Dark roasts are easily identified with their rich dark brown or black color. Dark roast beans will have noticeable oil on the surface and taste more bitter, smoky or even burnt. As a coffee roast gets darker, it loses the origin flavors and takes on the flavor mainly from the roasting process. These beans are largest of the three, reaching an internal temperature of 464°F – 482°F, just past the 2nd crack.
Finally, the timing of this report perhaps favored coffees produced north of the equator, where the main coffee harvest takes place earlier in the year, rather than south of the equator, in countries like Tanzania and Uganda, where the harvest starts near the end of the year. When choosing the optimum time to organize a tasting report, we often struggle at Coffee Review with these sorts of timing trade-offs.
Evaluated as espresso. Complex, juicy, richly tart. Almond, dark chocolate, guava, tangerine zest, star jasmine in aroma and small cup. Light, very silky mouthfeel; chocolate, fruit and flowers all carry into a cleanly sweet, delicately drying finish. Flavor-saturated in three parts milk: almond, chocolate, guava, flowers all resonate in rich, custardy balance.
Beyond being incredibly potent and highly caffeinated, this dark roast is well-balanced and flavorful, with sweet, nutty, chocolatey notes and a surprisingly smooth finish. We feel a disclaimer is in order here: This is not a blend for those who are sensitive to caffeine, but if you’re on the hunt for a dark roast that will wake you up, look no further.

Archer Farms is Target's in-house brand. This coffee is organic and fair trade, and I will say that it was one of the more memorable, flavorful coffees. It tasted fruity, floral, and a little acidic. It has a kind of funkiness to it. There were also some notes of bitterness at the end, however, that made me think it was slightly over-roasted, and just a hint of that dirty-water aroma coffees can sometimes have. This is a solid, flavorful option, though, with plenty of nuanced flavor that makes it worth buying when you're at Target.
Café Altura was established in 1980 in Ventura, California. The beans are sourced from the district of Villa Rica – Pasco, Peru. Aside from fresh ground coffee, said company is also known for their whole bean coffee, canned coffee, instant coffee and mountain water decaf. The Café Altura Ground Organic Coffee is sold in eight flavors namely: dark roast, dark roast decaf, fair trade dark blend, fair trade classic roast, house blend, French roast, regular roast and regular roast decaf. Café Altura brands their coffee as a biodynamic coffee. It is called biodynamic because the coffee farmers take into account the biodiversity surrounding the farm.
First time trying this brand. We've been rotating through various organic whole beans, looking for our "go to". We purchased this one and the "Mind, Body, Soul" whole bean blend and we love them both! The breakfast blend is more robust and the mind, body soul is a bit sweeter. We also use filtered water which we have found allows for better coffee flavor and less tap water (aka, chemical) flavor. We will definitely be buying both again. It's only a 12 oz bag so if you do daily coffee for multiple coffee drinkers, you'll burn through it pretty fast. Need bigger bags!
Newman’s Own is a feel-good coffee—it’s organic, all company profits go to charity, and Paul Newman’s little dad-hot cartoon face on the bag grins approvingly at your choices. Its flavor is uncomplicated, and it tastes like the last coffee of the day should taste—a 3 p.m. pick-me-up that tows you calmly to the end of the workday rather than punching you in the eye-bags like a morning coffee needs to. This is the most expensive in the bunch, at $16.46 per pound, and isn’t so far ahead of Green Mountain ($13.32/lb) that it’s worth the splurge on anything but ethical or aesthetic grounds. Moreover, it falls short of Green Mountain in thermal shift and microwaveability: flavor deteriorates in proportion with temperature, and after microwaving dries out the inside of one’s mouth—not a problem if you’re a quick drinker, but sippers beware.

The Organic Coffee Co., Chocolate Almond Whole Bean provides you a delicate balance between toasted almond, chocolate, and coffee flavors. If there is something that makes their coffee different is the fact that they know where to buy coffee beans – Panama. And they just go directly to the source and always making sure that they have grown without any chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers.
This weekend at the tasting room you can find some rad new @apolis market bags that we collaborated with @shopassembly and @themaingrainbakery to commission. Thanks for coordinating, @juneandjae! Drop us a message if you’d like to buy one online and have us ship it (we have pretty limited quantity). Come check them out! #centralwisconsin 📷 @juneandjae
The taste and quality of the coffee bean depends largely on the environment in which it grows. Coffee plants require ample rainfall in the early months as fruit blooms, and less so afterwards after the fruit begins to ripen. For this reason, rainforests prove to be the ideal location for coffee production. As the fruit of the coffee plant is hand-picked, the seeds need to be dismantled from the fruit. The first method of doing so is called wet processing. The seeds are fermented in water for two or three days to get rid off the excess flesh or pulp which may be sticking to the seed. The second method is dry processing, the fruit is picked from seeds and laid out in sun for two to three weeks, turned regularly. The latter is the cheaper and lower quality method of processing beans.
The organic rainforest blend coming in on swift winds from San Francisco Bay Coffee represents a tasteful mixture of medium roasted Arabica coffee beans. The lush taste here is thanks to enriched citrus notes. This is a certified organic coffee produced in Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, and Indonesia. Made from carefully selected beans and sealed fresh in K-cups, to provide the exclusive quality taste.
This single cup sampler includes one of each of the following: Marley Coffee Lively Up! Espresso organic dark roast, Marley Coffee One Love Ethiopia Yirgacheffe organic medium roast, Marley Coffee Get Up Stand Up organic light roast, White Coffee organic sea salt caramel medium roast, White Coffee organic French Vanilla, First Colony Espresso Roast organic dark roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Breakfast Blend City Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Colombian Cup Vienna Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic La Bailarina Spanish Roast, *Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value organic Riviera Roast Italian Roast, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Organic Decaf Peruvian Peak Vienna Roast, Fulton St. Bold Organic, *Caza Trail Extra Bold Medium Roast, *Caza Trail Sumatra Gayo Mountain, *Caza Trail Guatemalan, O Organics dark French Roast, O Organics medium Aztec Blend, O Organics Dark Roast Sumatran, O Organics Medium Roast Nicaraguan, O Organics Medium Roast Ethiopian. *Fair Trade. **In rare cases, based upon availability certain flavors will be replaced with other flavors.

Java Planet is owned and operated by a family, producing certified USDA Organic coffee which is 100% free of chemicals and pesticides. The company roasts their Columbian coffee beans in small batches and put the date right on each bag. It is Fair Trade specialty coffee with a smooth, full flavor, and as some customers noted, a heavenly aroma. It’s a popular favorite with many coffee lovers.


The first time I conducted my coffee taste test, I left Peet's out, and commenters were outraged. It turns out, they were right: this is a solid supermarket coffee contender, especially for people who might tend toward a darker roast. Social Media Manager Andrew Spena and I particularly liked this coffee. "I know it's not true, but I feel like this has a neutral pH balance," said Andrew. "A little nuttiness comes through once it's cooled a bit. I could see myself drinking too much of this on accident." If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is. The nuttiness and round body of this coffee set it apart. It had a chocolatey richness and some nice toasty notes. While the Thrive coffee is well-suited to those who like a lighter, fruitier roast, Peet's is perfect for people who like a rounder, nuttier, creamier, toastier flavor profile in their coffee.
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.
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.
You have the option to enjoy this organic coffee from Honduras. It produces deep rich chocolaty flavor with a clean finish. This coffee impresses you with smooth milk chocolate, with tones of caramel, honey, and cocoa. The roasting is done keenly to bring out the natural flavor aspects and lovely sweetness. It’s Organic certified by CCOF so you can be sure it’s grown without the use of chemicals. The coffee is 100% Arabica, and it’s GMO-free. The pack contains 2 pounds of coffee for several servings.
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.
I try to eat & drink all-organic whenever possible, including my coffee, in order to avoid ingesting toxins. Certified organic coffee (in this case, certified by QAI--Quality Assurance Intl.) is grown & processed w/o pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, & other potentially harmful chemicals. So, Newman's Own 'Organics' Coffee is my daily 'go-to' coffee. I like the flavor of this 'Newman's Special Blend Medium Roast - Extra Bold' organic Arabica coffee. It's smooth, rich, hearty, & full-bodied, not bitter & not too acidic. It produces a pleasing aroma every morning from my Keurig B70 Platinum coffeemaker. I don't use any sweeteners, but I do stir in some Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Crème. Mmmm! You do sacrifice some freshness & flavor for the convenience of K-Cups vs. grinding your own beans. But the extra time & mess of coffee grinding are luxuries I can't afford in the rush of weekday mornings. One negative, & the reason for just 4 stars instead of 5: I do find that I sometimes get a stale box of K-Cups, even when the future 'best buy' date on the bottom of the 18-pod box is up to 20 months away, as was the case just last month w/a carton stamped w/an April 2019 'best buy' date. The distributor is Keurig Green Mountain. One wonders just how this coffee is initially stored, then transported, & then finally stored again after it arrives at Best Buy's facilities. For my part, I always keep the K-Cups stored in a cool, dry place, as recommended.

As more and more coffee companies cave to the temptation to adulterate with soy beans sprayed with chemical flavors and questionable trade practices, Equal Exchange may be the last coffee company standing to offer organic whole beans sourced from small producer coops, and roasted at a worker owned facility stateside. The company maintains its commitment to fair trade and supports many worthy causes. I recently had cause to engage in a lengthy discussion with reps at Equal Exchange and consider their inteigrity (and really great tasting coffee!) unsurpassed.
We used our favorite drip coffee maker, the Bonavita 8-Cup Brewer, to brew all of the beans. We used coffee and water measurements recommended by the Bonavita brewing instructions: 70 grams of ground coffee for the 8-cup machine. We drank each coffee hot, at first black, then with milk added if that's how the taster preferred their coffee. When possible, I bought whole beans and ground them (we wouldn't recommend buying pre-ground coffee), but a few of these coffees only come—or are much more commonly found—ground. It's worth noting, however, that all of our winners were whole bean coffees in this second round of tasting.
Shifting, original, startling in its giddy intricacy. Winey pine (think retsina wine), cocoa powder, green apple, Concord grape, ginger blossom, much more in aroma and cup. Sweetly and delicately pungent in structure. Lightly syrupy and almost effervescently buoyant in mouthfeel. The winey pine character and a floral sweetness carry persuasively into a crisp finish.
Coming in 5th on the list overall and 2nd on the known brands list, Dunkin’ Donuts medium roast scored major points as a great coffee choice. Testers were all over the place wondering what kind of roast this was due to its strong aroma and bold taste. Our office testers who enjoy a bold cup of coffee ranked this very highly in taste and finish, but others listed it as harsh and acidic. One tester noted that they enjoyed the coffee more when they let it cool down and added ice to it. We loved that idea! Another wallet friendly choice, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will only cost you $.44 per ounce.
In general, arabica beans make the best cup of coffee. They are more expensive, however, as the Coffea arabica plant is hard to grow and susceptible to pests and disease. What’s more, it needs several years to mature before it will produce cherries. Most arabica beans are grown in South America, particularly Brazil and Columbia, but Africa also produces crops of these valuable beans.
Also try As you might expect in a city that’s been at it for some time now, coffee is for everyone in Chicago, not just the cool kids. Back of the Yards Coffeehouse, for example, is a true oasis in a tough neighborhood, while down in impoverished Englewood, the non-profit Kusanya Café & Roastery has been holding down the fort since 2013. Up on the North Side, the still-scarred (but fast-gentrifying) Uptown neighborhood has Everybody's Coffee, a passion project from a group of fun-loving coffee snobs, living in a local commune. (Author disclosure: These same coffee snobs got me addicted to the stuff, back in the mid-'90's.)

Providing a perfect mixture of high-quality medium roasted coffee from Indonesia and Latin America, Caza Trail K-Cups will take your coffee routine to the next level. The smooth, moderately acid taste with a well-rounded finish is what makes these K-Cups so special. In addition to its great flavor, Caza Trail Coffee also has Fair Trade and USDA organic certification.
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:
Colombian coffee is renowned for its unique, well-tempered taste. The Signature 100% Supremo is full of the flavor and aroma of fresh roasted single-origin coffee beans. Blended with all-Columbian coffee, it contains a specially crafted formula with dark roasted beans, a formula that also makes it stand out as one of the most flavorful. It is finely ground, smooth, and delivered ready to brew by just pouring it in hot milk or water.
The Hunt Brothers Coffee Beans | Blue Honduras Specialty Coffee | Certified Organic comes from Marcala, a region in Central America that is recognized with a DOP (Protected Origin Denomination). These 100% Arabica beans are grown on a fertile volcanic soil, which is enriched by volcanic lava. The growth process of the coffee is marked by the SHG – strictly high growth. This means that the fruits will mature slowly to make sure they create a full-bodied and deeper flavor as well as a premium taste.

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Here's the truth: K-Cups are packed with the same coffee ground you would buy in your grocery store or supermarket. Flavored coffees are made by spraying propylene glycol on the coffee beans/ground, then adding the flavoring oils or liquids afterward. The propylene glycol helps the beans/ground to hold the flavor, and it acts as a preservative. Every time you drink flavored coffee—whether it's in a K-Cup or a regular coffee machine—you're ingesting propylene glycol and natural and artificial flavorings.

To find the best grocery store coffee, we tasted 11 brands commonly found at grocery stores around the country or online. I first conducted this test in July of 2017, but re-tested recently, incorporating a few new coffees that we hadn't tasted in the first round—for example, the coffee from Thrive, which is an online-only grocery store. Epicurious staffers rated the coffees and provided tasting notes. (I myself can be a little forgiving when it comes to bad coffee, so we needed outside opinions.) For every brand, we ordered a medium roast, which was usually "Breakfast Blend" or something equivalent.


I think I would try other coffees from this brand and would probably really like their darker flavors. For people who really want a lot of kick to their coffee I wouldn’t suggest this particular one though. Great things about this particular brand include the fact they are fair trade and organic. They source their coffee beans from small locally owned farmers who practice natural farming. Although my coffee connoisseur attitude does inspire me to occasionally indulge in a new Starbucks option, I always feel much better when I’m conscious about what I buy and opt for brands that seem more aware of their farmers practices and wellbeing. Fair Trade is a great option for the ‘ethically aware’ coffee shoppers out there.

Most organic coffee brands purchase their beans from "fair trade" farms. These farms don't use child or slave labor, and they pay their workers a fairer wage than others in the industry. When you shop organic, you can be proud that you're supporting good business practices instead of shady, cost-cutting measures from companies that are only concerned about their bottom line.
Counter Culture was originally founded in 1995 and was one of the early leaders in the specialty coffee movement. Today, they focus on sustainability and quality and offer several different roasts that you can choose from. They have several different subscription plans available, but their most popular is the single-origin subscription, which gets you two 12 oz. bags of coffee with each shipment. With this coffee subscription you can have your coffee delivered to your door every one, two, three or four weeks.
Amazon went for the bold, and they got it. This full-bodied roast is undeniably bold. We found it comparable to an Italian roast, with less acidity. There is a pleasant fragrance while brewing. The coffee stays strong even at the 12 oz. setting. Even cream and sugar won't take away too much from the boldness. The quality build of the cups stays consistent, as does the taste. Sits at a lower price point than most.
Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea is represented here with an Ethiopia Gelgelu Natural (93). Owner Barry Levine regards organic certification as important because many consumers prefer it. But, as a company, he says Willoughby’s is “quality-centric.” He goes on to say that, “We would have purchased this coffee had it been conventional, but have a preference, when the quality is really there, to have an organic offering, too. We have, in fact, had other excellent Ethiopia Naturals this season that were not organic, but were just too good to pass up. This coffee offered it all.” Because of logistical considerations, some Willoughby bags include the USDA organic seal and others do not. For this particular coffee, Willoughby’s prints the organic certifier on their bags in lieu of the USDA stamp.
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.
Valhalla Java prides itself on providing a strong cup of coffee that’s both organic and fair trade. Plus, if you don’t like it, Death Wish Coffee Company does the total opposite of what their name implies. Rather than having employees sitting around sending endless vibes of ill-fortune and destruction your way, they give you back your money — no harm, no foul. 

We used our favorite drip coffee maker, the Bonavita 8-Cup Brewer, to brew all of the beans. We used coffee and water measurements recommended by the Bonavita brewing instructions: 70 grams of ground coffee for the 8-cup machine. We drank each coffee hot, at first black, then with milk added if that's how the taster preferred their coffee. When possible, I bought whole beans and ground them (we wouldn't recommend buying pre-ground coffee), but a few of these coffees only come—or are much more commonly found—ground. It's worth noting, however, that all of our winners were whole bean coffees in this second round of tasting.


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.

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.

Produced by Equal Exchange, this coffee is a blend of French Roasted and Full City coffees. The content is gourmet Arabica beans. The beans are fairly traded in Latin American from small farmer cooperatives. The resulting coffee is said to have flavors of chocolate brownie, toffee, malt, and caramel corn. It is a deep and rich blend which customers enjoy because it is not bitter, has a wonderful aroma, and is fresh when it arrives.
Also reviewed here are Black Oak’s Ethiopia Hambela Alaka (93) and Noble Coffee’s Ethiopia Bishan Fugu (93), both of which are certified USDA organic, and labeled as such on the bags. Red E Café’s Homacho Waeno Natural (93; one of two coffees on this list imported by Sustainable Harvest), is in the same category as the Big Creek and Revel coffees noted above: certified organic at the farm level, but with no certification indicated on the bags.
Let's face it: Some single-serving coffee pod flavors tend to have a bit of a bad rep because they can sometimes taste watered-down, over-roasted, or even bitter. Luckily, more and more major coffee brands have created delicious varieties that combine the ease of single-serve coffee pods with proven great flavor. From sustainably sourced brands to smaller artisanal roasts, these coffee pods are all top-rated picks.

Many reviewers pick up notes of honey, almonds, and dried fruit in the flavor profile with zero bitterness and low acidity. Ideally, this blend would be finely ground, brewed as a traditional espresso, and served in a smaller format, but many reviewers coarse-grind this blend and brew it using their drip coffee maker or French press with great success. Most reviewers actually claim that they've switched to Lavazza for their everyday morning coffee from other more well-known American brands.
I try to eat & drink all-organic whenever possible, including my coffee, in order to avoid ingesting toxins. Certified organic coffee (in this case, certified by QAI--Quality Assurance Intl.) is grown & processed w/o pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, & other potentially harmful chemicals. So, Newman's Own 'Organics' Coffee is my daily 'go-to' coffee. I like the flavor of this 'Newman's Special Blend Medium Roast - Extra Bold' organic Arabica coffee. It's smooth, rich, hearty, & full-bodied, not bitter & not too acidic. It produces a pleasing aroma every morning from my Keurig B70 Platinum coffeemaker. I don't use any sweeteners, but I do stir in some Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Crème. Mmmm! You do sacrifice some freshness & flavor for the convenience of K-Cups vs. grinding your own beans. But the extra time & mess of coffee grinding are luxuries I can't afford in the rush of weekday mornings. One negative, & the reason for just 4 stars instead of 5: I do find that I sometimes get a stale box of K-Cups, even when the future 'best buy' date on the bottom of the 18-pod box is up to 20 months away, as was the case just last month w/a carton stamped w/an April 2019 'best buy' date. The distributor is Keurig Green Mountain. One wonders just how this coffee is initially stored, then transported, & then finally stored again after it arrives at Best Buy's facilities. For my part, I always keep the K-Cups stored in a cool, dry place, as recommended.
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