The 9 Best Coffee Brands in 2024 That Our Team Loves


What is the best coffee brand? It’s a simple question without an easy answer. 

Lifeboost, Peet's, Coffee Bros. Purity, Volcanica, Fabula, Kicking Horse and Lavazza coffee bags on a pinkish background.

Photo: Home Grounds

There are thousands of coffees available on the market. Single-origins, blends, dark and light roasts, Arabica, and Robusta- it would take a lifetime to try them all. That’s why we did the legwork for you! 

I won’t claim we tried every coffee out there, but we tested all the most popular brands of coffee (and some lesser-known hidden gems) to compile this list of top coffee brands. Read it, save it, and never again suffer a lousy mug of coffee.

How We Tested

We bought every coffee as whole beans and ground them right before brewing. To find the best, we brewed each using the same recipe with the same coffee machine, except beans being considered for our “Best Espresso” category. We prepared the beans from this category with an espresso machine.

Given the sheer number of coffees we had to try, this taste test involved the whole team. Plus, we wanted to have a diversity of palates and preferences involved. At least three team members sampled every coffee and ranked them using an identical score sheet.

For each coffee, we rated:

A good coffee, no matter the roast level or type of bean, should have a rich and enticing smell. Bonus points if it had us salivating before it even left the brewer! The flavor should offer a balance between sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. And the aftertaste should linger pleasantly until the next sip, without turning bitter or acrid on the tongue – a hallmark of the worst coffees.

We also prioritized freshness, looking for brands that roast to order or roast regularly in small batches. Pre-ground coffee should be ground to order. 

What Brands of Coffee Are Best?

Everyone has their own opinion on the best coffee beans in the world. Even the most outstanding blonde roast might not appeal to an avowed dark roast espresso lover. That’s why we’ve divided this list into categories. Try them all to become a well-rounded coffee aficionado, or skip straight to what you already know you love for a sure-fire hit.

1. Volcanica Coffee – Best Variety

Volcanica coffee bags on countertop

Photo: Julia Bobak

Volcanica Coffee Company is a family-owned business now in its second generation. It has expanded from humble beginnings in the mountainous coffee farms of Costa Rica to offer an enormous selection of specialty coffee, focusing on volcanic-growing regions (1). 

Here’s what I love about them. They have light to dark roasts. They have balanced blends and rare, exotic single origins. They have dozens of decaf options. They have flavored coffee. They even have Kopi Luwak. This is the brand for the home barista who wants it all.

The thread that ties it all together is a commitment to high-quality beans, fresh roasting, and fantastic customer service.

We ordered two Volcanica coffees for our taste tsts, chosen to highlight the diversity available. 

First up was the Cafe Cubano, a dark espresso blend we brewed with a drip coffee maker and an espresso machine. It delivered exactly what you want from the style – a punchy aroma, heavy mouthfeel, and bold flavors of chocolate, caramel, and roasted nuts. One taster commented that the blend has “such a natural sweetness that it wouldn’t even need the brown sugar of a traditional café Cubano.”

The second coffee was Guatemala Blue Ayarza, a unique, naturally processed single-origin light roast. Tasters described it as juicy, fruit-forward, and with little bitterness. This complex brew perfectly balances sweetness with acidity with notes of stone fruit and blueberry. It reminded me a bit of the highest quality East African coffees.

Volcanica’s website is well-designed to help you navigate their huge selection. You can search the apparent ways by kinds of roasts or origin. Still, you can filter by coffee certification (like Organic, shade-grown, or Rainforest Alliance), processing method, or special features (like low-acid or peaberry). They roast coffee weekly and ship from the roastery within one business day of roasting.

2. Peet’s Coffee – Best for Dark Roast

a photo of peet's coffee unboxing. It'a s green peet's coffee bag in a paper box on a white table

Photo: Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s brand brought European-style dark roast blends to the American market in the 1960s (2). The coffee roasting company has expanded considerably since then, now offering various roast levels and single-origin beans, but its dark roast expertise continues to shine.

The Major Dickason’s Blend is a prime example of Peet’s skill in the dark arts; it’s their all-time best seller. It combines washed coffee from Latin America with wet-hulled beans from the Indo-Pacific to create a bold and full-bodied brew. Our tasters commented on its powerful aroma, even before it left the grinder, and described the flavors as “wonderfully balanced with notes of sweet caramel, rich earth, and a surprising spicy brightness.”

If blends aren’t your thing, Peet’s offers plenty of fantastic dark single origins. We sampled and enjoyed the classic Sumatran beans, robust with flavors of earth and molasses and backed by a lovely herbal aftertaste.

Peet’s coffee is available pre-ground or as whole beans, and many top sellers are also sold as K-Cups. Try the darker roasts brewed in a French press or Moka pot to enhance their heavy mouthfeel.

3. Lifeboost Coffee – Best for Medium Roast

Testing Lifeboost Coffee

Photo: Julia Bobak

Lifeboost Coffee was founded by a physician determined to grow and roast the healthiest possible coffee. Their coffee beans are certified Organic, GMO-free, low acid, and 3rd-party tested to be free of hundreds of possible contaminants. This single-origin coffee is shade-grown using sustainable farming techniques and fair trade practices to ensure healthy long-term relationships with farmers.

I love and support all those qualities, but the taste of this gourmet coffee won us over. Tasters’ eyes noticeably brightened on the first sip of the Lifeboost Medium Roast – the brand’s original product and top seller. One immediately declared it “like a chocolate-covered strawberry in my mug.” 

Grown high in the mountains of Nicaragua, this brew is a crowd-pleaser. It’s sweet and nutty, with a creamy mouthfeel. The dominant tasting notes were chocolate and pecan, but the aftertaste was reminiscent of jammy dried fruit. We couldn’t stop sipping this java, which says something when you’ve already sampled dozens of coffees.

The Lifeboost Medium Roast is available as beans, pre-ground, or single-serving K-Cups for your Keurig. It also has a decaf version for all the flavors without the jitters.

4. Coffee Bros. Coffee – Best for Light Roast

Coffee Bros

Photo: Coffee Bros.

Light roast coffees are the darlings of modern Third Wave coffee shops, but they tend to be more divisive among the general coffee-drinking population. If you love a brightly acidic hot coffee with plenty of fruit and floral character, Coffee Bros is the brand for you!

A good light roast needs to start with high-quality coffee because it can’t hide behind the caramelized flavors of the roasting process. I love Coffee Bros. Their selection of lighter roasts constantly changes with the seasons, demonstrating that they only roast the best and freshest beans they can find.

We sampled two exceptional single-origin light roasted beans for this list: the Kenya Gondo AA and the best-selling Ethiopia Daye Bensa. The two made for a wonderful study in contrasts. The Kenyan beans were wet processed and delivered crisp flavors of stone fruit, milk chocolate, and bright citrus. A tester noted that the naturally processed Ethiopian coffee was “much sweeter, with a rounder body and fruit flavors.”

That Coffee Bros can deliver two very different yet equally delicious coffees is a testament to their skill with lighter roasting – and their ability to develop key relationships with farmers to source the best beans.

Coffee Bros coffee is roasted regularly and always shipped within 5 days of roasting. They only sell whole beans, so make sure you have a burr grinder handy!

5. Driftaway Coffee – Most Sustainable Coffee Brand


Photo: Julia Bobak

Many brands claim to be “sustainable” these days – the buzzword is starting to lose all meaning – but Driftaway surpasses them all. Their commitment to the communities at origin is matched only by the quality of their coffee, which should come as no surprise; the best-tasting coffee is a direct outcome of treating farmers and their environment with respect. Check out their coffee.

It’s impossible to list all their sustainability initiatives. They purchase offsets to be carbon neutral, their packaging is 100% compostable, and they donate to World Coffee Research. My favorite is the Transparency Pledge (3). You can look up precisely what Driftaway paid to the farmer who grew your coffee and how that compares to Fair Trade minimums.

What about the taste? Like Coffee Bros, Driftaway’s offerings change seasonally, but I’ve never had a bad brew from the brand. For this tasting, we sampled their latest espresso blend, a combination of Guatemala and Burundi beans produced entirely by women. Tasters noted it “has a rich caramel sweetness and luscious mouthfeel perfectly balanced by a hint of lemon acidity.” 

The most fun way to experience Driftaway coffee is to sign up for a catered subscription, though they also sell bags of beans. Set up your subscription based on your preferred flavor profile, or opt for a cold brew or espresso focus. If you’re unsure what you like, you can start with a tasting kit to help define your preferences.

6. Fabula Coffee – Best Organic Coffee 

fabula coffee's promo visuals with two bags of coffee: one brown and other white

Photo: Fabula Coffee

Fabula Coffee offers a small selection of coffees sourced from organic farms employing sustainable growing practices. The selection is concise but inclusive, offering all roast levels and a decaf option. They’ve recently expanded into flavored coffees, and it’s great that flavored coffee fans now have an affordable organic option.

Fabula rotates many coffees seasonally to showcase what’s currently fresh and exciting among their network of small farmers. But we decided to sample the two best sellers on which they made their name, the original Medium Roast and Dark Roast.

Both are single-origin organic coffees from Peru, one of the world’s premier organic coffee origins (4). The darker brew stood out for its rich aroma, filling our office with dark chocolate. The flavor was rich, chocolatey, and bittersweet, with slight acidity. The medium roast was more complex but still very balanced. Tasters described it as “nutty, smooth, and sweet.” It has a hint of more acidity but is gently fruity rather than boldly citric.

Fabula Coffee company has very reasonable pricing, which is part of the brand’s ethos of making organic coffee available to the average coffee lover. Every bag is roasted to order and can be ground if requested. However, they only offer one medium grind size suitable for a drip machine or pour-over dripper.

7. Lavazza Coffee – Best for Espresso

a photo of two lavazza bags next to a box in which they were delivered

Photo: Jovana Durovic

Picture your perfect espresso. Did you envision the classic Italian specimen – rich, intense, bold, and capped with a dense layer of crema? Then you’re going to want to pick up some Lavazza coffee beans. Lavazza was founded in 1895, and the brand can boast over 125 years of mastering the art of the coffee blend.

Lavazza is best known for traditional Southern Italian-style espresso blends, often incorporating Robusta beans. Robusta beans may have an inferior reputation, but in the hands of an Italian roaster with a century of experience, they are key contributors to an espresso’s heavy body, dark and earthy flavor, and thick crema layer. They are also more caffeinated for an extra pick-me-up.

We taste-tested what is arguably Lavazza’s most famous blend, the aptly named Super Crema, made from a 60/40 blend of Arabica/Robusta. It emerged from the machine thick and near-black in color, but the flavors were surprisingly nuanced, with one taster noting, “I expected more bitterness, but the sweetness of hazelnuts comes through.” The aftertaste was prominent with this one, heavy with brown sugar.

Don’t worry if 100% Arabica is more your style. Lavazza also has plenty of that, including their surprisingly fruity Espresso Italiano blend

We’d be remiss not to mention Italy’s other world-famous coffee roaster, Illy. Illy crafts blend in the Northern Italian tradition, skipping the Robusta beans and prioritizing balance over intensity in their flavor profiles. The Illy Classico medium roast is a perennial fan favorite.

8. Purity Coffee – Best Healthy Choice

Purity Coffee

Photo: Julia Bobak

I was skeptical when I first encountered Purity Coffee. As a coffee lover, I want my coffee roasted for the best flavor, not optimal health benefits. But as it turns out, this is one of the few situations when you can have your cake and eat it too. By sourcing the freshest, highest-quality beans and roasting them carefully to preserve their antioxidant content, Purity delivers coffee that is both nutritious and delicious (5).

Purity coffee is sourced from small Nicaragua, Honduras, and Colombia farms. The 100% Arabica beans are organic and 3rd-party certified to be free of mold, mycotoxins, and hundreds of other potential contaminants. 

They are also certified Rainforest Alliance and Bird Friendly, making this some of the most ethical coffee – good for the body and soul.

Purity Coffee is a bit pricey, but the flavor is worth a little splurge. We sampled the original Flow Medium Roast and the Ease Dark Roast for our taste tests, which we thought was closer to a medium-dark. 

Both blends were rich and delicious, crafted with skill to yield a lovely, balanced flavor. One taster described the medium roast as, “the sort of coffee I could easily sip all day.” The sweet flavor profile of chocolate, nuts, and ripe fruit was easy-drinking without ever getting boring. It’s what you wish your local coffee shop would offer as a House Blend!

The darker roast had a similar chocolate-dominant flavor profile but with a fuller body and a compelling spicy aftertaste. We tested it as a drip brew, but more than one taster remarked that it would make a fantastic cappuccino or latte.

Purity only offers four coffees; this is not the brand for the adventurous or experimental coffee drinker. They have light, medium, and dark roasts, plus a medium roast decaf. All coffees are available as whole beans, coffee pods, or single-serve coffee sachets.

9. Kicking Horse Coffee – Best Budget Coffee Brand

four black bags of kicking horse coffee

Photo: Julia Bobak

Kicking Horse Coffee was founded in the heart of the Canadian Rockies 25 years ago. The simple mom-and-pop operation found such success that it is now a multimillion-dollar operation recently acquired by Lavazza (6). Luckily for longtime fans, the influx of capital has only improved the quality of the coffee.

“Kicking Horse Coffee has always distinguished itself for its unrelenting commitment to quality coffee and strong sustainability values. The Lavazza Group shares this vision, and we now have the perfect partner to assist us in growing and connecting the world with our coffee.”

Kicking Horse is the most affordable coffee on this list – mainly due to favorable currency exchange rates relative to American coffee brands – but its low cost does not reflect low quality. Every bag of Kicking Horse is 100% Arabica, Organic, and Fair Trade certified.

They specialize in crowd-pleasing coffee blends, mainly of the medium-to-dark roast level. We taste-tested two of the most popular: the medium Three Sisters and the darker Grizzly Claw.

Three Sisters caught our eye because it is a rarity in the specialty coffee world, a post-roast blend. Light, medium, and dark beans are combined to make a medium roast with a unique character. One taster noted, “an exciting sweet scent of chocolate and coconut.” Another commented, “adding a splash of cream would take this into hot chocolate territory.”

The Grizzly Claw is a similarly fudgy brew but sweeter and less nuanced than the Three Sisters. It had a noticeably heavier body and decadent flavors of dark sugars, cocoa, and toasted nuts. Though dark, it doesn’t hit the smoky flavor notes of the darkest roasts.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few honorable mentions if you’re looking for a very specific type of coffee:

  • Check out Waka Coffee for premium specialty single-origin instant coffee.
  • Try Death Wish Coffee if a high caffeine content is your top priority.
  • Wandering Bear is an excellent choice for prepared cold brew coffee.
  • Consider Bones Coffee if flavored coffee in unusual and unique flavors strikes your fancy.

I also taste-tested these coffee bean brands and their variants. Some of these tasted good while the others tasted blah. Feel free to read my reviews to learn if these coffees are for you.

Final Thoughts

We taste-tested dozens of bags of coffee to come up with this list, including the best coffee brands in the USA and further afield. We’ll probably be buzzing for the next six months from the caffeine hit, but it was worth it to confidently deliver these picks. No matter your coffee preferences or budget, one (or more) of the brands above is the perfect choice for your daily cup!

  1. Meneses, E. (2021, March 19). Growing Coffee in Volcanic Regions. Retrieved from
  2. Huddleston, J. (2022, March 14). The Untold Truth of Peet’s Coffee. Retrieved from
  3. Cadwalader, Z. (2019, July 8). Bringing Transparency To Coffee Transparency With “The Pledge.” Retrieved from
  4. World Coffee Research. (n.d.). Focus Country: Peru. Retrieved from
  5. Yashin A, Yashin Y, Wang JY, Nemzer B. Antioxidant and Antiradical Activity of Coffee. Antioxidants (Basel). 2013 Oct 15;2(4):230-45. doi: 10.3390/antiox2040230.
  6. Crawford, E. (2017, May 25). Invermere’s Kicking Horse Coffee bought by Italy’s Lavazza. Retrieved from


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *