Many of us share an intimate attachment with coffee and there are plenty of options for us to pick from. Some of us prefer the one that is right in front of us and it is convenient as well. But some people like to put in the effort to research and find the best options.
While buying coffee, people generally have three qualifiers: Price, taste, and the third one, which mostly affects our consumer choices on a subconscious level, is the popularity of the brands.
Now, popularity differs for each brand. Some brands can be intrinsically bad in their business practices but because of clever marketing, they are the ones consumers buy the most from. Then, there are brands you and I might not know at all about but have excellent product quality and ethical business models.
We have picked the top 10 coffee brands around the world that have been around for a while that you might be familiar with.
Founded in 1971 at Seattle, Washington
Everyone knows about Starbucks, thanks to their aggressive marketing and shrewd advertising techniques. But, does everyone like Starbucks coffee? The answer differs.
The brand is not known for sourcing and roasting the best coffee beans. Most of their coffee beans are dark roasted, meaning, they taste bitter. And many consumers, who know their coffee, complain that Starbucks coffee has a distinct burnt taste.
But that is okay with the company. The company knows what the average consumers like – caffeine. And, their coffees contain a high amount of caffeine. And, Starbucks keeps coming up with blended and modified versions of their coffee. Thanks to regular tasting panels, the company knows just how much tweaking it takes to target the average consumers.
Plus, Starbucks gives you a lot of options to choose from. And according to its official sources, it does offer gourmet coffees, but that might not be the one you get from them daily.
Besides, the company is trying to be more eco-friendly. They are introducing more plant-based meal options, shifting away from single-use cups, and trying to manage their wastage better and…let's hope that's the beginning of something extraordinary.
2 Dunkin' Doughnuts
Founded in 1950 at Canton, Massachusetts
Dunkin' is not as big a brand as Starbucks but they are second in line in the number of stores. But yes, the coffee Dunkin' offers is surely somewhat superior to Starbucks. For instance, Dunkin' does not have the signature burnt taste in coffee as Starbucks does. The coffee is also cheaper.
The key difference between the two companies is that Dunkin' is more of a traditional eatery while Starbucks is a premium coffee house with greater scope to customise and choose from an extensive menu.
The cool thing about Dunkin', though, is that you get free doughnuts sometimes.
3 Costa Coffee
Founded in 1971 at London, United Kingdom
Costa coffee is one of the largest coffee chains in Britain. Having its presence in more than 31 countries worldwide, it has more than 3000 outlets serving coffee with around 18 thousand branches in the whole world.
Costa coffees are medium roasted, which makes them smoother, sweeter, and nuttier.
Founded in 1993 at Melbourne, Australia
Owned by McDonald's, McCafe is one of the leading coffee chains in countries like Australia and New Zealand. McCafé enjoys the benefit of having a vast presence (Because let's face it, McDonald's is everywhere!) As McDonald's expands worldwide, there is a decent chance of McCafé doing the same.
The coffee here, however, is freshly brewed every 30 minutes, so it is never stale. And although it is medium roasted, it has a bitter taste although has flavours options to add with the coffee.
You see, the lighter roasted coffee is, the more flavourful it tends to get. So, when having a coffee at McCafé, prepare to get the nutty aftertaste.
Besides, the coffees are cheap.
5 Peet's Coffee
Founded in 1966 at California, United States
Peet's coffee is said to be fairly stronger than the coffee Starbucks serves so it might not be for everyone. Peet's has a long history of serving darker roasted Arabica coffee. The coffee supposedly has a variety of flavours .
If you are someone who cannot stand the burnt taste in coffee, maybe you will like Peet's. Also, the store layout is traditional and the brand maintains a good relationship with its supply chain (aka, the farmers).
Founded in 1938 at Switzerland
If there is another coffee everyone has heard of, it is Nescafe. It's present almost anywhere in the globe. The instant coffee by Nescafe is unbeatable, not so much by taste as it is for availability.
As for the taste, it sure is not the best instant coffee. Plus, the immediate rejuvenating feeling you get after a cup of Nescafe, tends to wear off within an hour or two.
One of the main reasons Nescafe is so popular is because of its host company Nestle. Nestle used its deep pockets and smart marketing to get Nescafe everywhere around the world. Distribution support matters in the coffee world!
7 Bru Coffee
Launched in 1968 at India
Originated in India, Bru is perhaps one of the largest competitors of Nescafe is South Asia. Bru is not all coffee though, it is a graceful mix of coffee and chicory.
With the authentic taste and regular launching of newer instant coffee options, Bru deserves to be on our list of top 10.
8 Gloria Jean's Coffees
Founded in 1979 at Australia
Gloria Jean's has definitely a more prominent presence within Australia with more than 450 outlets. But, that does not mean it's doing badly globally either. It has around a thousand stores worldwide and Bangladesh is one of them.
About the coffee, it has got fairly good quality coffee but nothing that you would remember for a long time.
9 Tim Horton's
Founded in 1964 in Ontario, Canada
Being one of the oldest coffee brands, Tim Horton's cafes have more of a traditional setting. It is a fast-food chain with less customizable coffee options.
And that is exactly why so many people adore the place. If you are someone who prefers their coffee with simple sugar and cream, you might love what Tim Horton's has to offer.
And, they have doughnuts!
Introduced in 1850 at the United States
Folgers is one of the most iconic coffee brands in the United States. The brand is well known for their ground coffee and is thought to have revolutionised the idea of it as well.
The coffee is not extraordinary in its taste, maybe mediocre at best. But, if brewed properly, you can get a modest cup of coffee. Besides, if you cannot afford anything better, Folger's is not bad at all.
But wait, there's more:
So, there it was – the list. Now, let's talk about the more sustainable options. Do you know what makes a brand great? Is it just the popularity or what the brand really stands for?
Most of the successful brands, unfortunately, care too little about the workers, the farmers, or about fair and minimum wage. Some of them could not care less about the environment, the planet, and all of its inhabitants.
But the good news is, some brands are just the contrary. They are sustainable, innovative, and will blow your mind!
Larry's is one of the really unique brands out there. Their shade-grown, organic coffee is delicious and does not lack flavours. If there is something that outstands that is how they conduct business.
With the solar water heated floors, rainwater driven restrooms, natural day-lighting, zone heating, composting, rainwater harvesting, edible gardens at their roastery, and much more, they are one of the best sustainable, fair-trade coffee brands out there! And, affordable as well.
They also serve their coffee in fully recyclable BPA free cups!
A shade-grown, authentic coffee brand that gives back to their community. Their coffee is certified organic and they also have decaffeinated options for you to choose from!
Their coffee comes in recyclable and compostable packaging and the brand cares deeply about a sustainable future.
Do you ever wonder where your coffee comes from? With Ethical Bean, you can literally trace your coffee and learn all about it!
The coffee the brand offers is seasonally sourced and tastes great. They also have a fair-trade business model and the cost of production is covered during payment.
And, there are plenty more to name: Equal Exchange, Salt Spring, Conscious Coffees, Grumpy Mule, Café Direct – these are one of the few sustainable brands out there that care more than just profit.
We hope you enjoyed the list and now perhaps it is time to go learn more about coffee, you do not really have to be a connoisseur to do that.