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.
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.
On the other hand, from our inception Coffee Review has been committed to starting with what we actually experience in the cup, not with product categories or marketing considerations or fashion. It is true that we took into account some extrinsic factors like value, rarity and sustainable intentions into account when we narrowed the number of very high-rated coffees from about 100 to 30, but ultimately, sensory quality and distinction in the cup, as determined by blind-tasting and as reflected in rating, was the entry point to consideration for the list and the primary influence on where coffees landed on it.

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.
Nevertheless, pesticides and herbicides are widely used, sometimes abused, in the coffee fields of the world. Many consumers seek organically grown coffees out of concern for the health of the earth itself and those who live on it. According to a report from Technavio Research, the Compound Annual Growth Rated (CAGR) for organic coffee is expected to increase by 13% between now and 2021. This research attributes this projected growth, in part, to millennials, who, as a demographic, are said to be concerned with the environment and a healthy lifestyle, and to have a willingness to spend money for specialty or niche products like organic coffee. So it appears that, while the driving force behind the demand for organic coffee may be changing from health concerns to environmental concerns, the demand itself is on the rise. According to a World of Organic Agriculture 2016 report quoted by ecologist Julie Craves, coffee is the world’s largest single organic crop.

This might seem like an elaborate set-up, but we actually came about all this after struggling for a couple of years drinking coffee and getting sick from it. I finally discovered that I am sensitive to the acids in coffee. This put me on a lot of research on coffee, the acids in it, how it is made and the best ways to grind and brew it. Both my husband and I are fairly frugal but after reading that coffee is the worst sprayed crop in the world except for Christmas trees (ever notice how Christmas tree farms have nothing but dead ground around the trees.... yeah, exactly like that!), we made the decision to do this. Also, I now can enjoy and drink coffee every morning without any abdominal pain.
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.”
This K-cup coffee stays true to its name – it is really good. It is made using organic Arabica coffee beans grown in Sumatra and South and Central America. It is also a good thing that it is in a variety pack, allowing you to experience different flavors, which include French Roast, Donut Shop, and Breakfast Blend. Lastly, if you are looking for organic biodegradable K-cups, it is also worth looking at this product since it is made with a recyclable packaging.
This flavor of coffee is pretty common and can be found at just about any store. While not unique the flavor stands up among most of donut shop and other brands. It has a rich, bold, smooth taste that goes well in the morning or even after dinner. While not as intense as some other extra bold, dark coffees it's definitely flavorful and never watery tasting like I find some other "popular" brands to be. Newman makes a good coffee.
Dark roasts are easily identified with their rich dark brown or black color. Dark roast beans will have noticeable oil on the surface and taste more bitter, smoky or even burnt. As a coffee roast gets darker, it loses the origin flavors and takes on the flavor mainly from the roasting process. These beans are largest of the three, reaching an internal temperature of 464°F – 482°F, just past the 2nd crack.
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.
Promising review for their Original Black blend: "You can always tell when a company cares deeply about the quality of their products, and RISE is one of those companies. When you pop their tops, these bad boys literally GROWL at you, which I've since learned is an indication of a proper nitrogen-infused beverage (not to mention being just plain cool). I poured mine over ice and watched as a beautiful froth formed on top (the 'cascade,' as they call it). It's delightful, and definitely my new after-lunch pick-me-up!." —Marc
We also asked tasters to guess the brew type (light, medium or dark) and include any flavor notes before anonymously leaving their feedback to later analyze. We have a very diverse group of coffee drinkers, but most tend to drink stronger and bolder coffee. When analyzing the results, we found that the taste testers overwhelmingly liked the stronger tasting light and medium roasts, which matched their pre-testing preferences.
Our research was then directed towards the price point and determining what classifies as a “cheap” cup of coffee. If you are heading to Starbucks to grab a grande cup of regular coffee, it will put you back $2.10. McDonald’s premium roast coffee will cost $1.29. Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee is $1.89. Frappuccinos, lattes and mochas will double your coffee cost.
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:
Furthermore, the cultivators who grow this coffee take a good care of the yield. In addition to that, the company has earned the Fairtrade as well as the Organic certification. In fact, the company had maintained deep relations with the coffee cultivating groups from Ethiopia native. These groups are popular for cultivating quality and consistent coffee beans.
My daughter bought this coffee and gave it to me. She liked the idea that it was organic & free trade and so did I. This coffee is really good. I ran out so I bought a similar brand fair trade, Colombian and organic from a local store and could really tell the difference. The other coffee was bitter, no matter how I much I used, whereas with this coffee even when I make it stronger it is very smooth and tastes great the only problem I have is that I drink more of it than I should. I have ordered it again and set it up on Subscribe & Save, may as well save where I can.

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.
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.

The term Organic indicates that no chemicals were used in the cultivation of the coffee. In order to proclaim that a coffee is Certified Organic, a recognized third party certifier must document the cultivation of the coffee for three years running and issue an Organic Certificate. Without the certification, the term Organic carries little weight, as there is no way to prove the producer's claim. After passing the stringent, expensive tests conducted by a certifier, the symbol of that organization can (and will) be printed prominently on the coffee's packaging. Be sure to look for this symbol when shopping.


The successful, too-elusive combining of expertise and service is what sets this roaster apart from Nashville's impressive pack. A knack for experimentation doesn't hurt, either; these fellows were early adopters, for example, of the flash-chilling method for cold brew. One thing they've opted out of is over-retailing; right now, you'll find just the one café, over in downtown-adjacent Germantown. It's a good one, though, functioning almost as an all-day hang, with proper food and an evening happy hour. (Often, this sort of thing doesn't work. Here, it does.)
Our suppliers import and roast only the finest Organic Arabica Coffee beans. After passing through stage after stage of careful discrimination, We ensure that our Organic Coffee beans come solely from the top percentage of the harvest. Our expert partners often travel to buy directly from handpicked Fair Trade estates. Our Organic Coffee beans are slow roasted in small batches, illuminating all the coffee's best qualities. For your enjoyment, our Organic Coffee is always roasted to order and delivered at absolute peak freshness.

Coffee Review’s goal is to celebrate coffee roasters, farmers and mill-owners who make an extra effort to produce coffees that are not only superb in quality but also distinctive in character. In particular, we aim to honor the dedication of coffee producers large and small who, with the support of their roaster and importer partners, are crafting a range of sensory excellence and diversity that has never existed before in the history of the beverage.


The equal exchange works with small co-operatives of small farmers all over the world. This is a coffee chain that values people and places those places that are part of it. This may be seen simple, but it is not how things are done in coffee industry. The workers work hard to ensure that the product comes out with an excellent quality. This is one of the companies that keep on fighting for the lasting change. They have classic blend that combines dark roasted and medium coffee for the cup that is sweet and balanced with the creamy mouth feel and some hints of chocolate brownie, caramel, and roasted nut.
Tiny Footprint was founded in 2010. It’s the first Carbon Negative coffee company and they have some pretty sweet math to show they don’t make any unsavory impact on the Earth. One pound of coffee equals a nice donation from Tiny Footprint to support the Mindo Cloudforest region in Ecuador. They’re contribution to preventing deforestation outweighs their carbon footprint from coffee production.
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.
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.

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:
Newman’s Own Special Blend is organic, fair-trade certified coffee that provides a strong taste characteristic for the mixture of medium and dark roasted coffees. At the same time, it offers a soft and refined taste with interesting ashy and woody notes that give this coffee a special, bold taste that you may enjoy even if you are not a fan of strong coffee. In addition, this freshly roasted coffee has an amazing, pure smell that will take your favorite daily routine to a higher level.
Very sweetly tart, floral-prominent and rich-toned. Lemon custard, red currant jam, tea rose, maple syrup and dried coconut in aroma and cup. Delightfully crisp and tart, though cohesively resonant in structure; very lightly though buoyantly syrupy in mouthfeel. The finish is pert and satisfying, with a lingering sweet crispness and a long aromatic trajectory.
When I moved away from a grocery store that carried Equal Exchange three or four years ago, I remember checking, and you had to order it directly from Equal Exchange, and wait for standard shipping. I guess thanks to the Whole Foods merger, now you can get this right on Amazon. I was excited to discover this, but the mislabeling is a bummer! Amazon, please fix!
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.
Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea is represented here with an Ethiopia Gelgelu Natural (93). Owner Barry Levine regards organic certification as important because many consumers prefer it. But, as a company, he says Willoughby’s is “quality-centric.” He goes on to say that, “We would have purchased this coffee had it been conventional, but have a preference, when the quality is really there, to have an organic offering, too. We have, in fact, had other excellent Ethiopia Naturals this season that were not organic, but were just too good to pass up. This coffee offered it all.” Because of logistical considerations, some Willoughby bags include the USDA organic seal and others do not. For this particular coffee, Willoughby’s prints the organic certifier on their bags in lieu of the USDA stamp.

This might seem like an elaborate set-up, but we actually came about all this after struggling for a couple of years drinking coffee and getting sick from it. I finally discovered that I am sensitive to the acids in coffee. This put me on a lot of research on coffee, the acids in it, how it is made and the best ways to grind and brew it. Both my husband and I are fairly frugal but after reading that coffee is the worst sprayed crop in the world except for Christmas trees (ever notice how Christmas tree farms have nothing but dead ground around the trees.... yeah, exactly like that!), we made the decision to do this. Also, I now can enjoy and drink coffee every morning without any abdominal pain.

Jungle Coffee Costa Rican whole bean arabica gourmet coffee is GMO, and pesticide-free for your health. This single-origin coffee is sourced from local growers who are fairly paid for their crop. Immediately after roasting, Jungle Coffee is vacuum-packed in high-barrier foil bags that maintain premium freshness. A one-way valve on each stand-up bag allows you to keep air out, and preserve your coffee.
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:
There are a lot of positive words associated with this 2 lb. bag, including grown responsibly, sourced responsibly, roasted responsibly, packaged responsibly… And, while the writer in me groans at the repeated usage of the word “responsibly,” I logically know that all of those things are good. So, ya know, good job, Real Good Coffee Co. You’re good.
Overwhelmingly, the lesser known brands ranked higher and received more detailed tasting notes. When searching the description of these brands, you will find more information on specific origin, details in roasting and care in the small batches. The attention to detail made from the farming to the roasting will set you back a few more dollars, but know that along with a more satisfying cup of coffee you are also doing your part to better the world.
This year, roughly 100 coffees scored 94 points or higher, a tribute in large part to the ever-intensifying innovation and dedication of the world’s leading coffee producers and roasters. Obviously, all of these 94+ coffees are worthy of celebration, as are the exceptional coffees hovering just behind them at 93 and 92. We couldn’t squeeze them all into our Top 30.  We forced ourselves to select the 30 that we felt were worthy of particular recognition.
I drink one cup of coffee to start my day, using a Keurig and refillable K-cup. This can sometimes be less than ideal because the coffee can taste off (usually too weak). I was worried the same would be true about this Breakfast Blend, since those can generally be on the weaker side, but was pleasantly surprised at how bold and flavorful this was. It smells great, too - just opening the bag in the morning helped wake me up!
“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.”
Also reviewed here are Black Oak’s Ethiopia Hambela Alaka (93) and Noble Coffee’s Ethiopia Bishan Fugu (93), both of which are certified USDA organic, and labeled as such on the bags. Red E Café’s Homacho Waeno Natural (93; one of two coffees on this list imported by Sustainable Harvest), is in the same category as the Big Creek and Revel coffees noted above: certified organic at the farm level, but with no certification indicated on the bags.
This equal exchange coffee not only makes you feel good about buying organic and fair trade products, but it tastes great too! I typically purchase Starbucks coffee, and was a very loyal customer. After reading the reviews, I thought it was worth a try, especially considering I could get three bags less than the cost of two Starbucks. This coffee has little to no acidity or aftertaste and is suprisingly smooth. I think I found a new favorite!
The Koffee Kult from Hollywood, Florida is a true artisanal passion, roasted in small batches, by hand, to ensure quality. Thunder Bolt Whole Bean Coffee creates an exceptional cup of gourmet coffee that has inspired a cult-like following. The company prides themselves on delivering pure Arabica coffee beans, for a strong, not bitter taste. There’s no filler robusta coffee being used here.

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.

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