Exploring the Best Coffee Brands: A Comprehensive Guide for Coffee Lovers
Are you a coffee lover searching for the ultimate cup of joe? Look no further, because in this article, we are going to answer the age-old question: "What is the best coffee?" From well-known brands like Starbucks and Folgers to hidden gems like Panther Coffee and Birch Coffee, we will explore a wide range of options to satisfy every coffee connoisseur. Get ready to embark on a flavorful journey as we uncover the top picks in different categories, from the best organic brew to the most caffeinated option. Whether you savor a dark roast or prefer a light and invigorating cup, join us as we dive into the world of coffee and uncover the heavenly brews that will awaken your senses.
Stumptown Coffee, a company born in Portland, has gained national recognition for its mouthwatering blends such as Holler Mountain, House Blend, and Trapper Creek.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters is synonymous with the third wave of coffee—a rise in small boutique roasters. It may be more expensive than grocery store brands, but the quality and care put into each cup make it worth it.
The company, founded in 1999, is also well-respected for its direct trade business practices and its ethical and long-standing relationships with farmers and producers.
Smooth yet robust, the Stumptown Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain is a full-bodied blend that combines the flavors of South and Central American coffees with the bright crispness of East African beans.
Chock Full o' Nuts
In 1926, an enterprising entrepreneur named William Black started roasting nuts but later switched to roasting coffee beans during the Great Depression. Chock Full o' Nuts has since become a familiar name in the coffee industry.
When it comes to longevity, Chock Full o' Nuts is unmatched. Its coffee maintains a consistent flavor that can be enjoyed whether it's freshly purchased or has been stored for a while.
Average price of a 12 oz bag of coffee beans: $3 - $30
Panther Coffee is a specialty coffee company based in Miami, USA. They roast their coffee beans in small batches with great care and expertise.
Folgers, known for its catchy jingle, has been a trusted morning brand for many coffee drinkers. While it may not be considered the top coffee on the market, its mild flavor satisfies the majority of American coffee drinkers.
In Canada, where a strong cup of coffee is essential, Tim Hortons used to be a popular choice. However, in recent years, its quality has declined, leaving many customers disappointed. While it's not a terrible option if it's your only choice, there are better alternatives available.
Wide Awake Coffee Co.
Wide Awake Coffee Co. offers mild-tasting coffee that can be enjoyed regularly. Their range of products, including single-serve pods and cold brews, provides convenience and variety. Some of their packaging is also compostable, adding to their appeal.
Eight O'Clock Coffee
Eight O'Clock Coffee has gained popularity among modern coffee drinkers for its accessibility and affordability. While it may not be the top choice for coffee enthusiasts, it offers decent flavors at a reasonable price.
Seattle's Best, owned by Seattle's largest coffee company, Starbucks, aims to cater to working class coffee drinkers. However, its coffee has an overwhelmingly bitter taste that doesn't live up to expectations. It may be best to opt for Starbucks' Pike Place coffee for a true taste of Seattle.
Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value
Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand offers a wide range of quality coffee options at a value price. Whether you prefer a lighter roast or a more intense flavor, they have something to satisfy every coffee drinker.
Death Wish Coffee Co.
Death Wish Coffee Company is known for its strong coffee and edgy branding. While it may not be suitable for everyday consumption due to its high caffeine content, its medium roast offers a flavorful and enjoyable experience.
Gevalia, with its Swedish roots, offers a unique and darker flavor profile. While it may not be to everyone's taste, its high-quality coffee beans contribute to its distinct taste.
Café du Monde
Café du Monde, known for its chicory roasts, provides a different and slightly bitter flavor compared to traditional coffee. While it may not be preferred by everyone, its unique taste has a dedicated following.
New England Coffee
New England Coffee offers a variety of novelty flavors and seasonal blends. While it may not be exceptional in any particular aspect, it provides a range of options for those looking to explore different flavors.
McCafé, a brand closely associated with McDonald's, offers coffee that is consistently disappointing. Whether it's the temperature or the overall flavor, it falls short compared to other options on the market.
Green Mountain Coffee Roaster
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, known for its K-Cups, has lost its reputation for eco-friendly practices due to its association with Keurig. While its coffee offers a peaceful and balanced flavor, the environmental impact of single-serve coffee pods is a major drawback.
Allegro Coffee, known for its association with Whole Foods, offers fair-trade certified beans and a range of organic blends with bright and enticing flavors. They prioritize quality while also contributing to the well-being of farmers and communities.
Experience the rich history of Community Coffee, a family-owned roaster that has grown from its humble beginnings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With over 100 years of tradition, Community Coffee has expanded nationwide and sources coffee beans from around the world. Explore a range of brew methods, from single-serve pods to whole beans and pre-ground blends.
Our Signature Blend, rooted in the original 1919 formula, offers a dark roasted flavor that remains unchanged. However, Community Coffee now offers a diverse selection to suit all tastes. Our single origin roasts from Guatemala and Mexico display vibrant, fruit-forward notes that develop with every sip. For a unique experience, try our imaginative flavors like Mardi Gras King Cake. Even our more traditional blends provide a strong flavor without any harshness. Experience the dependability and enjoyment of Community Coffee.
Maxwell House, a prominent product of Kraft-Heinz, has gained recognition but not necessarily for its quality. In fact, Kraft-Heinz has contemplated removing Maxwell House from its portfolio (via CNBC). While the decision may not be solely based on taste, it is still a factor worth considering. Maxwell House represents a standard, convenient coffee that prioritizes ease over a memorable tasting experience. Even among mass-market options, this brand doesn't stand out in a positive way.
Step into the coffee empire that began with a single donut in 1950 (via Dunkin'). Dunkin' has evolved into an international sensation, with coffee fans flocking to its locations for a flavorful experience. Whether you enjoy it at home or on the go, Dunkin' coffee never disappoints. Our drip coffees, both at home and in-store, offer the same great taste. Indulge in a range of flavors, including our pastry-inspired varieties like Chocoholic Pancake and Cinnamania. However, our basic roasts truly showcase the quality of a well-crafted coffee. If you're seeking familiarity without boredom and a burst of flavor without excess, Dunkin' is your go-to roaster.
Savor the rich traditions of Café Bustelo, a coffee brand deeply rooted in Latin American heritage. Inspired by the robust flavors found in Latin nations, Café Bustelo sources its beans from coffee-growing regions of Latin America that contribute to the global coffee production. While our flavor may lean towards the darker side, it's a characteristic to be celebrated.
A cup of Café Bustelo carries a captivating aroma that lingers long before you take your first sip. Its full-bodied fragrance fills your senses, building anticipation for the flavor to come. And rest assured, that first sip lives up to the expectation, day after day. Perhaps it's the freshness sealed within our packaging, or maybe it's our years of expertise in authentic roasting. Every time you drink Café Bustelo, prepare to relish every last drop.
Experience the rising popularity of La Colombe, a coffee brand that has captured the hearts of coffee enthusiasts. Our bags of fresh grinds and whole beans secure space on grocery shelves alongside other specialty brands, while our single-serve cans of cold brew and draft lattes take center stage. A sip of our coffee demonstrates why our reputation is well-deserved.
Embracing the oat milk trend, our draft lattes offer a creamy indulgence. From plain oat milk latte to flavors like vanilla, caramel, and chocolate, our silky-smooth beverages provide a moment of inner peace. Our ready-to-brew coffee line is also globally inspired, with blends influenced by the flavors of Monaco, New York, and Brazil. Discover the world of La Colombe.
When it comes to shopping at Trader Joe's, you may already have your go-to items. However, there is one new addition worth seeking out on your next grocery run: Kahawa 1893. This premium African coffee brand sources beans directly from farmers on the African continent. "Kahawa" means coffee in Swahili, but for founder Margaret Nyamumbo, it represents a return to a family business.
By sourcing beans from women farmers in Kenya and Rwanda, every cup of Kahawa 1893 carries the loving touch of mothers who nurture the crop. With each sip, you can taste their dedication to growing a delicious coffee that serves a greater purpose. Enjoy a cup of Kahawa 1893 and support a meaningful mission. Try our Roaster's Choice for an exceptional experience.
The legacy of Peet's Coffee extends beyond its own company. As reported by The Seattle Times, founder Alfred Peet, a Dutch immigrant, actually inspired Starbucks and provided the first roasted beans for their Pike's Place store.
Peet's commitment to meticulous manual roasting is still evident in every cup. Our coffee takes you back to a time when quality trumped convenience. Similar to Café Bustelo, Peet's prioritizes freshness by immediately sealing our bags post-roast. This process allows both blends and single-origin beans to fully express their flavors with each sip. While Peet's may come at a slightly higher price point, it's worth every penny for the experience of transforming your kitchen into your favorite café.
Decades of expansion have solidified Starbucks as a significant player in the American coffee scene. While known for its unique, trendy beverages, Starbucks stays true to its roots of roasting a great cup of traditional coffee.
According to research by Yahoo! Finance, most coffee drinkers prefer a standard cup of coffee over espresso-based beverages. Starbucks meets this preference with their signature Pike Place roast, offering a bold flavor with hints of toasted nuts. It's a powerful brew that delivers without any burnt taste. While Starbucks may be associated with novelty beverages, its commitment to quality coffee remains strong. Enjoy a bag of Starbucks beans and savor a cup of true coffee craftsmanship.
When you think of quality espresso, thoughts often drift to an idyllic Italian scene. While your kitchen may not resemble a picturesque villa or a bustling café in Rome, illy Coffee can transport you there with its aroma. While Turin often takes the spotlight for its contribution to the Lavazza brand, the northeastern city of Trieste holds its own as a historic coffee capital and home to the king of the capital: illycaffè.
Despite its higher price point, illy offers an exquisite flavor. Our 8.8-ounce tins are packed with some of Italy's finest roasts, including options for single-cup machines and top-notch instant coffees. Illy is typically enjoyed as an espresso, but it also delivers a smooth and balanced taste whether brewed with a French press or traditional coffee maker. Don't just take our word for it – grab a bag of Ground Drip Classico and experience it for yourself. Dive into Italian coffee culture and embrace the tradition.
From its humble beginnings as a small roastery in Minnesota, Caribou Coffee has grown to become a beloved coffee brand available across the United States. While Caribou doesn't boast particular process or company values, it has gained popularity for its Rainforest Alliance Certification, signifying its commitment to sustainable practices.
Caribou's motto, "Life is Short. Stay Awake For It," encapsulates the boldness and striking taste of our coffee. Our bagged offerings include dark roasts like the Mahogany Blend, which presents earthy flavors that prepare you for the day ahead. Lighter selections offer vibrant tangy notes. No matter which roast you choose, Caribou Coffee guarantees a journey of taste that will leave your palate delighted.
Although Starbucks dominates the American espresso scene, it's essential to remember that the origin of this coffee-making technique lies in Italy. A bag of Lavazza serves as a reminder of this heritage. From the moment you open the bag to your final sip, Lavazza invites you on a leisurely flight to the cappuccino capital of the world.
With its renowned intensity, each Lavazza roast is clearly labeled on the intensity scale. The Classico is highly desired, but it is the Gran Selezione that takes the crown. Boasting a chocolate-forward accent, it delivers a morning cup to savor slowly. Other blends offer varying intensities while still providing abundant flavor. Don't be fooled by the misconception that a daily espresso has higher caffeine or acidity – Lavazza sets the record straight. Explore the world of true espresso with Lavazza.
Claiming to be the world's best coffee, Intelligentsia lives up to its bold statement. This brand prides itself on its expertise in plant genetics, focusing on coffee's heritage and ensuring a specific flavor profile. If you're seeking fruit-forward varieties, Intelligentsia is the smart choice.
While specialty brands may come at a higher price, savoring Intelligentsia is worth the occasional splurge. Our roast profiles burst with fruity notes. For example, our D.R. Congo Muungano, a single-origin coffee from Eastern Congo, tantalizes with bursts of honey, nectarine, and cherry. We also offer blends such as El Gallo, accentuating chords of milk chocolate and cherry cola. Enter a lush jungle of flavors and indulge in the world of Intelligentsia.
When you enter Costco, you expect honesty and quality in the products you purchase. While many food items retain their quality in bulk, coffee does not always follow suit. Kirkland, Costco's signature brand, is a mass-produced roast that may be reliable for office coffee pots but does not deserve a prime spot in your pantry at home.
To be fair, Kirkland coffee isn't bad. It offers a long shelf life and affordability, catering to these non-taste-related factors. However, certain styles are roasted by Starbucks – a partnership that doesn't necessarily guarantee above-average quality (as seen with other brands). Unfortunately, Kirkland falls short when it comes to taste. While it remains a leader in the coffee world due to its commitment to sustainable practices and Rainforest Alliance Certification, it lacks the flavor that coffee lovers desire.
Promoted as 100% pure coffee, Nescafé instant coffee leaves you wondering what else it could possibly be. With an extended expiration date, the question becomes even more relevant. Although Nescafé is a popular instant coffee brand, popularity doesn't always equate to quality.
In recent years, Nescafé changed up its instant coffee recipe, and unfortunately, the results have been less than desirable (via Manchester Evening News). Its heavily roasted flavors can sometimes be overwhelming and even headache-inducing. While Nescafé claims to be the best-selling coffee brand worldwide, it leaves one wondering where all the taste buds are.
With a century-long history, Yuban is a brand that has graced grocery store shelves for years. However, the quality of its coffee has changed over time. Despite its tradition, Yuban no longer delivers the bold, vibrant flavors it once did. Unfortunately, it now lacks the freshness and appeal that coffee lovers seek.
Perhaps Yuban's decline can be attributed to its ownership by Kraft-Heinz or an increased focus on specialty coffee in the market. Whatever the reason, Yuban's popularity is rooted in tradition rather than flavor. While it maintains sustainable practices and carries a Rainforest Alliance Certification, Yuban falls short when it comes to taste in comparison to its third wave coffee competitors.
Best Dark Roast
Copper Cow Classic
Copper Cow is renowned for its single-serve pour-over coffee, but our team believes that Copper Cow Classic beans deserve just as much recognition. This Vietnamese coffee offers the same depth of flavor and richness as other dark roasts, but it's not overly heavy or acidic. Josh Rink, a Taste of Home Test Kitchen pro and former barista, describes it as "soft and mild with dark chocolate notes and plenty of oomph." Other testers discovered hints of caramel and nuts, creating a perfect balance of flavors. With its smooth and harmonic taste, Copper Cow Classic is a must-try for coffee lovers.
Best Light Roast
Bones Coffee Company Ethiopia Single-Origin Coffee
While dark roasts are commonly chosen for their caffeine content, light roasts pack more caffeine per serving. If you're looking for a coffee that offers a bit more brightness than a traditional dark blend, try Bones Coffee Company Ethiopia Single-Origin Coffee. Even before you take a sip, you'll be delighted by its lively and unique aroma. As it brews, you'll detect tart and citrusy notes. The flavors continue to develop, offering floral and fruity undertones, along with a hint of cardamom. This captivating and energizing cup of coffee is perfect for your morning pick-me-up.
Best Medium Roast
Unable to decide between a light and dark roast? Lavazza Classico offers the perfect balance as a medium roast. This Test Kitchen favorite is described by Josh as "tasty from the very first sip." It provides a well-balanced combination of flavor, bitterness, and acidity, thanks to a carefully roasted blend of arabica and robusta coffee beans. With a medium body and notes of dried fruits and nuts, Lavazza Classico is an enjoyable cup of coffee, whether with a splash of cream or as is. It's a versatile brew that everyone can appreciate.
Best Coffee for Espresso
Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Blend
Did you know that coffee and espresso come from the same beans? The difference lies in how they are roasted and prepared. However, if you're seeking that espresso flavor without investing in an espresso machine or if you simply enjoy a deeply roasted coffee, we highly recommend Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Blend. Onyx Coffee Lab is an award-winning cafe and roastery, recognized as one of our favorite coffee shops in the U.S. This dark roast blend offers an intriguingly complex flavor with hints of berries like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Designed for a deep, intense taste with notes of dark berries and chocolate, this coffee delivers a satisfying experience. For the most espresso-like experience, try brewing this blend in a Moka pot.
La Colombe Coffee Bleu
If you prefer organic options, La Colombe Coffee Bleu is worth considering. This dark roast blend consists of beans from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru, resulting in a full-bodied cup with an initial boldness that gradually mellows out. As you savor this coffee, you'll notice creamy and chocolaty notes that add to its delightful character. While fans of lighter roasts may find this coffee a bit too strong, those seeking an organic coffee with a bold, dark roast will find it to be the perfect choice.
Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast
For those in search of a powerful caffeine kick and great flavor, Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast is our top recommendation. Known as the "world's strongest cup of coffee," Death Wish lives up to its reputation. While a typical eight-ounce serving of coffee contains around 165 milligrams of caffeine, Death Wish's dark roast packs a whopping 450 milligrams. Rest assured, though, that flavor isn't sacrificed for the sake of caffeine. This brew offers a full-bodied flavor with hints of cocoa and cherry, without the excessive acidity often associated with darker roasts. If you're ready for a pick-me-up that delivers both energy and taste, Death Wish Coffee is the way to go.
Best Budget Pick
Yuban Dark Roast
If you're looking for a delicious yet affordable option, Yuban Dark Roast is the way to go. Priced at around for a 23-ounce canister, this coffee offers great value. But it's not just about the price—Yuban Dark Roast also delivers on taste. With warm notes of nutmeg, cocoa, and clove, it's the perfect choice for a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning. Whether you're a frequent brewer or simply looking to save on your grocery bill, Yuban Dark Roast is a delicious and budget-friendly option.
Originally Published: June 20, 2023
Honorable Mention: Coffees for a Cause
These brands not only produce great-tasting coffees but also contribute to meaningful causes.
With an array of options to choose from, it's no wonder that finding the perfect cup of coffee can be a daunting task. But fear not, as this list has presented some of the best coffees out there, each with its own distinct qualities and flavors. Whether you're a fan of bold, dark roasts or prefer a smooth and light cup, there's something on this list to satisfy every coffee lover's palate. So go ahead, explore the world of coffee and discover your new favorite brew. Cheers to an invigorating and delightful coffee experience!
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