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.
Coming from the manufacturer who’s well known for its environmentally friendly practices based on organic, sustainable, and ethical production, One Love K-Cups represent the medium roasted gourmet coffee produced using 100% Ethiopia Yirgacheffe coffee beans. With its balanced, smooth, floral notes, it provides an amazing taste that beautifully combines with brown sugar, vanilla, and exotic spices.
Our research was then directed towards the price point and determining what classifies as a “cheap” cup of coffee. If you are heading to Starbucks to grab a grande cup of regular coffee, it will put you back $2.10. McDonald’s premium roast coffee will cost $1.29. Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee is $1.89. Frappuccinos, lattes and mochas will double your coffee cost.
The not-so-big city at the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster already had Square One Roasters—apparently, there's room for yet another great. Founded by a Blue Bottle/Parlor vet with local roots, this roaster's sensitively-mod retail operation sits just off Penn Square, across a very charming alleyway from the city's historic market hall. Carefully sourced coffees are fascinating, sometimes quite unusual, service can be downright gracious—this is one of those places everyone ought to come to take notes, to see how it's done. 
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.
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.
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.
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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. 

So as to control the taste tests, as so as not to die of over-caffeination on assignment, I have developed a strict testing methodology. Over two days, I prepared an 8-ounce mug of coffee from each of 13 different coffee brands widely available in U.S. grocery stores. I have tried to select the most basic variety of each brand—i.e., blends labeled as “house,” ”original,” or “breakfast.” Each mug has been brewed using a ceramic pour-over cone with an unbleached paper filter, allowing for portion and strength control as well as the potential for a more flavorful, less bitter brew than an auto-drip. Each coffee was consumed black, without milk or sugar. 

Your favorite coffee connoisseur might have an argument for single origin vs blended origin beans, but the average coffee drinker will not taste the difference. Each origin has a unique attribute that is added to the bean, but the taste is not the main reason to look into blended or single origin. There are very few regulations that mandate disclosure of type, or percentages, of the blends in your bag of coffee. As a result some expensive blends may be a low percentage of a desirable origin and the majority could be from a less desirable origin.
In addition to that, this java has about 59 mg caffeine in every fluid-ounce of coffee. In fact, its single serving will comprise up to 708 mg caffeine if the serving is of 112 fluid-ounce. It is fairly more than many people could bear for a single day. Despite the coffee being of French roast and of high caffeine content it tastes astonishingly sweet.
K-cups are the ultimate in convenience – ideal for those who only want to brew one cup at a time, or for offices and large households where everyone wants something different or doesn’t want to assign anyone the duty of cleaning, prepping, and brewing for the masses. K-cups come in just about any kind of coffee, from dark to light roasts, organic, flavored, extremely caffeinated to decaf. You can also buy latte or cappuccino K-cups with the sweetener already mixed in. Other choices include tea, cider, and cocoa. And since they cost about 40 cents each, you can stock up on your favorites and treat yourself to something else with all the money you’d spend at a cafe for an almost identical beverage.
In a nutshell, organic coffee is made from beans that are grown in uncontaminated soil without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Standards may differ from country to country but the difference is usually on how much of the final product came from organic sources. In the U.S.A. for example, the FDA requires 95% of the coffee to come from organic sources to be classified as “Organic Coffee” regardless of where it came from.
In the end, in our opinion, it really comes down to taste. We love trying out different subscriptions while searching for good coffee. It’s easy enough to try a coffee subscription for a few months before and switching to a new company if you want to change things up. When you find one that you really like, settle in with them for the long haul and get ready to enjoy all that wonderful coffee goodness delivered straight to your door.
Use your own grounds. Reusable K-Cups are a gift from the coffee gods! They're only compatible with the original Keurig machines (though this YouTube tutorial will show you how to reuse a K-Cup with a 2.0), but a reusable K-Cup allows you to refill the cups with your own coffee grounds. You can use an extra-strength ground to make your coffee delicious as well as quick-brewed. The finer the ground, the stronger the flavor.

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.
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