When it comes to buying coffee to brew at home, I often feel lost. In an ideal world, I buy Stumptown or other great regional roasters. But that habit can get expensive—and that coffee isn't always widely available in a pinch. We all need a good—or, at least, drinkable—widely available go-to coffee brand, if for nothing else than storing for emergency situations when the good coffee has run out.
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.
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.
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:
Finally, coffee production is being affected by global climate change. Coffee requires extremely stable temperature conditions in order to thrive. In its natural habitat, elevation and forest would provide additional temperature stability. But today, we are seeing that the “coffee belt” we relied upon for so long is changing, and the regions where coffee can be grown are also changing, with a huge effect on local farmers and economies that rely on coffee exports to survive.
Coffee is grown in several places around the world. All of these locations share proximity to the equator, a cool-to-moderate tropical climate, rich soil, and, in the case of arabica beans, a high altitude. And while you might assume that a coffee bean from Brazil is really no different from a coffee bean from Kenya, there actually are subtle taste differences depending on where the beans were grown.
We asked Josh Taves, a 12-year coffee industry vet (who has spent time working as a barista as well as training them) and the director of business development for Denver’s Novo Coffee -- one of the finest coffee shops in the country -- for help. He did a blind tasting of 20 of the most popular K-Cups like a true (and highly caffeinated) hero. In the end, one brand stood out above all else, snagging three of the top four spots, while a few proved to be not worth drinking, no matter how badly you need a caffeine kick.
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.
The idea of a K-Cup is definitely going to turn off a coffee snob. They like to have total control over the coffee—from the roasting to the grinding to the brewing to the preparing (God forbid you add milk!). They may consider using their own beans in a reusable K-Cup, but the fact that they can't control the brewing temperature and duration of the Keurig machine means they will look at the K-Cups the way they would a cup of convenience store coffee.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is unusual among the grocery store coffee set in that it references neither the coffee-growing regions of the equator nor any city associated with coffee culture—New York, Vienna, etc.—instead staring wistfully off in the direction of the Green Mountains of Vermont. This is a thoroughly pleasant coffee, light-roasted and gentle on an empty stomach, as mine often is at the coffee hour. Green Mountain has an impressive thermal shift, remaining drinkable even as it cools—even to an avowed hater of iced coffee. It microwaves decently, too, buoyed gently back to drinking temperature without darkening into bottom-of-the-pot creosote, making it a solid choice for even the coldest of kitchens.
Organic Coffee is grown with organic fertilizers, which mimic natural growth and decay processes of the environment. Growing coffee under the shade of trees using organic mulch requires less irrigation, conserves water and encourages forest preservation. Following these organic practices stimulates the environment's ability to defend against disease and encourages sustainability. Organic Coffee products available include Organic Coffee that is caffeinated, decaffeinated, flavored and instant.
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.
“Had my first cup of Jo this morning. This coffee is smooth and bold, not bitter at all. It’s hard to find a ‘clean’ decaf that tastes good. I hate to drink regular decaf that’s decaffeinated using harsh chemicals. There are not many decafs out there that are decaffeinated using the Swiss water process [like this one is]. And even better is that the coffee is organically grown. This Jo is really good, and I’ll be buying more.”
In addition to that, this java has about 59 mg caffeine in every fluid-ounce of coffee. In fact, its single serving will comprise up to 708 mg caffeine if the serving is of 112 fluid-ounce. It is fairly more than many people could bear for a single day. Despite the coffee being of French roast and of high caffeine content it tastes astonishingly sweet.
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!
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.
With this Colombian grown organic coffee in a K-cup, this is the perfect caffeine fix that can stimulate the senses. Similar to other dark roasts, you can expect notes of dark chocolate in this coffee. The beans have been through a long roasting process, which also means that the acidity is reduced. There are also toasted notes with the aftertaste of this coffee, but you do not have to worry since it does not have a pronounced bitterness.
I don't write reviews often, but I am sipping my first cup and I felt compelled to write about this lovely little coffee. The aroma of the freshly ground beans is robust, the scent as it is brewing is mouthwatering, and the first sip, God, the first sip is absolutely heavenly, as is every sip thereafter. For two years I lived just down the street from a coffee bean seller in Mexico City (the family that owned the store also owned the farm where the beans were grown). Their coffee was the finest coffee I have ever tasted in my life, nothing I have tried in the nearly five years since my stint in Mexico City has even come close to that. Until now. I will definitely be purchasing more of this coffee in the near future for myself -- and for gifts for friends and family who are coffee lovers.
This is made by the same manufacturer as the coffee that has been mentioned above. However, this is not decaf. It is a dark French roast, which uses premium beans from South and Central America. It has an intense and smoky flavor, which may not be appreciated by all. This is for those people who like their coffee to have a strong character. It is made only with the ripest red cherries that have been roasted by experts to extract the maximum flavor in every cup.
The first thing you need to know about this organic decaf coffee is that it comes in whole beans. Therefore, this means that you will have to ground it yourself at home. The amazing thing about this, if you ground just enough beans for one cup every morning, you will be able to taste freshly ground coffee every single day. It doesn’t get better than this! The Decaf Hurricane Espresso is a dark and robust roast that will win your heart in no time!