Although only one producing country is represented in this month’s reviews, the range of coffees styles and pleasures these reviews describe is wide and engaging. Consumers seeking an exceptional cup carrying the reassurance of a third-party-verified certification will find a wide range of sensory options here, all distinctive and all deeply attractive.
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.
Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.
Ethiopia coffees, whether certified organic or not, are produced from tree varieties native to Ethiopia and grown virtually nowhere else. These varieties tend to produce coffees with typically striking cup character: bright, lively and balanced in structure and intricately engaging in aroma and flavor. Furthermore, the best mills in Ethiopia are also ingenious and meticulous in their processing methods. Classic wet-processed or “washed” Ethiopia coffees (in which fruit skin and pulp are removed before drying) tend to highlight floral and citrus notes, while “natural”-processed Ethiopias (beans are dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed) lean toward lusher fruit and deeper flowers. Fine examples of organic coffees prepared by both processing methods appear in this month’s reviews.
Also try The Portland hype may be leveling off (now it's just expensive, like everywhere else), but the coffee remains some of the best on the continent—if you haven't yet, make tracks for Coava, which managed to impress noted stickler Jerry Seinfeld, who filmed an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee here. Over in Old Town, meanwhile, there's something utterly appealing about the self-described "snob free" ethic behind the very good Deadstock, opened by a former designer at Nike.
What’s the deal with chicory, you ask? Chicory root has been cultivated in Europe as a coffee substitute for centuries, and was first brought to the U.S. by the French during the Civil War. Though it’s naturally bitter in its raw form, chicory root can be baked, roasted, ground, and then used as an additive to add a rich and caramelized flavor to coffee and even beer.
ChesterVKeurig is probably the most expensive crap on the market, as far as non-gourmet goes. I've had plenty of their flavored coffees and I have never tasted anything from them except PLAIN coffee. I even got a box of Gloria Jean (not knowing Keurig bought them out) Butter Toffee, and although it has a SLIGHT toffee smell, it tastes like plain coffee. I am ashamed that Dr Pepper lowered the quality of Gloria Jean coffee when they bought them, because I love Dr Pepper and I loved Gloria Jean. And Keurig is a waste of money, plain and simple. I've had a lot of "generic" and "no-name" brands that have more taste and are more fragrant that these big brand names. I've found that the Victor Allen brand of coffee from Big Lots is probably the best I've had so far, for plain and flavored coffee pods. And depending on the time of year and the sales they have, I can get a 24 count pod box for about $12.00-$15.00. Which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the $20.00-$40.00 boxes of 12-16 pods that the big names have. Better flavor, better aroma, better taste, and a lot less expensive..........guess which one I buy?
Update: I figured I’d best ‘figure’ it out for myself. Purchased a) (Nicaragua) Granges Cosechas, 100% Arabica, Med.Roast b) (Hawaiian) Peaberry, 100% Arabica, Med Roast c) (Ethiopian) Yirgacheffee , Mild Roast. I make coffee 16 oz at 7-8 a.m. and, again, Cookie-time 2:30 pm. So far, the Yirgacheffe is my preferred, but , honestly, they are all beginning to taste the same. I make all exactly the same way in grind & brewing time. All are very pleasant. The only thing missing from the bag information is the estimated strength of caffeine within. Perhaps that is not measurable, but I can definitely feel the rush after consumption. Had to stop the leftover, very pleasant, iced coffee sipping between 6-8 p.m. because my sleeping hours dropped from 6-7 to 5-6. Not enough sleep. Just thought I’d share this information.
It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great. It has a great flavor, period! I'm a person of few words. Coffee is great.
“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.”
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.
This is an exceptional Honduran coffee from Marcala region. Because of the altitude where café don Pablo gourment is grown, there are no insecticides used to prevent insects from interfering with the crop and damaging it. In case you find any bug problem, the farmers will definitely plant peppers as the natural form of the bug repellent. This guarantees that the coffee beans are not tainted by many chemicals. This coffee is very dense and has a depth of flavors that are roasted correctly to give out the natural flavor characteristics and a wonderful sweetness. Their coffees are roasted fresh so that they can order in a multiple small batch. They focus on quality hence providing an excellent organic coffee to consumers.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Colombian coffee is that it has to be Robusto coffee. Cameron’s Colombian Supremo is 100% arabica coffee, light roast and perfect for those who want to grind their own coffee at home without getting too much acidity or a shock to the system of coffee flavor. When you want an exceptional tasting coffee, look for small batch roasted coffee beans, the exact roast that Cameron’s is giving to you with this batch. You get balanced coffee flavor without overloading your palette, an average level of acidity, and a smooth, decadent finish. Perfect for any level of coffee drinker, new to the game or seasoned and looking to try every roast under the sun.
Newman's Own Organics Extra Bold K-Cups are by far the best-tasting and highest quality K-Cups available. I either use these or the refillable My K-Cup with locally sourced coffees. For the price and the speed of brewing, it's hard to beat the strength and flavor of Newman's Own. Take it from a coffee-snob who owns more than half a dozen coffee brewers (pour-over, espresso machine, moka pot, high-end drip brewer, etc.) these are the best trade-off of a fast cup of coffee that still tastes great. Also: contrary to popular belief, K-Cups are completely recyclable. They consist of plastic, aluminium and paper and take minimal effort if you are already accustomed to recycling.
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
This is loosely on the quality of storing your beans: if you’re a coffee connoisseur, and you’re grinding away every day, be sure to leave your grinders clean. Coffee oil will gather and taint any new beans that enter the grinder—no matter how fresh, no matter how exquisite—and essentially ruin your experience. When preparing your beans, be sure to keep your machines clean.
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.
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In the end, in our opinion, it really comes down to taste. We love trying out different subscriptions while searching for good coffee. It’s easy enough to try a coffee subscription for a few months before and switching to a new company if you want to change things up. When you find one that you really like, settle in with them for the long haul and get ready to enjoy all that wonderful coffee goodness delivered straight to your door.
You want 100% arabica for that perfect body, the strongest caffeine to keep you awake (after all, isn’t that the point?) You’re not about flashy labels, you don’t want gimmicks—you want straight-up excellent coffee, and you want to grind it like your life depends on it. Welcome to the Koffee Kult, the last coffee you’ll ever buy. If you’re a dark roast fan, you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail. From the first sip, you’ll have your mind blown higher than an 80’s psychedelic movie. Don’t down the whole cup at once, though. Savor it. Sip it. Indulge yourself in the exact definition of dark roast coffee. This is roasted in-house, and when you grind it up at home, you can have it any way you’d like. French press sort of a coffee drinker? Press it up. Brew it like espresso? Check. No matter what your preference, you’ll be able to indulge in your favorite dark roast for years to come. You could say that this coffee has a cult following (I get my zingers in while I can.) Just like the bag says, Be One Of Us isn’t just a slogan, it’s a message. Get ready to fall in love with dark roast coffee all over again.
Tiny Footprint Coffee is the world's first carbon-negative coffee company, meaning they make sure to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit during the process of importing and roasting their coffee. One of the main ways they accomplish their goal is donating a portion of the proceeds earned from every pound sold to fund reforestation in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest. So yeah, this is good coffee, but it's also a lot more than that.
In order to save energy (it is the right thing to do), look for a unit that comes with an auto-off timer. Leaving the internal tank heated and ready to brew will continue to drain some energy, even though minimal. If you are making 7-8 cups of coffee a day, this could make sense. It takes around 300 watts of power for a Keurig machine to brew a K cup if it has been preheated.
If you want a sampling from multiple independent coffee roasters all at once, this is the coffee subscription for you. There are many small roasters that have popped up all over the country and many are too small to operate their own subscription service. So they’ve partnered with companies that offer coffee subscriptions and pull from this pool of smaller roasters.
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:
Jared Karr's dream of becoming an FBI agent ended up with him living in Indonesia (long story, ask him), where he developed a fascination with coffee, as you do. These days, Karr is back home, busily growing one of the Southeast's most promising roasters—East Pole's bright and light café in the Armour Yards development is all but brand new, but this already feels like one of Atlanta's great coffee shops.
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!
In the test, I took into consideration that people have a variety of coffee preferences. Some like a classic French Roast, meaning lots of dark, toasty notes with a full body and robust (slightly burnt, IMO) flavor. More recently, coffee trends have tended toward the lighter, brighter, fruity end of the tasting spectrum, with a fair amount of acid and berry notes. We aimed for a medium roast, which would theoretically appease a variety of tastes and hit in the middle of this spectrum. Still, we picked three different coffees as our favorites so we could cover the spectrum of coffee flavor preferences. In general, we were looking for coffees that tasted nuanced in flavor, not simply burnt or watery. Hints of chocolate, berries, nuttiness, and round, creamy mouthfeel were ideal. We wanted a coffee that would taste good black—and also hold up to added milk.
Conventional coffee is one of the more treated crops, thus it’s important for coffee drinkers to consider what goes into their beverage. Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides all make up some components of a coffee farmers tools. However, organic coffee is slightly different as the labeling means that the coffee bean was grown with human consumption concerns in mind.
As you’ve already guessed, this organic decaf coffee was made for Keurig Single Cup Brewers. Therefore, you need to own one prior to buying this coffee. Once you do, you will be able to enjoy this amazingly bold, refined, and smooth dark brew that will sooth your heart and your senses. The blend is a medium and dark roast, and the coffee itself has been decaffeinated by the water process.
Promising review for their Quarter Caf blend: "Finally, coffee I can drink! I came across this product by accident and I'm so thankful I did. I have a very energized baby (who I'm currently breastfeeding) and normal coffee gets to my baby. I didn't have coffee for quite a while, but this came in yesterday so I had my morning cup of coffee without any guilt. It tastes great and it's exactly what I need to start my day." —Kristina Hunter
Our research was then directed towards the price point and determining what classifies as a “cheap” cup of coffee. If you are heading to Starbucks to grab a grande cup of regular coffee, it will put you back $2.10. McDonald’s premium roast coffee will cost $1.29. Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee is $1.89. Frappuccinos, lattes and mochas will double your coffee cost.
“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.”
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 soul of this coffee is in the high-altitude region of Latin America, which is the one responsible for making the coffee naturally bright and sweet. To be specific, the beans are sourced all the way from Colombia and Guatemala. The premium beans that are used in the production of the coffee provides a medium and smooth body with notes of sweet citrus and chocolate. The company is also known for its programs that help its local farmers as a way of giving back to the community.
"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).
“Is it the strongest coffee I’ve had? Probably not. Is it one of the best-tasting? Yes. The flavor transports me to some random and sinful island in Indonesia (a story for another day). Oddly, Death Wish brands its coffee as almost dangerously strong, and strong it is. However, the organic coffee maker should be shouting from the roof about the taste and quality. Yes, caffeine sells, but this is one incredibly great-tasting coffee. I would easily say second best I’ve ever had and certainly the best I’ve purchased at a store.”
I got this coffee because it was on clearance. I didn't even know Paul Newman made coffee in addition to salad dressings. I figured it would be decent. I was right. It's not great coffee, but if you aren't fussy about your coffee, you will be satisfied. And for the price, you can't go wrong. If it wasn't on clearance, I would have bought Peet's coffee or something similar.
My husband and I decided that if we are going to be drinking something everything morning for the next 50 years of our life, we want it to be organic. Fair trade just happens to be another bonus. Both coffee and sugar are the highest sprayed crops in the world. Coffee especially so we first made the switch over this brand and tried this flavor first. We grind it at home and brew it with an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker with Bonus 350 Micro Filters. The combination of grinding it fresh every morning and brewing it with the aeropress makes for the best cup of morning coffee EVER. We use a simple Krups 203-42 Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder with Stainless-Steel blades, Black and simply grind it for 15-18 seconds. We also switched sugars and now use organic and fair trade sugar as well along with locally bought raw milk. The best sugar for this is Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 6).
This K-cup coffee stays true to its name – it is really good. It is made using organic Arabica coffee beans grown in Sumatra and South and Central America. It is also a good thing that it is in a variety pack, allowing you to experience different flavors, which include French Roast, Donut Shop, and Breakfast Blend. Lastly, if you are looking for organic biodegradable K-cups, it is also worth looking at this product since it is made with a recyclable packaging.
As coffee consumption increased, and the value of coffee beans as an agricultural export grew, many farmers moved coffee off of hard-to-reach forested hillsides and grew it at lower elevations, in dedicated coffee fields, for ease of cultivation and harvesting. This transition from coffee as a plant grown in forested mountains to a plant grown on plantations has had an array of far-reaching effects.
The organic coffee co. ground brand is purely organic. This is because they offer one hundred percent certified organic coffee beans, organic flavored coffees, and organic decaf coffee. Their coffee tastes good since they directly go to the source to purchase their coffee from, and they grow their own organic coffee at their own unique farms. They always stand for the premium, fair, sustainable, and direct trade coffee at prices customers love. They also give quality organic coffee to the market.