A. While there’s no need to break your budget for a good cup of joe, premium brands of coffee truly do produce a premium-tasting brew. Specialty coffee growers and sellers generally start with beans of higher-than-average quality. They use the best methods for roasting, they package the beans quickly after roasting them, and they offer a wider variety of bean types, flavored coffees, and specialty blends.
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 Hunt Brothers Coffee Beans | Blue Honduras Specialty Coffee | Certified Organic comes from Marcala, a region in Central America that is recognized with a DOP (Protected Origin Denomination). These 100% Arabica beans are grown on a fertile volcanic soil, which is enriched by volcanic lava. The growth process of the coffee is marked by the SHG – strictly high growth. This means that the fruits will mature slowly to make sure they create a full-bodied and deeper flavor as well as a premium taste.
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Caribou gets several things right with this rich blend. The mix of premium Indonesian and American arabica beans results in a very complex yet smooth flavor profile. It has everything from woody, to sweet, spicy, and fruity notes. The overall flavor is bittersweet, but with enough acidity to make it lively. This is a 100% Arabica coffee, sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified growers in Asia, South, and Central America.
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:
“My husband is a coffee addict, and I’m a bit of a fanatic about chemical additives and such. When I saw organic coffee offered for review, I knew I had to get this for him. Here is his review on the coffee: ‘I typically like bolder, dark-roast coffees. Once in a while I’ll mix it up when I’m out, and I’ll order a medium-roast brand. As far as buying an entire bag for home, I’ve grown tired of most medium roasts and do not want to waste money on tinny flavored coffee. This medium roast, however, is at the top of the bracket. I had to look at the bag a second time to make sure it was actually a medium roast. Very impressive full flavor.’”

One of the country’s most popular coffee shops can be sipped at home for a much less expensive price. While it might not be quite the experience you would get if you walked in, it is still delectable at $8.99 for a 16 ounce bag. Yes, it is a little pricey, but the flavor has gotten almost unanimous reviews, possibly because it is a light-medium roast with an agreeable and familiar taste.
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Balanced with full body, rich flavor & sweet overtones. From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.
New England Coffee Roasters: Embracing (and Reinventing) Tradition The very day we spoke with several roasters in New England whose coffees are featured in this month’s tasting report, Dunkin’ Brands, parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts (now rebranding simply as Dunkin’) and headquartered in Massachusetts, announced plans for expansion. And the company’s “Blueprint for Growth” centers not on doughnuts, but coffee, including the relaunch […] Feb 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Of the 14 samples we received of organic-certified coffees produced in Africa origins outside Ethiopia, nine were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and two were from Uganda. Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda contributed one sample each. These 14 coffees ranged in scored from 84-91, with five scoring 90 or above, a good showing, and encouragement for those who may want to consider buying organic coffees from these origins. The vast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which contributed nine samples, has established itself as a source of fine specialty coffee through the development of the SOPACDI cooperative in the far eastern part of the DRC, just across Lake Kivu from Rwanda. This rapidly growing cooperative now has 5,600 members and is apparently succeeding its goal to help heal wounds left by the latest in eastern Congo’s seemingly endless string of horrific civil wars. The cooperative’s coffees typically carry both organic and Fair Trade certification and can be quite attractive in the style of the pungently spicy, sweet-savory coffees that often come out of the African Great Lakes region.
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!
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...
On the other hand, the appearance of certain coffees on our list also suggests the value of continuity and tradition in processing. All four Kenya coffees in the Top 30 were subject to the meticulous Kenya variant on wet-processing that has been helping produce consistently great coffees in Kenya for decades. The two Sumatra coffees owe their distinction in great part to refined application of the decades-old “wet-hulling” process still largely unique to Indonesia, particularly to Sumatra. See our 2016 report Learning from Sumatras for more on wet-hulling and sensory distinction.
Once purchased, the most important factor for brewing your own coffee is the freshness. It’s not a question of if your coffee will go bad, but when. When making your first cup of coffee in the morning most people would agree that making it quickly and easily is the key, which is the biggest benefit for ground coffee, but you may be sacrificing freshness and taste for convenience.

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
This weekend at the tasting room you can find some rad new @apolis market bags that we collaborated with @shopassembly and @themaingrainbakery to commission. Thanks for coordinating, @juneandjae! Drop us a message if you’d like to buy one online and have us ship it (we have pretty limited quantity). Come check them out! #centralwisconsin 📷 @juneandjae
Consider how you take your coffee. If you drink your coffee black, then you might want to lean towards the brands on our list with the highest reviews for taste. On the other hand, if you take your coffee with milk and sugar, concentrate on the prices. Additives and flavorings can mask the taste of the coffee a bit, so you don’t necessarily need the higher quality beans.
Over the course of the year, we reviewed fewer than a dozen darker roasts. Most were medium-dark at best; some barely that. The majority of darker roasts we reviewed were sent by roasters in Taiwan and most were espressos, reflecting both the time-honored espresso practice of emphasizing chocolate and sweetness through moderate dark roasting, as well as, perhaps, a preference in Taiwan for more traditional styles of espresso as opposed to the lighter-roasted, brighter style of espresso now popular with the leading edge of North American roasters.
On the other side of the caffeinated spectrum, the Canadian brand, Kicking Horse Coffee has been creating organic, Fair Trade coffee for several decades now. Proud of their place of business, they roast these premium beans to perfection, three-thousand feet above sea level, near the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River. Whether it’s the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains or the altitude, something about their process delivers incredible flavors.
Also try One of New York's (we're talking about the state now) closely guarded secrets: its less sought-after cities can be pretty great, and certainly for coffee. The gorgeous Tipico would be the envy of any town, but it belongs to an up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood; in Rochester, the pop-up gone brick and mortar Ugly Duck is just one bright star on that city's long-running scene. Meanwhile, in Utica, perhaps the last place you'd expect to find something so up to date, Character Coffee is a multi-roasting outfit with a whole lot of appeal.
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Balanced with full body, rich flavor & sweet overtones. From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.
All these processes take more time and care, and therefore more labor, and therefore increase the price of the coffee. But these coffees also simply taste better, and provide a more satisfying experience. The fact that these methods tend to be organic and socially responsible is a byproduct of the care and attention to quality that these specialty coffees require.
This best-selling medium roast blend from The Original Donut Shop is smooth, well-balanced, and downright delicious paired with your favorite donut. Reviewers love this blend's pastry-shop-sweet aroma and nutty flavor that hits just the right spot in the morning. Dunking is encouraged! These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
You could always get a nice cup of coffee at Brew HaHa!, Delaware's best-known mini-chain, but with the launch of Brandywine Coffee Roasters a few years back, founder Alisa Morkides, ever passionate about sourcing, took things in-house, and also to a brilliant new place. Quickly garnering heaps of national attention, Brandywine supplies the nine Brew HaHa! stores from its roasting operation in Wilmington's Trolley Square neighborhood, fronted by a visually arresting flagship café, one that feels more like the lobby of a hip (but also fun) hotel, than just another coffee shop.
We prefer to buy organic coffee because pesticides can become magnified in the drying process. So, we try to get the best quality we can for the best available price. We enjoy the Equal Exchange Breakfast Blend because it is mellow and not bitter, it is strong but not acidic, and we can enjoy it iced or hot. We typically brew an entire pot and drink it over the course of a couple of hours. We have found the quality and flavor to be consistent from one batch to the next. Though we often try other brands, this is a part of our regular monthly order.
“This is the best fair-trade medium roast I’ve found that can be ordered online. I used to live where I could go to a local importer and roaster of beans, and this product almost rivals those beans in quality. The beans come super fresh inside the package and are evenly roasted. The flavor is smooth and deep, with a nice velvety mouthfeel that is normally reserved for darker roasts. My favorite way to enjoy these are with a French press, but they are also delicious from a drip coffee maker and make great stove-top espresso in a Moka pot. When I run out of locally roasted beans I always order these to hold me over.”
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).
Thanks to the wonderful conveniences of online shopping, once you start regularly receiving your online coffee subscription, it’s hard to imagine life without coffee delivered instantly to your doorstep. So the challenge becomes selecting the right company and subscription that fits your tastes. Luckily, we put together a list of our favorite coffee subscription services that’ll be sure to help you spice up your daily coffee routine.
Coffee blends are exactly that; a blend of two or more roasted beans to create a unique flavor profile. Think of it in terms of wine: a red blend versus a Cabernet Sauvignon. The experienced coffee roaster will match beans to balance bitterness and take the harsh edge of off unrefined beans. A blend could contain several varieties of beans from all over the coffee belt.
I bought this coffee originally at a local organic co-op market and was happy to find it on Amazon. Great flavor, robust but mellow - a truly delicious decaf bean. It's wonderful to find this organic, small farmer co-op and I'm happy to be a participant. I bought the whole bean decaf coffee and that extra freshness is a good cup of coffee. I brew this coffee in a Bialetti Moka Express, the old fashioned way and it is a great combo. I have also brewed this in a standard Mr. Coffee drip maker and it's a great cup that way as well. I'm a new regular customer

A popular, professional blend combining the best of Indonesian and African Robusta and Brazilian Arabica coffees, the Lavazza is simply extraordinary by any standard. It provides an intense aroma and a rich aftertaste with unique chocolaty notes. It is an ideal ground coffee for making espresso-based beverages, yet also appropriate for people who enjoy a standard cup of coffee.


This blend is made from a mix of beans ethically sourced from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico, and is named after the ancient Mediterranean island. The Corsica blend has deep, dark, chocolatey notes and a robust flavor, making it a bold roast many love to drink first thing in the morning. Many reviewers specifically note that this is their "go-to morning blend" since it's both strong and versatile. The cocoa notes in this blend make it pair especially nicely with milk or cream, although it can certainly stand alone and be sipped black.

The biggest draw of organic coffee is that it's grown and harvested without chemical assistance. There are no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or insecticides used in the agricultural process. If fertilizer is needed to help the beans grow, farmers use natural things like compost and coffee pulp. This means that organic coffee shoppers are getting home-grown beans without nasty additives of any kind.
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.
As more and more coffee companies cave to the temptation to adulterate with soy beans sprayed with chemical flavors and questionable trade practices, Equal Exchange may be the last coffee company standing to offer organic whole beans sourced from small producer coops, and roasted at a worker owned facility stateside. The company maintains its commitment to fair trade and supports many worthy causes. I recently had cause to engage in a lengthy discussion with reps at Equal Exchange and consider their inteigrity (and really great tasting coffee!) unsurpassed.

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.

Are you ready to treat yourself? Buckle up and sit down for Italy’s favorite espresso-blend coffee: Lavazza. If you’re going to go with espresso-blend coffee, you need to go for the best of the best. You get a blend of Central American mild coffee beans and velvety Brazilian coffee beans, mixing precisely and perfectly to extend your early mornings in the most pleasant way possible. With a cup of Lavazza by your side, you’ll feel awake, energized, and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Espresso-blend coffee is either an excellent hit, or a really bad miss. It’s not something that novice roasters and companies should take upon themselves. Lavazza hits it out of the park on this one.
Enjoying the right cup of joe is paramount to starting your day off on the right foot so, naturally, choosing which brand to enjoy isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Whether you’re concerned about ethical sourcing, sustaining the environment, or you simply want the best taste nature has to offer, organic coffee can be the perfect way to start your day. In addition to hosting fewer (or no) synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides, the soil where organic coffee is grown also tends to be richer in nutrients.
Familiarity breeds contempt—for proof, look no further than the way Hawaii treats one of its most prized exports. Not too kindly, that's for sure. Not that you can't find a proper cup of the local coffee here—you just have to be a little bit careful. A pleasant morning stroll from most Waikiki hotels, this sparkling, relatively recent entry doubles as an outpost of San Francisco's stellar b. Patisserie, home of some of the most gorgeous kouign amann you will find outside of Brittany.
In order to save energy (it is the right thing to do), look for a unit that comes with an auto-off timer. Leaving the internal tank heated and ready to brew will continue to drain some energy, even though minimal. If you are making 7-8 cups of coffee a day, this could make sense. It takes around 300 watts of power for a Keurig machine to brew a K cup if it has been preheated.

Professional coffee roasters roast green organic coffee beans by heating them in a large rotating drum. After about 5 to 7 minutes of intense heat, much of their moisture evaporates and the beans turn a yellow color and smell a little like popcorn. After about 8 minutes in the roaster, the "first pop" occurs. At this point the organic beans have doubled in size, crackling as they continue to expand. Many roasters stop the roasting process after the "first pop". Not Starbucks! After 10 to 11 minutes in the roaster, the organic coffee beans reach an even brown color and oil starts to appear on the surface of the bean. At somewhere between 11 and 15 minutes of roasting, the signature Starbucks flavor develops in the organic beans. The "second pop" signals that the organic coffee is ready to sell under the Starbucks label.
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.
A consistent best-seller on Amazon with thousands of positive reviews, many consider this particular blend their go-to mild roast to start their busy work day or low-key weekend morning. Clean and bright with just enough sweetness and a rich, nutty flavor, Green Mountain's Breakfast Blend gets points for its consistent and balanced flavor. These pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
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.
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:

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
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