8 Coffee Brands to Avoid

There are so many coffee brands on the market not only in retail stores but also online. How does one possibly choose which one to buy?

Most people have just a couple qualifiers when purchasing their coffee like…

  • Price
  • Taste

However, when buying coffee more than just price and taste should be considered.

There are some “dirty” coffee brands out there and they may be doing harm to not only your body but also our planet.

For this list, we’re using factors such as how the coffee is picked, sustainability practices, the quality of the coffee used, the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and the ethical practices of the company that’s producing it.

Coffee Brands to Avoid



Ground coffee, instant, and pods

folgers brand
This is a huge brand of coffees and is an iconic American brand. Although Folgers (J.M. Smucker) states on their website that they are concerned about sustainability and ethical working conditions, they reject all the common certifications to ensure this is happening.

The coffee supply chain used is not pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide free. They do not offer an organic variety and all their coffee is pre-ground and not fresh.

Although this brand is cheap and convenient, you are getting a poor quality coffee.

Instead choose:

Cafe Don Pablo organic
It’s USDA certified with stunning reviews.

Maxwell House

Ground coffee, instant, and pods

maxwell house
This is another iconic American brand owned by Kraft. Again this brand rejects sustainability certification, fair trade certifications, and does not offer an organic product. Therefore, their coffee may have chemicals and molds present. All their coffee is pre-ground and freshness is an issue.

Instead choose:

Tiny Footprint organic coffee
Carbon negative, with a bold, intense flavor.


Instant and Ground coffee

nescafe coffee
Nescafe is a huge multinational brand of coffee owned by Nestle. We commend Nescafe partnering with for the Rainforest Alliance, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), and the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) to be sure they are following internationally recognized sustainability standards but they do not offer organic certified coffees. Therefore, their coffee’s may contain chemicals and mold. They only offer instant coffees, ground coffee, or pods so again, freshness is a concern.

Instead choose:

Mount Hagen organic fair trade instant coffee.
This highland grown coffee is USDA certified.

Dunkin Donuts

Primarily the grocery store brand

dunkin donuts brand coffee
Dunkin Donuts is a popular coffee shop chain and they serve whole bean and ground coffee at retail locations and online. All of Dunkin’s restaurant made espresso beverages are now Rainforest Alliance certified and about 30% of their dark roast coffee beans. As for the rest of their coffee, it seems like it could be sourced from anywhere. They do not offer organic varieties so their coffee may contain chemicals and molds. The grocery store Dunkin Donuts coffee is produced by J.M. Smucker which is the same as Folgers.

Instead Choose:

Ethical Bean Coffee – Exotic blend
This new coffee is not only USDA organic and Fairtrade, but you can scan the package and learn exactly where your coffee beans came from.


Ground, Instant, and Pods

This Italian brand is popular around the world and according to their website is the 6th largest coffee brand in the world. Unfortunately, Lavazza doesn’t have any certifications regarding the ethical and environmentally friendly sourcing of their coffee beans. It also looks like they don’t have any organic varieties.

Instead Choose:

Illy Caffe
Illy was the world’s first company to receive Responsible Supply Chain certification.

Keurig K-Cups

The disposable pods

k cups
This isn’t a particular brand of coffee apart from their parent company Green Mountain (which, by the way, is a pretty good coffee according to the brand qualifiers we used here) but a brewing method. While convenient for the consumer, this method has created a huge amount of waste sent to landfills each year. The plastic pods cannot be recycled easily by most cities and therefore have to be disposed of. Here’s a good video that further explores the issue. The traditional way to make coffee produces very little waste since coffee grounds are compostable and readily biodegradable.

If you do use a Keurig please consider using the reusable pods that you have to fill with your own ground coffee.

Instead choose:

Nespresso Capsules
If you’re going to use capsules, use only Nespresso-branded. They offer a complete recycling chain, and have thousands of collection depots worldwide.

Seattle’s Best

Whole bean, Ground, Instant, and Pods

seattle's best
This brand should be called Starbucks’ “dirty little secret”. Although Starbucks prides itself on ensuring ethical and environmentally friendly practices are used in their coffee production and even offers organic varieties. Their Seattle’s Best brand doesn’t hold to the same standards. It is basically Starbucks way of competing with cheap brands like Folgers and Maxwell House.

Instead choose:

Peet’s Coffee
Peet’s is among the most sustainable coffee businesses in the US.

Store Brands

Whole bean, Ground, Instant, and Pods

store brand coffee
People often turn to store brand coffees because they are more affordable. Before you purchase a store brand make sure it has some sustainability certifications printed on the bag and also look for types that are certified organic.

How To Choose a Great Coffee

Luckily, there are hundreds of great coffee brands out there to choose from. When shopping for coffee here’s a few things to look for.

  1. Make sure the coffee is grown in a sustainable and ethical manner. Look for Fair Trade and Rain Forest Alliance certifications. There are many of these types of certifications around the world and they should be listed on the bag or on the company’s website.
  2. Choose organic coffee when possible. This helps assure the beans are free from pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  3. Choose light to medium roasted beans. The lighter the roast, the more health promoting phenols the beans will retain. Roasting coffee darkly destroys some of the healthy aspects of the bean.
  4. Taste: choose a coffee you enjoy drinking and don’t buy a bulk amount of a brand before you know how it tastes.

Get Help Quitting Caffeine

Reduce your caffeine intake without pain and discomfort.

See our new 10-step plan
  • rusty shakleford

    As long as my coffee gets to me, I don’t care who they have to whip to get it here!

  • snideelf


  • snideelf

    This is a cool website that I bookmarked. I always drink Folgers because it’s the best tasting of the popular brands and when it is on sale, I can get it for very cheap. When I can splurge on really good coffee I order Kona coffee from Amazon.

  • Kenneth Wayne Noble

    I drink Berres Brothers coffee when I’m brewing and Great Value or Pampa instant coffee when I’m not. I have no shame. I simply live within my means and can’t afford better coffee. If I could, Death Wish would be 1 I’d like to try. I also happen to be very tolerant of many chemicals. My body’s okay. I might even have an artificial immunity against molds and pests as well as my own immune system which is strong. Pesticides and herbicides? Bring ’em on. Just not too much. As for the rain forests, I’m not responsible for those assholes that go around destroying forests. The damage is done though and that coffee would just go to the landfills if nobody bought it. I don’t even know if rain forests were destroyed in the making of this coffee and it’s not my problem. Until a law is passed against the destruction of natural habitats for industry or everyone decides to boycott and destroy the responsible people/entities, I’m basically powerless as anyone else. To think otherwise-I think you might have some mold from your untreated coffee messing with your brain.



  • Harry Lyme

    Many of the aforementioned coffee’s are excelent. LaVazza is Outstanding!

    STOP THIS OBOZO PC CRAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bryan SK

    You must be mad to rank Lavazza as brand to avoid. The only argument you have is that they do not have ethical and organic certification.
    My opinion is, that certification proces you mention is fabricated in USA where corporations have right to hide all information from customer and therefore anyone else who is ethical was looking for the way how to make it different.

    If you would live in Europe you would understand, that Europe has tons of regulations and much more strict rules over corporations. Also ethical principle and organic thinking is way more natural and well donesticated there so no need of certificates.

    Also you must understand, that small = in fact organic = family farm where 100$ is real value for family would hardly spend 2000$ or more for certification when family can afford to live for $3000 per year.

    I just believe that you have right to speak but that does not equal to being right.

  • Kellie M

    Death Wish is dangerously high in caffeine.

  • Kellie M

    I didn’t see anything about politics in the article. Obama isn’t in office anymore, Trumpty Dumpty is.

  • Kellie M

    Yes they do. The Trumptards have to make everything political. It’s what they do.

  • Kenneth Wayne Noble

    Sure, if you have a pre-existing health condition, caffeine sensitivity or are reckless beyond casual imprecision with your measurements… I usually have about 1-8 cups of coffee per day with 2-4 cups being typical. I’m still alive and healthy. With Death Wish, it’d be simple enough to consume .25-2 cups of coffee per day with .5-1 cup typical. It’s fast, efficient and still tasty. Likely not dangerous. A drug like caffeine is only as dangerous as the user lets it be, anyway. Tell you what, I won’t even lace it with drain cleaner this time :p

  • MarioCatty Official Channel

    Personally, Death Wish should be on the first of the list. Those who drink it really does have a death wish, since one normal cup of it is enough to kill a weak person, so any stronger brews with the said coffee has enough caffeine to easily kill a healthy man

  • Roger Groot

    This is an article from George Malkmus who has traveled the U.S.A, Canada, Africa,Australia and England telling people in convention centers,churhes,on HOW TO ELIMINATE SICKNESS.Quote,”If America has a national drink.it would have to be coffee. Americans drink coffee with breakfast and sometimes for breakfast,Then in mid-morning they have their coffee break. It`s coffee with lunch,,again in mid-afternoon,with supper etc.Over 2,000,000.000 (two billion) pounds of coffee are consumed by Americans each year.Coffee drinking seems so innocent and harmless.and I can almost hear some reader saying,there isn`t something wrong with coffee is there? Does coffee harm the body?I Is coffee a drug? COFFEE IS INDEED A DRUG Caffiene is not food!!! There is nothing in coffee the body can use—-nothing that will build new cells.The only effect coffee has on the body is to tear it down and destroy the cells.Coffee is a drug!! Coffee contains caffeine,along with harmful oils and other toxic substances.
    HOW COFFEE AFFECTS THE BODY. Caffiene is a stimulant!!! It is called a stimulant because it excites the nerve centers into a unusual and injurious activity as the body rallies it`s forces to expel this poison!!! At first caffeine gives a feeling of exhilaration—–but it`s after effects are mental depression,nerve exhaustion,decreased muscular and damage to the liver and kidneys.When caffeine first enters the body,the blood pressure increases and the heart beats more forcefully,and then the heart beats with less force and the blood pressure falls below normal.Caffiene causes the kidneys to work overtime in an effort to expel this poison,but as coffee drinking continues,the kidneys are weakened and become less efficient Degeneration of the kidneys is the end result,The volatile oils in the coffee irritate the lining of the stomach and the intestines,causing frequency if urination.This irritation can lead to ulcers,gastritus,spontaneous abortions,still births,premture births and a host of other problems.Because the poisioning effects of caffeine on the body are so slow,most coffee drinkers do not realize that their habit is destroying their body.Remember.coffee is not a food—–but I a poisonous addictive drug that can only do great harm to the body while it is incapable of doing any good. More info about this article http://www.hacres.com.

  • Harry Lyme


Last Modified: October 6, 2017


  • Josiane Alessandra Vignoli, Marcelo Caldeira Viegas, Denisley Gentil Bassoli, Marta de Toledo Benassi, Roasting process affects differently the bioactive compounds and the antioxidant activity of arabica and robusta coffees, Food Research International, Volume 61, 2014, Pages 279-285, ISSN 0963-9969, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2013.06.006