On the other hand, the appearance of certain coffees on our list also suggests the value of continuity and tradition in processing. All four Kenya coffees in the Top 30 were subject to the meticulous Kenya variant on wet-processing that has been helping produce consistently great coffees in Kenya for decades. The two Sumatra coffees owe their distinction in great part to refined application of the decades-old “wet-hulling” process still largely unique to Indonesia, particularly to Sumatra. See our 2016 report Learning from Sumatras for more on wet-hulling and sensory distinction.
This is the world’s strongest coffee by most standards, which explains why it enjoys such a tremendous popularity. Death Wish is ground from beans that are masterfully selected and meticulously roasted to perfection, so as to provide a smooth tasting but also bold cup of coffee. Moreover, you get the extra kick of quality caffeine that surely gets your day going every morning. It isn’t just its strength that recommends it, mind you, but its powerful flavor as well. In fact, we should point out that Death Wish is by far one of the most flavorful coffees out there.
The biggest draw of organic coffee is that it's grown and harvested without chemical assistance. There are no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or insecticides used in the agricultural process. If fertilizer is needed to help the beans grow, farmers use natural things like compost and coffee pulp. This means that organic coffee shoppers are getting home-grown beans without nasty additives of any kind.
I discovered this coffee while on vacation; it is served at Two Cats Restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine. I really enjoyed the flavor and smoothness of that first cup with my breakfast. The second cup seemed even more flavorful, robust without an acidic aftertaste. When I got home, I ordered some online. I have it daily now: fresh ground, hot, and black. Finally, a dark roasted coffee with a smooth flavor that satisfies. And I like the fact that it is a product that is not only organic but also gurantees the growers a fair price. Over the years I've paid quite a bit more for premium coffee beans. I consider this coffee to be moderately priced, which makes it a tremendous value.
Over the course of the year, we reviewed fewer than a dozen darker roasts. Most were medium-dark at best; some barely that. The majority of darker roasts we reviewed were sent by roasters in Taiwan and most were espressos, reflecting both the time-honored espresso practice of emphasizing chocolate and sweetness through moderate dark roasting, as well as, perhaps, a preference in Taiwan for more traditional styles of espresso as opposed to the lighter-roasted, brighter style of espresso now popular with the leading edge of North American roasters.