What’s The Best Coffee Beans In The World?
Have you always wondered what’s the best coffee beans in the world?
Well, we tasted different coffee beans from all parts of the world, and came up with a list of coffee that has bits of everything. We have coffee beans that caters the financially conscious consumers, all the way to the most expensive coffee beans in the world!
So let’s see what coffee beans are right for you.
Product Comparison: The Best Coffee In The World
We've tried coffee from different parts of the world, and taking their price slightly into consideration, here's our pick of what we think are the best coffee in the world:
Why Should You Try These Coffee Beans?
Two reasons: taste and experience!
Through coffee, you can taste and experience different parts of the world.
There are many different variations of coffee available in the market, it’s difficult to what you’re purchasing will taste like. Just because something is called coffee, it doesn’t mean it’ll taste the same. Coffee comes in different flavors and notes. It’s unique flavor profile depends on where it’s grown, how it’s grown, and what other plants are around it.
As part of the 3rd wave coffee trend, there’s been a heavy emphasis on single origin coffee. Single origin coffee is where beans are produced in a single geographic area. The definition of area here is quite loose, it can be as large as a specific country or region, to as small as a single cooperative or farm.
Coffee from single origin typically carries a more unique taste. Coffee beans from South America has a stronger chocolate and raspberry note, while beans from Mexico typically carries a more tobacco leaves and charcoal note. Higher grade coffee beans aims to highlight these unique and interesting flavors.
The Story Behind YOUR Coffee
Some coffee’s like the Kopi Luwak coffee, offer interesting production stories for you to enjoy and share. Based on the way coffee is produced, whether handpicked by trained professionals or harvested from the fecal matter of elephants, these stories can offer you a unique insight into the culture and world surrounding that coffee bean.
The coffee industry is big on connecting people with the supply chain, so the best coffee beans offer some of the best stories.
What Do You Need To Know When Picking Your Own Coffee
We've broke this section down into different sections so it'll be easier to read. Here's what you should look for when deciding what coffee beans to buy.
Award Winning & Top-Rated Coffee Beans
The coffees that we refer to in this article are award winning and highly rated by coffee professionals from around the world.
Coffee can be a purely subjective matter based on your personal preferences. To help provide a general and easily understood measurement of quality, the industry has created set coffee standards, similar to wine, that all coffees are judged on. This ranking system helps to evaluate the flavors and overall quality of the coffee.
Therefore, you should look for brands and coffee that won awards before or at least ranked by the official institutes in the industry.
Organic and Non-GMO Certifications
Since coffee is grown naturally and not manufactured artificially in a factory, they’re sometimes coated with pesticide or genetically modified to protect it from bugs and nature. That’s potentially harmful for human consumption, so a good number of the coffee on this list will include Non-GMO and Organic certifications.
These certifications are awarded by a third-party reviewing organization, which ensures the produce from the company in question is organic and safe for human consumption. A lot of coffee plantations around the world are striving to reduce the number of chemicals and pesticide used to produce better and safer beans for their consumers.
You should take these certifications to consideration if you're environmentally or health conscious.
Arabica or Robusta: Which One is Best?
There are two types of coffee beans in the world, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffees make up around 70% of the global coffee market. Arabica coffee is grown at higher altitudes and produces a smaller but much more flavorful coffee. Arabica coffee is extremely delicate and requires special attention, often being picked and processed by hand.
Robusta coffee is typically more resilient, and contain higher caffeine content. It can also be processed by machines, but sacrifices flavor and quality for a lower price point. Normally, Robusta coffee is used in blends by major coffee companies to help reduce the price per pound of coffee. Compared to Arabica beans, Robusta beans lack depth and complexity compared to Arabica beans.
The general consensus here is that award winning and great tasting coffee should consist of 100% Arabica beans. You should avoid Robusta beans when you buy your bag, since most of them will make your coffee bland and uninteresting.
All-in-all, Arabica coffee are typically a more popular choice, but Robusta contains more caffeine. If taste is important for you, then go for Arabica beans. If getting a buzz is more important, go for Robusta coffee instead.
The Coffee's Price
The price of coffee varies drastically depending on how it’s produced and harvested. Expensive coffee beans like the Kopi Luwak are all harvested manually. Kopi Luwak are produced by handpicking the beans from civet cat feces, where they’re then thoroughly cleaned and dried before roasting. Since this is a more intensive, hands-on approach, this type of coffee will cost more than if it was harvested in a more traditional way.
If the price tag is high, other than understanding how it’s produced and harvested, you should look beyond and learn the story behind it.
What About The Taste In Coffee?
Coffee comes in different flavors and offerings. There are over 50 flavor profiles according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) flavor wheel. When buying your own coffee, make sure to try different categories as shown on the wheel until you determine your preference. I personally prefer coffee with a more fruity or floral note.
Here’s a video from Starbucks on how specialists decide what coffee “tastes” like, aka coffee cupping.
Even though I appreciate being a part of a unique store is interesting, taste is still the most important to me. When looking for the best coffee in the world, or simply one you would enjoy, you should always focus on the flavors and aromas. If you don’t like the taste, it doesn’t matter whether the coffee has the most complicated production process or not.
All-in-all, I think the most important thing here is to discover your own coffee preference, and determine what flavors you like the most. As such, when looking for the best coffee in the world, the flavor profile is king. The coffee bean’s story, origin, and price is all secondary (to me).
What Is The Best Coffee In The World?
As I've mentioned at the top, we've tried lots of different coffee from around the world, been to coffee distributors/roasters, and here's our list of best coffee in the world:
Kopi Luwak coffee is cultivated from the feces of the palm civet cat in Indonesia. The coffee is harvested by hand by farmers who are trained to search the forest floor for the feces with the beans. The farmers then meticulously clean, dry, and process the green coffee beans for roasting. Production in this way is difficult because it requires many person hours to harvest enough coffee beans for production.
Some Kopi Luwak companies cage the Palm Civet and force it to eat cherries to produce enough coffee, but this is unethical and cruel. Wild Kopi Luwak only harvests coffee from free range Palm Civets, which is more ethical but requires more work and ups the cost per pound to almost 5x more than other coffees grown in the region.
Kopu Luwak has a very complex flavor profile with hints of berries and nutty bitterness.
- Hand-harvested from feces
- Earnings go towards education in Indonesia
- One of the MOST EXPENSIVE coffee in the world
Stone Street Coffee is a micro-roaster that has an intimate relationship with the family they’re sourcing from. A dedicated professional tasters’ tests all the coffee they’re roasting, ensuring that the coffee are harvested at the right time and only the best of the best are used.
- Mixture of wine and chocolate composition
- Ethiopian coffee is ranked among the best of the world
- Award winning
- Taste may be affected by packaging
- Acidic Coffee: could taste bitter or sour if handled incorrectly
Blue Mountain is located on the eastern part of Jamaica islands. Coffee produced in this region undergoes very rigorous processing and review before it’s roasted and shipped out. Jamaica’s Coffee Industry Board works hard to assess the quality of coffee from this region to ensure that it hits its high standards consistently. This higher elevation coffee creates a strong and robust flavor full of hints of chocolate, stone fruit, and tobacco.
Coffee produced in the Jamaican Blue Mountain has an excellent body and medium acidity. Together with the fact that its smooth, clean, sweet and mild, this coffee is sought after by many around the world.
However, since the Blue Mountains is a very small area, supplies are extremely limited. It’s due to this reason that Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee are typically expensive! Give it a try if you’ve never tried it before.
- High-quality beans grown in limited quantities
- Strong smooth flavor
- Packaging can break sometimes
Single origin coffees are great ways to experience unique flavors from around the world, but like any other crop, single origin coffees are seasonal, meaning that the taste is inconsistent year-round. The best way to enjoy the same delicious taste year-round is to enjoy a coffee blend like those from Kicking Horse Coffee.
This Canadian company offers fair trade and kosher Arabica beans for a nice baker’s chocolate flavor. What makes Kicking Horse so highly respected, aside from their great coffee, is that they are firm support nature conservancy in Canada by donating a portion of their profits to various conservative efforts.
- Mix between 3 popular blends
- Consistent taste all-year round
- Fairtrade, Organic, and Kosher Certified
- Inconsistent roast between batches
- Cheap packaging, has a tendency to tear
Café Don Pablo’s coffee is grown Columbia and in Marcala, Honduras. Marcala is the first coffee region to earn the Protected Origin Denomination, which is only awarded to a specific area for its superior quality goods. The coffee production from Honduras is the 7th largest coffee producer in the world, and is highly demanded by specialty roasters around the world.
What makes Don Pablo special is its quality assurance. Through their Sharing Certified Program, which offers financial incentives to farmers and distributors to produce higher-quality products, Don Pablo is consistent able to produce good tasting coffee that has a mixture of chocolate, honey, and caramel complexity.
- Organic and Non-GMO Certified
- Available in whole beans, pre-ground, and K-up
- Inconsistent roast and quality
This coffee from Mexico has won both the 2016 Golden Bean Overall Champion and Australian International Coffee Award for its taste and quality. This single origin coffee from Mexico has notes of honey, tobacco, and dark chocolate.
Oceana has a made a commitment to sourcing only 100% arabica coffee that is certified organic and non-GMO.
Oceana only source coffee rated in the top 5% by international coffee reviewing organizations. This top percentile of coffee ranking means that coffees that only score 95% or higher by third party review companies are roasted to produce dynamic, complex and well-balanced flavors.
- Specialty grade beans collected from the 5% rated beans
- Lighter roast for more natural flavors
- Multiple award-winning coffee
- Limited availability
Barrel aging coffee is a fairly new and interesting concept. The green coffee beans are placed in whiskey and tequila barrels and left to sit for a period of time before roasting. The green beans absorb the flavors of the barrel and create interesting depths to the coffee that are reminiscent of scotch with earthy and peat or moss undertones.
The Coopers Cask is a brand that uses this barrel aging technique. They sell 3 different single-origin coffee; Sumatra and Ethiopian coffee aged in whiskey barrels, Rwanda coffee aged in rum barrels.
The barrel aged coffee from Coopers Cask has been praised by influential libation and alcohol magazines Whiskey Advocate for its complexity and flavor.
- Intense flavor unique to barrel aging
- Single-origin coffee from around the world
- Flavors could be too intense for some
- Most expensive coffee per pound
Kona coffee is an exclusive coffee grown in Hawaii. They’re grown in small area, 15 by 8 miles, at elevations between 2100 and 2500 feet. With the island’s rich volcanic soil (from the Hualalai Volcano), coffee grown here contains a sweet and fruity flavor profile.
The Koa Coffee’s Grande Domain is known as the “Granddaddy of Kona Coffees”. This coffee comes from a single estate (farm) and has a limited production run each year.
Due to the quality and small roast production, this is a very expensive coffee that cost around $50 per pound! The coffee is well balanced and flavorful, with notes of tobacco and chocolate.
- Award Winning: Kona Coffee Cupping Competition
- Harvested from trees that's over 100-years old
- Vienna roast is known to be oily (could damage your machine)
- Very expensive
The Coffee Barrister's Verdict
We've selected our favorite coffee beans based on a variety of variables including cost, taste, rating, and overall popularity. The best coffees in the world are a combination really good flavors and interesting stories from their production process. The coffee industry has created a standardized review system to ensure that coffees are judged fairly, but personal preference will always trump rating standards.
In my opinion, the best coffee in the world is the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee. This coffee has a very distinct fruit and chocolate flavor that is different from most other coffee.
If you are looking for something interesting, the barrel aged coffees from Cooper’s Cask not only offer an interesting story but a very unique coffee tasting experience unlike anything you have ever tasted in your morning cup of joe.
What do you consider the best coffees in the world?
Something we missed on our list? Let us know below.