The best light roast and whole bean coffee was our top pick, Verena Street – Mississippi Grogg. The office chatter surrounding this taste test made it a staple on the office shopping list and is now in the rotation of coffee blends brewed. Receiving the most eight, nine and tens across the scoring board, people loved the natural hazelnut flavor found in the roast.

The best medium roast coffee we tested was Marley Coffee, which came in third overall in our test. Marley is an organic, ethically-farmed and 100% Ethiopian blend with herbal tastes including fruity wine undertones. Our testers loved the taste and finish of this coffee and guessed it was either a light or medium blend. One tester loved the “watermelon or green tea” undertones and most mentioned the unique taste that was a welcome change in the morning. Marley Coffee ranked as the most expensive coffee we tested at $.87 per ounce. Money well spent according to our testers.
Java Planet is owned and operated by a family, producing certified USDA Organic coffee which is 100% free of chemicals and pesticides. The company roasts their Columbian coffee beans in small batches and put the date right on each bag. It is Fair Trade specialty coffee with a smooth, full flavor, and as some customers noted, a heavenly aroma. It’s a popular favorite with many coffee lovers.
It costs around $6.28 per pound, or 15 cents per cup, and $4.98 for 12 ounces of unground beans (if you have a coffee grinder in your possession). Their Colombian blend has been highly recommended for it’s smooth, chocolatey flavor with no bitter aftertaste, earning them a 46/55 rating on Coffee Review. They keep their customers happy with frequent coupons, which can be found on their website.
Now you can have the highest quality coffee through the convenience of your singe serve brewer. OneCups mesh bottoms allow us to package the freshest product possible, just open up one of these bags and smell it for yourself! The OneCup pods are comprised of wood pulp lidding, a corn ring and mesh coffee filter. The end result? A more environmentally friendly, certified kosher, single serve coffee option with a great taste, allowing you to taste the difference, while you make a difference.
To be honest, my expectations were low for whatever “affordable” coffee Whole Foods might offer, and I was a bit reluctant even to include it under the umbrella of regular grocery stores (despite the company’s recent “Yes, we have sales!” ad campaign), but here I stand both corrected and impressed. 365 Everyday Value is the Whole Foods Market store brand, which markets products fitting the Whole Foods ethos, at least aesthetically—don’t assume it’s organic!—at regular grocery prices. A 10-ounce bag of ground coffee costs $5.99 at the Gowanus Whole Foods in Brooklyn, making it the cheapest bagged coffee here per-unit and decidedly on the cheap end per-pound. Pleasant Morning Buzz is a Vienna roast-style coffee, a dark roast just shy of a French roast style, which gives the coffee a heavy, bittersweet flavor that’s easy to sip on for a black coffee drinker. As a rule, darker roasts do not microwave as well as lighter roasts, and this coffee is no exception—get it while it’s hot or pour yourself a new one.
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.
We couldn’t have a cheap coffee article without mentioning McCafe coffee! Rounding the top three, McCafe medium roast scored well among known coffee brands, but ranked seventh in our overall tasting list. Homebrewing this cup of coffee will only set you back $.50 per ounce, very reasonable and below average in cost. Our testers were split if this was either a medium or dark coffee, but either way it ranked well on quality. Our tasters also liked the balanced nature of this brew and included comments such as “bitter, but smooth” and “acidic, but fruity.”
Single serve coffee maker is for you if you consume 1-2 cups of coffee daily. Coffee pods are really expensive (around 1$ each) and generate massive amounts of plastic waste each year. My personal best is Nespresso Vertuo by Breville. The machine automatically identifies the right amount of water from the pod, no heat up time and just looks good on the counter. Check out all the Nespesso and Keurig coffee makers.

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.
I love this coffee but the bag that I received was mislabeled. The barcode sticker was indeed for the EE Love Buzz, but the bag itself was a different Equal Exchange blend (e.g. the right brand, but not Love Buzz). I kept it because coffee is coffee and in terms of flavor profile wasn't so far off (although according to the packaging it was clearly not what I ordered), and it seemed like a warehouse error - then it happened a second time! Anyway, it's still a great deal for a good more ethical coffee choice...
Back before the nation's capital had a whole lot going on in the way of local coffee, Chris Vigilante was roasting for local restaurants in the basement of a District row home. These days, his product is a firm D.C. favorite, even if home base is a somewhat sprawling roastery, café and social hub, just over the line in Prince George's County. The company's adopted home seems to be agreeing with them—a second, also rather impressive space has now opened doors near the University of Maryland campus in College Park.

Also try Texas overfloweth with worthy coffee roasters and shops right now, from Amarillo, way up in the Panhandle (Palace, Evocation) to Longview (Silver Grizzly Espresso) to San Antonio (Local) to McAllen (Reserva) way the heck down in the Rio Grande Valley, and you will typically find them taking the craft as seriously as you might expect in a state that perfected the art of, say, barbecue, or the breakfast taco. (Road trip, anyone?)

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.
Am now on my second or third Kilo of Kick Ass...... After first finding Kick Ass, I continued to try other coffees and roasts in a search for "my preferred coffee". I still have other coffees yet to try, but have tried quite a few different high rated coffees... Some were good and some I gave away.... I do know what I want now in a coffee and roast... I want it all !!!! Now is that too much to ask ????? I grind my own beans and use a good brewer with no burner to scorch my coffee.... Kicking Horse is the only coffee that I keep coming back to.... I will tell you that so far I am torn between two favorites...... And they are both Kicking Horse Coffees !!! .... 454 Horsepower and Kick Ass...... The Kick Ass has a far superior body, while the 454 ... full review
Coffee nirvana! I bought this for my son who has trouble with very acidic coffee, and we both have been looking for an organic coffee that would really taste good and meet the low acid criteria. The first pot we brewed we brewed weak. Yet, it was surprisingly delicious. It had a mild vanilla after taste and while weak, (our fault not the coffee's), it was quite nice and palatable, both black and with added cream and sugar. The next pot was brewed by my husband who prefers his coffee so strong it doesn't just stand a spoon up, but actually might melt a stainless steel spoon. So, it was brewed VERY strong. Again, delicious! More robust flavor, of course, but did not taste at all overly strong so it suited both his taste and mine. You cannot make a bad ... full review

Although only one producing country is represented in this month’s reviews, the range of coffees styles and pleasures these reviews describe is wide and engaging. Consumers seeking an exceptional cup carrying the reassurance of a third-party-verified certification will find a wide range of sensory options here, all distinctive and all deeply attractive.


Newman’s Own is a feel-good coffee—it’s organic, all company profits go to charity, and Paul Newman’s little dad-hot cartoon face on the bag grins approvingly at your choices. Its flavor is uncomplicated, and it tastes like the last coffee of the day should taste—a 3 p.m. pick-me-up that tows you calmly to the end of the workday rather than punching you in the eye-bags like a morning coffee needs to. This is the most expensive in the bunch, at $16.46 per pound, and isn’t so far ahead of Green Mountain ($13.32/lb) that it’s worth the splurge on anything but ethical or aesthetic grounds. Moreover, it falls short of Green Mountain in thermal shift and microwaveability: flavor deteriorates in proportion with temperature, and after microwaving dries out the inside of one’s mouth—not a problem if you’re a quick drinker, but sippers beware.
What’s the deal with chicory, you ask? Chicory root has been cultivated in Europe as a coffee substitute for centuries, and was first brought to the U.S. by the French during the Civil War. Though it’s naturally bitter in its raw form, chicory root can be baked, roasted, ground, and then used as an additive to add a rich and caramelized flavor to coffee and even beer.

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.

There are many different roasters out there that will send you their coffee directly without having to go through a middleman. Single Roaster Coffee Subscriptions means you get your coffee directly from the roaster of your choice and in many cases you can decide how often you receive deliveries from them. Here are a few of our favorite Single Roasters:
The best ground coffee was New England medium roast. This coffee tricked our bold coffee lovers into thinking it would be a weaker or lighter coffee, but it won everyone over with the taste and overall quality. Our tasters noted the sweet smell and smooth taste of the New England Coffee’s medium roast. An added benefit of New England’s medium roast is the price, costing a very cool $.45 per ounce, this will please both your taste buds, and your wallet.
We spent over four weeks commandeering the office coffee pot, brewing over 50 pots and consuming about 400 cups to find that Verena Street – Mississippi Grogg is the best cheap coffee brand. This light-roast, fair trade and kosher brand out-brewed the competition, pleasing even our pickiest taste tester and receiving complements such as “creamy” and “strong, but not overpowering.” For a bolder flavor profile, we recommend Marley Coffee medium roast or Koffee Kult dark roast.
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’s actually a precise way you should grind your coffee. It’s not about the finer the better—that’s called coffee-like powder. You don’t want your grinds to be too coarse, because you’ll sacrifice coffee flavor when you could be siphoning it from the beans. It’s a tricky bit of business, but it’s what all the major players in the retail coffee world do. They not only weight their grinds, etc., but they actually check the quality of the grind and match it with measured samples. We’re not expecting you to go crazy with your grinds and their coarseness or size, but it is something you should pay attention to once or twice per month. Only a premier coffee bean grinder can handle your excellent batch of beans. It’s all about preparing your beans from storage all the way to your cup—you need a grinder that can match your requirements.
I am very fussy about coffee. This trait had relegated me to all coffee buying responsibilities for our small office. These beans are mellow but full bodied (crowd pleaser and snob pleaser, all in one bag). We haven't poured a bad cup and have been using these beens for months. Stocking my office with acceptable beans is no longer a chore. This is a simple one-click, 2 days later (prime)we get our fresh beans. Saves a lot of hassle and I really enjoy the coffee. You can get a 5 star bag by searching and scouring local roasters, but I'm very happy with these beans for their price and convenience.
OXO On Barista Brain may be insignificantly on the pricey side, but it’s the best model if you’re looking for something that gives a delicious cup of coffee that re-creates the Pour Over method automatically but is fairly easy-to-use. Certified by SCA, OXO On Barista Brain is people who wanted to have a modern drip coffee maker, without sacrificing the quality of the coffee. 

Subtle Earth whole bean light roast is one of the only coffees that made our list, boasting both certified organic and GMO free ingredients. You can tell the care that is taken from farming to finish when looking at the story of Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth coffee. Our tasters picked out a number of fruity and herbal flavors, but what won everyone over was the sweet finish with no added flavor in the beans. Costing you only $.53 per ounce, this flavorful cup provides more than just a boost of caffeine, it can also boost your savings.
I absolutely love this coffee, I've been buying all my coffee organic, and tried bunch of different brands, I wouldn't call my self a coffee expert, but I notice small differences between coffee beans, this 5lbs is a great, and I mean great and price wise, it makes sense to go with that option, one thing I would love to have is a sealed bag option to keep it from drying out, but it's a small caveat, I'd definitely buy this brand again if they don't go crazy and Jack up the $ through the ceiling.
People who prefer dark/deep roast coffees might not appreciate this one as much as I do. Does this taste better than Folgers or Maxwell House? Good heavens, yes. Is the superior character and flavor(s) worth the extra cost? I would say no, for that reason alone. What makes this coffee more than worth the money is that it's organic. The Coffee industry produces one of the most sprayed plants of all. Everyone wants to know if coffee is good for them, well I'd prefer a pesticide-free cup of coffee if I'm going to believe that it's good for me.
This specific Equal Exchange Organic coffee is their Breakfast blend. It is in fact a blend of their Medium roast and Fresh Roasted coffees. It has a great body, terrific aroma, but the taste and aftertaste seem to lack a bit. However, everyone's taste for coffee is different. If you like a sweeter tasting coffee with chocolate undertones, great because that is what this one has. If not, you probably will not like this one. Customers have also reported that the Breakfast Blend has low acidity which is great to see. High acidity can ruin an otherwise great coffee.
Promising review for their OneCups: "San Francisco Bay produces the most superior coffee on the market, and their varieties will satisfy a wide array of tastes. They are also environmentally conscientious, because their pods are 97% biodegradable (but that doesn't compromises the quality of the coffee, or the quality of the pod itself). Some reviewers have complained about beans pouring into their cup, or receiving damaged pods, but I've never had an issue like that and I've been drinking San Francisco Bay for about seven years. When I rate a product with five stars, it means I won't look anywhere else, if I need it again. I've tried dozens of different brands and different coffees over the years, and no one comes close to San Francisco Bay. Pick a flavor profile you like and you won't be let down." —Michael J. McKenzie
There are some very compelling reasons to buy organic coffee. Fans of this modern-day morning fuel are aware of most of them. Organic coffee is grown using farming methods which are environmentally friendly. These methods include using natural ways to control pests without chemicals, growing coffee plants in healthy soil, and managing weeds naturally. Coffee which is grown using conventional methods is often heavily sprayed with pesticides which eventually run off into the drinking water for nearby communities.
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.”
Mushroom coffee is widely praised for its health benefits, and Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion's Mane and Chaga is among the best of them. This certified organic coffee is brewed to support creativity and focus, as well as boosting the immune system. Even though each cup contains two mushrooms, the brew tastes just like ordinary coffee and has garnered rave reviews all over the web.

Coffee Kult ground coffee is a nice blend of choice Colombian-Brazilian coffee beans. The blend has 100% premium-grade Arabica beans which are smooth, rich, and medium bodied. Such high-grade beans are expertly roasted and blended to make the Coffee Kult Medium a must-try for any coffee enthusiasts. Coffee gourmets happily appreciate a cup of coffee made with this choice beans blend and so should you.

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