There were two surprises at the bottom of our list, Starbucks and Maxwell, which ranked lowest for brands you know, as well as our overall list. These two coffee giants both received bad scores in taste and finish categories. Comments included “overly acidic,” “slightly burnt” and “basic.” Both costs were below average per ounce. Maxwell was the least expensive coffee that we tested at $.23 and Starbucks ranked in the middle at $.55.
After training under coffee royalty across the pond (at Colonna & Small's in Bath), local native Jason Gonzalez, along with British-born wife and business partner Tiffany, are giving Vermont's long-running scene a swift kick in the backside with this smart multi-roaster operation, a very-21st century shrine to one of the state's favorite beverages (after beer, of course).
Out of all the coffee subscription services I’ve tried, these guys did it the best! Not only do they know how to source really great coffee from some of the best roasters, their packaging design was top-notch. As a designer myself, I was highly impressed. Their coffees are all single origin. It’s a signal that they truly care about great coffee by supporting the farmers who grow the beans and the roasters.
I was pretty disappointed in this local coffee spot, unfortunately. I walked in and the staff seemed in disarray. I waited 15 minutes for a coffee, watching other people who ordered after me get their drinks filled. They had forgotten my order as it turned out, and when I asked about it, they were not too friendly in understanding what happened. After I finally pushed about needing to go, they finally made my drink, but I only had a couple minutes to finish it. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with their service at all. And my coffee was nothing impressive. Not worth the price in my opinion.
I got a toasted multiseed bagel + cream cheese, as well as a chai latte with soy milk. They have plenty of pastry and coffee options, and they support a great cause, i.e., economically just and environmentally sound trade partnerships (paraphrased from their website just FYI). The toasted bagel was perfect for the slightly rainy and chilly day, and I appreciated how the chai latte wasn't too sweet.
Coffee is grown in several places around the world. All of these locations share proximity to the equator, a cool-to-moderate tropical climate, rich soil, and, in the case of arabica beans, a high altitude. And while you might assume that a coffee bean from Brazil is really no different from a coffee bean from Kenya, there actually are subtle taste differences depending on where the beans were grown.
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.”
“Let me start off by saying, I FREAKING LOVE COFFEE! And I love trying any new beans I can get my hands on. Usually, I don’t really care for the Colombian beans. They’re among my least favorite. However, these were really darn good. A rich and bold roast-y flavor with dark-chocolate notes. Dark chocolate happens to be another of my vices, and I’ve always liked a good bean that pairs well with it. Upon opening the bag, the smell of the beans permeated our household, and both my wife and I kept saying, ‘I can’t wait to try that coffee!’ … If you like dark roasts that have a bit of a dark-chocolaty flavor, give this a try. I already bought a second bag, and now I really want to try some of Stone Street’s other coffee.”
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The second best organic decaf coffee on our list is Caza Trail Coffee. The dark imperial flavors inside actually come from a blend of coffees from Indonesia and Latin America. It has moderate acidity and a well-rounded finish. Caza Trail offers both classic and flavored coffee. Therefore, you can either have a traditional pick me up or take a break and reward yourself with a spiced coffee.