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It can be challenging to decide on which coffee beans to buy, especially for pedestrian coffee drinkers. Today, there are countless number of brands in the market and equally as many variables to choose from. And so, it would be quite a help for many coffee drinkers out there if they can find some tips on choosing the best coffee beans they can get.
Our Favorite Picks
- Lifeboost Coffee – These precious beans are grown in the beautiful land of Nicaragua minus harmful chemicals. These were tested by us to ensure that they really are the best of the best beans, and we proudly recommend them to you and your family.
- Volcanica Coffee – Their inspiration comes from Costa Rica, the home of coffees of superlative flavor. Nobody should be satisfied with tasteless, bitter coffee. They believe coffee should be an exotic experience. That’s why they focus on high-quality single origin coffees. And why they proudly guide consumers to the best coffee experience imaginable.
- Koa Coffee– The finest coffee from Hawaii is Koa. This is a medium roast with the most delicious beans you’ve ever tried. The acidity is quite gentle, and the cedar/black cherry notes in the aftertaste are delightful.
In-Depth List of the World’s Best Coffee Beans
1. LifeBoost – High Quality Coffee Beans
It is a gourmet brand of coffee that sells flavored and classic whole beans. That being said, what is this company like? Does their coffee even taste good? Our team decided to do a taste test of three products and perform some company research to see.
We want to be clear: this coffee isn’t cheap! But you are getting what you pay for, which is the utmost of quality. There are coupon codes around, too- so do search those up and save a few bucks.
The coffee is of single origin, grown in the shade, and organic. It is low in acid, and thus it is an excellent choice for those who deal with sensitive stomachs. And unlike other brands specializing in low acid coffee, aroma nor flavor is sacrificed. It’s a great coffee to use for those of you that like to make cold brew.
We loved the simple and beautiful packaging. In a consumerist world where everything is designed to catch your eye and make you buy; this is a refreshing take on marketing. You may also purchase coffee in a burlap sack if you REALLY want to feel authentic!
You can buy the coffee pre-ground or in whole beans.
Pros & Cons
We decided to note a few things we liked and a few things we didn’t like:
For starters, we liked the money-back guarantee, because this coffee is an investment. We loved the purity of the coffee, meaning we could be sure it had no pesticides or GMOs, or other unsavory junk in it. We loved the various flavors and decaf options.
As far as things we didn’t like goes, for us, it was the price. One of our testers also stated the flavor felt “off” when she used her favorite French Vanilla creamer. We loved everything else!
Now let’s discuss the company a bit. Lifeboost derives its coffee beans from the Nicaraguan mountainsides. The brand uses Arabica beans grown free from pesticides. They are organic beans and Fair Trade certified. And all the coffee originates from the same farming place.
This is a good and bad thing; on one hand, we know right where it comes from, but on the other hand, we cannot taste different-origin beans. So, if you are a fan of coffee from Central America, you’ve found your home!
This company also puts a big emphasis on good health. Did you know the brand was founded by a doctor- a chiropractor, to be exact! So, you can rest assured it is gentle for the stomach and low in acid. And remember, coffee is good for you – so let’s drink to that.
There are light, medium, and dark roast types available for your perusal. If you enjoy flavored coffee, such as French Vanilla, Hazelnut, or Caramel Macchiato, you’re in luck as those are offered too. Our team did the whole-bean type for the testing purposes, so we recommend you invest in one of those if you haven’t done so already.
And wow, was the taste testing a blast! Our offices smelled great. We purchased the Hazelnut, the Medium Roast, and the Dark Roast.
First up was the medium roast. We did ours in a pour-over style. Upon opening the bag, the aromas took over our senses. We ground up the beans and set up our Bodum coffee maker. Upon the completion of the brewing, we were treated to a robust and smooth flavor.
The following day, we decided to do the dark roast. The flavor was like a rich, dark chocolate of nearly pure cacao, a decadent but slightly bitter taste. We wanted to keep brewing it all day long!
And thirdly, we tried that hazelnut. The hazelnut was understated for us. We prefer this in our coffee, as we don’t want the taste of the beans to be overtaken, but this is just something to consider if you really want hazelnut to take center stage.
We found this coffee tasted great black. One of our testers swears by her French Vanilla creamer and has used it for years. It threw off the taste of her black Dark Roast, so she went without during other phases of testing. So, if you’ve always wanted to enjoy black coffee but felt you could not live without cream and sugar, try this black. We really enjoyed it that way.
Are you a cold brew drinker? Lifeboost tastes great as a cold brewed coffee. Cold brew creates a low acidity naturally as part of its process. And since this brand specializes in being a low-acid brand already, it will DEFINITELY be great for those of you with sensitive stomachs.
We knew we had to do some cold brew. A teammate brought in a brand-new Cuisinart cold brew coffee maker he’d got as a gift. We set it up and sanitized it, then prepared the cold brew. It was a long 18 hours, but we got our reward when we sipped on that smooth and tasty Dark Roast. It was so flavorful and bold; we wanted it all for ourselves!
Shipping & Returns Policy
Now some of you might be concerned about shipping in this uncertain day and age. Rest assured that the coffee will reach you in a matter of days, so it will be fresh. Even though we are in the pandemic times, everything at LifeBoost is operating efficiently, and your order will be set up with bubble wrap and keep the beans/goods safe as they are transported.
We noted the bags did not have resealable tops—no big deal for us as we had bag clips to keep flavors in. We suggest getting bag clips or purchasing a coffee bean keeper, so the flavor stays super fresh.
As we mentioned, there are some fun add-ons you can get when you shop with LifeBoost. For instance, you can get your coffee beans delivered in a neat burlap sack. We will probably do that next time we shop.
And refunds are a breeze. Just check out their 30-day refund policy, and you will find an easy way to get your money back if you are not satisfied. (You’re not going to need it, though!)
Let’s get to the point here: This is one of those fantastic, ethical, and legit coffee bean brands. The coffee is packed with flavor and is organic, Fair Trade Certified, Shade Grown, and single origin. The beans are great for all drinkers, especially those of you with sensitive stomachs. You get ALL the flavor for NONE of the sacrifices.
But remember, this is pricey, so you are going to want to budget for this one. It makes a nice treat for yourself once in a while. It is also a nice high-end gift for a coffee lover or someone you’d like to make a positive impression on.
We recommend spending that dough and giving it a try if you can. You will love it, and the flavors will send you out of this world with how great they are.
2. Volcanica Coffee – Best Single Origin
Volcanica Coffee is a family affair. It’s owned and run by members of the same family. Everybody pitches in to source and import the highest quality beans in the world.
Coffee has been in the family’s blood for two generations, starting when the current management’s mother and grandfather assisted with a coffee harvest in the high mountains of Costa Rica.
They work directly with local coffee plantations and cooperatives to source the best beans, and the best quality. Consequently, their coffee isn’t only good – it’s consistently good.
We were intent on trying some of the rarer exotics in the brand range, and we were blown away. The coffee was great and the exotics were exciting.
Before we get started, here are some things we loved.
We loved that we could get their coffee anywhere. They deliver around the world, so if this brand is for you, you’ll never have to do without.
We loved the freshness of the beans.
We liked that they offer an entire section on coffee estates. The history of the estate and the way the coffee is grown is all there – and like fine wine, it makes the experience more adventurous.
We liked the packaging. It smacks of class and freshness.
We liked that the coffee lover’s experience comes first for Volcanica – return anything you’re not happy within 30 days. And contact the team directly for assistance with your return.
Now onto stuff, we would have changed.
They’re pricey. The cheapest coffee on there comes in at $17 – not exactly inexpensive.
They’re overeager with telling you exactly where your delivery finds itself. It’s great that waiting for an exotic coffee is an adventure in itself, but their constant updates can be overwhelming.
They offer same-day shipping. But there’s a caveat, and we missed it. If you order on a Friday after 12 noon, your shipment will only depart on a Monday morning. We were hoping to do some serious coffee drinking and reviewing on the weekend, but alas …
Now we will talk about what our first order was like. Firstly, we got an email notifying us that the order was received and confirmed. Then about 2 hours afterward, we got an email telling us that the coffee was roasting from our roaster of choice.
We missed out on the weekend coffee, but when it showed up at the office, it was an experience! It smelled ABSOLUTELY exotic.
The packaging came with all kinds of branding goodies – most of it educational, and all of it aimed at tying you into the adventure of the exotic coffees this brand is known for.
The first coffee we tried was the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee blend. It’s recommended by Blue Mountain Coffee experts everywhere, and it’s the only blend approved by the Jamaican Coffee Board. It’s a combination of pure Blue Mountain beans with a selection of the finest mountain coffee from other countries.
The Blue Mountain undertones came through in the first sip. And the slightest hint of chocolate and lemon. Virtually no bitterness at all. The nuttiness we expected was just right, and it was rounded off with the freshness of herbs.
The acidity is bright and clean, but never overwhelming.
It’s the smoothest medium roast imaginable.
We would actually recommend Volcanica Coffee to anyone new to pour-over coffee. Our teammates used the grinder to grind the beans they needed for their individual cups.
They used a tiny food scale we have in our office for correct gram measurement. They then poured over the
Next up was a meticulously prepared East African coffee – Kenya AA. It is famous for a rich body, and a pleasant, vibrant acidity. The aroma is highly fragrant, and it has a winy aftertaste with strong overtones of berries and citrus.
Again, with this one, there was close to no bitterness, which made the coffee velvet smooth.
Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee
We stayed in Africa, just slightly north, with our next selection – Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee. And it was the perfect way to end the Volcanica adventure.
The Ethiopian Sidamo is almost a dessert coffee. Playful and uninhibited. It’s an explosion of fruit with pronounced notes of berry and honey. It’s produced from Ethiopian varieties indigenous to the region and comes from small plots and where other subsistence crops are also grown.
This coffee is 100% exotic. And we were properly charmed by it – both in terms of the fantastic and exotic taste experience, and the enthralling heritage of the beans.
Now onto the bottom line. Volcanica Coffee is a two-spoons-up rating from us. We loved the exotic nature of the brand and the unique flavors.
The many varieties of coffee you can enjoy ensure you never get bored, and the site is user friendly and fun. This makes a fun subscription for yourself or a coffee nerd you love.
3. Koa Coffee – Best Medium Roast
For Koa Coffee, 1997 was a magical year. It was the year Cathy, and Marin Artuckovich started their coffee plantation. It was and still is a family-run operation, located in the Kona Coffee Belt of the Mauna Loa region of Hawaii. This plantation has taken off like a rocket and has become one of the world’s most respected gourmet coffee brands.
This brand sells Koa coffee beans. The beans come from the Koa tree, which grows naturally out of the island’s volcanic rock. The tree is marked by a natural red coloration, which is a natural consequence of being grown in the volcanic rock. The strength of these trees is used by Hawaiian natives, and it is a massive part of the Hawaiian culture.
You may have never heard Koa Coffee, and that’s OK. But it’s got a fantastic history. Back in 2001, it was named Best Coffee in the USA by Forbes. And, it took home the first-place spot at the Gevalia Kona Coffee Cupping Competition (yes, that’s a real thing!) the following year.
The plantation on which the coffee is sourced is fully integrated. All growth, processing, and roasting happen at the same spot. This is great as it ensures we know where everything comes from.
Now, onto the actual review of this great coffee!
Let’s talk about flavor. For this particular brand, we did ours in the pour-over style. The result of this was a smooth and delicious cup of coffee. We felt that all the notes were vibrant and easy to detect—namely, cedar, magnolia, and cherries.
It’s very easy to sip cup after cup as you chase that delectable flavor. Thanks to the medium roast nature of the beans, the flavor fades from the tongue rather fast. Our team wanted more and more, and you will, too, once you taste it!
The blend offers a sweet and subtle flavor and tastes great with dessert. We had gourmet cookies delivered and dunked them into our coffee; the result was a treat we savored every bite of. Simple sugar cut out cookies became a world-class dessert with this coffee.
The coffee, upon being delivered to our office, remained fresh in its bag during transport. Once you put in your order, they roast it the same day and ship it the following day. Upon opening the bag, the aroma was second to none; we knew we were in for a treat.
We ordered the whole bean variety and ground as necessary for our cups. In conclusion, this is a coffee that is well worth your investment. It is our first peaberry kona, but really sets the bar high. The smoothness of the blend soothes and relaxes the drinker. It’s worth every penny. Adding cream and sugar actually ENHANCES this blend, too- great news for my cream and sugar fans out there.
Choosing the Greatest Coffee Beans: Your Guide
Method of Brewing
There are lots of ways you can brew coffee. Every method has its own steps that affect the smell and taste of your final product. You will want to use the right beans for the right brew method. Now, we will talk about which beans are best for which roasting method.
Coffee Bean Types
Arabica and Robusta are the two types of coffee beans you will most likely come across.
Here’s a look at what makes them different.
These beans are known for their bitter taste and lesser aroma. As a result, Robusta beans are normally blended with Arabica beans. You will find blends composed of 80% arabica and 20% robusta, especially for use in espresso, which creates a fragrant shot and crema layer.
It is common to shop and see 100% arabica beans. These offer a sweeter and softer taste, and you can easily taste flavor notes like berries and fruit. The acidity of these beans helps create a delicious taste.
Coffee Blend v. Single Origin
Your taste will determine which of these you like better.
Here’s what you should know:
This coffee comes from one particular region and is processed via one method. We recognize these from their taste and smell.
These comprise varying bean types. It’s great if you love to try out different beans, as this leads us to discover new combinations of beans from different areas of the world and create new tastes. It is an art in its purest form. Knowing what each bean’s traits help you create great blends.
Types of Roast
Here we will talk about three main types of coffee roasts:
These are dark brown beans slightly oily in texture. The coffee it brews is dark. These beans offer less acid than other roasts. Bean oils are secreted actively. Thus, you get a fuller body and greater aroma. It’s very popular for use in espresso.
Beans are dark in color for this traditional roast. Bean texture is oily and dry. Drinks crafted with this roast feature a bright smell that offers a balance between the acidic and sweet notes. Medium roast beans offer a full body compared to light roast beans. You get coffee that tastes great all day long.
These beans have a light brown color and help the barista show off a pleasant aroma and multidimensional taste. These coffees are high in acid, so pair them with some milk to balance things out.
Date of Roast
Part of making great coffee is to take note of the roast date. Fresh beans matter- and old beans are bitter and have a blase taste. When coffee makes contact with air, the aging of the coffee takes place.
After roasting, you have approximately one week to use the beans for optimal taste. If you can store it in an airtight container with a degassing valve, you can extend the taste for a month. If kept for two months, you will notice a flat taste and bitterness. If ground coffee is kept in an open pack, you have just one week to use it.
Our team’s advice? Get yourself a coffee keeper to extend the life of your beans.
This is to ensure the people who bring you your coffee are treated with respect and paid for their hard work accordingly. Legal guarantees are made to producers located in developing nations. Exporters are paid good wages. Environments are protected.
To buy Fair Trade certified coffee beans means you are providing humane working conditions for your producer, and you are getting quality coffee grown, harvested, and processed paid fairly for their work. You have bought coffee that stands for the environment and for the rights of the worker who made it for you.
USDA Certified Organic
It means your coffee has come from a tree that has not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals. Organic beans are brought to us in the way Nature intended, with no synthetic anything. The quality is noticeable.
The United States Dept. Of Agriculture ensures coffee is grown and processed per federal government guidelines, which means the land used has to be organic, seeds may not be GMO, and organic and non-organic products have to be kept separate, and more.
The place your coffee is grown affects how it will taste. The climate, fertilizers farmers use, how high the plantation is above sea level, and days of sunlight affect your coffee taste. So which countries are top for coffee? Let’s look now.
Indonesia offers coffee lovers the best in Arabica with a sunny aroma and sharp spice notes. Sumatran coffee offers the greatest in whole bean coffee.
The aroma of Ethiopian coffee is second to none. Herbs and wine can be detected in these beans. The taste is noticeable to even relatively inexperienced coffee lovers.
High plantations ensure a delicious bean from farm to grinder. Espresso is best made with Honduran coffee, thanks to its strength.
Colombia is where many of us derive those first cups we enjoyed as young teens or kids. It is standard and features a delicate smell and taste.
This is where the world’s coffee comes from, for the most part. Arabica grows wonderfully here. The taste of Brazilian beans is balanced and smooth. This is perfect for coffee beginners as the taste is beautiful and bright, featuring chocolate, floral, or nutty tones.
The acidity of coffee is not a bad thing at all. This provides coffee its flavor. Not all beans have that same acidity.
Bitterness and body also have to be considered. A balance between the three traits is what makes a bean taste great or not. Producers of the beans have to keep this in mind as they farm, harvest, and process the beans.
Let’s go back to the two most popular types of coffee: Robusta and Arabica. These beans are quite different and, as such, have to be treated that way. For example, did you know that Arabica has more fat than Robusta?
It’s true- and more people prefer that greater amount of fat. It’s also got higher instances of natural sugar. Sugary beans create stronger-tasting brews.
And remember, it’s the roasting of the beans that bring out the flavor- on their own, these beans taste like almost nothing. The chemical reactions in the bean, or the sugar breakdown, is the key (and the reason why coffee is brown).
Indeed, the many acids of coffee create the unique flavors we’re used to seeing when roasting happens.
Here are a few of the main ones:
- Acetic Acid- the same stuff in vinegar and creates a nice sharpness when used sparingly. If you come across a bean with a high acid taste that’s unpleasant, it likely was not roasted properly.
- Tartaric acid- found in grapes and offers a wine-like note.
- Quinic Acid- Created when acids begin to degrade, and dark roasted coffee has large amounts of this stuff. You find it in stale coffee and coffee that’s been kept on a burner for a while.
- CGAs or chlorogenic acid- These break down fast during the roasting process rather fast in comparison to others. It is the reason some roasts earn the descriptor “bright” more than their dark counterparts.
- Phosphoric acid- This acid is sweeter than the others but can change a tart citrus flavor to a sweeter one.
- Malic Acid- Offers an apple or pear taste- slightly sour- to your coffee.
- Citric Acid- Found in Arabica beans farmed at high elevations. Offers the coffee notes of citrus fruits.
Bitterness is naturally part of coffee. A balance of this and the sweet notes you expect have to be present, or the coffee will taste terrible. Low quality is the reason for bitterness, along with low-density, over-roasted beans.
The barista could have ground the beans improperly or added too much to the filter. If
Level of Caffeine
This refers to the amount of caffeine contained in whole bens. Robusta is higher in caffeine. Here are some popular drinks and their caffeine content.
- Coffee without caffeine contains just 3% of the substance.
- Instant coffee offers 31-48mg caffeine per 3 oz.
- Black coffee can contain anywhere from 38-65mg of caffeine per 3 oz.
- Cappuccino contains 50-68mg of caffeine per 4.7-6 oz.
- Americano contains 50-68 mg of caffeine when the drink is 1.7-2.4 oz.
- Espresso contains 50-68 mg of caffeine when the drink is .8-1.1 oz.
Grinding Your Coffee Beans
Coffee can be ground using kitchen tools or coffee grinders.
You can buy a:
- Burr grinder
- Blade Grinder
- Manual Grinder
You can also grind without a grinder, and here are five methods.
Simply add the desired bean amount to your bowl and grind using circular motion using pressure put on the pestle until you get the particle size you want.
Wrap beans in the newspaper. Then hit the beans until they are ground to the size you desire. Make sure to use a sturdy surface for this, such as a tough chopping board.
Most meat grinders for home use come with varying nozzle sizes for grinding of other household consumables such as spices. It ensures a uniform grind. You may need to send your beans through a few times before you get the consistency you desire.
Also, make sure to clean the grinder thoroughly, so the flavors of what was previously sent through the unit do not affect your beans’ flavor.
Blenders offer you the ability to grind whole beans into small particles, which releases their aroma in a strong and powerful way.
You use your spice mill to grind pepper- why not coffee? You won’t be able to get a fine grind, but it will certainly do the trick. Also, be sure you clean and dry the mill thoroughly, so your spices’ flavors do not transfer to the bean during grinding.
How to Store Your Coffee Beans?
Your lovely coffee is going to be a huge investment! This is not the supermarket coffee you’re used to. So, you have to store those beans properly. The thin paper bags these beans arrive in is not going to be enough to keep them fresh.
An airtight container is a way to go. You can buy coffee keepers on your favorite online retailer. Keep those airtight containers away from the light, at room temp, and in a cupboard. Don’t store coffee in the freezer if you can help it. If you do, thaw the beans to room temp so the flavors can come back.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the World’s Priciest Coffee?
That would be the Kopi Luwak Coffee. Civets consume the coffee berries, and their stomach and intestine enzymes process the berries. The beans are then excreted and sun-dried. They are washed and dried once more. Then, they are roasted. The coffee is priced at $35 and up a cup.
Coffee: Bean or Nut?
Coffee is a seed, and the trees produce a berry we call coffee cherry. What we call a “bean” is the seed of the berry. The coffee cherry, when ripe, is red in color. Inside there are two beans, covered in a thin, papery film.
Could Old Beans Get You Ill?
Nope, but old beans aren’t as aromatic or tasty. Nor will you get a good caffeine kick from the stuff, as caffeine decreases as time goes on.
Can I Eat Coffee Beans?
You can. They have lots of compounds and essential oils which are good for our breath. But these are super hard to chew. You might crack a tooth. Don’t eat them too often, and don’t eat them if you have heart trouble or high blood pressure.
Can You Tell Me The 4 Main Coffee Bean Types?
Liberica, Excelsa, Robusta, and Arabica are the types.
Is Arabica The Best?
Yes. This is what most of us consume. It’s pricier than robusta, thanks to how hard it is to grow and because of how it tastes. But robusta has a higher caffeine content than Arabica. Robusta lacks the bright taste of Arabica and instead has an earthy and unpleasant taste.
Where Are the World’s Best Coffee Beans Grown?
Honduras, Indonesia, Brazil, Colombia, and Ethiopia are the world’s greatest growers.
We hope this list has narrowed down for you three of the greatest places to get gourmet coffee beans. And, we even showed you a few ways to grind these beans properly!
The best thing to do is to get a great grinder and keeper before you buy it. This is an investment, so keep it fresh! You can also take your beans to a coffee shop for grinding if you like- they might do it for free or a small fee.
Whichever one you choose, enjoy your beans and your delectable coffee- we sure did! Cheers, and enjoy!