Unless you're a total geek, keeping up with the very latest in coffee tech can be a bit difficult, but we can't talk about Fort Wayne—perhaps the last place you were expecting to be talking about, right now—without talking about the fact that the city, better known as the birthplace of the Frigidaire, is also home of the Modbar, currently one of the hottest names in espresso extraction—so hot, in fact, that the company managed to attract La Marzocco as an investor and distribution partner. These days, Modbar founding partner Corey Waldron has gone back to his barista roots with this roaster/café operation, located just above the confluence of the three rivers that meet here at the heart of the city. (It's not just a thing that happens in Pittsburgh, you know.)
This year, for the first time, a coffee from Hawaii earned top honors, the 96-point Kona Mocca™, grown and roasted in Holualoa, Hawaii by Hula Daddy Kona Coffee. In the review published in November, it was described in part as “A marvel of a coffee, inviting and esoteric, chimerical and grounded, all at once. Enchantingly rich, intensely floral, unique. Dried black cherry, tea rose, Cognac, chocolate fudge, gently scorched almond wood in aroma and cup.” This rare coffee with its tiny beans and striking cup is available only on the Hula Daddy website through their allocation list.
This aptly-named company doesn’t just have a unique platform—they use unique equipment, as well. They roast in a vintage 90 kilo German-built Probat drum roaster retrofitted with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners. If you have no idea what that is/looks like, join the club. It’s just a cool set of words when you string them all together, and they sound authoritative enough that I believe them.
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.
Promising review for their Cold Brew Cold Press Elixir blend: "I have ordered a few bags of this and it's become my favorite coffee for cold brew. The grind is nice and coarse; it's been fresh every time I have open a bag, unlike a few more-expensive brands I've purchased on Amazon (that came fancifully packaged, but whose aroma fell short when the sealed bag was opened). The taste is complex and the caffeine level is potent. After a big serving of this, a hummingbird can't keep up with me." —Mr. BBQ guy
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.
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.
Overwhelmingly, the lesser known brands ranked higher and received more detailed tasting notes. When searching the description of these brands, you will find more information on specific origin, details in roasting and care in the small batches. The attention to detail made from the farming to the roasting will set you back a few more dollars, but know that along with a more satisfying cup of coffee you are also doing your part to better the world.
The same holds true for Kickapoo Coffee, whose Ethiopia Kirite also scored 93. Caleb Nicholas says, “About 97 percent of the coffee we roast is certified organic, and we would not have purchased the Kirite if it were conventional. The USDA seal is optional, and we designed the bags to accommodate both organic and non-organic. If we put the seal on it, it would be just another sticker. Instead, we just label the coffee as organic and list our certifier, MOSA.”
The Koffee Kult from Hollywood, Florida is a true artisanal passion, roasted in small batches, by hand, to ensure quality. Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee creates an exceptional cup of gourmet coffee that has inspired a cult-like following. The company prides themselves on delivering pure Arabica coffee beans, for a strong, not bitter taste. There’s no filler robusta coffee being used here.
Run a water cycle. Unless you've just finished using the Keurig, the water in the deposit is likely going to be tepid, meaning lower brewing temperatures (a common problem with the Keurig). Before you brew, run a water cycle to heat up the water and the machine. Follow it quickly with a brew, and the water will be slightly hotter—ergo, a better brewing temperature.
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.
Years in the making, this inspired (and inspiring) flagship location for an established local roaster features an in-house bakery (Ibis, their own), a roasting plant, along with three levels of hangout space, including a rooftop deck. Kansas City coffee is pretty top drawer, and has been for a while now (Thou Mayest, Quay, Magnolia, Oddly Correct), but this happy spot in the city's Crossroads district has pretty much blown the doors off. Nobody's complaining.
The professionally crafted Kauai Coffee is 100 percent Arabica Hawaiian coffee, providing you a taste of the island paradise in each cup. Select beans are expertly roasted fresh from the fields and then ground to make a mild, smooth, and aroma-rich coffee. This may be a relative newcomer in the coffee world, but the quality makes it stand out, with it being a proud USA-made product.
Don Pablo, que rico! Yes, the Don Pablo gourmet organic decaf coffee is definitely one you have to try if you are a true coffee lover. This Colombian Supremo light roast prides itself in tasting exactly like traditional coffee, only without the caffeine you are trying to avoid. Apart from that, it also has slight hints of cocoa, natural caramel, and just a touch of citrus. Yumm!
A coffee crop also requires a great deal of water, particularly when it is being grown quickly. It takes 37 gallons of water to produce enough beans for just one cup of coffee. Coffee is often produced in countries with a shortage of water, such as Ethiopia, and the combination of high water consumption and high fertilizer and pesticide use can lead to water degradation and pollution in water runoff.
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.
The organic movement is fueled in large part by consumers’ health concerns. People are understandably wary of consuming agricultural poisons along with their fruits and vegetables. With coffee, however, the health issue is less persuasive than it is with many other agricultural products: apples or strawberries, for example, which we consume whole and often raw. We do not consume the fruit of the coffee tree. Instead, we strip the fruit off and compost it, retaining only the seed, which we then dry, roast at very high temperatures, grind, and soak in hot water. Subsequently we throw away the dried, roasted, ground seeds and drink the water.
With this Colombian grown organic coffee in a K-cup, this is the perfect caffeine fix that can stimulate the senses. Similar to other dark roasts, you can expect notes of dark chocolate in this coffee. The beans have been through a long roasting process, which also means that the acidity is reduced. There are also toasted notes with the aftertaste of this coffee, but you do not have to worry since it does not have a pronounced bitterness.