A relatively sunny town standing sentry on the divide between California and the Pacific Northwest, artistically-inclined Ashland isn't quite so well-known as certain other cities in Oregon, but when it comes to coffee, Ashland has become something of a giant, thanks in part to this oft-awarded roasting operation, the first notable to crop up here, about a decade ago.
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 have searched for a K-cup coffee that has a strong bold taste. The best that I have found is Caribou Obsidian. This comes close. Full flavor with no bitterness. Even using the K-cup a second time to make a small cup gives more flavor than several other brands do on the first run through. I will definitely buy again. This is the same review that I gave for Italian dark Roast. Why? They are both close seconds to Obsidian.
With all of that indoor weather, and one of the country's top coffee importers right in town, the depth and breadth of Twin Cities café culture will come as no surprise, but in a town where so many spots—right on up to the best ones—are either too stiff or too much into the business of bells and whistles, this recent entry from two talents in their early twenties, a small-batch roasting operation stripped down to the essentials, is an enthusiastic vote for simplicity, not to mention good customer service, and it feels like a winner.
Many reviewers pick up notes of honey, almonds, and dried fruit in the flavor profile with zero bitterness and low acidity. Ideally, this blend would be finely ground, brewed as a traditional espresso, and served in a smaller format, but many reviewers coarse-grind this blend and brew it using their drip coffee maker or French press with great success. Most reviewers actually claim that they've switched to Lavazza for their everyday morning coffee from other more well-known American brands.
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.
You won’t find local Robusta coffee in the United States. This coffee variety is exclusively grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, primarily in Africa. While some countries are able to grow both arabica and Robusta coffee, the climate needed is very specific and curated for Robusta coffee. If you like strong, rich coffee with nothing but coffee flavor and caffeine for days, you’re looking for Robusta.
The deity-level status of a coffee roaster hailing from Kansas' snoozy capital used to take the less-informed by surprise; nowadays, it seems less unusual that an operation as world-class as this should be found in such a place. No brash upstart, this—direct trading, single origin-loving PT's has been around since the early 1990's, and is still considered one of the finest source-erers in the land, last year snapping up another roaster with a similar reputation for quality, San Diego's Bird Rock Coffee. Lately, the company has given its retail operation a modern makeover, adding more modern shops in the college town of Lawrence, as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea is represented here with an Ethiopia Gelgelu Natural (93). Owner Barry Levine regards organic certification as important because many consumers prefer it. But, as a company, he says Willoughby’s is “quality-centric.” He goes on to say that, “We would have purchased this coffee had it been conventional, but have a preference, when the quality is really there, to have an organic offering, too. We have, in fact, had other excellent Ethiopia Naturals this season that were not organic, but were just too good to pass up. This coffee offered it all.” Because of logistical considerations, some Willoughby bags include the USDA organic seal and others do not. For this particular coffee, Willoughby’s prints the organic certifier on their bags in lieu of the USDA stamp.
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.
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.
This is similar to the coffee that has been mentioned above, but the main difference is that it is a darker roast. Because of this, the flavor tends to be more pronounced. Still, you can expect that there is no extreme bitterness. It should also be noted that it has up to seven times more antioxidants compared to what you can find in green tea. It has been through a unique roasting process that has been developed exclusively by the manufacturer to reduce its bitterness by as much as 70%.
By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you'll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door. (They don't. Not for miles.)
With this coffee, you will enjoy the exotic flavors of beans from Indonesia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia. Each cup has a full body and a noticeable note of citrus. More than being organic, it is also worth noting that they have the Community Aid Program, which allows the company to be instrumental in the restoration of rainforests. Similar to most of the products in this guide, it is made of 100% Arabica, which is from regions with high altitudes. The beans used in the coffee have also been hand-picked to ensure their highest quality.
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?
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.
Now, to muddy the waters, when coffee experts talk about a coffee’s “acidity,” they are actually referring to the flavor notes of the brew, not the acid content. A coffee’s acidity is generally used as a term that indicates the quality of the bean. For example, beans grown at high altitude are often described as being acidic due to the bright, vibrant flavor notes they give.
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.
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Dark & delicious with full body and a smooth finish. 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.
Wouldn't it be amazing if a coffee actually boosted your metabolism? Fit brew incorporates several metabolism-boosting ingredients into their coffee, blending organic coffee with extracts of green tea, guarana, and inositol to provide antioxidants and boost energy and focus. Fit Brew also has blends of vitamin-infused coffee to support calmness, clarity, flexibility, immunity, and energy.
Now that we have a better understanding of how complex coffee is, we had to find the best coffee maker to ensure quality control for each brew. We chose the award winning and Speciality Coffee Association of America’s Certified (SCAA) Home Brewer: the OXO – On Barista Brain nine cup coffee maker. This was also the winning machine in our review of the best drip coffee makers.
Valhalla Java prides itself on providing a strong cup of coffee that’s both organic and fair trade. Plus, if you don’t like it, Death Wish Coffee Company does the total opposite of what their name implies. Rather than having employees sitting around sending endless vibes of ill-fortune and destruction your way, they give you back your money — no harm, no foul.
Four espressos appear on this year’s list, three of them single-origin coffees. The fourth is a distinguished blend of coffees from a mix of origins—the impressive 96-point Twenty Five by Barrington Coffee Roasters, at No. 6, the only blend on the list. Numerous blends, both espresso and non-espresso, earned 90-94 points but did not ultimately make our Top 30; we recognize some of the best on our list of the Top Coffees by Category.
Here's the truth: K-Cups are packed with the same coffee ground you would buy in your grocery store or supermarket. Flavored coffees are made by spraying propylene glycol on the coffee beans/ground, then adding the flavoring oils or liquids afterward. The propylene glycol helps the beans/ground to hold the flavor, and it acts as a preservative. Every time you drink flavored coffee—whether it's in a K-Cup or a regular coffee machine—you're ingesting propylene glycol and natural and artificial flavorings.
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.
Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe is the town where the cultivators grow coffee beans that are popular for its dense, rich taste. Also, the acidity of this Arabica beans is quite great which its rivals find hard to deliver. Additionally, there are the many fruity notes along with the hints of dark chocolate. Apart from that, the Yirgacheffe organic coffee has a major amount of caffeine that a back palate person would cherish.
These are our top choices for the best organic decaf coffee. If we had to choose one, although it’s very hard, we would have to go with Nespresso’s Hardy Coffee, simply because of its almost 50-year-old history. We were also impressed by the fact that it is the preferred coffee in Italy, the country that actually gave the world the espresso. Still, we say you try all these coffees. What do you think?
I have always purchased Equal Exchange whole bean decaffeinated coffee, but decided to try the ground Equal Exchange just to save me time in the morning grinding it and then having to clean the grinder and my husband and I are thrilled with it. It has wonderful full flavor and actually tastes better than the beans I was grinding. I definitely recommend this product.