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.

This is a subject of intense debate among caffeine junkies, but there are organic coffee drinkers who swear that they can taste the difference between natural and unnatural beans. Since organic coffee is naturally higher in antioxidants, who's to say that they're wrong? Their palette might be responding to the unique nutrients and compounds in their 100 percent arabica blends.
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.
Healthy Coffee Rule #3) Single Origin Coffee Is Better. Why? Because while "Blended" Coffee like a "Breakfast Blend" might sound cool... there's a much higher likelihood that at least one of the bean varieties that went into that blend was contaminated (coffee has been commonly known to be contaminated with energy robbing mold), meaning the entire batch is now contaminated.
After training under coffee royalty across the pond (at Colonna & Small's in Bath), local native Jason Gonzalez, along with British-born wife and business partner Tiffany, are giving Vermont's long-running scene a swift kick in the backside with this smart multi-roaster operation, a very-21st century shrine to one of the state's favorite beverages (after beer, of course).
Promising review for their Quarter Caf blend: "Finally, coffee I can drink! I came across this product by accident and I'm so thankful I did. I have a very energized baby (who I'm currently breastfeeding) and normal coffee gets to my baby. I didn't have coffee for quite a while, but this came in yesterday so I had my morning cup of coffee without any guilt. It tastes great and it's exactly what I need to start my day." —Kristina Hunter
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.
Organic. Awaken your consciousness. Smooth blend, mild acidity & hints of dark chocolate. From small farmer co-ops in Latin America. A product of Equal Exchange. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Our Commitment: To pay a fair price to the farmer; To trade directly with democratic cooperatives; To offer pre-harvested credit to aid farmers throughout their growing season; To develop long-term trade partnerships; To support sustainable and shade grown farming practices. We are committed to these principles on 100% of our coffees, teas, cocoas & chocolate. Farmer as Equals: Equal Exchanges is much more to us than just a buyer of our coffee. We see you as a partner who treats farmers as equals. You share our commitment to growers and to the land, and are helping us create a better future. Our Quality: Equal Exchange, a worker-owned Fair Trade organization, has been offering gourmet sustainably grown coffees since 1986. Because of our close relationships with farmers, we get their best beans. We then roast our coffees in small batches to bring out their best characteristics. But our commitment to quality extends beyond the beans to include the quality of life of the farmers with whom we work. We hope you will enjoy this coffee brought to you pride by Equal Exchange and our small farmer partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Fair Trade at Work: Much of the world's coffee is grown by small farmers, purchased at negligible prices by middlemen, and then brought and sold on a commodities market thousands of miles away. Equal Exchange provides an alternative by working directly with small farmer cooperatives, helping to build pride, independence and community empowerment. With the added income and stability provided by this relationship, farmers can make improvements in their own lives. Women's leadership development in Guatemala, eco-tourism projects in Nicaragua, savings and loan projects in Mexico - these are some of the most vivid examples of the benefits of Fair Trade.
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. 

“My wife and I have tried most of the higher-end, mail-order, and micro-roasters and finally found our go-to coffee. Really a great cup of coffee. We have always liked to freshly grind and brew our coffee, and prefer to use a French press. This coffee is not burned, bitter, or acidic. Not really a dark, dark roast. More of a medium-dark roast. Perfect. Has a slightly nutty, chocolaty, and full-body taste. For overall quality, I would give it four-and-a-half stars — but with this price point, quality, and [the fact that it] is organic, this coffee is a no-brainer.”
In order to determine the best coffee beans in the world we will have to journey to where in the world coffee grows. South America dominates coffee plantations. Brazil alone contributes to more than 40 percent of all coffee production worldwide. Optimally, coffee grows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in an area known as the coffee belt. Virtually all the coffee beans you purchase will be grown in this region. Even though the coffee beans are harvested in this region, they may be roasted elsewhere. We will cover roasting in the next section.
Eight O’Clock Coffee is a sleeper in this set, brand-wise, but a surprisingly enjoyable cuppa. It’s the only brand I tasted about which I had no preconceptions, and it turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s dark without being bitter, and is solidly microwaveable. It’s slightly ahead of the median bagged coffee price in this set but streets ahead in flavor, making it a solid value buy.

If you want a sampling from multiple independent coffee roasters all at once, this is the coffee subscription for you. There are many small roasters that have popped up all over the country and many are too small to operate their own subscription service. So they’ve partnered with companies that offer coffee subscriptions and pull from this pool of smaller roasters.


“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).
For the last 35 years our mission has been to find the world's finest Arabica varieties, roast them for the richest, most flavorful coffees available anywhere, at the lowest possible price, all while making the world a better place. Our coffee is grown responsibly, Fairly Traded and Grown For Good (see details about our Community Aid Programs below), we strive to improve the lives of each person we work with including the farmers, retailers, our employees, and you, our customers.

You need to buy the right road that’s going to suit your palette, but that’s not going to do you any good if you can’t store them in a proper location. You need to maintain proper temperature control and oxidization. It also depends on how tightly-packaged your beans were upon arrival; sometimes, it’s not in your hands. That’s why you need to go with a supplier that you trust, someone who has your best interest at heart when it comes to maintaining integrity and flavor.
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.
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).
Here's the truth: K-Cups are packed with the same coffee ground you would buy in your grocery store or supermarket. Flavored coffees are made by spraying propylene glycol on the coffee beans/ground, then adding the flavoring oils or liquids afterward. The propylene glycol helps the beans/ground to hold the flavor, and it acts as a preservative. Every time you drink flavored coffee—whether it's in a K-Cup or a regular coffee machine—you're ingesting propylene glycol and natural and artificial flavorings.

According to the definition of organic farming, farming utilizes manual, mechanized, and cultural methods. Additionally, the farming methods shall neither comprise of synthetic chemical fertilizer nor the synthetic pesticides. In fact, the authority prohibits the use of GMOs or any other growth promoters/enhancers. Apart from that, the cultivators have to take care of the yield by keeping away/eliminating the soil erosion, ecological unbalance, unhealthy water irrigation, or the sewage sludge.
I bought this coffee originally at a local organic co-op market and was happy to find it on Amazon. Great flavor, robust but mellow - a truly delicious decaf bean. It's wonderful to find this organic, small farmer co-op and I'm happy to be a participant. I bought the whole bean decaf coffee and that extra freshness is a good cup of coffee. I brew this coffee in a Bialetti Moka Express, the old fashioned way and it is a great combo. I have also brewed this in a standard Mr. Coffee drip maker and it's a great cup that way as well. I'm a new regular customer
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.
Once a self-described stoner kid who did a stint with Intelligentsia in Los Angeles, Andrew Heppner came home to open what's quietly become one of the state's most compelling roasters, one that's only recently made the decisive move into the retail game, after an early (and failed) attempt at opening their own shop. That's in the past, now—not only have they made it work with a fine cafe in Bay City, Populace also joins the much-hyped collection of outlets now opening along with Detroit's hotly-anticipated Siren Hotel.
This is my new favorite coffee. I love it in the way that makes me ache for morning so I can justify another cup. It is dark and rich. It smells divine. No after taste, no heavy acidity. I also appreciate that it doesn't have any overreaching flavors or sweetness, it's simply coffee. Added bonus is that Equal Exchange coffees are fair trade from small farmers. They do cooperative work with their growers and I have so much respect for them. This will be the first item I do an Amazon subscription service for. Yeah, it's that good.
In addition, it contains a full, sweet finish with a hint of chocolate overtones that is distinctive of the natural properties of mocha. Just like all coffees from the bean coffee company, this one hundred percent arabica organic coffee was hand roasted in small batches and packaged at the peak of its cycle in order to preserve its natural flavors and fresh-roasted quality.
These K-cups worked great and made a good cup of coffee. I generally prefer a lighter roast. The flavor was very bold and for a dark roast was very good. There were no grounds or oils on the top of the coffee. It was best as the first cup of coffee in the morning as it was not decaffeinated. The cups functioned in the coffee maker well and removed most of the water in the cup after brewing so you don't drip coffee on the counter. Since this is Paul Newmans's brand I do fee like I am helping because they donate most of the profits to charity so I feel better when I use their products. Overall a good product for people that like a dark roast coffee.
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?

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.

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.
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.
Both of these amazing organic K-Cup® coffees take it one step further and are Fair Trade certified. To read more about the benefits of Fair Trade coffees, click here. Fair Trade helps to negate the increased cost of growing organically. Surprisingly, in the case of organic K-Cup® pods, this cost has not been passed on to the consumer. The only way to thank these farmers is for coffee wholesalers to abide by a Fair Trade certification, so farmers are not tempted to succumb to cheaper conventional methods.
Described by taste-testers as "nutty, earthy, smooth, and bold," these Sumatra Dark Roast pods from Starbucks are so bold in flavor that some reviewers claim they can actually be brewed twice to cut back on waste. Herbal and earthy, this single-origin coffee blend is not to be missed. These coffee pods are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee machines.
And while you could certainly buy an expensive cup of coffee on your way to work, it’s far more economical – and often, far tastier – to brew your own. But how do you know which beans make for the best cup of brew? Should you buy whole beans or pre-ground coffee? What’s the difference between robusta and arabica? And does the degree of roasting affect the flavor?
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.
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.
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.
Formerly a multi-roaster subscription, Moustache is now roasting everything in-house to maximize freshness. In fact, they go from beans in the roaster to a box in the mail within about 5 hours – which is pretty darn impressive. Another thing we like about Moustache is that they are working top-notch importers and sourcing over 70 different kinds of coffee so you could join the weekly plan and never get the same coffee twice in a year. That’s a sampler’s paradise!
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.
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.
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.
The deity-level status of a coffee roaster hailing from Kansas' snoozy capital used to take the less-informed by surprise; nowadays, it seems less unusual that an operation as world-class as this should be found in such a place. No brash upstart, this—direct trading, single origin-loving PT's has been around since the early 1990's, and is still considered one of the finest source-erers in the land, last year snapping up another roaster with a similar reputation for quality, San Diego's Bird Rock Coffee. Lately, the company has given its retail operation a modern makeover, adding more modern shops in the college town of Lawrence, as well as Kansas City, Missouri.
Approaches ranged from commitment to organic as a core value in a business model to mere coincidence or afterthought. Furthermore, several of the top-scoring coffees came from roasters who don’t label their coffees as organic, even when these coffees are farmed organically. The reason? They don’t have USDA certification as organic roasters, making it illegal for them to do so.
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.
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.
K-Cups were created by Keurig to be used with their specialized Keurig machines. Shortly after the original line of Keurig machines was released, coffee makers began to release their own generic-brand K-Cups. Over time, Keurig began to lose market share to these other coffee makers. They released the Keurig 2.0 machines that were ONLY compatible with K-Cups manufactured by Keurig.
Also try The Portland hype may be leveling off (now it's just expensive, like everywhere else), but the coffee remains some of the best on the continent—if you haven't yet, make tracks for Coava, which managed to impress noted stickler Jerry Seinfeld, who filmed an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee here. Over in Old Town, meanwhile, there's something utterly appealing about the self-described "snob free" ethic behind the very good Deadstock, opened by a former designer at Nike.
In the case of over half of the Top 30 coffees, distinctive tree variety appears to play an important role in generating an exceptional cup worthy of a high rating. There are stars and superstars among the hundreds of varieties of Arabica grown in the world today, and, whether we want them to or not, coffees from these distinguished varieties frequently dominate the very highest ratings at Coffee Review. They include the still rare and expensive Geisha/Gesha variety (three examples on the 2018 list), the various mainly indigenous varieties grown in Ethiopia (three on the 2018 list), the great SL28 and SL34 varieties of Kenya, and (slightly less distinctive but still likely to impress) the big-beaned varieties Maracaturra (one), Maragogipe (one) and the ancient heirloom Bourbon (four on the 2018 list).
If we’re discussing organic, attention-to-detail coffee producers, this discussion wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Koffee Kult and their process. The dedication starts with direct trade relationships with their coffee farmers around the world, support for micro-lot farms, and finishes in house when they apply the iconic Koffee Kult label. Don’t forget the impressive roasting process.
Nebraska's most impressive roaster at the moment occupies a deceptively simple (but also pleasingly modern) storefront on a block shared with a brewery, a wine bar and Omaha's most talked about ice cream shop—it's clearly a new day for the once-forlorn Blackstone District. There's a lot of this sort of positive change happening around Omaha lately, some of it down to young and talented entrepreneurs like Isaiah Sheese, who moved here to roast coffee, just a few years ago. Things appear to be working out okay—Archetype is now opening a second shop, in another up-and-coming area of town.

I think I would try other coffees from this brand and would probably really like their darker flavors. For people who really want a lot of kick to their coffee I wouldn’t suggest this particular one though. Great things about this particular brand include the fact they are fair trade and organic. They source their coffee beans from small locally owned farmers who practice natural farming. Although my coffee connoisseur attitude does inspire me to occasionally indulge in a new Starbucks option, I always feel much better when I’m conscious about what I buy and opt for brands that seem more aware of their farmers practices and wellbeing. Fair Trade is a great option for the ‘ethically aware’ coffee shoppers out there.
By now, the reputation of this roaster—with its collection of four standout cafes—reaches far beyond Northwest Arkansas (yes, home of Walmart), and while the expertly-sourced beans tend to do most of the talking here, the precision with which you'll typically find an Onyx barista working is most impressive, almost as if they had masses of competition waiting to steal away their customers, out the front door. (They don't. Not for miles.)
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.
Wrapping your head around just how many roasters are doing good work in booming Denver right now could take a while—there's Middle State, Corvus, Huckleberry, Commonwealth; Boulder's got Ozo, and Boxcar, too. Andy Sprenger's operation, however, an unlikely gem in the relatively unglamorous suburb of Lakewood, feels like the truest find, right now—Sprenger traveled the world, did time with Ceremony Coffee in Annapolis, and snagged his share of industry awards before returning home to start the business. Besides being a sought-after roaster, Sweet Bloom's café serves as a much-welcomed third place for the neighborhood.
The only product in the world which is sold more than coffee is oil. That makes coffee the second most important in terms of how much money it makes, and it makes a lot. Each year, retail sales globally are about $12 billion U.S.D. More than 400 billion cups of this “black gold” are enjoyed each year and the businesses which sell all the equipment necessary to grind coffee beans, brew and roast them, and cups to serve the delicious liquid only add to the huge amount of money that revolves around coffee.
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.
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.
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