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Critical Eats Employees-Favourite Coffees

Life is simply too quick to accept mediocre espresso, and right here at Critical Eats we undoubtedly have sturdy opinions about the perfect methods to caffeinate. However there’s nobody excellent espresso that may match everybody’s taste preferences—that’s why we compiled this listing of staff-favorite picks from roasters round the US. We would not all agree on which luggage are the perfect to snag, however there’s one factor we’re on the identical web page about: One of the best ways to drink espresso is to seek out your private faves and by no means accept the dregs (except, after all, that’s what you’re into). 

So, in case you’re searching for a brand new espresso to attempt (or are simply interested by what’s in our mugs every morning), here is a listing of our tried-and-true picks.

Mom Tongue Espresso

Oh boy, the place to begin? Espresso is a continuing in my home, and after 16 years within the specialty espresso trade, I’ve acquired too many private favorites—and buddy, you’re going to listen to about all of them. I’ve acquired a standing subscription from Vignette Coffee Roasters in Greensboro, North Carolina. Their inexperienced sourcing is top-notch (particularly high-elevation Colombias), and I feel their roasting model brings out unbelievable sweetness. My standby is their Rose Glass Blend for a lighter body espresso (Brilliant! Juicy! Candy!), however I really like being stunned by their roaster’s alternative subscription for my morning pourover.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

I’m additionally an enormous fan of Mother Tongue Coffee, which was based by a former coworker of mine. They roast on the lighter facet of issues, which highlights the distinctive and complicated flavors of their single-origin choices. My native cafe normally shares luggage from Sweet Bloom and George Howell Coffee, too, and each of these roasters actually nail candy, clear taste profiles; I’m joyful to seize a bag (or two) each time they’re on the shelf.  — Jesse Raub, commerce author

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender


My go-to for espresso is Stumptown Hairbender. As I’ve discovered from Jesse Raub, it is a basic espresso medium-dark roast, and I have been utilizing it for my day by day latte for years (and so have my dad and mom). It is also extensively out there, which I admire. In my space, I can simply (after all) purchase it on-line, but in addition discover it at Complete Meals and Goal (the latter has pretty outdated roasted-on dates). For drip coffee, I have a tendency to purchase no matter appears good regionally. I stay in Amherst, MA and my favourite native espresso joint is Share. If I am out of espresso once I swing by, I will decide up a bag of their Daily Driver. — Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, senior commerce editor

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Counter Culture Coffee Single-Origin Subscription

Counter Tradition Espresso

I’ve by no means had a robust loyalty to anybody roaster, although my tastes lean medium-to-light on the roast spectrum when ingesting my espresso black, which is nearly all the time (I cannot tolerate darkish roasts except there’s numerous milk concerned). Whereas I’ve cherished beans from many areas, I am notably keen on East African espresso. That mentioned, when the pandemic hit again in 2020, I arrange a month-to-month single-origin coffee subscription from Counter Culture simply to make sure an everyday provide of beans at residence, and I am nonetheless receiving these at present. They ship completely different beans every month, virtually all the time both African or from coffee-growing zones within the Americas, so I get some variety with out having to consider it. I’ve extra just lately yearned to department out a bit (I had a few glorious special-edition luggage from Stumptown a number of months in the past that I occurred to seize at an area store after working low on my Counter Tradition provide at residence), however up to now I am unable to muster the power to go about switching issues up, and I am joyful sufficient with my subscription that I in all probability will not any time quickly. Daniel Gritzer, senior culinary director

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain Whole Bean Coffee

Stumptown Espresso

I am an enormous Stumptown gal! Anytime I see it in shops, I am grabbing a contemporary bag. On days there may be much less urgency to my coffee-chugging, I have been into Holler Mountain. In any other case, once I’m frantic, I, like many of the remainder of this group, want to take Hair Bender straight to the face. — Tess Koman, senior editorial director

Critical Eat / Jesse Raub

Borealis Guatemala Huehuetenango Coffee


I am the black sheep right here, as most days I brew and drink a crappy cup of espresso (learn the merits of this practice here). What can I say, I am a creature of (my poor school pupil days) behavior. That mentioned, every so often I’ll splurge on a flowery bag of espresso from Borealis, one among my favourite native roasters and cafes. It prices a bit greater than my standard day by day espresso, however I actually love their Guatemala Huehuetenango, which is nutty and mellow, with a bit fruity chocolate notice shining by. — Grace Kelly, affiliate commerce editor

Critical Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

Trade Gimme Coffee Leftist Espresso


Our espresso life consists of drip within the morning and espressos within the afternoon, and we’ve developed very specific preferences for each. I am keen on the Japan Mix and the Mexico Oaxaca Mix from Brooklyn Roasting Company, each of which produce wonderful drip coffee. For espresso beans, I stroll over to my favourite native espresso store, About Coffee, and purchase a bag of Gimme Coffee’s Leftist Espresso, which is mixed from natural, truthful commerce, single-origin beans from Peru and Guatemala. It’s additionally a pleasant bonus that About Espresso provides you a free small cup of drip espresso if you purchase a bag of beans. — Jacob Dean, former updates editor

Critical Eats / Ashley Rodriguez

Weird Brothers Coffee Embrace The Dark Side

Bizarre Brothers Espresso

I all the time love supporting native companies, particularly in the case of espresso. As a former barista at Weird Brothers Coffee in Herndon, VA, I’ve to provide them a shoutout! They roast their very own beans and provide single-origin choices, blends, compostable espresso pods, and even sampler bins. I am a fan of one among their OG darkish roast blends known as Embrace the Dark Side that I prefer to brew daring at residence.—Yasmine Maggio, affiliate editor


What’s the perfect espresso to purchase? 

Everybody’s espresso preferences are distinctive, so it’s essential to attempt completely different choices from a variety of roasters to seek out out what you want. Espresso will get its taste from how the timber had been grown on the farm, how the espresso cherries had been processed to take away the seeds, and the way these espresso seeds had been roasted—with a lot variation, it may be tough to navigate. That’s why additionally advocate subscription companies like Trade Coffee and Beanz which have questionnaires to assist match you with the correct espresso on your style preferences. 

What’s one of the simplest ways to brew espresso?

There’s nobody proper option to brew espresso, however there are some key components to remember. To begin, you want a constant grind dimension that’s solely achievable with a high-quality burr grinder. You additionally want a brew technique that may warmth water to 200ºF, like a high-end drip coffee maker, but when that’s out of your worth vary, guide espresso strategies like pourover, French press, or moka pots provide you with direct management over brew temperature as properly. Lastly, you want the correct ratio of espresso to water, which you’ll obtain through the use of a coffee scale.

Why We’re the Consultants 

  • Jesse Raub is Critical Eats’ commerce author and spent over 15 years working within the specialty espresso trade. He is our in-house espresso professional and recurrently checks espresso gear for this website.
  • He’s spent many hours chatting with the Critical Eats group about their day by day brewing habits so he can dole out suggestions and tips for higher espresso at residence. For this piece, he surveyed the Critical Eats group about their favourite coffees.

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