Two Colombian coffees with complex, fruity flavors created the most buzz among a panel of taste testers who brewed over a thousand cups of coffees to crown the winning cups of Joe.
According to the coffee cuppers at Consumer Reports, the winning brews were Gloria Jean's Colombian Supremo Medium Roast - described by the company as having a bright acidity, rich aroma and hint of caramel - and Newman's Own Organics Colombian Especial, a lighter roasted coffee that's also Fair Trade.
Testers sampled 23 coffees, including three Colombian K-Cup products.
"The new Colombian champs offered fairly complex, well-balanced flavors that our experts found stronger and fruitier than the flavors of most others we tasted," said Gayle Williams, deputy health editor of Consumer Reports.
In surprising results, Walmart's Great Value 100% Colombian Medium scored on par with a premium brand from Starbucks but rings in at a fraction of the price.
The big box brand also beat out America's best-selling generic brands Folgers and Maxwell House in its flavor profile and was deemed stronger, fruitier and more aromatic in character than its grocery store rivals.
The test found that K-Cups - or single-brew coffees that require special coffee makers - were more expensive than traditional packaged coffee but only fared a lukewarm "Good" in tests.
For a primer on coffee, the report also offers some helpful tips on the art of coffee brewing and drinking.
Consider your taste: As a general rule, Colombian can be strong in flavor and aromatically intense with moderate complexity. Ethiopian tends to be more complex and bitter.
Colombian K-Cups were not complex and had more off-notes than others.
Weigh freshness against convenience: Grind coffee at home for a fresher cup. K-Cups may be convenient, but they also proved less impressive.
Choose a good coffeemaker: The Cooks CM4221, sold at JCPenney, was a Consumer Reports Best Buy for its ability to reach 195 F (90 C) to 205 F (96 C), the ideal temperature for the perfect brew. Retail price is $40 (€28).
Keep up the maintenance: Clean the coffeemaker and grinder regularly.
Full results of the coffee tests are available in the September issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands now.