Some of us live in a quirky neighborhood full of broke artists and artisanal coffee houses. Some of us walk past an indie coffee roasters advertising their brand new single origin on the way to work. Some of us have a barista roommate who goes on and on about the fire coffee beans he just got from Costa Rica.
Some of us are lucky like that. Most of us, however, aren’t.
Who is this for?
If you’ve ever wondered any of the following things then this article is for you.
Can I get nice coffee beans delivered from the internet?
Which is the best coffee bean I can get in the aisle of coffee at my grocery store?
I’m sick of Folgers, what’s the next step?
Is there a way for me to get some hot independent coffee roasters coffee?
What’s a great coffee bean brand that I can consistently rely on?
I’m going to select 5 bags of coffee that will fulfill every need you might have. Just three necessities. It’s commercially produced, able to be delivered in a day or two from amazon and it’s great coffee.
I’ve chosen a mix of independent startup coffee roasters, ultra-famous and ultra-popular European coffee beans, and some from the more widespread commercial coffee shops.
A quick note: this article is focusing on convenience. This coffee is going to be mass produced and mass delivered which means it’ll be super simple for you to get bag delivered to your door in two clicks but at some expense of taste. In particular, these coffee beans will not be freshly roasted as you might like. If taste trumps everything for you, look at finding a good local roaster who can help you or take a look at some of the Third Wave online roasters.
What is important?
I’m only going to recommend excellent quality coffee beans. Some of these brands you will probably have seen or heard of before because full scale coffee shops use them. In particular you may have seen the red Lavazza logo or the blue Illy logo in your local coffee shop. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that coffee beans roasted on a large scale will be lacking in quality, these coffees are really, really good.
The beans in this list are all available to buy on Amazon and are all available to be delivered in a day or two. The idea of making this list is to give all types of coffee drinker a quick reference to coffee beans that are available with a few touches of the keyboard.
In addition to being convenient, I want to choose coffee that is likely to be sold in coffee shops and grocery stores. In a way, it’s kind of the list I wish I had known about many years ago. If I knew that certain bags were always a solid bet I could’ve saved myself some dubious purchases. Personally, I know when I’m out and about that a Lavazza sign means good coffee. This is even more useful to know when you’re abroad and the coffee quality can be up and down.
If these three things sound good, then let’s get to it.
Whole bean vs preground
I have also only selected whole bean coffee. You can buy most of these preground too but only for espresso or drip usually.
The problem is buying preground is only really acceptable if it’s ground in front of you the day you buy it. Buying preground over the internet means it was ground weeks or even months ago, it’s vacuum packed but you’re still losing freshness. You’re also limited to your grind size when you buy online- usually only espresso is available. When you buy in person you can tell them what grind you need.
My advice – get a grinder worthy of making coffee or find somewhere local that sells good coffee and will grind for you.
One final note, I’ve selected 2.2lb / 1kg bags where available. I find this the most practical size when ordering online.
Lavazza are a huge name that came from humble beginnings in Torino, Italy in 1895. The Lavazza Qualita Oro is their signature coffee, a medium roast 100% Arabica blend that they claim is ‘an intense, aromatic blend’ that contains the ‘pleasant floral hint which is typical of Central American coffee’.
The Qualita Oro is a personal favorite. A smooth tasting blend that is likely to appeal to all coffee drinkers. Not the most adventurous taste, but if you’re looking for quality coffee that’s low in bitterness and acidity then you’ve found the one.
This will taste fantastic for espresso style or brewed coffee and would be my number 1 choice if you’re using it with a French Press.
Death Wish coffee was the brainchild of a coffee shop owner in Saratoga, NY who saw his customers needed something far stronger than what he could serve. Only in existence since 2012, the Death Wish blend’s main feature is its highly caffeinated content. It has been formulated to contain twice as much caffeine as regular coffee!
Death Wish uses a blend of beans from Central America, South America and India.
You’re getting a rich and full bodied coffee with notes of ‘cherry and chocolate’. The beans they use are Fair Trade, organic and the blend is roasted in the US – so you’re getting top marks for ethics.
The taste is strong and burnt and the higher caffeine content is very noticeable. It’s higher Robusta bean content is tangible. I’d actually discourage you from buying if you’re sensitive to caffeine or prefer lighter flavors. Not the smoothest coffee and not one I’d drink every day, but it’s certainly an experience. And if you like your coffee strong, bold and roasted as dark as night, then this one is perfect.
Illy are another big name who have their origins in Italy, many, many years ago. This Medium Roast is their most popular blend which Illy claims has the ‘quintessential balance of strength and smoothness, with distinct aromas of chocolate, toast, caramel and a light flowers.’
This, like the Lavazza, is a widely produced and sold coffee. You’re as likely to find it in the grocery stores of urban California as in a backwater town in Paraguay. This is another great tasting blend that used to be one of my go-to’s, and still is something I’ll buy from time to time.
A company that needs no introduction, for better or worse. I’m no great fan of the coffee served at Starbucks, but the beans they sell are pretty damn good.
I included this for two reasons. Firstly, most people live near a Starbucks. So popping along to pick up the Veranda Blend or a number of their other good coffee beans is a convenient option. Secondly, I wanted at least one option of a widely available light roast. Sad to say, it’s not the hot trend in the way dark roast seems to be these days.
The light (or blonde, in Starbucks sales speak) roast has a much shorter roasting time than either a medium or dark roast. This keeps in more of the natural flavor and taste of the coffee bean which roasting destroys – making for a brighter coffee that tends to highlight fruitier notes.
If I do have to pick up some beans from a Starbuck’s – which is, admittedly, rare these days – I’ll tend to go for this one. They sell a few other decent options, the French Roast and Verona Roast are two more that I can vouch for.
5. Koffee Kult
Another hot startup selling a ‘kickass’ dark roast? Well that just seems to be the in-thing among coffee beans right now. You can find hundreds of startup coffee roasters riding the coat-tails of the famous Death Wish coffee.
This coffee is made by the dubiously alliterative Koffee Kult. Where the Death Wish sells itself on high caffeine the Koffee Kult sells itself on bold flavors. A smooth and heavy dark roast laced with notes of cinnamon, this makes for a delicious coffee.
In my opinion this is a nicer coffee than the Death Wish. It still retains the richness and full body of a dark roast but has a smoother palate and is much more accessible to those who aren’t looking to blow their heads off with caffeine.
Koffee Kult make a number of other roasts that are well regarded. Their Colombian Huila is a very good coffee and more suitable for those looking for a softer, smoother taste.
Enjoy the article? Absolutely hate it? Please comment and/or share. I’d love to hear from you.