Gregg Parker is a writer and puppy enthusiast who divides his time between Los Angeles and the rest of the world. A graduate of the University of Southern California, his eclectic career has involved positions in education, health care, entertainment, nonprofit fundraising, technology, and literature. A points and miles expert, he's well-versed in all topics related to travel, including luggage and travel accessories. Other areas of expertise include pet care products, teaching resources, kitchen appliances, and anything related to coffee or barbecue.
Don Pablo, a family business, has provided dedication to the organic process for several decades now, delivering robust coffees from the source. Subtle Earth Organics is an exceptional Honduran coffee from the family’s specific farming region. The growing process is very important to this product as the fruit of the coffee bean go back into the soil as compost and fertilizer. High altitudes provide that no insecticides are necessary.
If you are a coffee purist, there’s no argument; buying whole beans and grinding them yourself is the way to go. You’ll get the freshest cup of coffee this way; once ground, coffee beans start to oxidize, reducing and altering the flavor. Grinding your own beans also lets you tailor the grind to your preferred coffee-making method. You’ll need a coffee grinder to do your own grinding, however.
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.
However, one of the selection criteria for the Top 30 coffees is value or affordability, measured by price per pound. Many of the coffees on our list are priced in line with similar, though usually less distinguished, single-origin specialty coffees in the marketplace. Half (15) of the coffees on the list cost $25 or less per pound. Four were priced at $20 or less per pound, namely: No. 4 Lexington Coffee Tarime Tanzania (95 points; $14.75/12 ounces), No. 6 Barrington Coffee Twenty Five (96 points; $14.25/12 ounces), No. 23 Big Shoulders Coffee Roasters Burundi Buhorwa (94 points; 15.00/12 ounces), and No. 28 Paradise Roasters Ecuador Pichincha Typica (94 points; 13.95/12 ounces).
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.
Offering 100% Ethiopian Yirgacheffe in 8- ounce vacuum packed bags, Marley Coffee is sustainably grown in Jamaica. Customers enjoy it for its fruity, medium bodied flavor. It is said to have berry and floral notes with no bitter after taste. Some noted that it has a smooth flavor that is worth trying for its low acid and good taste. It is one of many popular coffees in the Marley Coffee brand.
As one of the few products we have reviewed, that comes in hermetically sealed pressurized cans; this brand deserves some applause. The package results in an intensely fresh coffee powder. And illy is an excellent option if you want the authentic Italian taste. Their products are certified ethical by DNV. The coffee blend contains 100% pure Arabica beans sourced from growers across the world.
The San Francisco Bay OneCup, French Roast is another great coffee that you can buy online. They blend the flavors from both Central and South America. Usually, they tend to look for the coffee that grows on high altitude, is handpicked, and shade grows. And if you like the French roast, you’re going to love the San Francisco Bay OneCup, French Roast.
When Four Barrel veterans Tim & Elisha Griffin opted out of San Francisco, they landed in Fargo, where their small shop (handed over from a previous owner) quickly rose through the ranks in a city already mindful of the benefits of a solid cup of coffee. Right now, they're working with Heart, out of Portland, but rumor has it they'll be roasting their own soon, not to mention moving to a larger location in Fargo's happening downtown.
Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe is the town where the cultivators grow coffee beans that are popular for its dense, rich taste. Also, the acidity of this Arabica beans is quite great which its rivals find hard to deliver. Additionally, there are the many fruity notes along with the hints of dark chocolate. Apart from that, the Yirgacheffe organic coffee has a major amount of caffeine that a back palate person would cherish.
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.
Most bags of premier coffee come in twelve ounce bags, and Peet’s Big Bang Coffee Medium Roast is no exception. You’ve seen this brand in the aisles of the grocery store, but you’ve never heard anybody rave about Peet’s. It’s an experience, and Peet’s drinkers are loyal to the brand for one reason: Ethiopian Super Natural. This signature blend celebrates Peet’s fifty year anniversary as a leading coffee company, and remain as one of the top rated coffee beans brand available online. Peet’s has been designing signature styles, roasts, and blends of coffee for ages; hop on the Peet’s train and see why nobody’s talking about it—they don’t want you to grab the last bag off the shelves and leave them without.
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.
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.
This is loosely on the quality of storing your beans: if you’re a coffee connoisseur, and you’re grinding away every day, be sure to leave your grinders clean. Coffee oil will gather and taint any new beans that enter the grinder—no matter how fresh, no matter how exquisite—and essentially ruin your experience. When preparing your beans, be sure to keep your machines clean.
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.
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.
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.
Also try Texas overfloweth with worthy coffee roasters and shops right now, from Amarillo, way up in the Panhandle (Palace, Evocation) to Longview (Silver Grizzly Espresso) to San Antonio (Local) to McAllen (Reserva) way the heck down in the Rio Grande Valley, and you will typically find them taking the craft as seriously as you might expect in a state that perfected the art of, say, barbecue, or the breakfast taco. (Road trip, anyone?)
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.
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.
This is one of the blends that is almost available at any local warehouse and can be purchased at cash and carry price. The company works with farmers intensively to supply housing, health care, meal programs and education to workers and their respective families. They normally visit families to ensure that the coffee quality and continuance of a community aid programs. The cup of this coffee contains 345 flavor elements and it is the work of the roaster to extract all these flavors in a perfect balance. San Francisco bay has developed its own roasting system which meshes a art of roasting coffee with a science of producing consistency and perfection. You will find an organic that is roasted into fullest flavor, fresh and with quality in San Francisco.
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.
My favorite coffee of the year is Kickapoo Roasters Supernova Blend. I found it and decided I need look no further for a rich, mouth-filling cup. They say it is for people who like chocolate, which many people who like coffee do, and I am decidedly less interested in beans that come from Central America-type terrains, so it probably wouldn’t align with your tastes. But it is so good.
Of the two at-home iterations of Big Coffee, Dunkin’ Donutsand Starbucks, I prefer Dunkin’. It’s more drinkable black—lighter without being bitter, roasty without being burnt, and far easier on a pre-bagel empty stomach on my way out the door. Home-brewed Dunkin’ is nearly indistinguishable from takeout Dunkin’, and even aside from being cheaper per cup, drinking it at home saves styrofoam. Dunkin’ Donuts Original has a gentler thermal shift than most coffees in its price range, continuing to be enjoyable all the way down to room temperature, but if you’d like to freshen the heat it is admirably microwaveable.
I have searched for a K-cup coffee that has a strong bold taste. The best that I have found is Caribou Obsidian. This comes close. Full flavor with no bitterness. Even using the K-cup a second time to make a small cup gives more flavor than several other brands do on the first run through. I will definitely buy again. This is the same review that I gave for Italian dark Roast. Why? They are both close seconds to Obsidian.
What we love about this coffee is its blend of economy and flavor. This is one of the most affordable coffees out there, ounce for ounce. And despite being so cheap, it doesn’t compromise too far on flavor. Being a medium roast, it does have a bitter yet slight acidic aftertaste. The packaging is large and generous, and it uses Mountain Grown beans for superior aroma. The brand also sports UTZ Certification for Sustainability.
Coffee Kult ground coffee is a nice blend of choice Colombian-Brazilian coffee beans. The blend has 100% premium-grade Arabica beans which are smooth, rich, and medium bodied. Such high-grade beans are expertly roasted and blended to make the Coffee Kult Medium a must-try for any coffee enthusiasts. Coffee gourmets happily appreciate a cup of coffee made with this choice beans blend and so should you.
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.
Need further proof that great coffee can (and does) happen just about anywhere, nowadays? At least a couple of hours from the nearest big city and convenient mostly to nature—beautiful Blackwater Canyon, for example—this multi-roaster and unofficial community center anchors an array of independent businesses on an old coal town's handsome and very historic main drag.
Another early top player in the coffee game—think Alterra, Ancora, others—Wisconsin had one hell of a head start, so it shouldn't be any surprise that one of the country's top roasters (Intelligentsia-trained) can be found in a village of 200 people way up in the mostly rural center of the state. Their tasting room keeps very limited hours, but it's worth the effort to get here. If that's out of the question, not to worry—you'll find them carried all over the state, not to mention well beyond.
You want 100% arabica for that perfect body, the strongest caffeine to keep you awake (after all, isn’t that the point?) You’re not about flashy labels, you don’t want gimmicks—you want straight-up excellent coffee, and you want to grind it like your life depends on it. Welcome to the Koffee Kult, the last coffee you’ll ever buy. If you’re a dark roast fan, you’ve stumbled upon the holy grail. From the first sip, you’ll have your mind blown higher than an 80’s psychedelic movie. Don’t down the whole cup at once, though. Savor it. Sip it. Indulge yourself in the exact definition of dark roast coffee. This is roasted in-house, and when you grind it up at home, you can have it any way you’d like. French press sort of a coffee drinker? Press it up. Brew it like espresso? Check. No matter what your preference, you’ll be able to indulge in your favorite dark roast for years to come. You could say that this coffee has a cult following (I get my zingers in while I can.) Just like the bag says, Be One Of Us isn’t just a slogan, it’s a message. Get ready to fall in love with dark roast coffee all over again.
Already no stranger to a good cup of coffee, Bellingham, a lively college town closer to Vancouver, BC than Seattle, reached top tier status with the addition of this very fine roaster, an extraordinary collective of expertise that has more than a few baristas and café owners around the country just a little bit excited. A very nearly elegant, all-day café—Camber's first foray on to the retail side—in downtown Bellingham is pilgrimage-worthy.
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.
Occupying a vintage Quonset hut on an out-of-the-way block in the state's coolest town right now, this all-organic, sustainable, small-batch setup brings a lot of passion to the table; Montana has more than a couple of great roasters (see below) and an outsized number of destinations for a great cup coffee, but coming up on nearly a decade in business, this is the place that feels like the whole package, the all-in-one.
Unless you're a total geek, keeping up with the very latest in coffee tech can be a bit difficult, but we can't talk about Fort Wayne—perhaps the last place you were expecting to be talking about, right now—without talking about the fact that the city, better known as the birthplace of the Frigidaire, is also home of the Modbar, currently one of the hottest names in espresso extraction—so hot, in fact, that the company managed to attract La Marzocco as an investor and distribution partner. These days, Modbar founding partner Corey Waldron has gone back to his barista roots with this roaster/café operation, located just above the confluence of the three rivers that meet here at the heart of the city. (It's not just a thing that happens in Pittsburgh, you know.)
Meet our head roaster & competitor in this weekends US Coffee Champs qualifying event held in New Orleans, Franklin Ventura @rookiedrumer ——————————————— Franklin on why he’s competing: “It’s an opportunity for me to learn more about coffee, learn how our industry is growing in knowledge, and a chance to put us out there as a company and myself out there as a roaster in this industry.”
Café du Monde, like Chock Full o’ Nuts, is as much a stylistic choice as a gastronomic one, and both require a deep well of cultural identification to stomach on a regular basis. Chicory has historically been used as a coffee substitute as well as a flavoring agent, and chicory coffee in the US is closely associated with New Orleans coffee culture. Café du Monde is named for an actual coffee stand in New Orleans that has been in operation since the 1860s, and may be the best-known domestic producer of chicory coffee, if not the only one. The iconic marigold can includes a recipe for café au lait, the traditional chicory coffee drink sold at the IRL Café du Monde; given the parameters of this coffee taste-test, and the practical concerns of an at-home coffee drinker without the ability or desire to boil milk every morning just to stomach their coffee, I drank it black. This may have been a mistake. The flavor of chicory is interesting, and even initially enjoyable, but the romance was gone for me after about two minutes. I had a similar physical reaction to Chock Full o’ Nuts, my face contorting involuntarily into what I feel compelled to call a Chicory Frown. This worsened as it cooled, but cold black chicory coffee is nothing compared to microwaved chicory coffee. After a single sip I poured it out in the sink. Chicory has its devotees, but I fear the taste is not one I can acquire.
I was pretty disappointed in this local coffee spot, unfortunately. I walked in and the staff seemed in disarray. I waited 15 minutes for a coffee, watching other people who ordered after me get their drinks filled. They had forgotten my order as it turned out, and when I asked about it, they were not too friendly in understanding what happened. After I finally pushed about needing to go, they finally made my drink, but I only had a couple minutes to finish it. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with their service at all. And my coffee was nothing impressive. Not worth the price in my opinion.