While sitting in your favorite coffee shop and enjoying the view is wonderful, many of us are more likely to brew a quick cup in the morning at home to save time and money throughout the week. Those savings don't have to translate to a less enjoyable experience, though, as long as you're choosing the right blend.
We talked to some coffee experts and experienced baristas about their top picks for what it is we should consider when looking to elevate our coffee-drinking experience at home, and below are a variety of options sure to please the casual sipper and those with more refined palettes alike. From a surrealist filmmaker’s homage to his own world of weirdness to the sustainable beauty of independent growers, these are some of the best coffees you can brew at home.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Our first recommendation comes from Scotty Scarberry, whose more than 13 years of experience and love for all things David Lynch combine beautifully in his suggestion of the director's Signature Cup. “Max caffeine without coming off medicinal,” he says of the auteur’s tasteful roast, adding, “it’s toasty and nutty. It’s a perfect cup of coffee made by coffee lovers for coffee lovers.” Do as Special Agent Dale Cooper would and give yourself a daily gift in the form of this Lynchian brew.
“One of the truly great coffees,” one reviewer of this top-selling Peet’s Coffee brews reports of the Arabian Mocha-Java, suggesting to, “only do French press for the oils and texture.” It’s flavor profile includes cocoa, port, and cardamom, and the roast errs on the side of dark to help the beans achieve a smooth yet bright finish. It’s full bodied and some reviewers feel a bit too dark, so only go for this if you like a strong, smooth cup.
Next up we heard from Martin Hudak, who won the champion of 2017’s World Coffee in Good Spirits competition and currently acts as the Global Coffee Ambassador for Mr. Black, a craft cold brew coffee liqueur from Australia.
“I normally would go for naturally or honey processed coffee from Costa Rica or Colombia,” he tells us of his top pick, which touts flavors like apricot and almond in its flavor profile. “Coffee that I’ve been loving recently include Buesaco, which will gives you beautiful sweetness and fruitiness in a cup.”
UPDATE: While the company is currently sold out of that exact blend, their San Cristóbal Cucho is another excellent choice that not only upholds Workshop's pristine flavor profile with the help of yellow plum and cinnamon to help this coffee finish on a delicious caramel note.
Hudak’s choices didn’t end there though, and he wanted to give a totally different alternative for those who prefer a sharper tone in their roast. “For an opposite profile,” he explains, “I would go for something lighter and fresher processed with a washed method and coming from Ethiopia or Kenya.”
The Ethiopia Metad Buku Washed blend he chose not only lives up to those qualities, it delivers"persistent sweetness, juicy fruit flavors, and complex floral notes" and is produced by smallholder growers so you're not only getting a tasty blend, you're supporting a more ethical business model.
UPDATE: The Metad Buku is now sold out, but Intelligentsia has a delicious Summer Solstice Blend we also recommend.
Next up we had a chat with the experts at Coffeekiwi.com, whose website and Instagram help coffee drinkers sift through the endless options available to find the perfect drink for them. Despite those myriad choices, their top pick came easy with Ozone.
“One of the best coffee brands available for those needing to order online while stuck at home would have to be Ozone,” they explained. "Ozone has always followed the path of coffee and hospitality. They are committed to all facets of coffee excellence. Their online shop continuously brings out a massive selection of specialty coffee, catering to many taste preferences, as well as the variety of brewing methods people use at home.”
We next talked to Addi Jenkins of the Colorado-based company First Ascent Coffee who, comprised of three longtime coffee experts, “roast, taste, and package all of the coffee themselves” to ensure the consumer gets their ideal cup for whatever activity they’re facing that day from working at home to climbing a mountain like that on which they’re situated.
Addi went a slightly different route in suggesting the brand’s Ethiopian blend instant coffee, a product named “Best All Around” coffee from Outside Magazine that Addi promises “has the punch you want for outdoor adventures, but it's also great fuel for these quarantine days.” If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up without the hassle of roasting, this is the caffeinated buzz-getting for you.
For those who like their coffee blonde, the XO Espresso Icon Blend claims to complement the dairy drink addition wonderfully while providing a “well-structured” flavor with a “creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel.”
The company’s founder David Mclennan, a barista with over 20 years of experience who started his craft on a small cart on a beach in Australia, tells us:
“I love this coffee because it’s so versatile and has nuanced flavors we cherish each morning. Regardless of which home brewing style, I know the Icon will not disappoint. To me, it’s a genuine expression of the coffee roaster’s craft.”
Like many on this list, the blend is available in several different forms whether whole bean or pre-ground so grab a bag if tasting notes like toffee and pralines tickle your caffeinated fancy.
Chen Dien is a barista who got their start in the U.S. coffee capital of Seattle. First working for Starbucks before moving on to local chains, Chen has now opened Coffeeholic House where they serve Vietnamese coffee beverages and live by the ethos that “every coffee drink is a masterpiece.”
“We’re a Vietnamese-focused cafe and we chose to serve exclusively Nguyen Coffee Supply beans,” Chen tells us of their choice when it comes to supplier, through which they prefer the Loyalty blend to use at the espresso bar at Coffeeholic. They continue, “With them, not only do we get a top notch product, while during what we love, we are supporting businesses of the farmers in Vietnam as well.”
Anther upside: If you like and decide to repurchase the coffee, you can opt in to their subscription service and bundle to save money.
We’re rounding out this list with a couple of personal recommendations, starting with Cafe Du Monde.
Anyone who has visited the famous café in New Orleans knows how the delicious of their signature beignets is enhanced by this delicious coffee and chicory blend. Bring it home to brew with a stockpile of six cans from Amazon at under $40.
It’s the perfect dark companion to any sweet treat, particularly baked goods and pastries, so enjoy alongside your breakfast or dessert with equal pleasure.
Bones Coffee has been making waves for a while now, especially thanks to their innovative marketing and gorgeous artwork on every label. Their interesting flavor profiles offer up a novel experience for any drinker who enjoys an unconventional cup, so pick up a five bag sample pack in which you can choose your own flavors from options like Holy Cannoli, Mint Invaders, Highland Grog, Coconut Rum, and many others to build your perfect starter kit.