Stumptowns Mountain Coffee is of course, an organic blend but really shines through the pack with an offering of blended fruit and chocolate flavor notes. This brand is very serious about their coffee, it’s reported that they once held the record for paying the most for a batch of coffee beans and often pay their farmers three to four times the value for coffee beans. They truly appreciate the farms that produce for them, and that’s a huge part of what the organic initiatives are trying to accomplish, beyond just labeling a package of beans.
The organic movement is fueled in large part by consumers’ health concerns. People are understandably wary of consuming agricultural poisons along with their fruits and vegetables. With coffee, however, the health issue is less persuasive than it is with many other agricultural products: apples or strawberries, for example, which we consume whole and often raw. We do not consume the fruit of the coffee tree. Instead, we strip the fruit off and compost it, retaining only the seed, which we then dry, roast at very high temperatures, grind, and soak in hot water. Subsequently we throw away the dried, roasted, ground seeds and drink the water.
Made from hearty Indonesian beans, these medium-roast coffee pods have deep and woodsy notes that are nicely balanced out by a fruity berry flavor and nice bright acidity. Reviewers describe this blend as their go-to single-serve morning roast because of its smooth, rich, "down-to-earth" flavor without any bitterness. These pods are compatible with any Keurig single-serve coffee machine.
After taste-testing thirteen different varieties of ground coffee widely available for purchase at a chain grocery store, the winner for a solid cup were Maxwell House. In terms of flavor and cost, it ranked highest overall, though it did lose points for not being very good to microwave. Still, at $5.83/lb, it's cost efficient enough to just make another cup of coffee.
Four espressos appear on this year’s list, three of them single-origin coffees. The fourth is a distinguished blend of coffees from a mix of origins—the impressive 96-point Twenty Five by Barrington Coffee Roasters, at No. 6, the only blend on the list. Numerous blends, both espresso and non-espresso, earned 90-94 points but did not ultimately make our Top 30; we recognize some of the best on our list of the Top Coffees by Category.
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.
One of the country’s most popular coffee shops can be sipped at home for a much less expensive price. While it might not be quite the experience you would get if you walked in, it is still delectable at $8.99 for a 16 ounce bag. Yes, it is a little pricey, but the flavor has gotten almost unanimous reviews, possibly because it is a light-medium roast with an agreeable and familiar taste.
Cameron’s 32-ounce pack of dark roast specialty coffee offers delicious flavor with organic benefits. Customers who drink Cameron’s appreciate what they describe as aromatic, with a full, deep and smooth flavor. Some appreciate the shiny beans, which indicate that they have a nice oil balance and some notice that the brand has a hint of chocolate flavor. But, there are long-time customers who feel that the overall quality of this coffee has been suffering from a lack of freshness due to roasting the beans and then not packing them in vacuum packed bags.
Kicking Horse Coffee is the #1 best-selling whole bean coffee in Canada, known for their passion for the highest quality beans. Not only are they the best-selling organic, fair trade coffee in Canada, but they are also consistently rated as one of the best workplaces, with exceptional values and 20 years of doing the right thing for their customers and for the planet.
Another really awesome thing about Equal Exchange is that it is worker owned. The company is actually recognized as a Worker-owned Co-operative. This means that there are no outside shareholders of the company. Each of the workers owns a part of the overall company. In addition, each worker is entitled to the right to vote on company policy and decisions, has the right to serve as the leader of the company (i.e. board director), the right to any and all information, and the right to speak their mind. What's more, the highest paid worker can not earn more than 4 times what the lowest paid worker is paid. This is virtually unseen in the majority of businesses in the entire world. So the fact that this company has achieved this and is thriving, is just incredible.
Bagged coffee is standard, from grocery stores to coffee roasters (most of them), but subtle variations make for significant differences among these coffees, particularly in price. This is complicated by the fact that a bag of coffee is often referred to as a “pound,” when in fact most bags only hold between 10 and 12 ounces of coffee. A bag of Newman’s Own Organic coffeecosts $10.29, only $0.10 more than a bag of Starbucks coffee, but Newman’s is only a 10-ounce bag to Starbucks’ 12 ounce. Brewer beware!
To further our research, we asked all of our coffee testers if they would spend an extra $1.00 on a product if it was proven that the company directly benefited the community or environment. Each tester said yes. In addition, when looking at overall ratings online, organically and sustainably-sourced coffee rated higher overall compared to your typical Arabica coffee.
The Marley Organic is a full-bodied organic decaf coffee that is so good you will actually want to get off your regular caffeinated one. It is also mildly acidic and a medium dark roast, as well as Kosher. What you will love most about it is the fact that it has very subtle hints of vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa, and soft spices, making it a true gourmet coffee.
Java Planet is owned and operated by a family, producing certified USDA Organic coffee which is 100% free of chemicals and pesticides. The company roasts their Columbian coffee beans in small batches and put the date right on each bag. It is Fair Trade specialty coffee with a smooth, full flavor, and as some customers noted, a heavenly aroma. It’s a popular favorite with many coffee lovers.
You are in a town that loves coffee, and it is everywhere, has been for a long time now, with the most successful operations long ago spun out into regional mini-chains, of sorts. May we (ever so gently) suggest that you begin your explorings at this relatively new addition—and by new, we mean they've been around for roughly a decade, already—now featuring five cafes, three of them right here in town.
Camano Island Coffee Roasters takes pride in being an ethical and fairly traded coffee brand. The beans are grown organically, ensuring farmer and product safety. It is also grown in such a way that protects animal habitats and soil preservation. The Papua New Guinea Medium Roast blend, as its name suggests, is sourced from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. Said beans were imported from the Jamaica Blue Mountain region and first planted in Wau in the 1930s. Aside from the aforementioned, it is also USDA Certified Organic and shade grown.
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.
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.
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.
Conventional coffee is one of the more treated crops, thus it’s important for coffee drinkers to consider what goes into their beverage. Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides all make up some components of a coffee farmers tools. However, organic coffee is slightly different as the labeling means that the coffee bean was grown with human consumption concerns in mind.
Mushroom coffee is widely praised for its health benefits, and Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion's Mane and Chaga is among the best of them. This certified organic coffee is brewed to support creativity and focus, as well as boosting the immune system. Even though each cup contains two mushrooms, the brew tastes just like ordinary coffee and has garnered rave reviews all over the web.
One of those towns that got lucky, relatively early on, Arizona's second city still knows coffee best, at least around these parts. Right now, the city is all about this super-mod operation, featuring two high-design hangouts—one at Presta's roasting plant, the other inside the quite chic Mercado San Agustin, these days one of Tucson's favorite gathering places, and for good reason.
“My wife and I have been searching for great coffee for a while now, and after trying a few different blends from Intelligentsia, I decided to check out Kicking Horse, as they’ve always had great reviews on Amazon. This has easily been the best decision I’ve ever made with regards to coffee. Kicking Horse is my new favorite, with their Kick Ass blend leading the pack. It’s a dark-roast coffee, but it’s not like the garbage you get at Starbucks with an acidic or burned flavor. This is a full, smooth flavor that any coffee lover will absolutely love … Kicking Horse Kick Ass Dark is, by far, my new favorite coffee, and I am no longer searching for anything else to try. This one’s getting an Amazon Subscription.”
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