Selecting the best coffee beans for any year is challenging. With great beans growing all around the globe, there are many delicious brands easily available, and making time to taste them all will be an unending pursuit. For the coffee aficionado, seeking the best coffee must be paired with knowledge.
Coffee plants grow in some of the most spectacular, yet remote regions on earth. It takes two months at least to harvest the fruit which encases the coffee beans, which are the seed of the fruit. The beans then go through an extensive process of picking, washing, drying, and hulling.Next comes the entire process of preparing them for shipping to roasters. It can take as long as six months before a shipment of green coffee arrives in the United States for roasting.
There are often many middlemen along the way, and the farmers who produce the coffee often completing difficult farming tasks for the very expensive coffee crops without receiving considerable profit for their hard labors.
The coffee crop is facing a difficult rust plague, and millions have been invested to fight against it.
Coffee beans take a long journey to arrive at a beverage inside of coffee cups. For this reason alone, it is respected and appreciated. It’s a fascinating drink, with many intriguing flavors.
Each coffee drinker has unique flavor preferences, and there are many different brands to enjoy. Here are a few considerations for the Top 10 Best Roasted Coffee Beans:
10. Kicking Horse 454 Horse Power Coffee
With its dark roast flavor, this blend has a spirited and earthy quality. The beans are roasted in Canada, and the product is organic, Fairtrade, and Kosher.
The coffee is a blend of Central, South American, and Indonesian beans. Most who prefer dark roast enjoy this robust coffee. Some have recommended using a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder to conquer the very oily beans.
Anyone trying Kicking Horse for the first time might enjoy the Kicking Horse Whole Bean Variety Pack, which offers 3 flavors to try.
- Bold, smooth flavor with a hint of chocolate
- Low acidity, yet high caffeine content
- Responsibly sourced beans
- Roast date is not included
- Oily beans can slow grinders
09. Lavazza Whole Bean Espresso Super Crema
This best seller is a blend of Indonesian, Brazilian and Central American beans. The flavor is smooth, mild, delicate and sweet. It is quite suitable for drip coffee preparations or for fine grinding to brew espresso.
The Super Crema will deliver a lovely velvety crema along with long-lasting flavor. One of the favorite things about this blend is that it reminds customers of vacations in Italy.
It is a popular brand in a large number of Italian eateries and homes. The coffee is not bitter because the beans are properly roasted to start. The beans are uniformly roasted to an even medium brown color.
- The 2lb bag will make about 128 cups of coffee in 5oz servings.
- Some consumers mention that the price made them think twice before deciding that it was the brand that they preferred, regardless of the price.
08. Kicking Horse Three Sisters Whole Bean
Three Sisters may be said to get its name from the three sources of its beans, which include Central, South America and Indonesia. It is said to be seductive, savory, and smooth.
This is a medium roast with whole beans of a full-bodied flavor. The beans are roasted in the Rocky Mountains at 3,000 feet above sea level. The coffee is packed and shipped fresh.
- Certified Fair Trade, Certified Organic, Certified Kosher
- The beans are too oily to grind in some automatic espresso makers, and require self-grinding.
07. Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Espresso
Cliff Hanger Espresso is a medium roast featuring whole beans sourced from Africa, Central and South America and Indonesia. It is described as a heavenly blend of fruit and cocoa flavors.
The product ships in a 2.2-pound bag which allows storage for about a month, when the bag is kept sealed tightly. It is recommended for any coffee lover who is interested in trying something different than a light roast.
Those who really like this brand note that it is much fresher than anything in the store, and they appreciate the dark color and oily sheen on the beans.
- High quality, oily beans, properly roasted, with a moderate caffeine content
- Some consumers noted that the beans have a burnt aroma which suggests they are over-roasted.
- May be suitable only for use with sugar, milk, caramel and other flavorings, to tone down the strong flavor
06. Kicking Horse Kick Ass Coffee
There are some who would describe this dark roast coffee as audacious. It has notes of smoky and sweet, which characterize it from other products in the Kicking Horse line.
The beans are sourced from South America and Indonesia, and then roasted in Canada. The beans are 100% Arabica in this product. For those who enjoy dark roasts, this is a strong flavored coffee without any bitter or burnt flavors.
- Kosher, Organic, Fair Trade
- The company buys in high quantity at the Co-operative, and though considered single-source, some beans are processed differently than others, so some have an increased risk of developing mold.
- Some of the company’s beans are sourced from Africa, and blended with other sources of beans.
05. Koffee Kult Organic Coffee Beans
Those who love this product do so because of its wonderful aroma. It is a dark roast, with cupping notes including Cinnamon, Heavy Body, Smooth, and Bright with a long finish.
The coffee is roasted in the USA in 15 or 60 kilo roasters to ensure even quality. Many customers enjoy opening their fresh bag to see the shiny dark beans inside.
This is a blend which is perfect for those who prefer a nice medium to dark flavored roast, without the bitterness which usually accompanies dark roast. Though it is popular with the addition of a bit of cream and sugar, there are just as many who prefer it without.
- Organically sourced whole coffee beans from Columbia, Sumatra, and Guatemala
- Artisan roasted in small batches by a roast master with 25 years-experience and more
- Though organically sourced, the product is not USDA organic.
04. Café Don Pablo Signature Blend Gourmet
Blended with coffees from Brazil, Columbia and Guatemala, this lovely coffee is prized for its sweet flavor and aroma. The Signature Blend has been described by many as a nearly perfect cup of coffee with an amazingly delicious cocoa finish.
There are many customers who are completely dedicated to this brand of coffee and would not consider purchasing any other type.
Some even noted that they grind beans to take along on vacation so they won’t miss enjoying the coffee. Many have praised its rich flavor and mellow aftertaste.
The company oversees the production of their own coffee beans. They manage more than 1,000,000 trees in South America, and never blend coffees using Robusta, defective beans, or past crop. The facility roasts in-house in an AIB Food Safety Certified manufacture.
- Sharing Certified Program, Certified CCOF for Organic Production
- Family owned company
- One consumer had a problem with stale coffee due to a delay that had nothing to do with the supplier.
03. Pablo’s Pride Medium Roast Gourmet Whole Bean
This medium dark roast coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans sourced from the high-altitude regions of Guatemala. The beans may be ground and brewed in a traditional drip machine, a French Press, and Espresso machine or using a hand drip method. This specialty coffee will soon be available in single serve cups which are 100% recyclable.
- Sourced as part of a Sharing Certified Program
- Certified Organic by CCOF
- GMO Free
- It should be ground to the consistency of fine sand using a burr grinder for best results.
- Some customers reported a burnt flavor.
02. Café Don Pablo Dark Roast Subtle Earth Coffee
This organic coffee is made from 100% Arabic beans. It has a chocolate flavor which is rich, velvety, and low acid.
It originates from Honduras, and contains varietals sourced from an altitude of 1160 to 1210 meters above sea level. It has a bold taste without a bitter after taste. It is a light to medium roast with an excellent smooth quality.
- Certified by CCOF and USDA Organic Certified
- Can be prepared in a French Press
- Some consumers noticed a slightly burnt taste.
01. Death Wish Organic Coffee
This highly popular coffee is USDA Certified Organic, Kosher and Fair Trade, and it offers twice the amount of caffeine per serving when compared to other coffees.
The premium beans are selected to create a strong yet smooth drink. They arrive moist and ready to grind. The beans may be cold brewed as well.
The company also offers a 20-count package of single serve capsules for use in K-cup brewing machines.
- If not completely satisfied with the coffee, the order will be refunded with no questions asked.
- Will brew in automatic machines.
- The strong caffeine content may be too much for some.
The magic of find roasted coffee beans parallels the magic of fine chocolate and wine.
The idea that the final beverage takes at least 10 steps along the way from harvesting beans to brewing coffee is just as complicated and mysterious as the wine making process.
The flavors are as subtle and varied as fine chocolate delicacies. In fact, some coffee blends have notes of chocolate and fruit flavors, much like wines.
Here is some information for new coffee connoisseurs who are excited about enjoying some of the best coffee available.
What are Roasted Coffee Beans?
Coffee beans are the seeds of berries which grow on the Coffea plant. This plant is a native of several places:
- The tropical regions of Africa
- The island nation Comoros
- The island country Madagascar
- The island nation Mauritius
- The island Réunion; a region of France located near Madagascar and Mauritius
The Coffea plant was exported to countries all around the world. It is cultivated in regions around the equator, in nations such as the Americas, India and Southeast Asia.
The Coffea plant grows coffee berries, which are picked when ripe, processed, dried, and eventually cooked. The heating process used raises the temperature quickly, and this causes chemical changes in the beans.
The moisture inside the beans comes out, and this process of cooking is called roasting. The high temperatures used to allow the coffee flavor to develop, and then the beans are cooled very quickly.
The crunchy, roasted beans are then ground and added to boiling water to cook them and make coffee to drink.
Types of Roasted Coffee Beans?
There are generally four basic types of roasted beans:
+ Light roasts
Light roasts create coffee flavors which are milder. During the roasting process, the beans are roasted for shorter periods of time, so their color becomes a lighter brown and no oils are released to coat the surface of the beans.
Light roasts have a higher caffeine level than dark roasts because the shorter roasting time allows the beans to retain the caffeine.
Other common names for this roast include Cinnamon, Half City or Light City.
+ Medium roasts
Medium roasts create stronger flavors with no oils on the surface of the beans. This roast is commonly called American roast, because it is a favorite United States flavor.
Other common names for this roast include American, Breakfast or City.
+ Medium dark roasts
Medium dark roasts have some oil on the beans’ surface, can have a slightly bitter aftertaste and are a dark, rich brown color.
This roast is sometimes called Full City.
+ Dark roasts
Dark roasts often have a bitter flavor, but they have less acidity than other flavors. These beans will be shiny, black and have surface oil.
The beans can be just a bit dark or slightly burned, depending on the brand and roasting conditions. It is important to check the condition of these beans before purchasing them.
Other common names for dark roasts include Continental, Espresso, European, French, High, Italian, New Orleans or Viennese.
What are the advantages?
In the past, consumers often viewed the caffeine in coffee as a harmful stimulant. Caffeine occurs naturally in coffee beans, and the amount in any cup of coffee varies depending upon factors such as the kind of beans and the method used to brew them.
The affect caffeine has is different on every body. Some consumers choose to drink decaffeinated coffees while others prefer their caffeine, and there are many varieties available.
Coffee was recommended as part of a healthful lifestyle in the most recent United States Dietary Guidelines. The most current reputation coffee holds is improved based on research which demonstrates that consuming coffee in moderation, at a rate of about 3 to 5 cups each day, might be beneficial in the following ways:
- Athletic endurance may be improved
- Cognitive function in older adults may be improved
- Diseases of the liver may be prevented
- Memory function may be improved
- Lifespan may be lengthened
- Type 2 diabetes risk may be reduced
Roasted Coffee Beans on the Market Today
Coffee is grown throughout the world in more than 70 countries which are located within the Equatorial regions. Two main varieties, Arabic and Robusta, make up the annual harvest.
But, the flavors vary depending on the soil chemistry, the weather, the sunshine and rainfall and the growing altitude.
The primary growing locations include:
- Plantations located on the Hawaiian Islands-most famous for rich Kona coffee from the Big Island; Hawaii
- Coffee farms located in Mexico and Puerto Rico-Mexico produces in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz; while Puerto Rico produces Arabica varieties in Grand Lares and Yauco Selecto
- Volcanic soil regions in Guatemala-known for its microclimates which produce Coban, Huehuetanango and Antigua
- Small fincas in Costa Rica-only Arabica beans are grown and processed
- Family farms in Columbia-Colombian Supremo and Excelso Grade are produced
- Large coffee plantations in Brazil-Arabica and Robust are both grown
- Wild coffee tree forests in Ethiopia- famous for Harrar, Kaffa and Sidamo coffees
- Small farms on Mount Kenya foothills in Kenya-Kenya has its own excellent bean grading system
- The Ivory Coast of West Africa-Robust coffee best suited for espresso blends
- Terraced, family gardens in Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula-Arabian coffee shipped from the port of Mocha became famous as Mocha Java
- Small coffee farms in Indonesia- famous for the quality coffees of Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi
- Small plantations in Vietnam- producing primarily Robusta beans
Best Roasted Coffee Beans Brands
Experts acknowledge that choosing the best coffee beans from over 70 countries in the world is difficult. There are excellent coffee beans produced in all of them, and people choose brands based on the flavors they prefer. These vary widely. However, the finest beans are considered to be Arabica.
Columbian Arabica beans are sold for the highest prices in the world and are in their own trading class. Many experts believe Columbian Arabica beans to be the finest on the market. But, there are other excellent coffees. Here is a list often mentioned by coffee connoisseurs:
- Ehiopian Yirgacheffe
- Sumatra Mandheling
- Tanzania Peaberry
- Sulawesi Toraja
- Jamaican Blue Mountain
- Yemen Mocha
Additional popular name coffee brands in no particular order include:
- Eight O’Clock Coffee
- Kicking Horse Coffee
- Coffee Bean Direct
- Death Wish Coffee
- Café Don Pablo
- Koffee Kult
Things You Need to Know Before Buying
Because there are wonderfully roasted coffee beans from so many different locations, and because each person’s taste differs, it can be helpful to taste different coffees at a local coffee shop before purchasing beans for home.
The beans are the first most important thing, but also important are how the coffee is brewed. Equipment and methods differ, and these factors change the flavor. Looking at coffee beans in person is the best first step.
When it is impossible to do that, then checking the ingredient label on a bag of coffee is the next step. Here are some things to know:
- Buy freshly roasted whole beans are grind them at home as needed.
- Try to buy bags which include the roast date-the best roasters include the date, and the closer the beans are ground and used to the roast date, the better.
- Pick Arabica beans when given the choice. Robusta is bitter, and more often used for the best instant coffee. Then, experiment with different varieties of coffee made with Arabica beans.
- Learn the source of the beans whenever possible-single estate or specific geography is preferable over mix and match blends which are cheaper.
- It is possible to learn how to roast coffee beans using roasters developed for home use.
How to Choose the Right Roasted Coffee Beans
- Learn which roast type you prefer. Most people like light roasts best, but some prefer dark roast coffee. Some enjoy both at different times of the day. French roast coffee and Italian roast are two popular flavors to try.
- Find high quality roasters near you and try out different cups of coffee.
- Coffee roasting results vary based on the methods and equipment.
- When you find the level of roast you prefer, then experiment with different brands which offer that roast.
It’s no surprise that the humble coffee bean has become elevated to a place of distinction over the years.
As is true with the enjoyment of fine wines and chocolates, finding the best and making time to enjoy it properly is part of the process.
Giving roasted beans the attention they have earned will result in considerable enjoyment. Coffee, brewed well, is, after all, one of the pleasures of life.