Ben and Jessica Schellack bootstrapped their way to building one of the best roasting operations in the state, this year bringing home a Good Food Award—not their first, either. That's quite the climb from their early days in the rented basement of a New Brunswick non-profit. Today, a lively café, just across the river from Rutgers' Old Queens campus, hence the name, is a hub of creativity.
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.
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?
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 goal is to get the beans to the cup, in whatever way you prefer. When it comes to the actual brewing process, you can take your own path—French press, standard type of coffee makers, or whatever you’d like, but it all starts and ends with the beans and how they’re handled. You need to prepare your beans properly to ensure that rich, smooth flavor you’re after.
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.
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
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.
One very interesting thing that this coffee advertises, that I have not seen a lot of, is kosher. All of their coffee is certified OU (OrthodoxUnion) Kosher. For those who do not know, Kosher means that it was prepared in accordance with Jewish dietary law. This is something totally unseen in the coffee world. The fact that Equal Exchange Organic coffee has this under their belt is a huge deal.
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.
Promising review for their Dark Roast blend: "I've always been wary of cults: the blind loyalty, bad punch, separation from family, etc. However, after going through about 40 pounds of Koffee Kult Dark Roast in the last year, I'm now a well-informed and dedicated drinker of exceptional koffee with my whole family. Yes, even my 9-year-old loves this stuff." —Ben V
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.
Also try The folks at Louisville's Good Folks Coffee prefer to spend their days behind the roaster, and that's fine, because they're doing great work back there—look for their beans at Please & Thank You, a very popular café, bakery and record shop combo with three locations. Up near Cincinnati, in the very old city of Newport, Carabello Coffee is a highlight—check out their Analog Bar, a reservation-only spot for guided coffee tasting.
The title doesn’t disappoint—this coffee has double the level of caffeine of most premier coffees. It’s hailed as The World’s Strongest Coffee, and for good reasons. It’s not just about the caffeine levels, Death Wish Organic Coffee‘s got that bold, rich, yet smooth and low-acidic taste that everybody is bound to love. Bring out the skull and crossbone bag of coffee beans in front of your friends and play chicken with the coffee maker. You’ll be up all night with the most coffee-tasting coffee this side of anywhere. These folks offer the best return policy on their specific, expertly-roasted coffee bean blend, which is also all USDA-certified organic and Kosher, as well as Fairtrade. Indulge your caffeine cravings with Death Wish.
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.
Subtle Earth Organic Gourmet Coffee was started by Don Pablo coffee growers and roasters, an arm of the Burke Brands LL.C. It is certified organic and Non-GMO by CCOF. This coffee is made from special Honduran beans from the Marcala region. No chemicals were used on said coffee beans. The coffee cherries were used as fertilizer in lieu of insecticides. Additionally, the farmers also practice vermiculture. In this process, worms are used to break down organic food wastes to become fertilizer, and plant peppers are used as repellents. The Marcala region in Honduras is a known producer of excellent beans.
I ordered the Equal Exchange Organic Ethiopian Coffee after receiving a notice (prior to my subscription shipment) that the price had gone up on the Coffee Masters Gourmet Coffee, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) , a coffee I discovered after a long search and many pounds of not very good coffee. The price on the equal exchange was about 15-20% lower; what i had been paying for the other when I subscribed, and had a lot of good reviews so I thought I would give it a try.
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.
Colombian coffee is renowned for its unique, well-tempered taste. The Signature 100% Supremo is full of the flavor and aroma of fresh roasted single-origin coffee beans. Blended with all-Columbian coffee, it contains a specially crafted formula with dark roasted beans, a formula that also makes it stand out as one of the most flavorful. It is finely ground, smooth, and delivered ready to brew by just pouring it in hot milk or water.
A great thing about this coffee is that it keeps the unique, characteristic flavor no matter how you combine it. It goes amazingly both with milk and sugar, and it doesn’t lose its aroma even when you add whipped cream to it. In accordance with this, you won’t make a wrong decision if you choose Newman’s Own Special Blend for the preparation of iced coffee.
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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.
Our search began at the local grocery stores to see what was widely available to shoppers. We noted the ubiquitous blends and recorded their price per ounce. We then went to the reviewers on Amazon.com where coffee was available in all varieties. We considered options on Amazon, Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh to find the best-rated cheap coffee options.
Having one of the East Coast's best roasters representing your state is very nice, and we're super happy for North Carolina and everything, but it's fascinating to see that decades on, Counter Culture, now every bit a national brand, still pretty much dominates the regional scene. Apart from Friday cuppings—always open to the public—at training centers in Durham and Asheville, you won't find Counter Culture coffee bars, which is okay, because it turns out that some of the state's top shops—for instance, the twin locations of Jubala Coffee, next door in Raleigh—act as terrific brand ambassadors.
I suffer from MS, it got a lot worse this year and my doc gave me six months to get better on my own before she puts me on meds. So this coffee is a big part of my natural recovery. Along with yoga, meditation, tons of antioxidants and probiotics, I make coffee combutcha and use (I know, yuk) coffee enemas, daily. Extreme detox! This brand was recommended on some website I found, I it works amazing! I feel like a million bucks after the enemas! Watch me recover completely and start running marathons before the big pharma catches me in it's ugly claw!
I try to eat & drink all-organic whenever possible, including my coffee, in order to avoid ingesting toxins. Certified organic coffee (in this case, certified by QAI--Quality Assurance Intl.) is grown & processed w/o pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, & other potentially harmful chemicals. So, Newman's Own 'Organics' Coffee is my daily 'go-to' coffee. I like the flavor of this 'Newman's Special Blend Medium Roast - Extra Bold' organic Arabica coffee. It's smooth, rich, hearty, & full-bodied, not bitter & not too acidic. It produces a pleasing aroma every morning from my Keurig B70 Platinum coffeemaker. I don't use any sweeteners, but I do stir in some Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Crème. Mmmm! You do sacrifice some freshness & flavor for the convenience of K-Cups vs. grinding your own beans. But the extra time & mess of coffee grinding are luxuries I can't afford in the rush of weekday mornings. One negative, & the reason for just 4 stars instead of 5: I do find that I sometimes get a stale box of K-Cups, even when the future 'best buy' date on the bottom of the 18-pod box is up to 20 months away, as was the case just last month w/a carton stamped w/an April 2019 'best buy' date. The distributor is Keurig Green Mountain. One wonders just how this coffee is initially stored, then transported, & then finally stored again after it arrives at Best Buy's facilities. For my part, I always keep the K-Cups stored in a cool, dry place, as recommended.
Organically farmed and sustainably produced, this blend comes from the southern part of Costa Rica. This region boasts abundant vegetation and rich volcanic soils that makes ideals conditions for coffee plantation. Coffee beans are only purchased from 100 percent USDA organic certified farms in Brunca region. It produces coffee blend which has a medium roast that has flavor hints of laurel and apple and an aroma of freshly coffee. The coffee is dense and has got a pleasant lingering aftertaste.
If you're a no-frills coffee drinker, this simple but flavorful Colombian Peaks pod from ubiquitous coffee brand Eight O'Clock Coffee is for you. It has a well-balanced flavor with a straightforward coffee taste that shines through. Reviewers claim that these pods quickly replaced their morning trip to the coffee house after one taste. These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
You won’t find local Robusta coffee in the United States. This coffee variety is exclusively grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, primarily in Africa. While some countries are able to grow both arabica and Robusta coffee, the climate needed is very specific and curated for Robusta coffee. If you like strong, rich coffee with nothing but coffee flavor and caffeine for days, you’re looking for Robusta.
One of the main advantages, when you get the Peak Performance High Altitude Organic Coffee, is the fact that it is USDA certified organic. So, you really can’t expect anything better than this. Besides, one of the things that turn a regular cup or organic coffee into a better one is the fact that the coffee has a single origin. And this is exactly the case of the Peak Performance High Altitude Organic Coffee.
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
The coffee is great and the staff is lovely. Would definitely recommend trying oat milk in any of their drinks - especially the iced latte. I'm bummed they no longer serve their spring roles because those were a great grab-and-go option. They do have an ample assortment of pastries, though! If you're there in the morning there's always a selection of cookies, scones, muffins etc.
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.
In the test, I took into consideration that people have a variety of coffee preferences. Some like a classic French Roast, meaning lots of dark, toasty notes with a full body and robust (slightly burnt, IMO) flavor. More recently, coffee trends have tended toward the lighter, brighter, fruity end of the tasting spectrum, with a fair amount of acid and berry notes. We aimed for a medium roast, which would theoretically appease a variety of tastes and hit in the middle of this spectrum. Still, we picked three different coffees as our favorites so we could cover the spectrum of coffee flavor preferences. In general, we were looking for coffees that tasted nuanced in flavor, not simply burnt or watery. Hints of chocolate, berries, nuttiness, and round, creamy mouthfeel were ideal. We wanted a coffee that would taste good black—and also hold up to added milk.