We asked Josh Taves, a 12-year coffee industry vet (who has spent time working as a barista as well as training them) and the director of business development for Denver’s Novo Coffee -- one of the finest coffee shops in the country -- for help. He did a blind tasting of 20 of the most popular K-Cups like a true (and highly caffeinated) hero. In the end, one brand stood out above all else, snagging three of the top four spots, while a few proved to be not worth drinking, no matter how badly you need a caffeine kick.
The price is the exact average price of all the coffees we tested. The name Mississippi Grogg might throw you off, but this family owned and operated processing center is based in Iowa along the Mississippi river valley. Verena Street is 100% sustainably sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified coffee farms, is fairly traded and kosher. If you are a conscious consumer and look at where your money is being spent, we recommend checking out some other unknown brands we tested as well.
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.
There are numerous organic coffees with different flavors and tastes, so you have a chance to choose your favorite.Some organic coffees require the use of coffeemakers while others produce a quality cup of coffee instantly. The organic coffees are made with coffees from different areas around the world such as Central America, South America, Jamaica, and Ethiopia.
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.
And while you could certainly buy an expensive cup of coffee on your way to work, it’s far more economical – and often, far tastier – to brew your own. But how do you know which beans make for the best cup of brew? Should you buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee? What’s the difference between robusta and arabica? And does the degree of roasting affect the flavor?
It feels disingenuous to make pour-over coffee with Folger’s from a plastic tub, but I have done it, and the results are quite drinkable. Canned coffee has a heftiness to it that only the darkest-roast bagged coffee achieves, and often at the expense of flavor. Folger’s is dark enough to mask distracting flavors, thin enough not to coat the esophagus with silty grounds, and so, so cheap. The label estimates it contains 60 servings—I make my coffee fairly strong, so I might not quite hit 60, but I bet it’d last me two weeks or so, which at $8 a month is cheaper than Netflix. Much like deli coffee, Folger’s has a flavor that depends greatly on proper drinking temperature—it is punishing when tepid. A microwave brings it almost back to where it needs to be, almost, but with such a large tub there’s no reason not to fix yourself another pour-over.
Also try The folks at Louisville's Good Folks Coffee prefer to spend their days behind the roaster, and that's fine, because they're doing great work back there—look for their beans at Please & Thank You, a very popular café, bakery and record shop combo with three locations. Up near Cincinnati, in the very old city of Newport, Carabello Coffee is a highlight—check out their Analog Bar, a reservation-only spot for guided coffee tasting.
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.
Newman's Own Organics Extra Bold K-Cups are by far the best-tasting and highest quality K-Cups available. I either use these or the refillable My K-Cup with locally sourced coffees. For the price and the speed of brewing, it's hard to beat the strength and flavor of Newman's Own. Take it from a coffee-snob who owns more than half a dozen coffee brewers (pour-over, espresso machine, moka pot, high-end drip brewer, etc.) these are the best trade-off of a fast cup of coffee that still tastes great. Also: contrary to popular belief, K-Cups are completely recyclable. They consist of plastic, aluminium and paper and take minimal effort if you are already accustomed to recycling.
One of the biggest rising names in premier coffee beans, Café Don Pablo, brings us another exceptional, small batch, artisan roasted bag of coffee beans. Not only are these premier coffee beans GMO-free, but their specific blend of beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil will leave you wondering why you didn’t find Don Pablo sooner. If you’re a finnicky coffee critic, then we don’t need to preach this fact to you—you’ve been let down by far too many different blends, each claiming to be the most optimal flavor and body balance, while falling flat. Don Pablo is a premier coffee company that should always come first when you think of quality. Be sure to also check out our list of the best instant coffee for more great items like this.
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.
I sat down in their amazing coffee shop and met Justin and his team, and decided to partner up with them on a different subscription plans. The beans are roasted in their shop and shipped straight to your door – and I can attest firsthand to how incredible the coffee is. Click here to learn more about their story and try Carabello Coffee for yourself.
A. “Fair Trade Certified” means the farmers were paid a fair wage, no forced or child labor was involved in the growing or picking of the beans, the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals was limited, and the coffee plantation practiced sustainable farming methods. You’ll find many brands of coffee certified as Fair Trade, particularly specialty brands. The Fair Trade Certified program is an international program run by TransFair USA.
A weekend morning, or at least part of one, spent in the lobby of the Dean Hotel, which is where you will find the very best coffee shop in the coolest big city in New England right now, is always time well spent. Look for these guys at the RISD Museum, too, where they've recently partnered with the school on the excellent Café Pearl. Easily one of the most memorable multi-roaster operations between New York and Boston.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Propylene glycol is a potentially harmful ingredient, with side effects that include skin irritations and allergies, respiratory issues, cardiovascular problems, neurological symptoms, and potential organ toxicity. While it is recognized by the FDA as "generally safe", those trying to live a clean life may want to avoid anything that contains the chemical.
It depicts the source of organic coffee to be from the place called Yemen and Indonesia. However, there is a blend of Arabica in this pack which many of the coffee fanatics cherish. In fact, there are some regular Mocha Java consumers who hardly seem to switch to another brand because of the sweet bitter taste. It is the energy rush of this coffee that will leave you mesmerizing about the roasting methods.
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.
“Is it the strongest coffee I’ve had? Probably not. Is it one of the best-tasting? Yes. The flavor transports me to some random and sinful island in Indonesia (a story for another day). Oddly, Death Wish brands its coffee as almost dangerously strong, and strong it is. However, the organic coffee maker should be shouting from the roof about the taste and quality. Yes, caffeine sells, but this is one incredibly great-tasting coffee. I would easily say second best I’ve ever had and certainly the best I’ve purchased at a store.”
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.