Described by taste-testers as "nutty, earthy, smooth, and bold," these Sumatra Dark Roast pods from Starbucks are so bold in flavor that some reviewers claim they can actually be brewed twice to cut back on waste. Herbal and earthy, this single-origin coffee blend is not to be missed. These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
We asked Josh Taves, a 12-year coffee industry vet (who has spent time working as a barista as well as training them) and the director of business development for Denver’s Novo Coffee -- one of the finest coffee shops in the country -- for help. He did a blind tasting of 20 of the most popular K-Cups like a true (and highly caffeinated) hero. In the end, one brand stood out above all else, snagging three of the top four spots, while a few proved to be not worth drinking, no matter how badly you need a caffeine kick.
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.
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.
There are a lot of positive words associated with this 2 lb. bag, including grown responsibly, sourced responsibly, roasted responsibly, packaged responsibly… And, while the writer in me groans at the repeated usage of the word “responsibly,” I logically know that all of those things are good. So, ya know, good job, Real Good Coffee Co. You’re good.
Camano Island Coffee Roasters takes pride in being an ethical and fairly traded coffee brand. The beans are grown organically, ensuring farmer and product safety. It is also grown in such a way that protects animal habitats and soil preservation. The Papua New Guinea Medium Roast blend, as its name suggests, is sourced from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. Said beans were imported from the Jamaica Blue Mountain region and first planted in Wau in the 1930s. Aside from the aforementioned, it is also USDA Certified Organic and shade grown.
Like the others, this coffee is certified both Organic and Fair Trade. But it was the only one among the 52 varieties that is also Rainforest Alliance Certified (RAC). This set them apart and gave them extra points in our Eco-Friendliness category. RAC is a credible certifying body that aims to protect our rain forests, soil, and other ecosystems from the devastation caused by coffee production.
To be honest, my expectations were low for whatever “affordable” coffee Whole Foods might offer, and I was a bit reluctant even to include it under the umbrella of regular grocery stores (despite the company’s recent “Yes, we have sales!” ad campaign), but here I stand both corrected and impressed. 365 Everyday Value is the Whole Foods Market store brand, which markets products fitting the Whole Foods ethos, at least aesthetically—don’t assume it’s organic!—at regular grocery prices. A 10-ounce bag of ground coffee costs $5.99 at the Gowanus Whole Foods in Brooklyn, making it the cheapest bagged coffee here per-unit and decidedly on the cheap end per-pound. Pleasant Morning Buzz is a Vienna roast-style coffee, a dark roast just shy of a French roast style, which gives the coffee a heavy, bittersweet flavor that’s easy to sip on for a black coffee drinker. As a rule, darker roasts do not microwave as well as lighter roasts, and this coffee is no exception—get it while it’s hot or pour yourself a new one.
My husband thought this blend was okay, though not as good as the Breakfast Blend (he gives 3 stars). I did not like it at all (1 star). It left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth long after the coffee was gone. I tried it both hot and iced, and experienced the same bitterness. We tried making it weaker and stronger than suggested, brewed from different bags, alternated with the Breakfast Blend, and used fresh water - every pot tasted bitter to me and just okay to my husband. Can't recommend.
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.
My daughter bought this coffee and gave it to me. She liked the idea that it was organic & free trade and so did I. This coffee is really good. I ran out so I bought a similar brand fair trade, Colombian and organic from a local store and could really tell the difference. The other coffee was bitter, no matter how I much I used, whereas with this coffee even when I make it stronger it is very smooth and tastes great the only problem I have is that I drink more of it than I should. I have ordered it again and set it up on Subscribe & Save, may as well save where I can.
This might seem like an elaborate set-up, but we actually came about all this after struggling for a couple of years drinking coffee and getting sick from it. I finally discovered that I am sensitive to the acids in coffee. This put me on a lot of research on coffee, the acids in it, how it is made and the best ways to grind and brew it. Both my husband and I are fairly frugal but after reading that coffee is the worst sprayed crop in the world except for Christmas trees (ever notice how Christmas tree farms have nothing but dead ground around the trees.... yeah, exactly like that!), we made the decision to do this. Also, I now can enjoy and drink coffee every morning without any abdominal pain.
This is the world’s strongest coffee by most standards, which explains why it enjoys such a tremendous popularity. Death Wish is ground from beans that are masterfully selected and meticulously roasted to perfection, so as to provide a smooth tasting but also bold cup of coffee. Moreover, you get the extra kick of quality caffeine that surely gets your day going every morning. It isn’t just its strength that recommends it, mind you, but its powerful flavor as well. In fact, we should point out that Death Wish is by far one of the most flavorful coffees out there.
I bought this because they replaced the office coffee-maker with a Keurig machine and it was every employee for himself! I do like the kick that this medium roast blend gives, but the flavor is lacking. The machine brews the coarsely-ground coffee so quickly, that it's not a particularly bold cup. My big issue is that with these products, the cost of the coffee is several times that of buying the beans and grinding them (or having them ground), even at a Starbucks, and the packaging is ridiculous. The amount of non-recycled waste that my usual 3-4 cups/day creates weighs on my conscience. At work, I have gone back to drinking tea.
Africa and Indonesia grow the world’s supply of robusta beans. These harsher and more caffeinated coffee beans cost less than arabica beans, as the Coffea canephora plant is hardier than the arabica bush and produces far more cherries at a younger age. Supermarket brands, instant coffee, and inexpensive coffee is almost always ground from this type of bean.
"I never thought I’d be so obsessed with such a simple product, but I am! It all started when I got tired of spending so much money on buying coffee and wanted a cost-effective alternative. I needed my own coffee pot, and I needed something small enough to fit at my desk at work. Enter the Mr. Coffee! It’s small, easy to use, but makes a solid cup of coffee (with the right beans, of course).
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.
Coffee Bean Direct comes in a package well-above the average size of the others in our review. Offered in a 5lb bag only, Coffee Bean Direct is able to sell high-quality beans at a lower price. No wonder it was neck-and-neck with our number one pick when it came to Cost. While it’s an extremely popular choice on Amazon, it fell behind the others on Performance due to a lower Amazon rating.
Most of the beans touted on this list are whole bean; you must grind them yourself or go to a coffee grinder. While inconvenient for some, the benefits of buying whole bean are plentiful. When you grind the beans daily it releases oils, keeps them fresh, and it allows you to chose the coarseness of the grind. A coarse grind will not capture as much flavor profile as a fine grind. The difference in the grind denotes an espresso from a Turkish coffee or latte for example.
“My husband is a coffee addict, and I’m a bit of a fanatic about chemical additives and such. When I saw organic coffee offered for review, I knew I had to get this for him. Here is his review on the coffee: ‘I typically like bolder, dark-roast coffees. Once in a while I’ll mix it up when I’m out, and I’ll order a medium-roast brand. As far as buying an entire bag for home, I’ve grown tired of most medium roasts and do not want to waste money on tinny flavored coffee. This medium roast, however, is at the top of the bracket. I had to look at the bag a second time to make sure it was actually a medium roast. Very impressive full flavor.’”
The coffee bean is technically a seed, and it is tucked inside the fruit of the coffee plant; much like the stone pit of a cherry. It is called a bean simply because of the physical resemblance. While many varieties of coffee beans exist, the two most common types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans dominate the market. They lend to a smoother, slightly acidic taste and they are usually, although not always, deemed the higher quality bean. Robusta beans, as the name suggests, tout a bolder and more bitter taste. They contain at least twice the amount of caffeine as their Arabica counterparts.
What a good idea, for those of us searching for an organic coffee that we will love! I stumbled across Sumatra Aceh in the store, and absolutely loved it. Yes, it costs more, but I can brew a delicious cup using the 11 oz (largest) setting on my Keurig platinum. With my previous favorite, Green Mt Nantucket Blend, I have to use the 7 oz setting. So it goes farther. Maybe not enough to justify the additional cost, but then there's the fantastic, rich, mellow taste to factor in.There's also the "Free Trade" and "Organic" to remember. If we want to do our part to help this planet, every little bit helps.
Eight O’Clock Coffee is a sleeper in this set, brand-wise, but a surprisingly enjoyable cuppa. It’s the only brand I tasted about which I had no preconceptions, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s dark without being bitter, and is solidly microwaveable. It’s slightly ahead of the median bagged coffee price in this set but streets ahead in flavor, making it a solid value buy.
I absolutely love this coffee, I've been buying all my coffee organic, and tried bunch of different brands, I wouldn't call my self a coffee expert, but I notice small differences between coffee beans, this 5lbs is a great, and I mean great and price wise, it makes sense to go with that option, one thing I would love to have is a sealed bag option to keep it from drying out, but it's a small caveat, I'd definitely buy this brand again if they don't go crazy and Jack up the $ through the ceiling.
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:
Organic coffee is a good choice if you want to keep track of your health as you continue to have your favorite coffee. With organic coffee, you can enjoy a cup of coffee every day without consuming chemical traces. Organic coffees are slowly roasted to bring out a full-bodied taste and flavor. You will also realize that most organic coffees are organic and kosher certified.
The term Organic indicates that no chemicals were used in the cultivation of the coffee. In order to proclaim that a coffee is Certified Organic, a recognized third party certifier must document the cultivation of the coffee for three years running and issue an Organic Certificate. Without the certification, the term Organic carries little weight, as there is no way to prove the producer's claim. After passing the stringent, expensive tests conducted by a certifier, the symbol of that organization can (and will) be printed prominently on the coffee's packaging. Be sure to look for this symbol when shopping.