The Ultimate Guide to High-Rated Gourmet Coffee Brands: Unveiling the Best Coffee Selections and Buying Tips

Are you a coffee connoisseur in search of the best gourmet coffee brands to satisfy your refined taste buds? Look no further! In this comprehensive coffee buying guide, we will unveil a carefully curated selection of high-rated gourmet coffee brands that are sure to delight even the most discerning palates. From the renowned Bristot in Italy to the well-loved Chock Full o' Nuts and Nescafé, we have scoured the global coffee scene to bring you the most luxurious and flavorful options. Join us as we uncover the secrets behind our meticulous coffee-selection process, and discover your new favorite brew. Get ready to embark on a tantalizing journey through the rich and aromatic world of gourmet coffee.


Best Gourmet Coffee Brands



Fresh Roasted Coffee


If you are in search of a wide selection of gourmet coffees from around the world at affordable prices, Fresh Roasted Coffee is the brand for you. Founded in 2009 by Andy Oakes, Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC (FRC) sources high-quality coffee beans from various regions worldwide and ensures that they reach customers soon after being freshly roasted. Their range of coffees is extensive, ranging from Sumatra to Tanzania to Timor and Hawaii.

On their product pages, you will find detailed descriptions of each coffee, including information about their region of origin, bean type, roast level, and tasting notes. For single-origin coffees, they provide a brief history of the coffee-growing country and the certifications obtained. While their stories may not be extensive, FRC provides enough information to satisfy the curiosity and needs of most coffee drinkers.

FRC also offers a subscription model that grants access to discounts, such as a 20% discount on the first order and 10% off every subsequent order. Additionally, they provide free shipping for orders over $35 and offer a variety of sizes to choose from, including sample-size bags, large bags, and even multiple bags. Customers can also purchase unroasted, whole bean coffee if desired.


2. Atlas Coffee Club



If you want to embark on a global coffee journey, Atlas Coffee Club is the perfect choice. This subscription-based brand allows you to discover and explore coffees from all corners of the world, including countries not commonly found in local supermarkets or specialty coffee shops. From Myanmar to Papua New Guinea, Atlas Coffee Club carefully selects the best specialty-grade, single-origin coffees and roasts them to perfection.

One interesting feature of Atlas Coffee Club is that they surprise customers with a different coffee every month, allowing them to experience a diverse range of flavors and origins. However, customers have the option to choose the size and number of bags they want, ranging from a single 12-ounce bag to two 12-ounce bags or a 6-ounce half-bag.

Customers can customize their subscription by selecting the frequency of delivery (every 2 or 4 weeks), desired roast level (light, medium, or dark), and whether they prefer whole bean or ground coffee. Atlas Coffee Club also provides details about past offerings, giving customers an idea of the variety and quality they can expect.


3. Volcanica Coffee


Volcanica Coffee, a family-run business based in Atlanta, Georgia, stands out for its commitment to providing the highest quality coffee. They focus exclusively on coffees grown in volcanic soil, which is known for its richness in nutrients that enhance the flavor of the coffee cherries and the final coffee beans.

With a selection of beans sourced from over 150 countries, Volcanica Coffee offers customers the opportunity to try coffees from various regions in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. To facilitate selection, they categorize their beans by region, certification, roast level, blend, peaberry, and estate. Customers can also choose from organic, low acid, flavored, or decaf options.

Volcanica Coffee goes beyond simply offering great coffee. They prioritize sustainability by purchasing directly from farmers and donating to charitable organizations. They have a preference for organic coffees and provide a wide range of Fair Trade Certified options. Subscription options are available, and customers can choose from three bag sizes and select their desired delivery frequency.


4. Lifeboost Coffee


For coffee enthusiasts who prioritize their health and the environment, Lifeboost Coffee is a brand worth exploring. Founded by Dr. Charles Livingston, Lifeboost Coffee aims to provide coffee free from mold, GMOs, heavy metals, and pesticides, focusing on health benefits rather than just taste.

To ensure the highest quality, Lifeboost Coffee tests all their beans for mold and chemicals. They exclusively source non-GMO, shade-grown coffee, which is USDA-certified organic. Their coffees are all single-origin, offering customers the opportunity to appreciate the unique characteristics of each region.

In addition to their commitment to health, Lifeboost Coffee supports fair trade principles and pays premiums to farmers. They offer a subscription service with free shipping for orders over $50, and they provide free refunds to ensure customer satisfaction.


5. Koa Coffee Whole Beans



Koa Coffee is a family-owned business that has been dedicated to showcasing the best gourmet coffee beans from Hawaii since 1997. While they focus primarily on one region, Hawaii, their selection of gourmet coffees is far from limited. They offer rare and exceptional options such as 100% Kona Coffee, including the highly sought-after Kona peaberry coffee. They also feature Estate Kona coffee, Private Reserve, and Grande Domaine, all of which are known for their outstanding balance and flavor profiles.

It is important to note that true Kona coffee is only grown in a small area on the western slopes of the Big Island of Hawaii. This limited production ensures the uniqueness and high quality of the coffee. Koa Coffee guarantees the authenticity of their Kona coffee, and their offerings are highly regarded, having been rated by Forbes as the best coffee in America.

In addition to Kona coffee, Koa Coffee offers a decaf option processed using the Swiss water method. They also provide darker roasts suitable for French Press brewing or espresso machines. To enhance customer experience, they offer customizable subscription programs, allowing customers to choose the delivery frequency and bag size that suits their needs and preferences.


6. Bean Box Coffee


If you are eager to explore coffee from top roasters across the United States, Bean Box Coffee can fulfill your desires. Their mission is to search for and curate award-winning coffees from renowned roasters and deliver them to your home with free shipping.

Bean Box Coffee offers different subscription options to suit various preferences. The Curator's Choice subscription allows customers to receive 12-ounce bags of coffee on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. For those looking for variety, the Coffee Tasting Subscription provides four different 1.8-ounce bags of coffee, allowing customers to explore a wide range of flavors.

With Bean Box Coffee, you can expect outstanding variety and exceptional quality. Their coffees include unique options such as Kenyan Kiamabara, Ethiopian Sidamo, and Mexican Nayarit, offering a diverse range of tastes from nutty and chocolatey to bright grapefruit.

Moreover, Bean Box Coffee prioritizes sustainability and supports coffee-growing communities. They partner with roasters who work directly with these communities, ensuring fair prices for coffee growers and supporting diversity in the industry.


7. Onyx Coffee


Known for its esteemed reputation in the specialty coffee industry, Onyx Coffee Lab provides customers with coffee connections to various coffee-growing countries and farmers. Their commitment to flavor and quality is evident in their consistent success in competitions such as the US Barista Championship and US Brewers Cup.

With attention to detail extending to their packaging and design, Onyx Coffee Lab demonstrates the care they put into their coffees. They offer a range of high-quality beans sourced from countries like Rwanda and Peru. Their traditional blend embodies medium roast flavors of nuts, wine, and dark chocolate, while their modern coffee features lighter roasts with notes of citrus, floral, and fruit.

Onyx Coffee Lab believes in transparency and provides customers with detailed information about each coffee, including farm origins, altitude, and profiles. They offer a variety of options, including individual bags, box sets, and subscriptions. Customers can choose from different bag sizes and request the Roasters Choice option, allowing Onyx Coffee Lab to surprise them with a different coffee on a weekly basis.

Sustainability is at the core of Onyx Coffee Lab's values. Their packaging and roasting processes contribute to a healthier planet, and they support coffee producers by paying well above Fair Trade prices. In addition, they use sustainable shipping materials and operate a carbon-neutral roastery powered by solar energy.


8. Stumptown Coffee



Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a small brand with a strong reputation, excels at providing specialty coffees with fun branding and playful packaging. Although their offering may be more limited compared to other companies, their selection is carefully curated, ensuring exceptional quality.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters offers unique options, such as Indonesia Bies Penantan and Costa Rica Montes de Oro, which feature flavors like green apple. Their blends are crafted to deliver consistent and memorable tasting experiences for customers.

To personalize the coffee selection process, Stumptown Coffee Roasters offers a coffee quiz that takes into account preferred brewing methods, favorite seasons, and desired flavor profiles. They provide personalized recommendations based on these preferences.


Luxurious Coffee Buying Guide



What Is Gourmet Coffee?


Gourmet coffee encompasses several factors that contribute to its exceptional quality. This includes the type of coffee bean used, the cultivation and processing methods employed, and the roasting, packaging, and shipping techniques applied. Attention to detail in each of these steps results in a premium coffee product that can be considered gourmet or special.

While the term "specialty coffee" is now commonly used, gourmet coffee still denotes a high-quality product that provides a satisfying cup of coffee. Typically, gourmet coffees are made from 100% Arabica beans, although some reputable brands now offer high-quality Robusta beans under the gourmet coffee category. The aroma, flavor, body, and acidity of gourmet coffees are often key factors in defining their quality.

In contrast, lower-quality coffees may taste bitter, flat, or disappointing. These coffees often require additional flavorings and sweeteners to mask their inferior taste. Gourmet or specialty coffees, on the other hand, tend to have lighter roasts that allow the unique characteristics of the beans to shine through.


Rare Beans


The gourmet coffee brands featured in this list pride themselves on offering unique and rare beans that command a higher price due to their exceptional qualities. These coffees provide an opportunity for coffee enthusiasts to experience flavors from around the world and to indulge in the extraordinary coffees that impress even the most discerning palates.

Notably, two well-known examples of highly sought-after and rare coffees are Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee and Kona Coffee from Hawaii. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is exclusively grown in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica and is known for its well-balanced profile with sweet chocolate notes. On the other hand, Kona Coffee is grown in a small and specific area in Hawaii, resulting in a limited supply of this rare coffee. The unique microclimate of the Kona region, located on the slopes of volcanoes, contributes to its exceptional quality. Both these coffees are held in high regard within the gourmet coffee community.


Quantity & Quality


Gourmet coffees often come in smaller bags, as they are considered higher-end products. Some of the companies featured in this list offer initial bag sizes as small as 8 ounces, reflecting the premium nature of the coffee. While the prices may be higher compared to other options, the experience and enjoyment derived from these exceptional coffees are truly memorable. When seeking an experience that will leave a lasting impression and when taste is of the utmost importance, the investment in gourmet coffee is well worth it.


Bristot: Organic Italian Coffee Beans Premium Selection Espresso Beans


Organic Italian Coffee Beans Premium Selection Espresso Beans


Bristot is a roaster in Italy known for its focus on espresso. However, according to Pat Cotter from Seattle Coffee Gear, their Bio-Organic blend, consisting of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta, produces an exceptional drip coffee. Despite Cotter's preference for lighter roasts, he appreciates how this medium roast, Bristot's first completely organic blend, is rich without excessive bitterness or smokiness often associated with Italian coffee. He notes that it has a full-bodied and sweet flavor without being overly roasted. Our testers agreed, describing it as creamy with subtle hints of almond, vanilla, and tobacco leaf.


The Barn Coffee Roasters Berlin: Finca Juan Martin


Finca Juan Martin

The Barn:

The Barn Coffee Roasters in Berlin, Germany offers a wide range of unique coffees that can't be found elsewhere. Liz Clayton, author of "Nice Coffee Time" and "Where to Drink Coffee," highly recommends The Barn for their diverse selection. They have everything from small lots to rare bean varieties like the low-caffeine Laurina or Aramosa. The Barn focuses on single-origin coffees, paying higher prices to farmers than standard commodity coffee prices. They are also expanding their direct-to-consumer monthly subscription service, curating lineups that showcase different growing regions, harvest methods, and flavor profiles. Our expert panel particularly enjoyed their Radiophare coffee, a natural Catimor from West Java, Indonesia, describing it as super sweet with a tropical punch of passion fruit. Another exciting option is the Finca Juan Martin from Cauca, Colombia. Processed using carbonic maceration similar to Beaujolais wine, it offers a bold and bright flavor with notes of cherry, pomegranate, and cacao.


Bettr Coffee: Indonesia Argopuro East Java Walida Cooperative Anaerobic Natural - Anniversary Edition Coffee Beans


Indonesia Argopuro East Java Walida Cooperative Anaerobic Natural - Anniversary Edition Coffee Beans

Bettr Coffee Co.:

Bettr Coffee Co. is not just about coffee, but also about making a positive impact. They source, roast, and ship their beans directly from women producers in Guatemala, providing them with training and support to improve quality, pricing, and expand their market reach. For their 10th anniversary, Bettr Coffee released special roasts symbolizing their journey. One of their offerings, the Indonesia Argopuro East Java Walida Cooperative Anaerobic Natural - Anniversary Edition Coffee Beans, showcases the unique anaerobic processing method used in sealed environments. This process enhances the coffee's acidity, intensifies its fruit characteristics, and brings out citrus-forward notes. Additionally, 20% of the profit from bean sales goes to Pokmas Walida, a local nonprofit social cooperative that runs a K-12 school in Tlogosari village, East Java, Indonesia.


Chica Bean: Guatemalan Natural Process Coffee


Guatemalan Natural Process Coffee

Chica Bean:

Chica Bean is an all-women coffee company in Guatemala that focuses on sourcing, roasting, and shipping directly from women producers. Their medium roast coffee offers a balanced combination of dark chocolate and dried stone fruit flavors, finishing with a full-bodied richness. The company not only supports women producers but also provides industry training and support to improve their coffee quality and pricing, giving them a wider platform to reach other buyers. Chica Bean's commitment to sustainable practices and better incomes for coffee producers sets them apart. Our experts highly recommend trying their coffee for its unique taste and the positive impact it creates.


The Coffee Collective: Daterra Our Plot


Daterra Our Plot

Coffee Collective:

Coffee Collective, based in Denmark, is known for their innovative and modern light roasts. One of their highly recommended coffees is Daterra Our Plot, which uses an anaerobic natural process. Our testers were mesmerized by its aroma, with one comparing it to Swedish fish candy, and the aftertaste reminiscent of fruity yogurt. Although Daterra Our Plot is currently unavailable, their other offering, the low-acid, full-bodied Daterra coffee from Brazil, is also a great choice. Coffee Collective focuses on sustainable practices and has formed a partnership with the Brazilian coffee farm Daterra, where they experiment with soil nutrition and harvesting methods. The farm is known for its commitment to sustainability and consistently delivering high-quality coffee worldwide.


Eight50: Guji, Oromia from Ethiopia


Ethiopia is often considered the birthplace of coffee and a region where coffee grows in the wild. Eight50's Guji, Oromia coffee from Ethiopia captures the essence of Ethiopian coffee with its clean, floral, and fruit-driven flavor profile. The coffee is incredibly sweet and offers a round and juicy mouthfeel. Eight50's owner, Muna Mohammed, sources beans from her family in Ethiopia, bringing a unique perspective as a Black coffee roaster with family ties to the production side of the industry. Despite being a lesser-known brand, Eight50's coffee impresses with its exceptional flavor that showcases the characteristics of Ethiopian coffee.


Momos: Costa Rica Don Cayito Catuai


Costa Rica Don Cayito Catuai

Momos Coffee:

Momos Coffee gained attention when their CEO Jooyeon Jeon won the 2019 World Barista Championship. Their Colombian Anaerobic Sidra from La Palma y El Tucan impressed experts with its incredible flavor. Momos Coffee now offers Costa Rican coffees, particularly their Typica variety, known for its sweetness and round, juicy mouthfeel. One standout option is the Don Cayito Typica Mejorada coffee, which features citrus notes and aromatic scents like bergamot and jasmine. Testers described it as a phenomenal and elegant coffee, noting its clarity and honeyed sweetness. Momos also offers the Don Cayito Catuai, with flavor notes of almond and caramel, from the same country and producer.


Pergamino Coffee: Finca Lomaverde


Finca Lomaverde

Pergamino Coffee:

Pergamino Coffee, an exporter and roaster, has gained recognition for their work in Antioquia, Colombia, where they directly source coffee from producers, giving them a platform to reach a global audience. Our taste testers fell in love with Pergamino's signature roast, which offers a buttery-smooth experience with fruity, nutty, and chocolaty notes. Pergamino's commitment to sourcing directly from producers contributes to sustainable practices and ensures better incomes for coffee growers. Their coffee is a testament to the quality and flavor that Colombian coffee can offer.


Solberg & Hansen: Chelbesa



Solberg & Hansen:

Solberg & Hansen, a 143-year-old roaster based in Norway, has established a strong presence in Antioquia, Colombia. They source coffee directly from producers, providing them with a worldwide audience for their coffee. Their Chelbesa coffee from Ethiopia, roasted in the Nordic style, showcases flavors that are clean and bright. Testers described its aroma as a bouquet of violets, and its taste reminiscent of strawberry jam. Solberg & Hansen's commitment to sustainability is evident through their certification as a B Corporation, meeting social and environmental performance standards. They have also formed a partnership with the Brazilian coffee farm Daterra, experimenting with soil nutrition and harvesting methods to deliver high-quality coffee consistently.


3FE: El Salvador Las Brumas Washed SL28


Las Brumas


3FE is a fantastic brand owned by Colin Harmon, a celebrated figure in the coffee industry and the author of "What I Know about Running Coffee Shops." While their Malarkey blend is popular, their rare single-origin coffees truly shine. They typically have 10 rotating options at any given time. One standout is the El Salvador Las Brumas Washed SL28, sourced from Ernesto Menéndez's farm in the Sonsonate region, 6,000 feet above sea level. Testers raved about its heavier body and toasty hazelnut flavors, with a touch of caramel and brown sugar. 3FE's focus on quality and their dedication to showcasing unique and exceptional single-origin coffees make them a standout choice.


Our coffee-selection process


Each expert selected their favorite brands, resulting in a comprehensive list of recommendations. We gathered samples from all brands that ship to the U.S. Unfortunately, some renowned roasters couldn't be included due to shipping limitations. We specifically focused on filter coffees, excluding cold brew, decaf, and instant options. Once the samples arrived, we conducted an informal taste test with a panel representing various coffee-drinking backgrounds. The coffee was brewed using standard ratios, ensuring consistency. Our experts considered factors such as fair sourcing, sustainability, sweetness, acidity, texture, mouthfeel, and bitterness when making their nominations.


Chock Full o' Nuts


In 1926, William Black, an enterprising entrepreneur, started a business roasting nuts. When the economy took a downturn, Black pivoted the company towards coffee roasting due to the lower cost of coffee at that time. Chock Full o' Nuts has stood the test of time, with its enduring presence in the market. Their coffee remains consistent in flavor, regardless of whether it's freshly bought or stored for an extended period. Chock Full o' Nuts offers a flavor-packed experience that leaves coffee connoisseurs wanting more.




Nescafé is a popular instant coffee brand, claiming to offer 100% pure coffee in their products. However, recent changes in their instant coffee recipe have received mixed reviews, with some finding the concentration of heavy roasting flavors overwhelming. Despite being a top-selling coffee brand globally, Nescafé's taste may not appeal to everyone.




According to Leaf, Yuban has been a prominent brand in the coffee market for over a century. Its long-standing history may suggest reliability and trustworthiness, but the actual taste of the coffee grounds might make you think twice. Despite its presence on grocery store shelves for years, Yuban's quality has unfortunately diminished over time.

There are a few possible reasons for this decline. It could be due to negligent ownership by a large food producer like Kraft-Heinz, or it could be a reflection of the changing preferences of coffee connoisseurs who now favor the third wave coffee movement. Regardless of the cause, Yuban's popularity is driven more by tradition than by its flavor profile. Nowadays, a cup of Yuban lacks the bold and vibrant flavors it once had. Trying to make something old feel new again can be challenging, and unfortunately, this coffee comes across as a bit stale in both taste and aroma. However, Yuban still maintains its reputation as a leader in the coffee industry by adhering to sustainable business practices and boasting a Rainforest Alliance Certification.


Maxwell House


Among the many products offered by Kraft-Heinz, Maxwell House stands out as one of the most well-known. However, as other coffees under the Kraft-Heinz umbrella have shown, popularity doesn't always equate to quality. In the case of Maxwell House, this holds true. In fact, the coffee is of such poor taste that even Kraft-Heinz has contemplated removing it from their portfolio (via CNBC). Despite this, Maxwell House continues to hold its place in the market, leaving one to wonder if getting rid of it has proven more difficult than expected.

While the decision to let go of Maxwell House may not be solely based on taste, it's still a factor worth considering as a consumer. Maxwell House embodies the less exciting aspects of American coffee, prioritizing convenience over an exceptional tasting experience. Even among mass-produced coffees, Maxwell House falls short in a rather unimpressive manner.




Stepping into a Costco store, one knows what to expect. While buying food in bulk may not affect the quality of certain products, coffee is unfortunately not one of them. Kirkland, Costco's signature brand, produces mass-produced coffee that can be reliable in certain situations, such as for office coffee pots or in urgent circumstances. However, it falls short of earning a spot on your kitchen pantry shelf.

To be fair, Kirkland coffee is not bad. It has a long shelf life, which may give some pause, and it is affordable. These are its strongest selling points, although they are not related to taste. Interestingly, several styles of Kirkland coffee are actually roasted by Starbucks, as uncovered by Mashed. However, as other brands on this list have shown, the association with Starbucks does not guarantee above-average quality. Sadly, this is the case with Kirkland Coffee.




It may come as a surprise, but when the original McDonald's opened in 1955, coffee was one of the items they served. However, one can hope that the coffee tasted better back then. In present times, McCafé coffee is notorious for being served at an extremely high temperature. This fact provides a plausible (and maybe the only) excuse for consuming this coffee. Let's call it plausible deniability.

While McCafé's drive-through coffee does have a loyal following, the coffee available in their stores leaves much to be desired. McDonald's is known for consistency, and the flavor of McCafé coffee stays true to this reputation, consistently disappointing. Whether it's a light or dark roast, the coffee carries the same burnt note. Freshly brewed McCafé coffee tastes as if it has been sitting on its warming pad for hours. Even microwaved coffee would be a better option.


New England Coffee


A cup of New England Coffee symbolizes a journey to higher latitudes and the pursuit of higher-quality java. However, it is important to note that being better than coffees like McCafé is not necessarily a noteworthy feat. New England Coffee has been part of the coffee traditions in the Northeast since 1916, although it has been under the ownership of a New Orleans-based food company for the past nine years. Despite this change, New England Coffee has strived to stand out by offering unique flavors that promise a distinctive taste experience.

New England Coffee features seasonally roasted blends, including Peppermint Bark and Gingerbread, along with novelty flavors like Butter Pecan, Pistachio Crème, and Blueberry Cobbler. While these flavors may entice adventurous taste buds and add excitement, consuming them in large quantities can become overwhelming. Beyond these holiday styles and creative blends, New England Coffee falls into the category of being a jack of all trades but a master of none.


Café du Monde


Café du Monde is another regional coffee brand, much like New England Coffee, but it still operates in its original home city of New Orleans. The coffee company has a long history, dating back to 1862, and is known for its specialty chicory roasts. Chicory root was often used as a coffee substitute during times when coffee was scarce, and it added richness and volume to the brew. While the widespread availability of coffee has made chicory less relevant, New Orleanians have remained loyal to the tradition and taste.

As a result, a cup of Café du Monde coffee tends to have a slightly more bitter flavor compared to the average cup. It carries an earthy taste that is unique but may not be easily appreciated by everyone on a daily basis.




Gevalia is not the first foreign coffee brand to be featured on this list (that honor goes to Swiss-made Nescafé), but it is the first to differentiate itself based on its origin. Unlike other entries, Gevalia's flavor isn't necessarily bad, but it is distinctively different, darker, and perhaps more challenging for the average American coffee drinker. This unique taste can be attributed to Gevalia's Swedish heritage and the overall lack of daylight in the Nordic country. A dark cup of coffee is especially comforting during their long periods of darkness.

Gevalia proudly uses high-quality coffee beans, which undoubtedly contribute to the full-bodied taste of their roasts. However, in many cases, the flavor becomes overpowering, teetering on the verge of being burnt and bitter. While the company claims its roasting process removes any burnt flavor, it's hard to find a bag of grounds where it isn't present. If you enjoy a robustly flavored coffee, Gevalia might be the brand for you. However, if a strong aftertaste isn't your preference, it may be wise to explore other options.


Seattle's Best


Seattle's Best is a coffee brand owned by Seattle's largest coffee corporation. Starbucks acquired Seattle's Best in 2003 as a means to connect with coffee-drinking individuals who found their Pike Place stores to be too trendy (via Business Insider). Since then, Seattle's Best has been aggressively marketed nationwide as a more accessible alternative that originates from a city renowned for its high-quality coffee.

Regrettably, quality is not the word that comes to mind when describing Seattle's Best. The coffee has an overwhelming bitter taste that lingers on the palate. Despite offering a range of roasts from light to dark, each bag brings astringency to every sip. The disappointing flavor profile might be a strategic move to redirect coffee drinkers towards Starbucks' waiting embrace. All in all, Seattle's Best is only best in name, and in reality, there are much better options available. To truly experience the best coffee Seattle has to offer, reach for a bag of Starbucks Pike Place.


Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value


As the name implies, Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand is a reliable choice for your everyday coffee needs. They offer a wide selection of roasts that cater to the preferences of all coffee drinkers. While each blend has its own distinct qualities, they all share one characteristic: quality coffee at an affordable price. In fact, with prices starting at around $10.99 for a 24-ounce package, these specialty tasting coffees are among the most cost-effective options on the market.

If you prefer a lighter roast, the Hometown blend is a safe bet. The beans are less oily compared to darker roasts, and the comforting notes of chocolate make for a pleasant cup. For those who prefer a middle ground, the Viennese coffee strikes a balance between the drier Hometown blend and the oilier Night Owl, which is a dark Spanish roast. Overall, if you don't consider yourself a coffee snob, 365 Everyday Value is a reliable choice that offers carefully crafted roasts with nuanced flavor profiles.


Eight O'Clock Coffee


In recent years, Eight O'Clock Coffee has gained popularity among modern coffee drinkers as the ubiquitous K-Cup brand available in grocery stores and office supply shops. However, this company has been serving up java since 1859. Offering an affordable price tag, Eight O'Clock Coffee manages to please with decent flavors. While it may not be the best coffee around, it certainly isn't the worst either.

Eight O'Clock offers a variety of specialty flavors such as Mint Chocolate, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut. While these flavors may be more prominent in the first few sips, they tend to fade before leaving a lasting aftertaste. For a more consistent flavor from start to finish, sticking to reliable roasts like Original or Donut Shop is advised. These blends offer a balanced flavor profile that won't send you running away from Eight O'Clock Coffee.


Wide Awake Coffee Co.


Wide Awake Coffee Co. has become a fast-selling brand, and the success is not solely due to its eye-catching owl mascot. With a range of products including single-serve pods, cold brews, and bagged beans, this brand offers mild-tasting coffee that can be enjoyed on a regular basis. It's the kind of coffee that requires little to no thought, although the company takes pride in the thoughtfulness put into creating its offerings. For instance, Wide Awake offers compostable K-Cup pods, catering to eco-conscious consumers while providing added appeal beyond just flavor. This is a good thing because, unfortunately, the flavor itself doesn't make a lasting impression.

In summary, Wide Awake Coffee isn't terrible, but it also won't make you jump for joy. However, it does have its merits. The Cold Brew bottles are reliable travel companions when you need your coffee on-the-go, and flavors like Sea Salt Caramel or French Vanilla can serve as a welcome change if you're craving something different. Wide Awake Coffee may not be a standout, but it fills the role of a dependable daily brew.


Tim Hortons


In the icy landscape of Canada, the importance of a strong cup of coffee cannot be underestimated. Tim Hortons recognizes this and has long been a favorite for many. However, in recent years, the quality of their coffee seems to have experienced a decline (The Guardian). While Tim Hortons coffee used to be exceptional, it has since fallen into a realm of mediocrity. Though it has not reached the depths of poor taste like McCafé, it has lost the appeal it once had. Changes in popular flavors have left loyal customers feeling disappointed, and negative publicity has deterred potential new customers from visiting their stores. If Tim Hortons is your only option, it's certainly not a terrible choice. However, if you have other options available, it may be wise to consider exploring alternative brands.




Once upon a time, Folgers' memorable jingle about being "the best part of waking up" may have been considered an exaggeration. However, in today's fast-paced world, where worrisome notifications greet us in the morning, a reliable cup of coffee can provide a comforting shield for our peace of mind. Folgers has become the trusted morning brand for many, and its aroma evokes memories of our earliest encounters with coffee when we had yet to discover its taste.

Folgers may not be the top coffee choice on the market, but it excels in the realm of drip machines. Unfortunately, it does not offer the same appeal for manual brewing methods like a French Press or Mokka Pot. However, for the majority of American coffee drinkers who brew their caffeine in pots, Folgers' mild flavor is sufficient to satisfy their needs. While it may not impress those with a preference for specialty gourmet roasts, it also won't thoroughly disappoint them.


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters


One of the most frustrating aspects of drinking Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is that the most accessible way to enjoy it is through single-serve K-Cups. At one point, the gourmet roasting company made a name for itself due to its dedication to eco-friendly practices. However, after the founder's investment in Keurig, the company's values changed. Green Mountain became synonymous with the environmentally harmful single-serve coffee business (The New York Times). Unfortunately, despite its rather lackluster coffee, it has garnered a widespread following.

Unlike many other coffee roasters, Green Mountain's focus does not lie in creating fancy flavors. Instead, they offer a range of roast intensities, from lighter breakfast blends to darker French roasts. The result of their commitment to simplicity is a product with a balanced yet middle-of-the-road flavor. Like a genuinely green mountain, this brew exudes peace and relaxation, devoid of caffeine jitters or bitter aftertaste. However, the picturesque imagery ends there, as Green Mountain coffee introduces plastic waste into your cup and the environment.


Death Wish Coffee Co.


Death Wish Coffee Company is the badass of bean brands, sporting a proud skull and crossbones logo. It claims to be the strongest coffee in the world. Recently, the company collaborated with some of America's finest tattoo artists, resulting in a series of unique art designs now available as merchandise. This is certainly safer than having a highly caffeinated artist attempt a steady hand on your body.

In the case of Death Wish, hyper-caffeinated does not signify bad taste. In fact, their roasts are remarkably flavorful. Notably, the Medium roast offers a slightly less acidic profile with a wide array of nuanced notes, unlike the intense Dark Roast. The decision to consume a cup of Death Wish coffee on a daily basis is a personal one, as the extremely high caffeine content might not appeal to everyone. However, for those seeking a bold and intense coffee experience, adding Death Wish to the rotation can satisfy the craving for a power-packed brew.


Community Coffee


Community Coffee has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a family-owned roaster in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Over a century later, it remains a family-owned business but has expanded its reach across the country, sourcing beans from various regions around the world. The brand offers a diverse range of brew methods, from single-serve pods to whole beans and pre-ground blends.

While the dark roasted Signature Blend still sticks to the original formula created in 1919, Community Coffee now offers a wide variety of options. Single-origin roasts from Guatemala and Mexico showcase bright, fruit-forward notes that develop with each sip. Additionally, Community Coffee presents an array of imaginative flavors like Mardi Gras King Cake, which can add some festivity to your breakfast routine. Even their more traditional blends boast a decently strong taste without being overly harsh. Overall, Community Coffee remains a reliable choice, grounded in its enjoyable origins.


Allegro Coffee


Allegro Coffee is renowned as the in-house cafe and roaster of Whole Foods. In addition to its large facility in Denver, Allegro operates micro-roasters located within various store locations across the country, following Whole Foods' acquisition of the company in 1997 (Denver Post). While the pandemic has prompted Allegro to repurpose its roasting spaces into grocery delivery prep rooms, the company continues to utilize its logistics infrastructure to deliver the freshest Allegro blends to stores nationwide.

What sets Allegro apart is its commitment to quality. The beans are fair-trade certified, and their organic line features coffees with vibrant flavors sourced from different regions around the world. One standout is the Mexican Chiapas, which offers a rich and creamy flavor accompanied by a crisp note and a touch of nuttiness. Since the '70s, Allegro Coffee has built mutually beneficial relationships with farmers, ensuring that these coffees not only taste great but also contribute to positive change.




What began in 1950 as a single donut (Dunkin') has evolved into an international powerhouse in the coffee industry. Whether you're at home or on the go, Dunkin' coffee is beloved by Americans everywhere. While the brand has gained recognition for its quirky and limited-time beverages, Dunkin' has also remained true to its roots of serving a great cup of coffee.

When it comes to Dunkin' coffees, you can expect the same quality whether you're brewing at home or ordering in-store. While they offer fun and unique flavors like Chocoholic Pancake and Cinnamania, their regular roasts deliver the best taste of a high-quality, well-crafted coffee. If you're looking for a familiar yet flavorful option that isn't over the top, Dunkin' is the right choice.


Café Bustelo


Café Bustelo draws inspiration from the rich coffee traditions of Latin America. It is a coffee brand that celebrates the robust and bold flavors synonymous with the coffee cultures of Latin nations, which are vital in supplying coffee beans to the rest of the world. While Café Bustelo offers strong and intense flavors, it is a characteristic that is meant to be savored.

Even before taking your first sip, a cup of Café Bustelo entices your senses with its full and aromatic scent. It captivates your nose, mouth, and mind, building anticipation for what lies ahead. And with each sip, it lives up to that promise, morning after morning. The secret behind this exceptional experience may lie in the vacuum-sealed packaging that ensures freshness or the years of expertise in authentic roasting. Whichever it is, you can count on Café Bustelo to deliver a consistently satisfying cup of coffee that leaves you yearning for more.


La Colombe


La Colombe's Oatmilk Draft Latte Vanilla - Image

Ready to Drink


Equal Exchange


Equal Exchange stands out among coffee brands by embodying both quality and value in more ways than one. The mass coffee industry often perpetuates exploitation, but Equal Exchange sets itself apart by prioritizing fair, alternative trade practices that uplift marginalized groups. When you purchase their bag of beans, you can trust that you're supporting an eco-conscious, socially just brand while also enjoying an amazing cup of coffee.

The defining characteristic of Equal Exchange coffee is its smoothness. From the first sip to the last, their coffee is incredibly palatable. One noteworthy offering is the Women in Coffee series, which highlights female-led coffee operations within Equal Exchange's supply chain. These blends feature slightly sweet, brown-sugar-noted beans that exemplify the dedication and artistry of these remarkable women. With Equal Exchange, you can start your day with a cup of coffee that not only satisfies your taste buds but also makes a positive impact.


Kahawa 1893


When you shop at Trader Joe's, you often know exactly what to expect. But among the reliable favorites, there is one new addition that should not be overlooked - Kahawa 1893. This premium African coffee brand sources its beans directly from farmers on the African continent. The name Kahawa means "coffee" in Swahili, but for founder Margaret Nyamumbo, it also symbolizes a return to her family's coffee business.

Kahawa 1893 focuses on empowering women farmers in Kenya and Rwanda by sourcing beans directly from them. Whether or not these female farmers have children of their own, they nurture the crop that becomes your daily cup of coffee. This love and appreciation for the art of growing coffee can be tasted in every bag. And when you know that your coffee supports a good cause, it enhances the overall experience. With Kahawa 1893, you're not just getting exceptional coffee, you're making a meaningful difference.


Peet's Coffee


Peet's Coffee - Image

For Everyday Sipping




Decades of expansion have solidified Starbucks as more than just a passing trend. Before it became known for its indulgent, limited-time beverages, Starbucks introduced traditional espresso-based drinks to a nation unfamiliar with their complexity. While the company is associated with trendy and flamboyant offerings, Starbucks remains committed to the core value of roasting a great cup of coffee.

Research suggests that most coffee drinkers prefer a standard cup of coffee over espresso beverages (Yahoo! Finance). Starbucks gained popularity by offering a darker, weightier brew, but their signature Pike Place roast strikes the perfect balance. It delivers a potent cup with hints of toasted nuts, proving that Starbucks can please both caffeine enthusiasts and those seeking a more familiar taste. So skip the Unicorn Frappuccino and opt for a bag of Starbucks beans for an approachable and satisfying coffee experience.


illy Coffee


When you think of quality espresso, your mind may wander to an idyllic Italian scene. While your kitchen might not resemble a Sicilian villa or a bustling cafe in Rome, illy Coffee can transport you there with its aromatic offerings. While Turin often takes the spotlight as the birthplace of the Lavazza brand, the far northeastern city of Trieste has played an equally crucial role in Italy's coffee history. And at the forefront of Trieste's coffee culture is illycaffè.

illy comes at a higher price point compared to grocery store coffees, but it is well worth the investment for its exceptional flavor. Their 8.8-ounce tins contain some of Italy's finest roasts, including options for single-cup machines and even instant coffees. Whether you enjoy it from a French press or a regular coffee maker, illy coffee is smooth and well-balanced, never tasting burnt or sour. Try their Ground Drip Classico to experience the true essence of Italy. After all, dipping your toes into Italian tradition is an indulgence worth savoring.


Caribou Coffee


Caribou Coffee started as a small roastery and shop in Minnesota, but it has since expanded to become a popular choice nationwide. While Caribou's process and company values are not heavily highlighted, they are Rainforest Alliance Certified, ensuring their commitment to sustainable practices. The coffee is fresh and flavorful, making it stand out as a stellar choice.

Caribou's motto, "Life is Short. Stay Awake For It," perfectly encapsulates their product offerings. Their coffee is strong enough to power you through the day, accompanied by a striking taste. Dark roasts like the Mahogany Blend feature a rich and loamy profile, setting you up for a day of productivity. Lighter selections offer bright bursts of tangy flavors. Whichever roast you choose, Caribou Coffee takes your taste buds on a memorable journey, making each cup a treat to be savored.




Intelligentsia prides itself on being the smartest coffee brand in the world, and it's difficult to argue with that claim. Their focus on plant genetics sets them apart from other specialty brands. By ensuring that their coffee can be traced back to Ethiopia's "primal coffee forests" or is a direct relative, Intelligentsia guarantees a specific flavor profile. They aim for fruit-forward varieties, and their logo, a star, symbolizes the certainty that their coffee is exceptional.

While some specialty brands offer high-quality coffee at steep prices, Intelligentsia may not be an everyday indulgence. However, it is definitely worth the splurge for those days when you crave an exceptional cup. True to their reputation, Intelligentsia offers roasts with fruitier profiles, such as the D.R. Congo Muungano. This single-origin coffee from the shores of Lake Kivu in Eastern Congo tantalizes your taste buds with bursts of honey, nectarine, and cherry. They also offer blends like El Gallo, which showcases rich chords of milk chocolate and cherry cola. With Intelligentsia, you can explore a lush jungle of flavors.


How We Tested


To compile this list, we thoroughly researched and sourced several popular coffee brands that have garnered positive reviews from coffee enthusiasts. We brewed each coffee using the pour-over method, except for K-cups and espresso, to evaluate their flavor, acidity, and richness. Additionally, we considered the companies' sourcing practices, giving preference to those that prioritize Fair Trade, organic, and environmentally conscious approaches. Price and range of offerings were also taken into account.


Our Favorites (Compared in 2023)


Our team selected a range of coffee products to compare and highlight. Here are some of our top picks in different categories:

Best Overall: Volcanica Free Range Kopi Luwak. This rare and unique coffee offers a rich flavor profile and low acidity, making it a standout choice.

Best Ground Coffee: Cooper's Cask Kentucky Bourbon Barrel-Aged. This coffee is available in five convenient grind sizes and delivers a premium, aged flavor experience.

Best Decaf Coffee: Koa Coffee Swiss Water Decaf. Despite being decaffeinated, this coffee retains the distinctive taste of Hawaiian Kona coffee, ensuring a rich and satisfying cup.

Fresh Roasted Coffee 'Tanzanian Peaberry': This rare Peaberry blend offers a rich and smooth flavor, with a roasting process that prioritizes environmental sustainability.

Bizzy Bizzy Coffee: Cold Brew

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters: Their Light Roast Breakfast Blend is the best single-serve pod option, providing a convenient and consistently delicious brewing experience.

Cometeer: For a unique coffee experience, Cometeer offers precision-roasted coffee that is flash-frozen until you're ready to enjoy it. Their aluminum pods can be fully recycled, making them an eco-conscious choice.

In conclusion, when it comes to high-rated gourmet coffee brands, there is no shortage of options to satisfy even the most discerning coffee connoisseur. From the rich flavors of Bristot in Italy to the classic favorites like Nescafé and Maxwell House, the market is filled with a wide array of luxurious options. Our comprehensive coffee-selection process has unveiled some exceptional choices, including the bold and robust options from Death Wish Coffee Co. and the smooth and balanced blends from Starbucks. Whether you prefer a strong brew to kickstart your mornings or a mellow cup to savor in the evenings, there is surely a gourmet coffee brand that will cater to your unique taste preferences. So go ahead, indulge in the exquisite flavors and aromas of these top-rated brands, and elevate your coffee experience to a whole new level.

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