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.
Since finding a reliable brand of coffee can be difficult we’ve taken the leg work out and found the best options for getting that organic goodness into your cup. First, know that organic coffee is coffee produced without the aid of artificial chemical substances, such as certain additives or some pesticides and herbicides. Second, know that you’re in for some seriously impressive coffee.
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.
Promising review for the Dark Italian Espresso blend: "Over the past 30 years, I've spent a small fortune on exotic brews. But, when the last of my protected-rain-forest coffee bean was harvested in South America, I was flustered. The vendor claimed it was too expensive to continue harvesting (despite how much they charged for importing those beans), and a friend suggested I try Eight O'Clock. I love strong and bold coffee, and this reasonably-priced coffee foots the bill; I've been a fan since my first cup. It's amazing that after spending thousands the past 30 years to chase a rain-forest bean in South America, and what I wanted was in my local market all along. What a dufus snob I was!" —AMG
My parents drank Hazelnut Maxwell House for as long as I can remember, and used the empty metal canisters to store Ajax sponges and toolshed sundries. As a result I’ve always had a soft spot for canned coffee, and Maxwell House in particular, but of the canned coffees I tasted, it’s the best. Maxwell House is thoroughly uncomplicated, and it’s a difficult coffee to describe with much specificity. It is a perfectly reasonable (and quite cheap) starter coffee—that is, a coffee to start the day with—and one that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for affordability. It turns a bit as it cools, taking on a bitter aftertaste, but a quick drinker with a small mug should get by OK. A single caveat: Don’t microwave Maxwell House and expect to enjoy what comes out; it tastes unmistakably like airplane coffee, which in the grand hierarchy of complimentary coffee ranks just below single-serving hotel room coffee. For the price, even a coffee Scrooge like me would say you ought to just make a new pot.
Coffee Bean Direct comes in a package well-above the average size of the others in our review. Offered in a 5lb bag only, Coffee Bean Direct is able to sell high-quality beans at a lower price. No wonder it was neck-and-neck with our number one pick when it came to Cost. While it’s an extremely popular choice on Amazon, it fell behind the others on Performance due to a lower Amazon rating.
Belfast native Michael McCrory met Lauren Crabbe behind an espresso machine in San Diego, her hometown. A move up north for school brought the pair to the relatively quiet Outer Sunset section of the city, to the opening of this café, to considerable success (and acclaim) on the roasting front, and then another café, just up the road. All of this good fortune aside, the cafes maintain the feeling of a treasured neighborhood hangout—that is, on days when lines aren't out the door.
However, I would say that this coffee in no way compares. I read the bag, revisited the site to see if it is a blend. It is not described as such, but I doubt that in a blind taste test anyone familiar with these coffees would identify it as Ethiopian, or even African. I does not have the choclatey undertones or floral scent In many ways it reminds me more of Kona (i live in Hawaii, and have ready access but do not like Kona coffee; mild, smooth but non-descript, in my opinion. It is, however, everywhere here and part of the reason we do not get nice varietals from other lands). For me, this coffee is a big disappointment.
Also try One of New York's (we're talking about the state now) closely guarded secrets: its less sought-after cities can be pretty great, and certainly for coffee. The gorgeous Tipico would be the envy of any town, but it belongs to an up-and-coming Buffalo neighborhood; in Rochester, the pop-up gone brick and mortar Ugly Duck is just one bright star on that city's long-running scene. Meanwhile, in Utica, perhaps the last place you'd expect to find something so up to date, Character Coffee is a multi-roasting outfit with a whole lot of appeal.
“So thrilled with this coffee. I happened upon this brand when searching for low-acidity coffee and purchased based on the positive reviews. I’m not typically a dark-roast fan; however, I haven’t been able to drink coffee in over a year due to GI issues, so I wasn’t about to be picky. I ordered and prayed this low-acid coffee would be the solution to my problems. Could I really drink coffee again without feeling like a bonfire is roasting my insides? Well, I’m pleased to report that YES! Yes, I’m able to drink coffee again — and it’s DELICIOUS! The dark roast is so smooth and not bitter at all; no funky flavor due to the low acid content. My co-workers love the taste as well. Most importantly, my belly is as unaffected as if I drank a glass of plain water. Thanks, Java Planet, for restoring my sanity and allowing me to resume my daily coffee routine I so sorely missed.”
To find the best grocery store coffee, we tasted 11 brands commonly found at grocery stores around the country or online. I first conducted this test in July of 2017, but re-tested recently, incorporating a few new coffees that we hadn't tasted in the first round—for example, the coffee from Thrive, which is an online-only grocery store. Epicurious staffers rated the coffees and provided tasting notes. (I myself can be a little forgiving when it comes to bad coffee, so we needed outside opinions.) For every brand, we ordered a medium roast, which was usually "Breakfast Blend" or something equivalent.
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!
Of the 14 samples we received of organic-certified coffees produced in Africa origins outside Ethiopia, nine were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and two were from Uganda. Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda contributed one sample each. These 14 coffees ranged in scored from 84-91, with five scoring 90 or above, a good showing, and encouragement for those who may want to consider buying organic coffees from these origins. The vast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which contributed nine samples, has established itself as a source of fine specialty coffee through the development of the SOPACDI cooperative in the far eastern part of the DRC, just across Lake Kivu from Rwanda. This rapidly growing cooperative now has 5,600 members and is apparently succeeding its goal to help heal wounds left by the latest in eastern Congo’s seemingly endless string of horrific civil wars. The cooperative’s coffees typically carry both organic and Fair Trade certification and can be quite attractive in the style of the pungently spicy, sweet-savory coffees that often come out of the African Great Lakes region.
You might be familiar with one of La Colombe's brick-and-mortar cafés across the country or even their canned Draft Latte line, but we bet you didn’t realize that you can purchase their full line of coffee beans online. What started as a flagship café and bakery in Philadelphia is now an award-winning nationwide coffee brand, and we think La Colombe's Corsica Blend is the best expression of the brand's deliciousness.
I was craving Rooibos tea but still wanted a kick, so the barista suggested I mix two up and didn't charge me extra for it. She was super friendly and had a giant smile on her face the whole time - truly delightful. I like that their ingredients are sustainably sources and that all they do is geared to a good cause as a whole. I'll be sure to stop by again soon!
Providing low acidity and deep, rich flavor of milk chocolate with extraordinary notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey, Don Pablo K-Cups are made of high quality, 100% Arabica coffee. Produced with no artificial substances, with a beautifully designed package, these K-Cups are certified organic by CCOF. What makes Don Pablo coffee famous is the mentioned natural flavor character, based on the caramelization of the natural sugars, that provides an incredibly pleasant aftertaste.
To reduce their footprint, Subtle Earth does a number of things, like growing at a high altitude to reduce the need for any pesticides. Higher altitude makes for better coffee anyway, so it’s definitely a win-win, without question. They’re big recyclers too — all of the fruit that’s separated from the precious coffee bean, the cherry, is composted into a fertilizer.
I work right by Equal Exchange and like to go on walks mid morning to grab my coffee. Working in this area, there's a lot of options for coffee. I tried Equal Exchange because I wanted to be more ethical in my purchasing decisions despite paying more. I heard good things about Equal Exchange from my coworkers but I experienced really bad service which is really unusual in places like this (I think). The cashier was SO rude to me especially when I asked if they had any flavors to put in the coffee. It was a bummer because normally my walks at work to coffee shops are one of the best parts of my day! The coffee is really good here though, so I may come back in hopes to interact with more friendly employees.
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.