For early risers, coffee is practically a food group all its own. But not all brew-it-yourself coffee is created equal–and not all coffee drinkers agree on what makes a brand great. Some choose a brand for the taste, others for the cache and still others for—hello??—the sheer caffeine content. Preferences are reflected in everything from product sales to taste tests. A variety of companies come out on top.
No discussion of coffee would be complete without mentioning Starbucks. This is the company that made “tall” and “grande” part of the coffee-drinking vocabulary. But brand recognition aside, the company consistently ranks on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and also landed on Interbrand’s 2013 list for “Beast Global Green Brands.”
24/7 Wall St.’s fourth-place entry was the surprising Millstone, which made up for sinking sales with a reasonable price per bag and, even better, a plethora of varieties. After all, some people want to be able to choose just the right blend of flavors for their morning cuppa. Millstone also offers organic and fair-trade fans plenty of options, and those trendy choices should keep the company’s popularity from sinking like, well, a millstone.
3 Dunkin’ Donuts
The name may say “Donuts,” but these days, Dunkin’ is best known for its coffee. Never mind the breakfast sandwiches and glazed crullers—customers want what’s brewing at the chain’s nearly 7,000 stores instead. Of course, the price may be high and the taste may be mediocre, but Dunkin’ is doing something right when it comes to sales. Time to make the donuts? More like time to make the dough.
When it comes to coffee crystals, Folgers retains its status as the No. 1 selling ground coffee brand. Who doesn’t know Folgers?—or its popular jingle, “The best part of waking up…is Folgers in your cup.” The brand has a century and a half track record of waking people up—even if Consumer Reports only gave its grocery store varieties “fair” to “good” taste ratings.
1 Green Mountain
When 24/7 Wall St. ran its coffee popularity contest, Vermont-based Green Mountain company came in first. Credit a blend of good taste, strong sales and not-unreasonable prices. But coffee drinkers might be most grateful to Green Mountain for creating the ubiquitous Keurig line of one-shot coffee “cups” that have become synonymous with single-serving coffee machines. Now every self-respecting office has one.