Don Pablo, a family business, has provided dedication to the organic process for several decades now, delivering robust coffees from the source. Subtle Earth Organics is an exceptional Honduran coffee from the family’s specific farming region. The growing process is very important to this product as the fruit of the coffee bean go back into the soil as compost and fertilizer. High altitudes provide that no insecticides are necessary.


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.
Also try Texas overfloweth with worthy coffee roasters and shops right now, from Amarillo, way up in the Panhandle (Palace, Evocation) to Longview (Silver Grizzly Espresso) to San Antonio (Local) to McAllen (Reserva) way the heck down in the Rio Grande Valley, and you will typically find them taking the craft as seriously as you might expect in a state that perfected the art of, say, barbecue, or the breakfast taco. (Road trip, anyone?)
Treated low acid coffee refers to coffee that’s produced using special processing techniques to deliberately produce low acid results. For example, Brazilian coffee that’s roasted using a very slow or interrupted roasting process will be less acidic. Also, steaming the beans to get rid of their waxy outer coating before roasting has a similar effect.
Finally, coffee production is being affected by global climate change. Coffee requires extremely stable temperature conditions in order to thrive. In its natural habitat, elevation and forest would provide additional temperature stability. But today, we are seeing that the “coffee belt” we relied upon for so long is changing, and the regions where coffee can be grown are also changing, with a huge effect on local farmers and economies that rely on coffee exports to survive.

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.

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