Fair-trade, sustainable coffee beans

By Sean Timberlake

What do you know about that cup of coffee besides the name of the barista who handed it to you? Crop to Cup's got a real story to tell, a story about how your coffee gets to you, and the people along the way who make it worthwhile. The website introduces families in East Africa who actually grow your coffee, and you can be part of the story by ordering some of the farm-fresh beans. Signature Uganda Bugisu beans offer delicate notes of honey and toast, while JuJu Espresso’s floral, hoppy flavor gives way to a pleasingly light body and mild flavor. Glossy, dark French Roast beans have a strong bouquet of chocolate, cherries, and dark fruit, producing a mellow, rich brew. You can even go the DIY route and order green beans to roast yourself at home for maximum freshness. Regardless of how you drink your joe, with Crop to Cup you know good coffee comes from good people.

Toast to the roast

Although the origin of the coffee bean dictates many of its characteristics, the roasting is what really changes the flavor. Here's the general rule: The darker the roast, the more bitter and smoky tones come to rise as the original acidity fades. Darker roasting also reduces the caffeine level in the beans.