Four espressos appear on this year’s list, three of them single-origin coffees. The fourth is a distinguished blend of coffees from a mix of origins—the impressive 96-point Twenty Five by Barrington Coffee Roasters, at No. 6, the only blend on the list. Numerous blends, both espresso and non-espresso, earned 90-94 points but did not ultimately make our Top 30; we recognize some of the best on our list of the Top Coffees by Category.
I have searched for a K-cup coffee that has a strong bold taste. The best that I have found is Caribou Obsidian. This comes close. Full flavor with no bitterness. Even using the K-cup a second time to make a small cup gives more flavor than several other brands do on the first run through. I will definitely buy again. This is the same review that I gave for Italian dark Roast. Why? They are both close seconds to Obsidian.
A plethora of passion goes into producing this coffee and the extra effort certainly shows. This brew is made from the best organic coffee beans on the planet and is artisan roasted in Vancouver, Canada. Growers are paid fairly and are allowed to grow using the most basic, honest, and ethical methods known to mankind. Sometimes the name truly does say it all and, in this case, that is certainly no exception.
Hawai’i: A New Wave of Coffee Innovation The Hawaiian Islands are known the world over for beautiful beaches, diverse microclimates, and both active and dormant volcanoes — pretty much paradise, as the cliché goes. Hawaiian culture is both uniquely American and, in many ways, happily incongruous with mainstream American culture. One island in particular, Hawai’i Island (often called the Big Island), produces […] May 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
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One of the best things about this product is the fact that it went through the Techno Roasting process. The latter is an FDA-approved procedure, which has the benefit of eliminating the acid in the coffee that causes heartburn. This also preserves the qualities of the coffee, such as the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. To add, it also removes the bitterness of the coffee while retaining its rich body and flavor. This means that you can enjoy unadulterated coffee with the purest flavor and aroma.
Bitterness is the result of brewing. If you extract too much out of the ground coffee, the result will be a harsh, bitter finish. This usually happens when the grind size is too fine. The particles are smaller, so the water can touch more of the coffee, and ultimately extract more of it.Bitterness in coffee is something you can avoid by brewing properly. Acidity in coffee is natural and cannot be avoided by brewing. Though, you can “cover” some of the acidity with a dark roast or simply buy beans with a lower acidity.Single Origin vs BlendsMany coffee companies will offer single origin coffees as well as blends.Single origin simply means unblended. It’s a coffee from one specific region, such as an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. A blend, therefore, means it's a few beans, blended into one packet. Duhhh.So why do some people blend beans? There's a good reason and a bad reason.Blends are designed to produce a balance in terms of flavor, body, and acidity. A roaster might blend a coffee with a full body with another coffee that has very bright tasting notes in order to get the best of both coffees in one cup.That's what happens when a roaster knows what he/she is doing. If they don't, they may blend to hide poorly roasted beans among normal beans. Stick to roasters that have a good reputation.Interested in blending the beans yourself? Learn some tips here.PRO TIP: Watch out for companies who blend to save money. E.g if they are selling an expensive bean, they will use it as a blend to make it go further.Roast dateYou know to freshly roasted beans, but how do you know how fresh it is?Top-line coffee roasters include a roast date for their coffee, which lets you know how long it's been since it was roasted. Most coffee experts agree that whole bean coffee retains its freshness between one week and one month after roasting.To make the most of the short time your coffee is at its freshest:Buy only what you know you can use in a few weeks. This comes with a bonus: you get the opportunity to try another coffee right away! Want a medium roast this week, then a light roast the week after that? How about beans from Guatemala versus Colombian beans? Buying in small amounts can help you find the perfect coffee flavor for you.Regardless of your brewing method or coffee maker, brew your coffee within 30 minutes of grinding.Keep your whole beans in a cool, dry place in a container that protects them from light, heat, air, and moisture. Enjoying your coffee within a few weeks of its roast date is crucial, but here are a few other common mistakes you can avoid with a little preparation.Fair TradeFair Trade coffee has been grown and produced to certified standards, which are then upheld across the network of producers, organizations, consumers, and companies.These standards help provide a sustainable income for the farmers and workers who grow and harvest coffee, on an individual and community level. They also reduce the negative impact on the environment where coffee is grown.Offering better trading conditions to coffee farmers, many of whom live in poor and marginalized parts of the world, helps provide better living conditions for farmers and their cities, towns, and villages.In short: This is improving the lives of the people who grow, harvest, and process the coffee beans that we treasure. You can learn more about how it works in our article on Fair Trade coffee here..USDA organicOrganic coffee means that it's grown without pesticides, right? It's a little more complicated than that. There are requirements for growing, processing, and even packaging coffee to ensure that it meets the standards implied in the organic label.And the requirements vary among countries that certify coffee (or other products as organic.The organic certification by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is representative of the kind of standards and qualifications that represent organic coffee. These include the use of natural rather than synthetic fertilizer, shade-grown coffee crops that rely on bird and animal life as natural pest control for the coffee trees, and even ensuring that coffee roasters have only been used to prepare organically grown coffee beans.Aside from the benefits of drinking organic coffee, it's better for the environment as well. Organic coffee orchards don't contribute to deforestation, meaning trees can continue to produce oxygen (which to some of us is almost as important as coffee). It also means that the habitat for animals, birds, bugs, and everything else is left much more intact.Want to know more? Read our article about the details of organic coffee here.THE BEST COFFEE BEANS OF 2019 (WHOLE BEAN COFFEE)Ok, enough with the education. You're ready for the list.Here are 10 beans that you should get on your coffee bean bucket list before you die.#1 - Kona Beans (Hawaii)Kona is the largest Hawaiian island and is the best for growing high quality coffee. The best coffee in American, in fact, voted by Forbes,With an excellent microclimate, the perfect blend of rain and sun, and fertile, volcanic soil, the slopes on the big island just happen to be perfect for growing coffee. Read more about Hawaiian coffee beans here.To get your hands on high quality Kona coffee, you will have to pay a premium. Not only is coffee from here limited in production and highly sought after, it’s grown in the United States where farmers are paid much more than the average farmer in a traditional coffee growing country.A high quality Kona coffee is worth the money as long as you buy the real thing. Never buy a blend, as only 10% of the blend will be Kona. Always buy Extra Fancy (the grade) as that is the highest quality. With a medium body, low acidity, and rich, smooth taste, this coffee will be an excellent addition to your auto drip or pour over routine. Koa Coffee is our favorite place to buy authentic, quality, coffee beans. >>> CLICK HERE for a 10% discount on Kona Coffee BeansSpecificationsBrand: Koa CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Hawaii, USAType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nutsAroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidityRecommended brew styles: Drip and French Press#2 - Blue Mountain Coffee (Jamaica)Jamaica produces a relatively small amount of coffee each year, and not all of it comes from the Blue Mountain. But the coffee that does grow here is grown at a very high elevation.It’s extremely limited in production and about 80% of each years crop goes to Japan. Plus, these beans are extremely labor intensive to produce, needing to be handpicked from the mountain slopes. The high elevation, cool temperatures and volcanic soil helps result in a harvest that takes nearly 10 months, which is much longer than that of other coffee growing regions.The resulting cup of coffee will be well balanced with a full body, medium acidity with a mildly sweet taste. Some say blue mountain coffee is the smoothest brew they've ever enjoyed.So getting these quality beans in the States will cost you a pretty penny. Is it worth it? Anyone that has tasted Blue Mountain Coffee will say: F-yes.But like Kona, Blue Mountain is one of those coffees that needs to be purchased wisely.Many brands will mislead you into buying their coffee, claiming the Jamaican Blue Mountain name. Avoid blends and any Jamaican coffee priced less than $20/lb. To call a coffee Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend, only a very small amount of the coffee actually needs to be Blue Mountain.The profile of this coffee will make for an excellent drip coffee, whether pour over or automatic. Drink it black and enjoy one of the most sought after coffees in the world.>>> Click here to see the price on REAL Blue Mountain coffee beans.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: JamaicaType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nutsAroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidityRecommended brew styles: Drip#3 - Kenyan AA Coffee BeansKenya coffee beans are among the finest in the world. The effort that farmers go through cleaning and processing these beans is unmatched.Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to the quality of Kenyan coffee is the fact that the farmers are rewarded for better coffee. The government runs an auction in which all the coffee in Kenya is sold. Higher quality coffees sell for a higher price, giving farmers an incentive to improve their crop.AA is the largest sized bean, followed by AB. In Kenya, the bigger the better. Always look for AA. These coffees are characterized by sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy body. Due to the processing, these coffees are among the cleanest tasting in the world.Kenyan coffee beans make for excellent drip coffee, pour over or automatic. The medium-full body and bright fruit notes are sure to leave you smiling with each cup.Want to sip on some hot, flavor bursting, luscious Kenyan AA beans? Try here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: KenyaType: Single originTasting notes: Sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy bodyAroma: Fresh and floralRecommended brew styles: Drip#4 - Peaberry Beans (Tanzania)A peaberry is a single, round coffee bean inside the coffee cherry. A normal coffee cherry holds 2 beans, side by side, each with a flat side. The peaberry is alone inside the cherry and shaped differently.Because of the round shape and the fact that these beans are more dense than most coffee beans, they roast more uniformly. Only about 5% of all coffee beans are peaberry. In order to get a lot of strictly peaberry beans, rigorous hand sorting is required to separate them from their half-bean counterparts. This added labor increases cost.Peaberry coffee beans from Tanzania tend to have a brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitiness.Peaberry is best suited for an automatic dripper or as a pour over. Grab a serving here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: TanzaniaType: Single originTasting notes: A brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitinessAroma: Complex and sweety floral with layered notes of citrus, pineapple or coconutRecommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over#5 - Dark Sumatra Mandheling Beans from IndonesiaThis coffee is named after the Mandailing people who once farmed the coffee in northern Sumatra.Coffees from this area tend to have lower acidity with a sweet, smooth body. The coffee can vary in taste from cocoa and tobacco to earthy and herbaceous. Many people choose to dark roast Sumatra coffees to enhance sweetness and its almost spicy flavor.Coffees from Sumatra as a whole are typically processed with a hybrid method, akin to wet-hulling. This processing method is perhaps the largest factor in the outcome of the coffee.These coffee beans are different, there’s no doubt about that. The fact is, some people swear by it and some people won’t touch it. It’s one of the great controversies in coffee.Due to its full body and low acidity this coffee does very well in a french press or pressure style brewing method.Buy your Sumatran Beans here (to ensure you get the best, fresh beans).SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Sumatra, IndonesiaType: Single originTasting notes: lower acidity with a sweet, smooth bodyAroma: earthy, mossy, funky and mushroomyRecommended brew style: French Press and pressure brewing#6 - Sulawesi Toraja Coffee BeansSulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is an Indonesian island to the east of Borneo. Toraja is the name of the group of people who grow and harvest the coffee here.Coffee is a family business on this island. Many families grow coffee on their property as a means of adding some income to their household, but is often not a priority. Therefore, the coffee infrastructure isn’t very strong.This may be the reason these beans aren’t very common.Coffee beans are partially processed by the family before being sold to a middleman at the local markets. These middlemen then go to the larger processing mills where the beans are completely dried and the work is finished.The best coffees from Sulawesi will be very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notes to it. This coffee will make for a great medium-dark roast, highlighting the sweetness and full body present in the coffee.Brew up a french press or pull a shot with this solid, unique coffee.Click here to try these tasty, yet rare, coffee beans.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Sulawesi, IndonesiaType: Single originTasting notes: Very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notesAroma: Spicy, earthy, musty and woodsyRecommended brew style: French Press and Espresso#7 - Central American Geisha Coffee BeansGeisha coffee beans are among the most unique in the world.Though they can in theory grow anywhere, they have a special reputation when grown in Panama and Costa Rica. The most famous farm is Hacienda La Esmeralda.The Geisha bean was originally discovered in Ethiopia, near the town of Geisha. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this bean varietal made it to Panama.What makes the Geisha bean unique? It has a natural tea-like body with a ton of clear, bright, sparkling flavors such as citrus, mango, peach and jasmine. You may also pick up on some bergamot or vanilla notes..This is a tough coffee to find for a few reasons. Few cafes serve it because it is an extremely expensive coffee and it is served best as a filter coffee. Cafes serve mainly milk based beverages, so it doesn’t make sense for many to serve a coffee that can only be taken black.You’ve likely never had a coffee like this before. It is truly unique. If you enjoy lighter, brighter coffees, this is one you need to try.Start enjoying some of the worlds most sought after coffee after picking up an authentic bag of beans here.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: Central AmericaType: Single originTasting notes: Natural tea-like body, sparkling flavors like citrus, mango, peach and jasmineAroma: Floral and lemony tonesRecommended brew style: Pour Over and Filter#8 - Monsooned Malabar beans from IndiaMellow flavor lies within the Monsooned Malabar beans from India given their name because of how the wind disperses them during the monsoon season.The beans expand with moisture and create a rich finish - so we recommend trying them if you live in a humid environment to get the most out of the experience.Try brewing these in a french press, moka pot, or espresso machine of any type.SpecificationsBrand: Coffee Bean DirectBeans: ArabicaOrigin: IndiaType: Single originTasting notes: Strong, intense, low acid, tons of syrupy chocolate and dark cocoa tonesAroma: Funky, pungent, mixed spices and herbalRecommended brew style: Espresso#9 - Yirgacheffe Beans from EthiopiaYirgacheffe is regarded as holy among the global coffee community.Ethiopia itself is regarded as the birthplace of coffee and beans from Yirgacheffe are it’s pride and joy. Sidama is a region in Ethiopia that contains the microregion of Yirgacheffe. Within Yirgacheffe, however, are even smaller regions: Adado, Aricha, Kochere, Konga, and more.These coffees are typically wet processed, producing a coffee that is light in body, almost tea-like, with complex fruit and floral notes. Go into any specialty coffee shop and you are likely to find coffee from this region on the shelf. It’s easy to see why these coffees are known as the gateway to great coffee.When roasted lightly, these coffees are excellent in an automatic drip or pour over. They also make for a refreshing iced coffee or cold brew. Try a medium roast or something darker for a tasty shot of espresso.Here's our favorite place to buy freshly roasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe online.SpecificationsBrand: Volcanica CoffeeBeans: ArabicaOrigin: EthiopiaType: Single originTasting notes: light body, with complex fruit and floral notesAroma: earthy, with cinnamon and strawberry undertonesRecommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over#10 - Death Wish Coffee BeansA new addition to this list is death wish coffee. Simply put; these are USDA certified sustainable, organic, low acid and (very) highly caffeinated coffee beans. If you’re in need of a huge energy hit but don’t want sacrifice quality these are for you.They offer a range of options; whole bean, ground coffee, coffee pods and even a coffee subscription option (if you dare). The common theme: high quality beans with whopping 3-6x more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee.The Death Wish Coffee Company offers so much more than just strong beans. I tried these and was pleasantly surprised by the bean quality and roast profile. You can read our full review here.Buy Death Wish Coffee here.SpecificationsBrand: Death Wish CoffeeBeans: Arabica and Robusta BlendOrigin: Mixed (see store)Type: blendTasting notes: Strong and bold Aroma: strong, nuttyRecommended brew style: French press or espressoYou've Bought The Best Coffee Beans. Now What?By now, you should have your precious beans and you should be enjoying them.If you want them to stay fresh you'll need to think about how you're going to store them. Here are a few tips:Store them in a coffee canisterThe enemies of coffee are air, moisture, heat, and light. This means the best place to store your beans is in something airtight and opaque in a cool, dry place.(Those decorative glass jars may show off your silky brown coffee beans, but for storage, they're not the best. Light breaks down the compounds that give your coffee its unique aroma and flavor.) Metal or ceramic containers will keep out light. And if a container airtight, it's moisture-tight too.If you are buying the freshest whole bean coffee you can (and the roast date says so, right?), they may continue to vent a little carbon dioxide over the week or so that you store them. Some of the best coffee canisters have one-way valves that allow carbon dioxide to vent without letting air (and moisture) in. Finally, think about how much you can store in the canister. You don't need a lot of room if you only buy enough coffee beans for about a week, but if it's too small, you may have to find alternate storage if you buy a pound or so at a time.
Kim Westerman is a licensed Q-grader, a longtime food, wine and travel writer and a certified sommelier. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bay Area Bites, and many other publications. She happily brings her sensory training in wine to the evaluation of coffee in Coffee Review’s Berkeley lab. She also handles communication with roasters and review logistics.
All of the coffee from Equal Exchange is grown in Latin America. They have small local farms spread throughout Latin America including Guatemala, Peru, Mexico, and many more. It is very rare for coffee to have a single origin. But just because it comes from different areas does not mean it is bad. They process their beans through non-chemical means to eliminate any threat of mold ending up in your coffee.
To reduce their footprint, Subtle Earth does a number of things, like growing at a high altitude to reduce the need for any pesticides. Higher altitude makes for better coffee anyway, so it’s definitely a win-win, without question. They’re big recyclers too — all of the fruit that’s separated from the precious coffee bean, the cherry, is composted into a fertilizer.
My wife and I are spoiled when it comes to coffee, as she grew up drinking Blue Mountain Coffee (and I started when a young adult). Whereas in Jamaica, Blue Mountain Coffee is quite affordable, it is typically beyond our budget here in the United State. Consequently, we have searched relentlessly for a quality coffee that does not break the budget. Equal Exchange Organic Coffee (Mind Body Soul) is what we view as the best of all alternatives at a mid to lower price range. While we still look forward to Blue Mountain Coffee when we go to Jamaica or when we can afford it here in the U.S., this Equal Exchange coffee leaves us quite satisfied. This coffee is much recommended for those who love a quality full body coffee.
Relatively late to the good coffee game, it's hard to tell just where New York excels most—convincing the world it knows what it's doing when it comes to coffee, or actually setting a damn trend. Amid so much noise and a whole lot of colonization, here is a very good roaster, created by a Blue Bottle and Stumptown grad. (Remember when those beardy West Coasters had to come to town to teach us how coffee was done, just a few short years ago? We sure do.) Not the newest game in town, and slightly off the beaten path, over near Brooklyn's Navy Yard, Parlor, which began life as a pop-up bar in the back of a Williamsburg barber shop, is in every way a gem, and it knows it—their tasting room keeps catch-them-if-you-can, Sunday-only opening hours.
In the case of over half of the Top 30 coffees, distinctive tree variety appears to play an important role in generating an exceptional cup worthy of a high rating. There are stars and superstars among the hundreds of varieties of Arabica grown in the world today, and, whether we want them to or not, coffees from these distinguished varieties frequently dominate the very highest ratings at Coffee Review. They include the still rare and expensive Geisha/Gesha variety (three examples on the 2018 list), the various mainly indigenous varieties grown in Ethiopia (three on the 2018 list), the great SL28 and SL34 varieties of Kenya, and (slightly less distinctive but still likely to impress) the big-beaned varieties Maracaturra (one), Maragogipe (one) and the ancient heirloom Bourbon (four on the 2018 list).
To be honest, my expectations were low for whatever “affordable” coffee Whole Foods might offer, and I was a bit reluctant even to include it under the umbrella of regular grocery stores (despite the company’s recent “Yes, we have sales!” ad campaign), but here I stand both corrected and impressed. 365 Everyday Value is the Whole Foods Market store brand, which markets products fitting the Whole Foods ethos, at least aesthetically—don’t assume it’s organic!—at regular grocery prices. A 10-ounce bag of ground coffee costs $5.99 at the Gowanus Whole Foods in Brooklyn, making it the cheapest bagged coffee here per-unit and decidedly on the cheap end per-pound. Pleasant Morning Buzz is a Vienna roast-style coffee, a dark roast just shy of a French roast style, which gives the coffee a heavy, bittersweet flavor that’s easy to sip on for a black coffee drinker. As a rule, darker roasts do not microwave as well as lighter roasts, and this coffee is no exception—get it while it’s hot or pour yourself a new one.
Beyond being incredibly potent and highly caffeinated, this dark roast is well-balanced and flavorful, with sweet, nutty, chocolatey notes and a surprisingly smooth finish. We feel a disclaimer is in order here: This is not a blend for those who are sensitive to caffeine, but if you’re on the hunt for a dark roast that will wake you up, look no further.
The Marley Organic is a full-bodied organic decaf coffee that is so good you will actually want to get off your regular caffeinated one. It is also mildly acidic and a medium dark roast, as well as Kosher. What you will love most about it is the fact that it has very subtle hints of vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa, and soft spices, making it a true gourmet coffee.
Although this is from the same manufacturer as the product that has been mentioned above, they have slightly different flavor profiles. This blend comes with a fuller body, which makes it the perfect option for those who like their coffee strong. At first sip, you will already notice how bold the flavor is. Nonetheless, you will end up being surprised that despite this boldness, it is actually a smooth blend.
“Organic certification,” says Aaron Jordan of Roast House Coffee, whose Ethiopia Suke Quto scored 92, “is the bedrock of Roast House’s green coffee purchasing values. Seven years ago when the company started, we made a commitment to exclusively purchasing organically grown coffees, and one of the ways we prove that commitment is through certifications. It’s very important to the core of our business values and ethics.” So, Roast House has essentially built its business on organic certification as a fundamental value, and has drawn customers who share that priority, rather than picking and choosing coffees to market to various customer sectors. However, the Suke Quto bag doesn’t include the USDA organic seal, simply because Jordan reserves bags with the seal for his year-round offerings. (The Suke Quto is a limited reserve).
I was pretty disappointed in this local coffee spot, unfortunately. I walked in and the staff seemed in disarray. I waited 15 minutes for a coffee, watching other people who ordered after me get their drinks filled. They had forgotten my order as it turned out, and when I asked about it, they were not too friendly in understanding what happened. After I finally pushed about needing to go, they finally made my drink, but I only had a couple minutes to finish it. Needless to say, I wasn't happy with their service at all. And my coffee was nothing impressive. Not worth the price in my opinion.
The pleasures of a fine traditional Sumatra are not quite conventional coffee pleasures. The characteristic layering of chocolate, pungent fruit and earth notes in an exceptional wet-hulled Sumatra may mildly turn off coffee drinkers who enjoy more orthodox coffee pleasures: juicier, sweeter fruit, say, or more citrus and flowers, or a suave balance with no […]