What Is The Best Brand of Coffee?
Coffee is an acquired taste. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I hated coffee. I thought it smelled good, but it tasted horrible. It was like drinking dirt.
But over time, I came to really enjoy coffee. I definitely like coffee because of the caffeine and the energy I get from it, but even if it contained no caffeine, I would still drink it.
And for something as simple as ground-up roasted beans, there is a very wide variety in coffee flavors and quality. It sort of seems like it would all be about the same, but there are definitely brands I prefer and brands I won't buy.
I drink coffee nearly every day. I think in the last 5 years I might have had 10 days where I didn't drink coffee. For something I have that often, I want to get the stuff that tastes good.
I like to get some variety in by buying different brands of coffee and trying out different roasts. And I like trying to buy coffees that are produced by worker cooperatives or those that are Fair Trade certified. I like to buy from local coffee roasteries. But you can't really tell if you are going to like what is inside the bag until you brew it and drink it.
Over the years, I've tried quite a few brands, and I wanted to share my thoughts on some of them in this blog post.
I'll start out with my favorite coffee. Starbucks is hands-down the best tasting coffee I've ever had.
I hate Starbucks the company. I hate its business practices. I hate how it pretends to do something like Fair Trade, but it ends up just being a marketing tactic devoid of any of the social benefits that come along with supporting Fair Trade.
I hate how little Starbucks pays its workers and how they try to keep everyone at part-time so they don't have to offer benefits. I hate how Starbucks tries to maliciously prevent the formation of unions in their stores.
I hate its near monopoly which eats up such a large share of the coffee market that smaller roasteries have a much harder time getting into people's grocery carts.
For all that I hate about Starbucks, I sure do love the taste of their coffee. It is so delicious.
Some of my favorite roasts are Espresso Roast, French Roast, Pike's Peak, and Verona. I tend to like darker roasts, but some of their medium roast coffees are also very good.
I try to buy other coffee brands, but I mostly buy Starbucks because of how consistent and tasty their coffee is.
If you are someone who is just trying coffee for the first time, you really shouldn't judge it until you've had Starbucks.
Caribou Coffee is a pretty close second behind Starbucks. They have a very consistent and delicious lineup. Just about every roast I've tried from Caribou I've liked.
I like the look of the packaging. I think they have the coolest décor in their stores. I like that they have trivia on a chalkboard that you can try to answer while waiting in line.
There is a lot of good stuff to say about Caribou. I'm sure they could pay their workers a little better, and I'm sure they could do more to ensure the money they make from their coffee gets to the farmers who produced the coffee beans, but their flaws in those ways are not nearly as flagrant as those of Starbucks.
I don't buy Caribou coffee from the grocery store all that often, because it isn't quite as good as Starbucks, and when I'm going specifically for variety, it isn't a brand that is new to me. But despite not buying it all that often, it is a very good coffee.
Kicking Horse Coffee
When I used to shop for groceries at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, I would buy a brand of coffee called Kicking Horse. I haven't seen this brand at any other stores. It was not very expensive - it cost about the same as any other coffee on the shelf. I liked the all-black packaging.
The names of some of the roasts were a little edgy - which I liked. I would buy Kick Ass, Smart Ass, Grizzly Claw, 454 Horse Power, and Three Sisters.
It was a very tasty coffee that I would probably still be buying on occasion, but it doesn't seem to have very wide distribution. I only found it at Fresh Thyme, and over time they carried fewer and fewer of the roasts. Towards the end of the time I shopped there, they only had a couple options in stock.
Peace coffee is a brand I really wanted to like. They have really fun orange bags. They are a local coffee roastery, operating out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
They are Fair Trade certified and a certified B-corp. They seem to be doing some good through their business.
Unfortunately, I haven't really enjoyed the taste of their coffee. I have purchased several of their roast options and just not been very impressed with any of them. Taste is a subjective thing, so while I might not care for it, other people might love it. I completely recommend trying them out, but it just isn't for me.
Their coffee also tends to be a bit more expensive than other brands, so I tried to buy it when the grocery store had it on sale.
Cameron's coffee is the brand with the brightly colored bag and a lion as the logo. I've had Cameron's coffee several times.
It is pretty good. I wouldn't say it is standout excellent, but it is a decent coffee that I'd be happy to drink.
It is a good coffee at a reasonable price. For sure one to throw into your coffee rotation.
I've tried many more coffee brands than just those I've mentioned here, but I just don't recall them at this moment. I may end up adding to this post as I think of them.
What did you think of the brands I talked about? What are some of you favorite brands? Any that you think I should steer clear of? Let me know in the comments!