Grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers, this fragrant mix has “delicious hints of blackberry,” said a tester. “It wakes up your mouth,” added Jonathan Rubinstein, owner of the Joe cafés, in New York City.
To buy: $11 for 12 ounces.
2 of 9Bob Hiemstra
Light Roasts, Best Whole Bean
Newman’s Own Organics Nell’s Breakfast Blend
This delicious concoction “is smooth, mild, bright, and refreshing,” said Rubinstein. Said a fan: “Love the citrus tang.”
To buy: $9 for 10 ounces.
3 of 9Bob Hiemstra
Medium Roasts, Best Ground
The Organic Coffee Company Zen Blend
“I adore the aroma,” said a tester of the chocolate and nut notes. “And it’s pleasant to drink from start to finish.” Bonus: The company helps fund schools for the growers’ kids.
To buy: $9 for 12 ounces.
4 of 9Bob Hiemstra
Medium Roasts, Best Whole Bean
Tully’s Coffee House Blend
Processing in small batches in a vintage cast-iron roaster renders these beans, in the words of one coffee lover, “buttery and silky, with delicate sweet tones.”
To buy: $11 for 10 ounces.
5 of 9Bob Hiemstra
Dark Roasts, Best Ground
Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend
The “earthy, robust punch” of this full-bodied coffee impressed several testers, who went back for seconds. Said one, “It’s strong but smooth.”
To buy: $11.50 for 12 ounces.
6 of 9Bob Hiemstra
Dark Roasts, Best Whole Bean
Starbucks Coffee Italian Roast
As with most Italian-style coffees, the beans of this intensely smoky brew are roasted very dark, making any espresso lover happy.
To buy: $9.50 for 12 ounces.
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Decaffeinateds, Best Ground
Maxwell House Decaffeinated Original
This arabica coffee has “none of the chemical flavor some decafs have,” said a staffer. Others called it “one hundred percent smooth,” “balanced,” and “a good medium roast.”
To buy: $5 for 11.5 ounces.
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Decaffeinateds, Best Whole Bean
Eight O’Clock Coffee Decaffeinated 100% Colombian
This entry has an almost flowerlike flavor that our testers found “delightful and mellow, with no bitter aftertaste.”
To buy: $7 for 12 ounces.
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Best Cult Coffees
The following coffees were recommended by Rubinstein.
Counter Culture Coffee 21st de Septiembre. A cherry- and nut-scented coffee. To buy: $12.25 for 12 ounces, counterculturecoffee.com.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender. A complex, citrusy morning roast. To buy: $11 for 12 ounces, stumptowncoffee.com.
Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Three Africans. An extremely smooth dark roast with a chocolate aroma. To buy: $19 for 16 ounces, bluebottlecoffee.net.