Why is it that the coffee I make at home never tastes as good as the coffee I overpay for while on the go? Even with high-end grounds, the final product never tastes the same. For a while, I gave up on trying to craft the perfect cup of Joe from my kitchen. But then the pandemic happened, and it inadvertently brought Wandering Bear coffee to my door.
The brand has a whole host of coffee essentials that are formulated to taste strong and not watered down when you make them at home. The blends are all made with rich organic Arabica beans that pack a flavorful punch whether they’re in the ready-made cold brew or handy K-Cups. Yes, strong K-cups really do exist.
Wandering Bear packs them to the brim with coffee grounds so that every cup you make will taste refreshing, not dull. According to the brand, its K-Cups come with 25% more coffee grounds than the typical packages you’d pick up from the supermarket. They have completely changed my opinion on instant, single-serve coffee: Before, I was convinced that the only thing I could create with a Keurig was a watery headache; now, I consistently make quality coffee that I truly enjoy.
Plus, the K-Cups are recyclable. All you have to do is peel off the lid and compost the grounds, and the rest can be thrown in with your plastics.
To buy: amazon.com, $16
Along with its single-serve hot coffee, there are so many cold brew options available. I’ve spent months trying out different grocery store cold brews and thought I’d never find one that I’d actually enjoy, so I was hesitant when I came across these. But the on-tap and bottle designs intrigued me and taking the plunge was worth it.
The smoothness of the on-tap cold brew reminded me of my favorite coffee shop. It tastes like an expensive drink from the fanciest of coffee houses, but in reality, it costs just 31 cents per ounce.
To buy: amazon.com, $30 for 96 fluid ounces
One thing that stood out was how the cold brew maintained its rich flavor from my first sip to my last. I often nurse a drink for a few hours, so this is a quality I look for, especially when I add ice. Usually, I also add some oat milk to my coffee, but this cold brew was so good (even without any added sugar) that I can drink it black.
And let me tell you, it can wake you up fast thanks to the 25 milligrams of caffeine packed into each ounce of grounds. For comparison, Starbucks cold brew has around 12.5 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, according to CNET. So, yes, this cold brew will get the job done in no time.
I love to share the on-tap box with my roommates, but when it comes to the bottled versions, I keep those to myself. There are a few flavors to pick from — mocha with coconut milk, vanilla with coconut milk — but I like the classic black option best. It’s so good, I can't help but hide it in my fridge to make sure it’s all mine.
To buy: amazon.com, $56 for pack of 12
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself coffee connoisseur, you can even get grounds specifically made for home cold brew. (This brand seriously has everything.) It requires a few more steps, like leaving it to rest for the day or overnight, but the instructions are worth following. The end product is delicious, and who doesn’t like to take pride in making something from scratch?
Before you give up on good homemade coffee (like I almost did), take a walk on the non-mild side of homebrewing, and check out Wandering Bear. Whatever form its coffee comes in, it’s all so convenient.
To buy: amazon.com, $15
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This story originally appeared on Food & Wine
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