I'll admit to having been in two minds about writing a guide to the best coffee beans on Amazon. I mean, I'm always encouraging you guys to buy freshly roasted coffee beans from small, independent roasters.
I’ll admit to having been in two minds about writing a guide to the best coffee beans on Amazon. I mean, I’m always encouraging you guys to buy freshly roasted coffee beans from small, independent roasters.
However, I’m fully aware that lots of folks don’t have local access to high-quality coffee. Besides, there’s no escaping the fact that shopping for just about anything on Amazon is so darn easy and convenient.
As it turns out, there’s an abundance of high-quality coffee available on Amazon, ranging from exotic single origin beans to super-popular blends. So, I decided to order a bunch of different options to test out for you.
Oh, and just so you know, I tried to be as objective as possible. So, my list of the best coffee beans on Amazon includes best sellers that aren’t necessarily to my taste. That said, I made sure to include a few options I was already familiar with. I mean, I wanted to have fun!
Table of Contents
- At a Glance
- Should You Buy Coffee Beans on Amazon?
- What to ConsiderRoast ProfileSingle Origin vs BlendOrganic vs Non-OrganicWhole Bean vs GroundQuantity and Price
- My Top PicksStumptown Holler MountainBean Box Gourmet Coffee SamplerBlue Bottle DecafCounter Culture Coffee Big TroubleIntelligentsia Black Cat EspressoLavazza Super CremaDeath Wish Coffee Dark RoastKicking Horse Coffee Kick Ass
- Final Thoughts
Best Coffee Beans on Amazon at a Glance
Here’s a quick look at the coffee beans I bought on Amazon to test out for you.
Should You Buy Coffee Beans on Amazon?
In an ideal world, everyone would have easy access to freshly roasted, high-quality coffee beans. However, that’s just not the case. And let’s face it, supermarkets aren’t known for offering a wide range of sustainably sourced coffee beans.
So, if your local options include the supermarket or nothing, then ordering beans from Amazon might seem like a no-brainer.
With that said, ordering coffee from Amazon is far from ideal, even if you’ve found organic and fair trade beans. That’s because Amazon products sometimes sit in warehouses for weeks at a time. And as we know, coffee should really be consumed within a couple of weeks after it’s been roasted.
As an alternative to buying coffee beans on Amazon, consider buying direct from a small roaster. Pretty much all of them now ship nationwide, and you shouldn’t have to wait for more than a few days after the roast date to receive your package.
Buying Coffee Beans on Amazon: What to Consider
As we’ve established, there are plenty of benefits as well as quite a few drawbacks to buying coffee on Amazon. Still, seeing as there’s just so much coffee on Amazon, it’d probably be a good idea to narrow your search a little before hitting the “Buy Now” button.
Sure, you won’t be able to taste the coffee before buying. However, by taking a few things into consideration you’ll increase your chances of getting something you like.
In all likelihood you’ll know which roast profile you prefer, whether dark, medium or light. With that in mind, you should pay close attention to the roaster’s description on Amazon.
Coffee beans with a light roast profile are usually brighter and fruitier, seeing as the roaster pulls the beans right after first crack. I like to think of light roast as being “transparent” in that it allows the coffee’s inherent qualities to shine through.
If you prefer something with chocolate and caramel notes, look for a medium roast. Coffee beans with this profile spend a little longer in the roaster, so their natural sugars are further caramelized. I find that medium roast coffee beans are ideal for use in a drip coffee maker or home espresso machine.
Finally, dark roast coffee beans will be sweet, smokey and low in acidity. Some folks absolutely love dark roast coffee, while others find that it tastes burnt and bitter. What can I say? Vive la difference!
Single Origin vs Blend
Choosing between single origin beans and a coffee blend really comes down to the experience you want.
For example, if I’m preparing a pour-over I’ll always use whichever single origin coffee beans I happen to have on hand. I love being able to identify the unique flavors present in a coffee that’s been grown in one specific place.
On the other hand, I usually prefer making espresso with a complex blend that’s been crafted with espresso preparation in mind. That’s just me, though – there are plenty of folks who just love making single origin espresso.
In nutshell, single origin coffee beans are usually more “interesting,” while blends are more well-rounded and moderate. I say make sure to always have one of each!
Organic vs Non-Organic
This is a tricky one, and not as straightforward as it might seem. Sure, when you’re buying certified organic coffee beans you can be sure that no chemical fertilizers or pesticides were used during production. However, it’s important to know that coffee farmers have to jump through a ton of hoops to get the certification. And that requires a substantial financial investment.
So, as you might imagine, getting organic certification isn’t realistic for most small-scale coffee farmers.
However, that doesn’t mean that many non-certified producers aren’t growing coffee without chemicals and fertilizers. In fact, more and more specialty coffee farms are making huge efforts in terms of promoting biodiversity and best practices. It’s just that they can’t label their product as being certified organic.
Fortunately, many coffee roasters will include detailed descriptions of the producer, farm and how the coffee was grown. By taking the time to do your homework, you’ll likely get a clear picture of what you’re buying.
Whole Bean vs Ground
Let me be clear: these days, there’s absolutely no excuse for buying pre-ground coffee.
As I’m sure you know, coffee starts losing its aroma immediately after being ground. So even if ground coffee comes in a fancy package it’s going to be halfway stale by the time you start brewing with it.
Listen, I get that not everyone can afford a decent burr coffee grinder. However, having recently updated my manual coffee grinder guide, I can tell you there are plenty of very affordable, portable and effective hand grinders out there.
So, always buy whole bean coffee. Oh, and do yourself a favor by getting hold of a coffee storage container. That way you’ll maximize the life of your beans, even if they’ve been sitting in an Amazon warehouse.
Quantity and Price
While it’s not always the case that expensive coffee beans are going to be better, I’m always a little suspicious of coffee that seems overly cheap.
Sure, it might be the case that what you consider to be the best coffee beans on Amazon are priced very low. However, bear in mind that too many coffee farmers are paid a pittance for their product by big corporations.
In my experience, paying a little more will give you peace of mind, especially if the roaster can prove that it has paid a premium to the producers.
As far as how much coffee you should order, think about how quickly you’ll go through it. While it may be tempting to buy in bulk and save a few bucks, you could end up with a bunch of stale coffee beans if you only drink one or two cups a day.
The Best Coffee Beans on Amazon: My Top Picks
Stumptown Holler Mountain
Roast Level: Medium-light
Origin: Central and South America, East Africa
Tasting Notes: Citrus, caramel, hazelnut
Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Stumptown Coffee Roasters has become one of the most popular and successful third wave roasters in the United States.
An early pioneer of direct trade coffee sourcing, Stumptown still prides itself on its ethical and uncompromising business practices. Even if a majority of the company is now owned by JAB Holding Company.
One of this roaster’s most popular offerings is its Holler Mountain Blend, a 12-ounce bag of which retails for $14.98 on Amazon.
Aside from being ethically sourced, the beans in Holler Mountain are 100% Arabica and certified organic. Plus, there’s a clearly labeled roast date on the bag, which is often missing from coffee beans on Amazon.
This versatile blend is suitable for just about any preparation method, although I found it worked best for pour-over and automatic drip. And while Holler Mountain is on the lighter side of medium roast, it has plenty of body and a pleasant, syrupy mouthfeel.
I particularly enjoyed the distinctive caramel and hazelnut notes in this coffee, both of which were complimented by a long citrus zest finish. Overall, Holler Mountain is satisfyingly complex while being very approachable as a daily drinker.
Bean Box Gourmet Coffee Sampler
Roast Level: Light to dark
Tasting Notes: Various
If you like the idea of rolling the dice and seeing what comes your way, the Bean Box Gourmet Coffee Sampler will be right up your alley. In fact, I’d say that this is the best way to buy small-lot single origin coffees on Amazon.
That said, the whole point is that you get what you’re given, namely four sample bags from four different roasters.
For example, I received a couple of medium roast single origins, each of which I’d buy again. However, I also got a couple of darker blends that weren’t really to my taste. Still, that’s part of the fun, right!
Costing $28.99, the Bean Box Gourmet Coffee Sampler is good value, considering what you get. And while I’m not the biggest fan of coffee marketplaces, it’s not like you have to sign up. In fact, once you find a roaster you like, I’d recommend going through its website next time.
Either way, this sampler might get you out of your comfort zone, which is usually a good thing. What’s more, it’d make a superb gift for the coffee lover in your life!
Blue Bottle Decaf
Roast Level: Dark
Origin: Latin America, Central Africa
Tasting Notes: Toasted almond, vanilla, key lime
Originally hailing from Oakland, California, Blue Bottle Coffee was another of the third wave pioneers during the early 2000s. While Blue Bottle is now mostly owned by Nestlé, the company maintains eco-friendly and sustainable business practices.
I felt like it would be a good idea to feature a decaf option on my list of the best coffee beans on Amazon, and quickly selected Blue Bottle Decaf.
While I don’t drink decaf very often, I’d tried this coffee before and knew how good it was. Trust me, a 12-ounce (340-gram) bag of Blue Bottle Decaf is worth every penny of its $15.99 price tag.
Comprising a blend of certified organic coffee beans from Latin America and Africa, Blue Bottle Decaf displays minimal smokiness for such a dark roast.
I detected notes of almond, chocolate and licorice when I made pour-over, and enjoyed a pleasant brightness on the back end. I’d say that those who love cream or non-dairy milk in their decaf coffee will be onto a winner here.
Counter Culture Coffee Big Trouble
Roast Level: Medium
Origin: South America, Oceania
Tasting Notes: Dark chocolate, caramel
You have to hand it to the founders of Counter Culture Coffee – these guys were promoting sustainability and producer relationships way before third wave coffee became a thing. What’s more, they’re still offering a wide range of equitable and transparently traded coffee beans.
While you can buy a couple of the brand’s single origin offerings on Amazon, I decided to try out Big Trouble, which is a blend of coffees from South America and Papua New Guinea.
Costing $16.49 for a 12-ounce (340-gram) bag, Big Trouble is Counter Culture’s most popular blend, and it’s easy to see why. Featuring a medium-dark roast profile, Big Trouble is a real easy-drinker that tastes great as drip, French press or espresso.
During my testing, this coffee definitely delivered on its caramel and chocolate promise. I also enjoyed its hint of smokiness and full-bodied structure. Overall, Counter Culture Big Trouble is a crowd pleaser that everyone will love, whether they take cream and sugar or prefer a straight cup of joe.
Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso
Roast Level: Medium
Origin: South and Central America
Tasting Notes: Dark chocolate, marshmallow, raw sugar
Like Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Chicago-based Intelligentsia was an integral player in the third wave coffee revolution during the late 90s and early 2000s. And Intelligentsia is now majority-owned by the same corporate entity that owns Stumptown.
Fortunately, Intelligentsia is still an industry leader when it comes to maintaining long-lasting relationships with coffee producers and paying good money for what they grow. Plus, Intelligentsia sources some truly special coffees from around the world.
I was excited to try Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, which costs an incredibly reasonable $14.99 for a 12-ounce (340-gram) bag. So, I fired up the Breville Bambino Plus I’d recently been testing and got to work pulling some espresso shots.
It wasn’t long before I was getting great results with this medium roast blend. My shots had a lovely aromatic crema, and I picked up notes of dark chocolate, black cherry and molasses.
While I found the espresso to be a little on the thin side, it’ll definitely appeal to those who appreciate that classic third wave espresso flavor profile. There’s a hint of sweetness to this coffee as well as a bright finish with just a smidge of smokiness.
Ultimately, Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso is a fantastic blend that won’t break the bank. Plus, you can feel good about buying this equitable coffee.
Lavazza Super Crema
Roast Level: Medium-dark
Origin: South and Central America, Indonesia
Tasting Notes: Hazelnut, brown sugar
I’m fairly confident that all of you will be familiar with the Lavazza brand. After all, as one of the world’s biggest coffee companies the Italian powerhouse is always prominently displayed in supermarket coffee aisles.
Personally, I tend to avoid buying mass-market coffee beans. Still, I’m fully aware that Lavazza Super Crema is easily one of the most popular choices for coffee beans on Amazon.
Costing $24.97 for a 2.2-pound (1-kilogram) bag, Lavazza Super Crema certainly represents good value. And as its name suggests, this medium roast blend of Arabica and Robusta beans has been crafted specifically for espresso.
With that in mind, I focused on espresso preparation during my testing. I have to say the results were very convincing – my shots were rich and full-bodied, with a hint of smoky sweetness. Plus, the Lavazza beans produced heaps of aromatic crema, thanks to the Robusta beans. Oh, and this coffee produces quite the kick, so don’t say you weren’t warned!
Ultimately, Lavazza Super Crema is ideal for those who prefer Italian-style espresso over trendy third wave coffee. I’d also recommend it for use in super automatic espresso machines, which will do a great job of highlighting its brown sugar and chocolate notes.
Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast
Roast Level: Dark
Origin: South America, Africa, Indonesia
Tasting Notes: Dark chocolate, black cherry
I’ll admit to having been a little afraid to try Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast. For starters, I’m not really a huge fan of super dark roast beans. Plus, any coffee that comes with a warning about it being the world’s strongest coffee gets my heart racing before I’ve even taken a sip.
Still, I know that Death Wish Dark Roast is one of the best-selling coffees on Amazon, so I figured I’d take one for the Coffeeness team.
I prepared this blend of Arabica and Robusta as a pour-over, but I can see it being a great option for automatic drip, French press or cold brew. As it happens, I was surprised at how smooth my cup of coffee was, although there was plenty of smokiness and some bittersweet notes. I particularly enjoyed the long finish, especially once I’d added a little cream.
However, I can attest to the fact that this coffee is very strong indeed. Let’s just say you should sip Death Wish Dark Roast nice and slowly.
I paid $16.48 on Amazon for a 1-pound (454-gram) bag, which isn’t too bad at all. Oh, and you should know that Death Wish Coffee is both Fair Trade Certified and certified USDA Organic, so you can feel good about buying its products.
Kicking Horse Coffee Kick Ass
Roast Level: Dark
Origin: Indonesia, South America
Tasting Notes: Chocolate malt, molasses, licorice
Kicking Horse Coffee is another really popular brand with several medium and dark roast options. I decided to test out Kicking Horse Coffee Kick Ass, which is one of the company’s best-sellers.
Another dark roast coffee, Kick Ass costs $47.48 for a 2.2-pound (1-kilogram) bag. Fortunately, Kick Ass consists of 100% Arabica beans, sustainably sourced from farms in Indonesia and South America. And after having previously endured Death Wish Coffee’s “World’s Strongest Coffee,” I was glad to take a break from caffeine-rich Robusta.
That’s not to say I didn’t get a good buzz from Kicking Horse Kick Ass, it’s just that I didn’t feel like my head was going to explode! Besides, I actually enjoyed this coffee’s notes of cedar, cocoa liqueur and stone fruit. What’s more, by adding a little cream I managed to temper the coffee’s earthy bitterness.
With its deep complexity and long, satisfying finish, Kicking Horse Kick Ass will definitely appeal to fans of dark roast coffee. And although I’m more of a fan of light, fruity coffee beans, I could see myself enjoying this coffee on cold winter mornings.
I’m actually glad that I decided to go ahead with this guide to the best coffee beans on Amazon. Caffeine jitters aside, I had a great time testing all the beans I found, and I was surprised by how many quality roasters are represented on the platform.
Sure, buying coffee on Amazon is far from ideal, not least because it won’t be as fresh as you might like. However, if you’re graduating from crappy supermarket pre-ground to quality whole bean coffee, any of the options on my list will represent a huge step up.
What are the best coffee beans on Amazon in your opinion? Have I missed a roaster that shouldn’t be overlooked? Tell me all about it in the comments section!