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Best Overall: Stumptown Coffee Roasters at Amazon
"The quality and care put into the coffee will be evident in every cup you drink."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Intelligentsia Coffee at Amazon
"An award-winning coffee brand that offers a vast array of flavors."
Best for Dark Roast: Death Wish Coffee Company at Amazon
"An intensely dark and highly caffeinated blend beloved by many."
Best for Light Roast: La Colombe Coffee Roasters at lacolombe.com
"Buy uniquely flavored beans pre-ground to the perfect size for your coffee maker."
Best Budget: Seattle's Best Coffee at Amazon
"The perfect balance of cost and flavor."
Best for Espresso: Lavazza at Amazon
"Among the best assortments of espresso blends you can find, at an extremely affordable price."
Best Flavor: Peerless Coffee & Tea at Amazon
"Has a wide selection of flavors, so every set of taste buds can find something to enjoy."
Best Variety: New England Coffee at Amazon
"A blend for everyone: decaf, K-Cups, and a myriad list of flavored coffees."
Best Sustainable: Counter Culture Coffee at Amazon
"One of the most ethical coffee brands due to its direct trade standards and eco-friendly farming."
Best for K-Cups: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters at Amazon
"The very first brand to sell its coffee in K-Cup form is still one of the best."
Best Overall: Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown is synonymous with the third wave of coffee—a 21st-century rise in small boutique roasters. The Portland-born company crafts several delicious whole bean blends, as well as individual bottles of cold brew. Hair Bender is the most popular blend (and the first one Stumptown ever made); its flavor is intricate and unique, teeming with notes of sweet cherry and rich fudge. Other popular options include Holler Mountain, House Blend, and the decaffeinated Trapper Creek.
Stumptown is more expensive than many other brands in the grocery store, but the cost isn't outrageous. Plus, the quality and care put into the coffee will be evident in every cup you drink. One issue to watch out for is that some customers receiving batches from third-party vendors said the Stumptown coffee was either nearing or past its expiration date. This was not the majority's buying experience, however, and coffee ordered from the brand website remains as fresh and tasty as ever.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Intelligentsia Coffee
Intelligentsia has won numerous awards for its coffee, as well as for the quality of its nationwide cafés (currently 15 locations). The company prides itself on direct trade practices and highlights the countries and farms from which it sources coffee beans. The connections span the globe, leading to Intelligentsia's vast array of flavors. One of the most popular picks is the Frequency Blend, a medium roast that combines notes of chocolate and dried fruit.
Intelligentsia also showcases its single-origin coffees, a collection that offers flavor gateways into specific regions like Bolivia, Burundi, and more. You can purchase both whole bean and ground varieties, and there are delicious options for espresso, instant, and decaf coffee, too.
Best for Dark Roast: Death Wish Coffee Company
Known as the world's strongest coffee, Death Wish is an intensely dark (and highly caffeinated) blend beloved by many. But the reason it's a best seller has more to do with taste than caffeine. The coffee is shockingly smooth and flavorful, filled with notes of dark chocolate and cherry.
Death Wish Coffee Company then added a second dark roast to its arsenal: Valhalla Java, an option that's slightly cheaper and less caffeinated but just as tasty. Both blends are available in whole bean, ground, and K-Cup varieties. The company's skull-and-bones insignia also makes for killer merchandise, from coffee mugs to t-shirts.
Best for Light Roast: La Colombe Coffee Roasters
With an artisanal touch and direct trade sourcing, La Colombe is another name associated with the third wave of coffee. You might know the brand for its ubiquitous selection of cold brew and draft lattes, but coffee beans have always been at the company's heart.
It offers seven light roast options with entirely unique flavor palettes. The Java blend has notes of nougat, ginger snap, and blackberry tea, while the Colombia blend is a wild concoction of clementines, cherry soda, and chocolate.
La Colombe is on the more expensive end and typically sold in one size (12 ounces), but if you order off the brand website, you can buy beans pre-ground to the perfect size for your coffee maker, including Moka pots, French presses, and more.
Best Budget: Seattle's Best Coffee
Budget coffee isn't hard to find. Plenty of dependable low-priced brands line the grocery store aisles. But Seattle's Best strikes the perfect balance of cost and flavor. The company is a little more expensive than names like Folgers and Maxwell House—partially because these brands sell bulk-sized canisters—but customers generally find Seattle's Best to be tastier. While prices vary, expect a 12-ounce bag of Seattle's Best to go for about $5.
The company makes 10 different ground coffee blends and six different K-Cups for Keurig coffee makers—no whole bean options, unfortunately—all of which are easy to find both in-store and online.
Best for Espresso: Lavazza
The century-old Italian roaster offers everything from coffee for drip machines to K-Cups, and its assortment of espresso blends is one of the best you can find. The Caffe Espresso (also called "Espresso Italiano" on some sites) is a great place to start; it's available in both whole bean and ground, and the mid-level intensity allows fruity and floral notes to shine beneath the traditional coffee taste. Dark roast lovers should check out the more robust Crema e Gusto blend.
Lavazza sells its coffee in bags and tins of several different sizes. Whether you go with an 8-ounce tin or a 2.2-pound bag, however, you can expect Lavazza to come at an extremely affordable price.
Best Flavor: Peerless Coffee & Tea
While taste is always subjective, there are multiple reasons why Peerless Coffee can be relied upon for a delicious cup of joe. Above all, it's about the care put into each and every bag of beans. The Bay Area company was named Roast Magazine's 2019 Roaster of the Year—a distinction shared in previous years by many of the nation's top boutique coffee brands, including Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Gimme! Coffee, and more.
Peerless Coffee also has a wide selection of flavors, so every set of taste buds can find something to enjoy. The Hawaiian Golden Kona Blend is an excellent option for light roast lovers. Dark Chocolate Truffle will satisfy those with a sweet tooth. And you can find classic varieties like French Roast and Italian Roast. The coffee is sold in bags of either 1 or 5 pounds, and if you order off the brand website, you can get the beans perfectly ground to suit your home coffee maker.
Best Variety: New England Coffee
New England Coffee has a blend for everyone. There are traditional varieties like Italian Roast and Colombian Supremo. There are decaf options, K-Cups, and a list of flavored coffees. You can find everything from the dessert-like (most popular being Blueberry Cobbler) to the outlandish (i.e. Maple Cinnamon French Toast).
The company has been around for over 100 years, and it's refreshingly affordable. Depending on the blend, a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee can cost as little as $5.
Best Sustainable: Counter Culture Coffee
Counter Culture was the inaugural winner of Roast Magazine's Roaster of the Year Award, all the way back in 2005. The company has sustained excellence ever since, but it's not just the taste of the coffee that it puts care into. Counter Culture is widely regarded as one of the most ethical coffee brands because of its direct trade standards and eco-friendly farming. You can even find annual sustainability reports on the company website.
While this isn't the easiest name to find in every grocery store, it is readily available online. Choose from a variety of ethically sourced blends in sizes ranging from 12 ounces to a whopping 5 pounds.
Best for K-Cups: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
With affordable prices and over 25 K-Cup varieties, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is the go-to pod for many Keurig owners. In fact, this was the very first brand to sell its coffee in K-Cup form. You can find timeless favorites like Breakfast Blend and French Roast, as well as a number of flavored options, including Southern Pecan and Wild Mountain Blueberry.
Love coffee but hate the jitters? The company also makes several decaf and half-caf pods. Green Mountain Coffee is easy to find in-store and online, starting at six-count boxes and going all the way up to 100.
Best for Instant: Mount Hagen
Mount Hagen is far and away the most popular brand for high-end instant coffee. Typically sold in 3.53-ounce glass jars, it's more expensive than competitors like Folgers, Nescafé, and Café Bustelo, but the price is reasonable; each jar yields about 50 cups of coffee, which, when broken down, is about 20 cents per cup. Mount Hagen also makes decaffeinated instant coffee. Both varieties can be found in single-serve sticks, perfect for camping and traveling.