A double shot of modernity for the capital city's handsome but still sleepy downtown, this up-to-speed café from Auburn's Prevail Coffee Roasters plants a flag for the future, just down Dexter Avenue from the seat of state government. Housed in temporary digs just now, the café will ultimately land inside an impressive (and almost completed) mixed-use complex just over Court Square, carved from Montgomery's iconic Kress building.

In order to determine the best coffee beans in the world we will have to journey to where in the world coffee grows. South America dominates coffee plantations. Brazil alone contributes to more than 40 percent of all coffee production worldwide. Optimally, coffee grows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in an area known as the coffee belt. Virtually all the coffee beans you purchase will be grown in this region. Even though the coffee beans are harvested in this region, they may be roasted elsewhere. We will cover roasting in the next section.


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
Organic certification at the farm level is overseen by various regional agencies, but, unlike sellers of organic vegetables, who don’t need further certification to sell organic produce, coffee roasters must also be certified in order to legally sell coffee that is labeled “organic.” Roasters must supply the certifying agency (different in each state) with certification paperwork from the farm and importer, as well as undergo annual inspection to ensure that organic coffees are handled in areas separate from non-organic, in much the way Kosher food is certified. This process involves both a one-time application fee and an annual inspection fee, fees that many small-scale roasters complain they cannot afford.
However, Haden Polseno-Hensley, co-owner of Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, whose Ethiopia Kayon Mountain scored 93, pursues a business model committed to organic certification. He observed that organic-certified coffees are often of higher quality than those not certified. He says, “When we started in 2010, we were 100% organic. This was based on philosophical choice, but also marketing strategy. Large grocery store chains, especially ‘lifestyle’ chains, want organics. They want to press the ‘easy’ button when it comes to showing their customers that they have quality goods. Ethiopia is a strange bird, though. While it may be true that most Ethiopian coffees are de facto organic, we’ve actually come to find that the certified coffees are often of a higher quality. Is this because the producers are more attentive to cultivation and processing since they are paying for certificates?”

If you want to savor some unique coffee flavors, the smaller artisanal brands are a great option. And Jo Coffee doesn’t disappoint in that regard with this premium blend of certified 100% pure Arabica coffee. The brand only sources from the top 2% of arabica growers in the world. And they do have some impressive certifications, including FairTrade and Organic. The flavor is very bittersweet, reminiscent of cocoa and brown sugar.
Bagged coffee is standard, from grocery stores to coffee roasters (most of them), but subtle variations make for significant differences among these coffees, particularly in price. This is complicated by the fact that a bag of coffee is often referred to as a “pound,” when in fact most bags only hold between 10 and 12 ounces of coffee. A bag of Newman’s Own Organic coffeecosts $10.29, only $0.10 more than a bag of Starbucks coffee, but Newman’s is only a 10-ounce bag to Starbucks’ 12 ounce. Brewer beware!
But that isn't the only good thing about Monsooned Malabar Coffee. Its beans also create a light, smooth roast that can be enjoyed at any time of day. It doesn't taste bitter at all, and it won't sit heavily in your stomach. You can drink it in the mornings without fear that it'll make you feel sick by lunchtime; you can drink it in the evenings without worry that it'll keep you awake.

The best dark roast was Koffee Kult dark roast. This 100% arabica coffee blend, sourced from Colombia, Guatemala and Sumatra offers a full body and rich option for your coffee palate. Our testers knew that this was a dark coffee roast by its strong aroma, but were pleasantly surprised by the woodfired taste. Most testers did call out the bitterness of this coffee, but pointed out that it didn’t linger and the acidity was enjoyable. Again, this winner is one of the most expensive coffees we tested at $.88 per ounce, but if you love the bold coffee taste, this is for you.
Promising review for the Blueberry Cobbler blend: "Since discovering this blend several months ago, I have ordered seven bags, all of which have been vacuum-sealed and fresh. I gave my mom part of a bag to try, and now she's hooked, even though she doesn't normally like flavored coffees! If it is hard for you to imagine the mixture of blueberry and coffee, I urge you to give this a try." —Rachelle

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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.
The Big Bang is a Latin American and East African blend, that celebrates Peets innovative spirit. Coming from a time when ‘Americans drank WWII rationed coffee’ well after the wars, he made sure to change that. Revel in this blend of greatness, and decide for yourself if the tribute to Alfred Peet is enough, or should you seek your own coffee path.

All of the coffee from Equal Exchange is grown in Latin America. They have small local farms spread throughout Latin America including Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, and many more. It is very rare for coffee to have a single origin. But just because it comes from different areas does not mean it is bad. They process their beans through non-chemical means to eliminate any threat of mold ending up in your coffee. 

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.
“My wife and I have been searching for great coffee for a while now, and after trying a few different blends from Intelligentsia, I decided to check out Kicking Horse, as they’ve always had great reviews on Amazon. This has easily been the best decision I’ve ever made with regards to coffee. Kicking Horse is my new favorite, with their Kick Ass blend leading the pack. It’s a dark-roast coffee, but it’s not like the garbage you get at Starbucks with an acidic or burned flavor. This is a full, smooth flavor that any coffee lover will absolutely love … Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark is, by far, my new favorite coffee, and I am no longer searching for anything else to try. This one’s getting an Amazon Subscription.”
This is a subject of intense debate among caffeine junkies, but there are organic coffee drinkers who swear that they can taste the difference between natural and unnatural beans. Since organic coffee is naturally higher in antioxidants, who's to say that they're wrong? Their palette might be responding to the unique nutrients and compounds in their 100 percent arabica blends.
Reviews of Maxwell House claim that it has the sweetness of dark chocolate, which earned it a B+ rating on Influenster. It usually costs 27 cents an ounce or $6.29 for an 11 ounce cannister, and it’s worth it. It came in at #2 on the Huffington Post’s rank of dark roasts, and while it is not necessarily distinct in flavor, it is has a stable taste that is sure to please even the occasional coffee drinker.
I personally prefer an Espresso machine, which is ideal for me as they can create Lattes, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Espresso and so many more. Espresso machines pressurize hot water which extracts the coffee from a pod. They can be used at home and there are also bigger versions that are used in cafés. Generally, they’re quick and efficient and require minimum maintenance.
Vancouver-based Doi Chaang Coffee is a unique partnership between the Akha Hill Tribe of coffee growers in Thailand, and the roasters and sellers in British Columbia, who split company profits equally. They call this practice “Beyond Fair Trade” and the partnership produces economic growth in the mountain villages of Thailand and the highest quality coffee for consumers in North America.
This flavor of coffee is pretty common and can be found at just about any store. While not unique the flavor stands up among most of donut shop and other brands. It has a rich, bold, smooth taste that goes well in the morning or even after dinner. While not as intense as some other extra bold, dark coffees it's definitely flavorful and never watery tasting like I find some other "popular" brands to be. Newman makes a good coffee.
Caribou gets several things right with this rich blend. The mix of premium Indonesian and American arabica beans results in a very complex yet smooth flavor profile. It has everything from woody, to sweet, spicy, and fruity notes. The overall flavor is bittersweet, but with enough acidity to make it lively. This is a 100% Arabica coffee, sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers in Asia, South, and Central America.
Tiny Footprint was founded in 2010. It’s the first Carbon Negative coffee company and they have some pretty sweet math to show they don’t make any unsavory impact on the Earth. One pound of coffee equals a nice donation from Tiny Footprint to support the Mindo Cloudforest region in Ecuador. They’re contribution to preventing deforestation outweighs their carbon footprint from coffee production.
Propylene glycol is a potentially harmful ingredient, with side effects that include skin irritations and allergies, respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems, neurological symptoms, and potential organ toxicity. While it is recognized by the FDA as "generally safe", those trying to live a clean life may want to avoid anything that contains the chemical.

Reviews of Maxwell House claim that it has the sweetness of dark chocolate, which earned it a B+ rating on Influenster. It usually costs 27 cents an ounce or $6.29 for an 11 ounce cannister, and it’s worth it. It came in at #2 on the Huffington Post’s rank of dark roasts, and while it is not necessarily distinct in flavor, it is has a stable taste that is sure to please even the occasional coffee drinker.

We've featured a few wet-processed brands on this list, but tossing coffee beans into water tanks isn't the only way to treat them! With dry-processed beans, they're set out in the sun to bake until they're ready to be roasted. They can be slightly acidic since they don't go through a fermentation process, but a little kick just adds to the thrill of drinking something so raw and wild.


Café Altura is a regular roast organic decaf coffee that will thrill your senses without you worrying one single second about caffeine. It’s both organic and Kosher. You can drink it any time of the day you choose and, more importantly, it’s so good that you can enjoy it both hot and cold. It also has a very low acidic level, which will do wonders for your gastro-intestinal system.

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.

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