The very day we spoke with several roasters in New England whose coffees are featured in this month’s tasting report, Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts (now rebranding simply as Dunkin’) and headquartered in Massachusetts, announced plans for expansion. And the company’s “Blueprint for Growth” centers not on doughnuts, but coffee, including the relaunch […]
Cost per Pound: From High (Very) to Reasonable. One can’t directly compare the price of Top 30 coffees from year to year because the mix of coffees varies too dramatically. In 2018, for example, two coffees on the list were priced as part of a bundle, and, for the first time in 2018, we recognized two bottled cold brew coffees, which are not priced in the same way as coffee beans.
Approaches ranged from commitment to organic as a core value in a business model to mere coincidence or afterthought. Furthermore, several of the top-scoring coffees came from roasters who don’t label their coffees as organic, even when these coffees are farmed organically. The reason? They don’t have USDA certification as organic roasters, making it illegal for them to do so.
If you want the extra strong caffeine effect you expect from Death Wish, but in a more flavorful package, Valhalla Java might be what you need. It still retains that overdose of caffeine the brand is famous for. But it also has a smoother mouthfeel and better flavor than their standard blends. The medium dark roast has flavors reminiscent of cocoa and nuts. As with other Death Wish products, you get ethical FairTrade certifications as well.
Melitta Coffee is a Colombian Supreme ground coffee product that is extremely rich in flavor and taste. The well-balanced blend is made of 100% Colombian best Arabica coffee beans that are sourced from only the best of coffee farms. It is medium roasted and finely ground for a richer cup while using nearly 30% less amount of caffeine than other brands of coffee. Not only that but it is also one of the easiest to prepare.
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.

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.
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.

Over the course of the year, we reviewed fewer than a dozen darker roasts. Most were medium-dark at best; some barely that. The majority of darker roasts we reviewed were sent by roasters in Taiwan and most were espressos, reflecting both the time-honored espresso practice of emphasizing chocolate and sweetness through moderate dark roasting, as well as, perhaps, a preference in Taiwan for more traditional styles of espresso as opposed to the lighter-roasted, brighter style of espresso now popular with the leading edge of North American roasters.
This is one of the more popular ground coffee choices you can get at this point in time. It is 100% choice Arabica medium roast coffee at core, yet part of a formula that gives it that unique test you won’t usually get outside a high-end coffee shop. The secret behind the rich, flavorful, and aromatic coffee is Tim Hortons’ unique premium blending expertise, one that recommends them as some of the best ground coffee manufacturers in the industry.
To reduce their footprint, Subtle Earth does a number of things, like growing at a high altitude to reduce the need for any pesticides. Higher altitude makes for better coffee anyway, so it’s definitely a win-win, without question. They’re big recyclers too — all of the fruit that’s separated from the precious coffee bean, the cherry, is composted into a fertilizer. 

Kenneth Davids is a coffee expert, author and co-founder of Coffee Review. He has been involved with coffee since the early 1970s and has published three books on coffee, including the influential Home Roasting: Romance and Revival, now in its second edition, and Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, which has sold nearly 250,000 copies over five editions. His workshops and seminars on coffee sourcing, evaluation and communication have been featured at professional coffee meetings on six continents.
After tasting many coffees that were either completely bland or singed to bitter oblivion, Thrive Market's coffee was a welcome relief, as it offered flavor that was actually nuanced. "Aroma!" wrote my colleague Joe (note the exclamation point). "Woodsy, dark chocolate. Bright! Finished fruity, with a flavor of raspberry and copper." Other tasters also noted that this coffee was brighter than the rest, and offered nice fruitiness. The coffee has a relatively thin body, so those who like a rounder, creamier texture might find it lacking It was not so light and thin, however, that it didn't hold up nicely to a bit of milk—and you could still taste the chocolatey, woody notes through the milk, whereas many coffees lost all distinct flavor when dairy was added. Another bonus: this coffee comes in a huge 24-ounce bag, and at $12.99 for that size, it's an incredible deal.
Coffee Kult ground coffee is a nice blend of choice Colombian-Brazilian coffee beans. The blend has 100% premium-grade Arabica beans which are smooth, rich, and medium bodied. Such high-grade beans are expertly roasted and blended to make the Coffee Kult Medium a must-try for any coffee enthusiasts. Coffee gourmets happily appreciate a cup of coffee made with this choice beans blend and so should you.

Café Bustelo is technically the cheapest coffee on this list because it’s sold in both a can and a vacuum-packed brick, but in a can it’s only third-cheapest, after Maxwell House and Folger’s. Unlike the other coffees under consideration, Café Bustelo is espresso ground, which is much finer than drip ground. This, in addition to the dark roast of the coffee beans, makes it a robust sipping coffee. I double-filtered my pour-over to avoid too much coffee silt, but the flavor was undiminished. It tastes like any other coffee made with double the grounds, and is complexly awful reheated. Café Bustelo is truly motor oil coffee, which is not necessarily a mark against it—it’s likely to burn a hole through even the most memorable hangover, and will propel you forcefully into the next two to three hours of your life. This is not for the faint of heart (seriously, I’m having palpitations as I type this) but ultimately is quite drinkable.
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.

Bright. Lemon. Red Honey. If any of those cupping notes sound like your preference, perhaps you’ll enjoy the Dark Costa Rica Tarrazu K-cup. Grown in the rugged mountains of the “Land of Saints” in Southeastern Costa Rica at over 1200 meters, this is a coffee that lends heavily to those ins search of intense flavor. Costa Rican coffees are often prized for their high notes and their smooth body.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is unusual among the grocery store coffee set in that it references neither the coffee-growing regions of the equator nor any city associated with coffee culture—New York, Vienna, etc.—instead staring wistfully off in the direction of the Green Mountains of Vermont. This is a thoroughly pleasant coffee, light-roasted and gentle on an empty stomach, as mine often is at the coffee hour. Green Mountain has an impressive thermal shift, remaining drinkable even as it cools—even to an avowed hater of iced coffee. It microwaves decently, too, buoyed gently back to drinking temperature without darkening into bottom-of-the-pot creosote, making it a solid choice for even the coldest of kitchens.
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?”
The Bean Coffee Company, Mocha Java Medium Roast is a medium roach coffee that is not only rich in antioxidants as it has a sweet and full finish with a hint of chocolate. This 100% Arabica organic coffee beans are roasted in small batches to guarantee their freshness as well as they are packaged only at the peak of their cycle. This guarantees that you’ll be able to enjoy and delight yourself with the richest flavors.
A. While there’s no need to break your budget for a good cup of joe, premium brands of coffee truly do produce a premium-tasting brew. Specialty coffee growers and sellers generally start with beans of higher-than-average quality. They use the best methods for roasting, they package the beans quickly after roasting them, and they offer a wider variety of bean types, flavored coffees, and specialty blends.
Real Good Coffee Co. brings USDA Certified Organic K Cups to the masses. It’s a dark roast that’s bold and comes from a single origin. The Sumatra beans bring unique notes of bell pepper, cedar, and a lemony finish. Real Good Coffee Co prides themselves on creating where other competitors are lacking. Think of a taste similar to Green Mountain or Pike Place roasts.
Tucked into one of Maine's most idyllic coastal destinations, Melissa Raftery and Megan Wood's sophisticated, certified organic roasting operation has brought them acclaim far beyond Deer Isle—not a bad day's work for what was originally dreamed up as a straightforward coffee shop. Self-funding their way in, the woman-powered operation now includes two very good cafes, one seasonal, one year-round, both turning out some of the most memorable coffee in the state.
The next step in the quest for a quality cup of coffee is roasting. The roasting process heats up the beans at temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius; neutralizing the extreme unpleasant flavor profiles of the bean. The newly roasted bean offers nutty, smoky, or spicy flavors. The length of time that the bean is roasted determines the flavor profile and caffeine content. Beans roasted longer have a shiny black appearance and they boast a bitter and bold taste. Also, they are noted by an oily feel. Light roasted beans, which are roasted for a shorter length of time, tend to be sweeter, smoother, and even floral in flavor. If you prefer a lighter smooth taste, you will defer from bolder, darker roasts of equal of even better quality. 
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