A startup from Vermont, our friends at Brothers Coffee Company select a new roaster each month that has found a new and innovative way of facing a challenge the coffee industry faces. Not only will you get fresh, top-tier specialty coffee, you’ll also help enact real change around the world. Along with the coffee, subscribers receive information on the roasters, their coffee, and why they were selected for the month, making every month a new story. They also donate $1 per subscription to Grounds for Health, a non-profit that screens and treats women for cervical cancer. If you love coffee and want to make sure your money is being used well, Brothers Coffee is the subscription for you.
I personally prefer an Espresso machine, which is ideal for me as they can create Lattes, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Espresso and so many more. Espresso machines pressurize hot water which extracts the coffee from a pod. They can be used at home and there are also bigger versions that are used in cafés. Generally, they’re quick and efficient and require minimum maintenance.
As a mildly employed freelance writer, I have little disposable income, a lot of time on my hands, and strictly rationed vices. One such vice is coffee, which I drink more of than most people I know—even other freelance writers. But, despite my quantity-over-quality brewing habits, I’m capable of mustering some taste, and of standing by preference with reasoned conviction. So, with limited resources for fanciness and a desperate addiction in mind, I set out to determine which basic, widely available coffee brand should stand out from the rest on the grocery store shelf. I enjoy a Blue Bottle pour-over as much as the next fiend, but a $3 morning coffee is above my pay grade. I drink most of my coffee at home, from a bag of grounds that costs around $8, reupped on a bi-weekly grocery run. My choice of bag is usually determined by habit, or price, or shelf height, with less care than I take choosing a bar of soap, though I use both daily. When it comes to choosing a regular coffee—travel-mug, after-dinner, Sunday-morning coffee—which is best?
The taste and quality of the coffee bean depends largely on the environment in which it grows. Coffee plants require ample rainfall in the early months as fruit blooms, and less so afterwards after the fruit begins to ripen. For this reason, rainforests prove to be the ideal location for coffee production. As the fruit of the coffee plant is hand-picked, the seeds need to be dismantled from the fruit. The first method of doing so is called wet processing. The seeds are fermented in water for two or three days to get rid off the excess flesh or pulp which may be sticking to the seed. The second method is dry processing, the fruit is picked from seeds and laid out in sun for two to three weeks, turned regularly. The latter is the cheaper and lower quality method of processing beans.
While there are some places you can find the best coffee, there are many places that you should definitely not buy coffee from.Where To AVOID:The Grocery store - They often sell low-quality coffee beans with a long shelf life. (The exception here is Whole Foods and other artisan stores, which carry coffee from reputable roasters.)Amazon - Again, it’s the question of freshness. It is often roasted ahead of time so it could be packaged, shipped and stocked in the warehouse. PRO TIP: Even if the Amazon listing says “Fresh Roasted,” it might be 6 months old, as that is fresh in comparison with many of the other store bought beans. Yikes!HOW to Choose The Best Coffee BeansWhat type of coffee should you choose? Sometimes coffee bags are covered in words that don’t mean anything to us.Let’s decipher some of those for you.Arabica beans vs Robusta beansArabica beans are far superior to Robusta in terms of flavor and quality. They can be grown at higher elevations, giving the beans more time to develop their favor.Robusta beans contain more caffeine than Arabica. They are also much more disease resistant and produce a higher yield. That is why farmers still like to grow robusta, even though they sell for a much lower price.Robusta is grown for companies that produce instant coffee and other lower quality, grocery store blends. You probably won’t see a roaster advertising their Robusta coffee. Stay away from it if you love great coffee.Acidity and BitternessDifferent coffees will have different amounts of acid content.Acidity is not a bad thing, as that is what gives coffee its natural flavor. Some people like more, some like less. The acidity present in coffee has more to do with taste as opposed to pH, though many claim acidity in coffee to cause digestive issues.Coffees from Africa are typically characterized by a higher acidity, with fruity or floral tasting notes.Coffees from places like Brazil or Sumatra tend to have a much lower acidity with cocoa and nutty notes.PRO TIP: A big part of it has to do with growing altitude. Coffee's grown at lower altitudes generally have lower acidity level. Read this article if you want to learn more about low acid coffee.
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?
The next organic coffee brand is the Two Volcanoes Espresso Coffee Beans. This brand is made from Guatemalan coffee beans grown right at the base of Tajumulco and Tajana, two important volcanoes in Guatemala. Volcanic soil is full of minerals and nutrients which results in premier coffee beans. The blend is a combination of Robusta and Arabica beans.
Many of us cannot envision a life without that morning cup of coffee. Legend has it that we owe a debt to frisky Ethiopian goats for the discovery of coffee! Whatever the truth in that story, there is no doubt that coffee first originated in that region of Africa. If you are a coffee fanatic, there has never been a better time for your tribe than right now! There are innumerable versions and blends of coffee available in the market, with considerable variations in taste, aroma and caffeine levels.
This is the best Organic variety pack of K-Cups by far! I have found so many great coffees! I have yet to find a bad coffee in this assortment. Here are a few I especially like: Green Mountain Organic Sumatra ACEH Dark Roast, ,Caza Trail Sumatra Gayo Mountain Organic, Marley Coffee, 365 Organic Columbian Cup Vienna Roast, and First ColonyOrganic Espresso Roast. Perfect selection for coffee lovers. Thank you Pantry Essentials! Have reordered 3 times already!
The Hawaiian Islands are known the world over for beautiful beaches, diverse microclimates, and both active and dormant volcanoes — pretty much paradise, as the cliché goes. Hawaiian culture is both uniquely American and, in many ways, happily incongruous with mainstream American culture. One island in particular, Hawai’i Island (often called the Big Island), produces […]
Something that kept coming up in our research was “conscious consumerism,” or awareness of the impact your coffee makes on the community, environment and overall quality of life of those who harvest and grow it. Campaigns for products free from animal testing, bee friendly pesticides, compostable packaging and sustainable farming are all part of conscious consumerism.
There's never been a better time to be a coffee drinker here in the United States. After decades of sporadic gains, the years surrounding the turn of the century saw this country enter into something like a Golden Age of caffeine consumption. Today, the effects of this seismic transformation are being felt not only in each of the 50 states, but around the globe, as well. And we're not done yet. With the elder statesmen of the bean-fueled revolution now all but household brands, and with the idea of a true American café culture no longer limited to a select handful of fortunate cities, the marketplace appears hungry for further exploration and experimentation. We are, once again, ready for the next level.

“WE LOVE THIS COFFEE! I’ve been buying this coffee for about eight months now, and I’m finally getting around to writing a review because it’s SO GOOD that I have to share. We have tried other coffees — lots of others — but we like this one the best. The Organic Medium-Dark Roast whole bean is not too dark, not too mild; the beans are just oily and perfect. We drink our coffee black, and its flavor, aroma, and taste are delicious! Not bitter, just tasty black gold.”
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).

This is an exceptional Honduran coffee from Marcala region. Because of the altitude where café don Pablo gourment is grown, there are no insecticides used to prevent insects from interfering with the crop and damaging it. In case you find any bug problem, the farmers will definitely plant peppers as the natural form of the bug repellent. This guarantees that the coffee beans are not tainted by many chemicals. This coffee is very dense and has a depth of flavors that are roasted correctly to give out the natural flavor characteristics and a wonderful sweetness. Their coffees are roasted fresh so that they can order in a multiple small batch. They focus on quality hence providing an excellent organic coffee to consumers.


Gevaliamay have the prettiest packaging of all the assembled coffees, with a distinctive yellow bag and stylized illustrations fit for an IKEA. Despite its apparent fanciness, Gevalia is widely available in pharmacies and grocery stores, and usually for fairly cheap. A 12-ounce. bag of House Blend was $6.99 at Stop & Shop, making it the cheapest of the non-canned coffees I tested. Perhaps consequently, heat is an essential component to an enjoyable cup of Gevalia, and the taste becomes flat and headachy as it cools. However, Gevalia is the rare coffee that performs well in a microwave, and tastes as good reheated as it does freshly brewed. 
Dunkin Donuts is a popular coffee shop chain and they serve whole bean and ground coffee at retail locations and online. All of Dunkin’s restaurant made espresso beverages are now Rainforest Alliance certified and about 30% of their dark roast coffee beans. As for the rest of their coffee, it seems like it could be sourced from anywhere. They do not offer organic varieties so their coffee may contain chemicals and molds. The grocery store Dunkin Donuts coffee is produced by J.M. Smucker which is the same as Folgers.
Also try For the best Ohio morning ever, in any weather, stop at Heartwood Coffee Roastery in Cleveland-adjacent Hudson, then disappear onto the trails of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, next door. As if you needed more proof that incredible coffee can happen anywhere, nowadays, Branch Street Coffee Roasters, in a strip mall outside of hardscrabble Youngstown, offers more. Down in Columbus, seek out the sleek, twin locations of Fox in the Snow, while in Cincinnati, Ferrari Bros. Barber & Coffee is a vintage family business, now being nudged (ever so sensitively) into the present day.
The process known as wet milling uses water to extract and separate the seeds from the cherries. This method uses a lot of water, so some have deemed it as not environmentally friendly. Despite this, wet milling is still in extensive use as it produces coffee that has a fruity and bright character. It is a pricy and gruesome process, but it gives the highest quality beans.

Cafe Don Pablo has been working tirelessly for some time now, to deliver a bold and natural coffee experience that lends itself to the lands it was created in. Providing low acidity and deep, rich flavor of milk chocolate with extraordinary notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey, Don Pablo Subtle Earth K-Cups are made of high quality, 100% Arabica coffee. Produced with no artificial substances, and grown at a high altitude where pests won’t disturb the crop, these K-Cups are certified organic by the CCOF.


Cost per Pound: From High (Very) to Reasonable. One can’t directly compare the price of Top 30 coffees from year to year because the mix of coffees varies too dramatically. In 2018, for example, two coffees on the list were priced as part of a bundle, and, for the first time in 2018, we recognized two bottled cold brew coffees, which are not priced in the same way as coffee beans.

This k-cup sampler pack was part of a Black Friday bundle with the purchase of a Keurig coffee maker at an incredible price. Since I bought the Keurig for the work place, I went through the variety of k-cups (2 pods of each variety) kept what were my favorites and took the rest to work. It actually was one the the best varieties in an assortment pack I have seen. I like the dark roasts and this assortment had a nice blend of dark, medium and light/breakfast blends. Was very impressed.
Both of these amazing organic K-Cup® coffees take it one step further and are Fair Trade certified. To read more about the benefits of Fair Trade coffees, click here. Fair Trade helps to negate the increased cost of growing organically. Surprisingly, in the case of organic K-Cup® pods, this cost has not been passed on to the consumer. The only way to thank these farmers is for coffee wholesalers to abide by a Fair Trade certification, so farmers are not tempted to succumb to cheaper conventional methods.
Arabica is the more desirable bean and you will find it in nearly all your daily coffee blends. Arabica beans are more popular because they are grown in richer soil that allows the bean to become naturally mild and aromatic. Arabica is a fragile, oval-shaped bean that needs to be grown in cool and subtropical climates. Arabica beans contain about 60% more sugar content than Robusta, adding to their delicious taste.
This is the world’s strongest coffee by most standards, which explains why it enjoys such a tremendous popularity. Death Wish is ground from beans that are masterfully selected and meticulously roasted to perfection, so as to provide a smooth tasting but also bold cup of coffee. Moreover, you get the extra kick of quality caffeine that surely gets your day going every morning. It isn’t just its strength that recommends it, mind you, but its powerful flavor as well. In fact, we should point out that Death Wish is by far one of the most flavorful coffees out there. 

Also try Portland is all about the bean, and roaster Tandem Coffee rests rather comfortably toward the top of the pile. Blue Bottle-trained, their two shops (with excellent baked goods) are among New England's finest, if a little snobbish about it. For something a little different, stop by Speckled Ax, which brews up its own wood-roasted organic coffees.
“I’ve tried many coffee products in the organic, shade-grown genre, and this is by far the smoothest, most well-balanced bean yet. The beans arrived perfectly roasted, fresh, nicely oily, with an awesome aroma. Every cup has been perfect. I love dark-roast coffee but hate over-roasted darks … I use only French press and pour-over methods, by the way. Tiny Footprint really seem to have their techniques dialed in, and I’m a fan of the environmental stewardship they stand for. I’ll be a repeat customer and highly recommend this coffee.”
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.
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.

Since finding a reliable brand of coffee can be difficult we’ve taken the leg work out and found the best options for getting that organic goodness into your cup. First, know that organic coffee is coffee produced without the aid of artificial chemical substances, such as certain additives or some pesticides and herbicides. Second, know that you’re in for some seriously impressive coffee.
If you are looking for a coffee with an exotic flavor that is also organic, this is one option that should be on your radar. It is a popular option because of the complexity it delivers. It is a dark roast, which means that you should expect a heavy body from your drink. Despite the latter, however, it will be sultry and sweet, unlike other dark roasts that can be overly bitter. This is basically because it is blended with warm spices and brown sugar to perfectly balance the flavor.
While there are some places you can find the best coffee, there are many places that you should definitely not buy coffee from.Where To AVOID:The Grocery store - They often sell low-quality coffee beans with a long shelf life. (The exception here is Whole Foods and other artisan stores, which carry coffee from reputable roasters.)Amazon - Again, it’s the question of freshness. It is often roasted ahead of time so it could be packaged, shipped and stocked in the warehouse. PRO TIP: Even if the Amazon listing says “Fresh Roasted,” it might be 6 months old, as that is fresh in comparison with many of the other store bought beans. Yikes!HOW to Choose The Best Coffee BeansWhat type of coffee should you choose? Sometimes coffee bags are covered in words that don’t mean anything to us.Let’s decipher some of those for you.Arabica beans vs Robusta beansArabica beans are far superior to Robusta in terms of flavor and quality. They can be grown at higher elevations, giving the beans more time to develop their favor.Robusta beans contain more caffeine than Arabica. They are also much more disease resistant and produce a higher yield. That is why farmers still like to grow robusta, even though they sell for a much lower price.Robusta is grown for companies that produce instant coffee and other lower quality, grocery store blends. You probably won’t see a roaster advertising their Robusta coffee. Stay away from it if you love great coffee.Acidity and BitternessDifferent coffees will have different amounts of acid content.Acidity is not a bad thing, as that is what gives coffee its natural flavor. Some people like more, some like less. The acidity present in coffee has more to do with taste as opposed to pH, though many claim acidity in coffee to cause digestive issues.Coffees from Africa are typically characterized by a higher acidity, with fruity or floral tasting notes.Coffees from places like Brazil or Sumatra tend to have a much lower acidity with cocoa and nutty notes.PRO TIP: A big part of it has to do with growing altitude. Coffee's grown at lower altitudes generally have lower acidity level. Read this article if you want to learn more about low acid coffee.
However, I would say that this coffee in no way compares. I read the bag, revisited the site to see if it is a blend. It is not described as such, but I doubt that in a blind taste test anyone familiar with these coffees would identify it as Ethiopian, or even African. I does not have the choclatey undertones or floral scent In many ways it reminds me more of Kona (i live in Hawaii, and have ready access but do not like Kona coffee; mild, smooth but non-descript, in my opinion. It is, however, everywhere here and part of the reason we do not get nice varietals from other lands). For me, this coffee is a big disappointment.
In many ways, coffee is like wine. Depending on the area of origin, the degree of roast and grind levels, the taste of a particular coffee can vary drastically. Plus there is also the added layer of mixing different coffee beans to create unique blends. So, finding the best ground coffee brand for you depends entirely on your tastes and preferences. This brings us to the first section of our guide: 

This brand should be called Starbucks’ “dirty little secret”. Although Starbucks prides itself on ensuring ethical and environmentally friendly practices are used in their coffee production and even offers organic varieties, their Seattle’s Best brand doesn’t hold to the same standards. It is basically Starbucks way of competing with cheap brands like Folgers and Maxwell House. They do offer a couple organic varieties.

In fact, coffee fans who find the acidic flavors of some coffees too bitter and unpleasant have begun routinely drinking low acid coffee. The acid content of these brews is minimal, and the other flavors of the bean are more refined and “brighter.” In particular, notes such as fruit, nuts, and chocolate are said to be much more readily detectable in low acid coffees.


If you are just looking for a smooth, non-acidic coffee you will probably like this. If you are anything of an aficionada, like African coffee, or Ethiopian in particular, are looking for those distinctive notes, the chocolate flavor for which Ethiopian coffees are known.... you will not find it here. I am glad, that at this juncture I am not in the same place I was when I got the poor roast from coffee bean direct. i do have a good option, know where to find a nice Ethiopian. I just have to accept paying more, or maybe get it less often :( But in my opinion the Coffee Masters Gourmet Coffee, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) is vastly better.

The Hawaiian Islands are known the world over for beautiful beaches, diverse microclimates, and both active and dormant volcanoes — pretty much paradise, as the cliché goes. Hawaiian culture is both uniquely American and, in many ways, happily incongruous with mainstream American culture. One island in particular, Hawai’i Island (often called the Big Island), produces […]
Many roasters queried us to ask if they could submit coffees they felt confident were farmed without use of synthetic inputs because of their familiarity with the producers. Nevertheless, for this report, we concluded that we needed to stick to reviewing coffees that consumers could be assured were produced under organic conditions using organic protocols. We went so far as to check the organic documentation at the farm level provided by importers for all the coffees we review here.

Black Oak Coffee Roasters from (Ukiah, CA) was my personal favorite and I’m glad to see it made your list as well! I do find it odd that it was on your list as it seems that you favor the lighter roasts and I’m opposite in my flavors. There are only 2 coffees that are not roasted in the U.S., is this because you haven’t tried too many outsides of the U.S. or do you find that they are just better in the US? Also thanks for taking one for the team and trying out the Black Rum Espresso because there is no way I would pay that price!
Café Altura was established in 1980 in Ventura, California. The beans are sourced from the district of Villa Rica – Pasco, Peru. Aside from fresh ground coffee, said company is also known for their whole bean coffee, canned coffee, instant coffee and mountain water decaf. The Café Altura Ground Organic Coffee is sold in eight flavors namely: dark roast, dark roast decaf, fair trade dark blend, fair trade classic roast, house blend, French roast, regular roast and regular roast decaf. Café Altura brands their coffee as a biodynamic coffee. It is called biodynamic because the coffee farmers take into account the biodiversity surrounding the farm.
“I was never into coffee until I tried Death Wish. It makes drinking coffee an amazingly fun experience. You had me at organic, but the caffeine content is the icing on the cake or the froth on your cappuccino … The flavor, the aroma, the freshness, the caffeine content, the smoothness, and being organic all make drinking this coffee a truly fun-filled experience. I am happy to report that all five members of this household are all now hooked on Death Wish Coffee. It is absolutely superior to all other coffees! We drink it at all times of the day and night. It makes you feel alert and focused without feeling jittery or nauseous, which is amazing since I was always sensitive to caffeine, which is why I never really drank coffee. The roasting process makes this coffee absolutely wonderful … Once you try it, I guarantee you, too, will be hooked.”
We try to eat/drink as healthy as possible even down to the creamer in our coffee. Was skeptical when I first ordered this coffee as I buy whole bean organic coffee at my grocery store and wondered if this would be really any different. We grind and brew our coffee. At first I tried the Medium-Dark Roast but found it a little too bitter to my liking even with making adjustments to our brewing process. Then I saw the Light Roast and decided to give it a try. It is the PERFECT all-around coffee. Smooth and delicious. We are on our third or fourth 2 lb bag, and I love that it is not only organic, but also fair-trade associated. It is the perfect complement to our "healthy" creamer which we buy online at Amazon as well, nutpods Dairy-free Coffee Creamer, 12-pack (Unsweetened French ... full review
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.
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