In two pound bags, the coffee from Honduras is made from 100% Arabic beans and certified organic by CCOF. It is free of GMO. These are whole beans roasted to a medium dark for chocolatey and rich flavor, with low acidity. The body is described as like velvet. Many customers enjoy the full bodied flavor of this coffee and consider it to be excellent, and in one case “insanely good”.
At Equal Exchange, we only use the finest Fair Trade and organic coffee beans available, but we want our Fair Trade coffees to do more than please the palate. It’s our mission to provide Fair Trade coffees that empower small-scale farmers and their communities. Our certified Fair Trade coffees go beyond the cup, supporting women’s leadership at producer co-ops, environmental preservation through crop diversity, improved yields through soil analysis, and much more. When you purchase Equal Exchange Fair Trade coffee, you’re supporting an equitable trade system for small-scale farmers. Learn more about the farmers who provide our Fair Trade coffee, and let us know what you think of the results.
The coffee bean is technically a seed, and it is tucked inside the fruit of the coffee plant; much like the stone pit of a cherry. It is called a bean simply because of the physical resemblance. While many varieties of coffee beans exist, the two most common types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans dominate the market. They lend to a smoother, slightly acidic taste and they are usually, although not always, deemed the higher quality bean. Robusta beans, as the name suggests, tout a bolder and more bitter taste. They contain at least twice the amount of caffeine as their Arabica counterparts.
The Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Natural roasted by Ben’s Beans (92) happens to be certified organic, but co-owner Glen Lundstrom is willing to purchase quality coffees that are farmed organically but do not have certification if his trusted importers recommend a particular coffee. He says, “We are looking for coffees that are grown and processed free of any sort of chemical intervention. We specialize in certified organic coffees because this provides our customers with a level of confidence that the coffees are grown and processed using healthy and sustainable practices. However, we also realize that, because many of these coffees come from smaller farms, organic certification is not always an economically viable option, even though [the farmers] may grow and produce the coffees using the same practices as a certified farm. That is why we rely heavily on our import partners to provide us with background information on the farms and processors of any coffee we purchase.”
Featuring 100% Arabica Beans for high quality taste, and having USDA Organic credentials, First Colony Coffee is packed in 24 ounce bags of dark roasted beans. Many customers enjoyed the rich dark flavor they found in this rainforest blend. A few experts felt that their cup was average in taste. Some recommended cold brewing the beans, while others recommended grinding the beans at the last minute before brewing to enhance the flavor, using double the amount recommended per every six- ounce cup of coffee. Most appreciated that the coffee is advertised as Fair Trade.
Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.
Healthy Coffee Rule #2) Coffee Grown At High Altitude Is Better. Why? Because the higher the altitude the coffee is grown at, the denser the bean. You may have heard the term "Strictly Hard Bean" (SHB) which denotes an especially dense, high-altitude coffee. This Peak Performance Organic Coffee grown in the Guatemalan Highlands is a perfect example of this. This higher elevation bean is more dense and thus of a higher quality grade. High Altitude Coffee also tends to have more antioxidants!
Alfred Peet has been shaping the craft coffee movement for decades. He’s helped transform what Americans have come to expect from their cup of coffee, as he mentored the founders of Starbucks at one time, but continually worked to seek better coffee for humanity. Created for Peet’s 50th anniversary this signature blend celebrates Mr. Peet’s legacy, obviously it has quite the name to live up to.
Heat, as always, is an essential factor in coffee drinkability, so my taste tests have included an assessment of the flavor at brew temperature, at room temperature, and after microwaving to return the coffee to brew temperature. Anyone who’s left a fresh, full cup sitting out just a little too long—while changing over a load of laundry, say, or tackling a pet barf emergency—knows the tragic dilemma of the cold cup, too full to top off with hot-from-the-pot coffee, too cold to drink. I am a staunch proponent of microwaving coffee rather than wasting it, though I know many people (my own boyfriend included) might call this the line between cheapness and frugality. After all, if the coffee’s cheap to begin with, what’s the waste? Still, I believe microwaveability is essential to any home coffee, and can indicate whether coffee left on the burner will deteriorate or stay more or less stable, flavor-wise.
I work right by Equal Exchange and like to go on walks mid morning to grab my coffee. Working in this area, there's a lot of options for coffee. I tried Equal Exchange because I wanted to be more ethical in my purchasing decisions despite paying more. I heard good things about Equal Exchange from my coworkers but I experienced really bad service which is really unusual in places like this (I think). The cashier was SO rude to me especially when I asked if they had any flavors to put in the coffee. It was a bummer because normally my walks at work to coffee shops are one of the best parts of my day! The coffee is really good here though, so I may come back in hopes to interact with more friendly employees.
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.
What a good idea, for those of us searching for an organic coffee that we will love! I stumbled across Sumatra Aceh in the store, and absolutely loved it. Yes, it costs more, but I can brew a delicious cup using the 11 oz (largest) setting on my Keurig platinum. With my previous favorite, Green Mt Nantucket Blend, I have to use the 7 oz setting. So it goes farther. Maybe not enough to justify the additional cost, but then there's the fantastic, rich, mellow taste to factor in.There's also the "Free Trade" and "Organic" to remember. If we want to do our part to help this planet, every little bit helps.
With a lot of coffees in the market today, it is good to have the name that you can recognize. First Colony organic fair trade whole bean coffee is certainly all that and will remain to be a superb purchase. This coffee is cost effective and widely recommended. It is also the most popular choice among most individuals. It is packed in warm and self-merchandizing bags that facilitate value, freshness and quality.