actual flavor that they fall for. We both discovered at one point that lighter roasts such as breakfast blends and Columbian has better flavor, more caffeine, less acid, etc and ever since stay away from darker roasts. We might also try the Equal Exchange Organic Coffee, Breakfast Blend, Ground, 12-Ounce Bag (Pack of 3) at some point as well along with the decaf so we can enjoy an afternoon drink. I notice this particular blend seems to have two colors of coffee beans in it, one is light and one is medium. No darks which we love!
Strength control is understood to be regulated by the ratio of coffee to water. For example, more ground coffee and less water would result in a stronger brew. But, how does that work with a single serve machine, when you cannot regulate the amount of coffee and yet you can regulate the strength and volume of water simultaneously? In other words, you can select an 8-ounce drink to be strong or weak, but without changing the amount of coffee.
Jungle Coffee Costa Rican whole bean arabica gourmet coffee is GMO, and pesticide-free for your health. This single-origin coffee is sourced from local growers who are fairly paid for their crop. Immediately after roasting, Jungle Coffee is vacuum-packed in high-barrier foil bags that maintain premium freshness. A one-way valve on each stand-up bag allows you to keep air out, and preserve your coffee.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, this does not mean that you can no longer enjoy coffee. This product is one of those that you can still drink without worries. This decaf coffee is made using beans that have been sourced from South and Central America. The location is known for producing a mellow coffee despite having been fully-roasted. This is the perfect companion for sweet treats like cakes and cookies. This coffee is made by a family company with almost four decades of experience in the business, providing an assurance of its exceptional quality.
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.
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).
I try to eat & drink all-organic whenever possible, including my coffee, in order to avoid ingesting toxins. Certified organic coffee (in this case, certified by QAI--Quality Assurance Intl.) is grown & processed w/o pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, & other potentially harmful chemicals. So, Newman's Own 'Organics' Coffee is my daily 'go-to' coffee. I like the flavor of this 'Newman's Special Blend Medium Roast - Extra Bold' organic Arabica coffee. It's smooth, rich, hearty, & full-bodied, not bitter & not too acidic. It produces a pleasing aroma every morning from my Keurig B70 Platinum coffeemaker. I don't use any sweeteners, but I do stir in some Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Crème. Mmmm! You do sacrifice some freshness & flavor for the convenience of K-Cups vs. grinding your own beans. But the extra time & mess of coffee grinding are luxuries I can't afford in the rush of weekday mornings. One negative, & the reason for just 4 stars instead of 5: I do find that I sometimes get a stale box of K-Cups, even when the future 'best buy' date on the bottom of the 18-pod box is up to 20 months away, as was the case just last month w/a carton stamped w/an April 2019 'best buy' date. The distributor is Keurig Green Mountain. One wonders just how this coffee is initially stored, then transported, & then finally stored again after it arrives at Best Buy's facilities. For my part, I always keep the K-Cups stored in a cool, dry place, as recommended.