Most of the beans touted on this list are whole bean; you must grind them yourself or go to a coffee grinder. While inconvenient for some, the benefits of buying whole bean are plentiful. When you grind the beans daily it releases oils, keeps them fresh, and it allows you to chose the coarseness of the grind. A coarse grind will not capture as much flavor profile as a fine grind. The difference in the grind denotes an espresso from a Turkish coffee or latte for example.
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.
Africa and Indonesia grow the world’s supply of robusta beans. These harsher and more caffeinated coffee beans cost less than arabica beans, as the Coffea canephora plant is hardier than the arabica bush and produces far more cherries at a younger age. Supermarket brands, instant coffee, and inexpensive coffee is almost always ground from this type of bean.
If you want the extra strong caffeine effect you expect from Death Wish, but in a more flavorful package, Valhalla Java might be what you need. It still retains that overdose of caffeine the brand is famous for. But it also has a smoother mouthfeel and better flavor than their standard blends. The medium dark roast has flavors reminiscent of cocoa and nuts. As with other Death Wish products, you get ethical FairTrade certifications as well.
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.
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 unknown brands overwhelmingly ranked high in all of the categories we tested. Our runner up for best overall coffee and unknown brands was Cameron’s whole bean light roast. Cameron’s offers drinkers another option in the sustainable and small batch category, but comes in as one of the most expensive options at $.71 per ounce. Tasters commented over and over that this was a smooth coffee and that taste wasn’t overpowering. The finish of the coffee ranked higher than any other we tested.
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.
Another great choice for anyone looking to experiment with coffee from different roasters, MistoBox offers a highly personalized subscription. When you sign up, you’ll be asked about your personal coffee preferences. Based on your answers, MistoBox will select a variety of coffee for you to try and send it to your door. How often you get new coffee is completely up to you, as you can customize every part of your subscription experience with them.
A coffee crop also requires a great deal of water, particularly when it is being grown quickly. It takes 37 gallons of water to produce enough beans for just one cup of coffee. Coffee is often produced in countries with a shortage of water, such as Ethiopia, and the combination of high water consumption and high fertilizer and pesticide use can lead to water degradation and pollution in water runoff.
Also, to be purely selfish and not think about the planet for a moment, organic coffee often simply tastes better. Grown in their natural environment, the beans take longer to mature, and develop a deep, complex flavor without as much acidity. Of course, the finished taste of a cup of coffee has as much to do with the roasting and brewing as it does the origin of the beans, but organic coffees generally come out far ahead in taste tests.
What is interesting about this blend is the fact that it uses premium coffee beans from all the major regions in the world. So you will get a bit of American, African and Asian flavors in this blend. And they have also managed to harmonize and balance all the flavors well, resulting in a rich and dark roast. We like the fact that Peet’s provides the roast date on the package.
There is no beating around the bush with this brand. When you buy Death Wish, you know exactly what you are getting: a higher dose of caffeine than your body should need, like ever. There is a market for robust coffee out there, and these guys are there to cater to those caffeine-heads. The brand has all the right certifications, including FairTrade. And despite using robusta beans, they have managed to keep the taste at least tolerable, which is quite an achievement.