What gets you out of bed in the morning?
March 26, 2007 1:40 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite coffee (brand and roast/flavor) that's available over the internet? I like a full bodied coffee, but nothing that borders on bitter. Bonus if I'm not paying $20+/lb (you know who you are, Illy). I know 100% Kona coffee is supposed to be the best, but, again, I can't really afford $30/lb. Right now I'm drinking various dark blends from Starbucks and enjoy them, but I know there must be truly amazing coffees out there.

I can't believe there hasn't been a thread dedicated to this yet (at least not that I could find -- and I did read the thread about brewing the best cup of coffee ... but there was lots of discussion about equipment, etc -- I'm just looking for short and sweet recommendations on the beans themselves!!).
posted by roundrock to Food & Drink (50 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Peets French Roast

'nuff said.
posted by pgoes at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2007

Try Fante's Verino. It's a wonderful cup to wake up to.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2007

I find Lavazza better than Illy. I can get it here for four dollars the half pound.
posted by jon_kill at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2007

Sorry, I will just offer an aside to your question concerning Kona coffee. It's really only expensive because it's grown within the USA, where most everything costs more to grow compared to places like Indonesia or Ethiopia.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2007

My personal favorite is Peet's Major Dickason's. It has all sorts of flavor, rich and chocolate-y. Peet's coffees require a lot of coffee grounds-per-cup compared to other coffees, about one tablespoon per cup of water, to bring out the flavor, but they can be brewed just about as strong as yo could possibly want without becoming too bitter.
posted by lekvar at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2007

Peet's, anything Peet's.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:53 PM on March 26, 2007

A little known secret from the northwest is Thomas Hammer Coffee. I used to be a barista there, and now can't stomach anything else. It's very reasonably priced, and has roasts that run the gamut, plus an amazing line of retail. I'd recommend the Signature Blend to any newcomer, but my personal favorite is Starry Night. Hammer guarantees shipping within 24 hours of roasting, so you really can't beat that.
posted by messylissa at 1:54 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Cafe Bustelo. Even though it is "espresso" coffee, it tastes excellent when brewed in a drip machine.
posted by nekton at 1:59 PM on March 26, 2007

Not very exotic, but my daily coffee is Millstone's Foglifter, which should also not be hard to track down at a grocery store. It's just a fantastic no-frills cup of coffee. It's also medium roast---I typically associate bitter flavor with the darker roasts (especially cheaper dark roasts), so if that's bothering you give a lighter roast a try.
posted by shadow vector at 2:00 PM on March 26, 2007

I haven't discovered any good local coffee in DC, so I order Intelligentsia from Chicago or Counter Culture from Durham.
posted by echo0720 at 2:02 PM on March 26, 2007

Mmm, shadow vector, I've had the Foglifter, and it's pretty good. I also associate bitter flavor with darker roasts (and always used to go for breakfast blends), but the more I drink coffee, the more the lighter roasts just taste watered down to me. I'm hoping for full-bodied roasts without that bitterness.

I'm checking out the Thomas Hammer and Peet's sites now.... Both look really good (wish I had some now on this rainy Texas day!). Also looking at the Grounds for Change website -- anyone familiar with that one?
posted by roundrock at 2:06 PM on March 26, 2007

Also try Jeremiah's Pick -- any of their dark roasts. I get it in Sonoma County groceries (where they have more variety), but Amazon (of all places) often has great discounts on 10 oz. supermarket packs. I just ordered me up 60 oz. for $24. (You do the math!)
posted by turducken at 2:10 PM on March 26, 2007

I'll be a lifelong evangelist of Gimme! Coffee. I used to live around the corner from their mothership in Ithaca, NY and I'd roll out of bed and pick up a cup... on my way to my job as a barista at another shop.

Their master roaster made a convert of me the day I ran into him on the street and he took out a bag of raw beans and some sort of hand-held roasting contraption he'd strung together from a heat gun and a paint can. Ever had a single cup's worth of beans, fresh off the boat, roasted for you on the spot? Hell yeah.

I like the Deep Disco, the Mocha Java, and their several Mexicans, but they're all quite good and none of them are over-roasted.
posted by sonofslim at 2:10 PM on March 26, 2007

Never tried it myself, but a lot of people swear by Tim Hortons coffee. It's not widely available in the US, but there are stores in a few states. If your state's not listed, you can order it here, and probably through other buy-canadian-products-online sites.
posted by CKmtl at 2:12 PM on March 26, 2007

One word.


(Buy it on-line here.)
posted by dersins at 2:12 PM on March 26, 2007

Not to be stupid/off-topic in your question, but isn't all coffee bitter? Is there non-bitter coffee?
posted by reklaw at 2:14 PM on March 26, 2007

Alterra and Stone Creek, both in Milwaukee, brew some fine coffee and ship the beans for a decent price.
posted by look busy at 2:15 PM on March 26, 2007

reklaw, there's coffee that's bitter like dark chocolate is bitter, and there's coffee that's bitter like (I assume) licking dead skunk ass is bitter.

Just to be clear, the better coffee is more like the chocolate, and less like ass.
posted by lekvar at 2:26 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Here's a shout-out for my own fave brand: Mukilteo
posted by Rubber Soul at 2:27 PM on March 26, 2007

I second Alterra from Milwaukee! Best coffee I've ever had, and right here in my town. (Stone Creek is a pretty close second.)
posted by bradn at 2:33 PM on March 26, 2007

I am addicted to Mystic Brew from Bongo Java in Nashville. All their coffee is organic and fair trade and most of the blends are fantastic, but this is my very favorite. It's bold but very smooth, smells like heaven, and works black or with milk and sugar, and I us it in both a drip pot and a french press (at different grinds). And for $9.99/lb, it's not unreasonable.

Also, with any coffee, it will be less over extracted (and thus less bitter) if you use plenty of beans. I use (at Bongo's suggestion) 2 tablespoons of coffee per 8 ounces of water. It's better to dilute coffee with hot water than it is brew with less coffee.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2007

I love Major D (Peet's), but do also check out some of their other blends, such as Garuda, and Ethiopian Fancy, Sumatra, and Guatemala.
posted by mogget at 2:45 PM on March 26, 2007

Also, I've never had it, but I've heard marvelous things about Sumptown (per dersins above). A friend of mine loves it so much it implanted the idea of moving to Portland into her head just so she could have more of it.
posted by mostlymartha at 2:46 PM on March 26, 2007

It's childish of me, I know, but I strongly prefer varietals to blends, and with that caveat:

Ethiopian Yirgacheff from Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company.
Fair trade, organic, chocolate finish without a trace of mud; I've had more than 100 lbs. of this coffee and it is my first choice for drip (old glass rod Cory, actually) and espresso.
$8.95/lb., shipping extra.
posted by jamjam at 2:58 PM on March 26, 2007

I feel like I'm proselytizing this piece of information on MeFi all the time, so please forgive me, it's just that I'm obsessive about good coffee.

So here it is: Kona coffee is not really the best. Many people think it's the best because it's generally among the most expensive coffees. It's really only the most expensive because it is the only coffee grown within the United States, subject to labor and agricultural regulations, which are more costly than anywhere else. It's more expensive to produce and therefore more expensive to buy, but it's actually not the greatest-brewing coffee out there. So don't worry that you can't buy it.

I realize your question was about where to buy on the internet, and I'm sorry I don't have an answer; my favorite coffee, Allegro, is not sold on the internet, but plenty of these other suggestions are, and are great. To avoid bitterness you probably want to look for full city roasts or at least no darker than Vienna roasts.
posted by Miko at 3:02 PM on March 26, 2007

Peet's Major Dickason's thirded. It's easy to find in stores (at least on the left coast) so you may as well try it.
posted by kcm at 3:03 PM on March 26, 2007

Are you brewing coffee, or espresso? I like espresso to be mellow and sweet, coffee to be a bit more bright and acidic. Los Gatos Coffee Roasting "La Minita" Costa Rican is a great cup of coffee, while I like Peet's Garuda Blend and LGCR's Cupid's Blend (seasonal, but you can blend your own since they tell you what's in it).

Kona is fabulously aromatic, but the taste is severely meh. It's far better in blends where the distinctive aroma shines and there's another type of beans to provide flavor.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:10 PM on March 26, 2007

I like Peace Coffee for terrific beans, a good price, and a great cup of rich, not-bitter coffee.
posted by hamster at 3:18 PM on March 26, 2007

Terroir coffee - brought to you by George Howell, who started the Coffee Connection. The Sumatra is fabulous.
posted by Flakypastry at 3:28 PM on March 26, 2007

The best coffee I've ever had was at Genoa , one of Portland's nicest restaurants. I asked about it, and it turns out you can buy it online from Hawthorne Coffee & Tea. Just search for "Genoa" to find the blend. I think it's a French Roast/Italian Roast/Sumatra blend, but maybe I'm remembering wrong. It sells for $11.75 per pound plus shipping. Yum.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2007

Seattle's Best Blend is pretty darn good. It's my basic go-to coffee when I buy a bag of coffee for others, which happens more often than you might think after you move to Seattle, and I've had a number of people comment on how much they like it and exactly zero complaints. (I hardly ever drink coffee myself, and am not exactly a connoisseur, but I like it fine too.)
posted by kindall at 4:09 PM on March 26, 2007

If we could didn't have to pay for shipping or for gas to drive to Fort Bragg, CA, we'd buy Thanksgiving Coffee Company beans. Yummy stuff.

Otherwise, our favorites are Peet's and Seattle's Best.
posted by DakotaPaul at 5:01 PM on March 26, 2007

I would look for a local roaster. When I lived in Napa, The Napa Valley Roasting Company was quite good. Now that I'm in Colorado I get beans from the Brewing Market in Boulder. Their Europa blend is my latest for espresso. I would also go to the Coffee Geek and their discussion boards for more coffee love.
posted by Eekacat at 5:02 PM on March 26, 2007

Thanks for all of the comments. I'm definitely going to try a couple of the Peet's and one or two others (so many sound great; I haven't narrowed it down yet!).

To clarify on my original post, I should have said "I know a lot of people think Kona is the best..." To be honest, my experience with Kona coffee is limited to a Kona blend sold at the Exxon (I think) station (can I just go ahead and admit that I think gas station coffee is some of the best out there? Please don't yell at me).

Local roaster is a good idea -- any know of any great ones in Austin?

Oh, and I'm brewing with a mid-range Krups coffeemaker (I know, I know, the good coffee is to be had from French press or Aeropressor cold brewing or whatever).
posted by roundrock at 5:21 PM on March 26, 2007

galapagos island organic. This is the best coffee I have ever ever had.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:26 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have to recommend my personal favorite, Porto Rico. Without a doubt, the strongest (and tastiest) beans for less than $10/pound. I order from them several times a year, especially during their seasonal sales.
posted by indigoskynet at 6:45 PM on March 26, 2007

Although this may not be a great answer to your question (as the brand is likely only be available in Canadian grocery stores), it's bound to help another coffee-loving Mefi in the future: Kicking Horse Coffee - fair trade, organic, shade grown at 3000 ft. in the Rocky Mountains and by far the best cup of bean I've ever tasted in my life. Not a bad price either at 12 to 15 $Canadian (depending on where you but it).

I recommend the "Kick Ass" blend, if you can find it!
posted by ndicecco at 7:25 PM on March 26, 2007

Seconding the Gimme Coffee - and you can contact them to ask which of their blends would be best. Very personable. (sonofslim, we used to live near each other!)
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:42 PM on March 26, 2007

Sweet Maria's offers roasted coffee.

I doubt you will find a more comprehensive roaster out there.
posted by jazzkat11 at 9:22 PM on March 26, 2007

Seconding/Thirding Stumptown. I am personally a fan of their Guatemala finca el injerto blend, but it's pretty much all good.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:27 PM on March 26, 2007

I know I'll get lambasted for this, but for everyday coffee, I buy Eight O Clock whole bean french roast from the grocery store and brew it in a french press. It's really cheap, but quite tasty for every day. I will get some Intelligentsia for special occasions but the Eight O Clock stuff works just fine most days.
posted by misskaz at 5:48 AM on March 27, 2007

Peets French Roast

'nuff said.

posted by radioamy at 7:20 AM on March 27, 2007

Batdorf & Bronson has some exceptional coffee... I recommend the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or the Sumatran...

Also, most of their stuff is fair trade/organic and they use all renewable energy if that is a concern...
posted by MonkNoiz at 8:11 AM on March 27, 2007

posted by nita at 9:27 AM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I know I'll get lambasted for this, but for everyday coffee, I buy Eight O Clock whole bean french roast

No lambasting! I am a total coffee snob, but 8 o'Clock is my grocery-store ol' reliable. It's actually pretty solid as coffees go, and extremely consistent. I don't like french roasts because they're mostly carbon, but their red-bag blend and hazelnut blend are both pretty OK. This brand in whole-bean is much better tasting than Folgers or Maxwell House or any of those canned ground blends.
posted by Miko at 10:21 AM on March 27, 2007

Thirding Gimme! Coffee. Their default espresso blend changed my life.
posted by racingjs at 10:21 AM on March 27, 2007

No mention of New Orleans style coffee & chicory?

Cafe du Monde is famous & expensive. French Market coffee is just as good and you get six cans shipped for $25.

posted by UncleHornHead at 1:14 PM on March 27, 2007

David Lynch's Signature Cup

Yes THAT David Lynch
posted by spec80 at 3:05 PM on March 27, 2007

Blue Bottle Coffee out of San Fran is pretty tasty. I've never ordered online from them, just had the coffee from their kiosk when in town.

Left to my own devices, I'm a Dunkin' Donuts coffee girl. And when I can't get that, I go with the local favorite, Alterra Coffee.
posted by aine42 at 3:48 PM on March 27, 2007

Thanks to everyone who responded. I ultimately ordered two pounds of Major Dickason's from Peet's. I'm not done, yet, though; I'll continue to return to this list and will work my way through the various recommendations until I am satisfied that I've found the very best! Up next to try -- Gimme! Coffee (I'm thinking I'll get the Platinum Blonde blend!). Oh, and I'll continue to mark "best answers" as I check them off my list!
posted by roundrock at 9:56 PM on March 27, 2007

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