16 Best Coffee Beans to Try (Great Tasting Options)
- How to Find the Best Coffee in the World
- Best Whole Bean Coffee in 2020: Awards and Reviews
- 1. Onyx Coffee Lab Sample Box – Best Light Roast
- 2. Kicking Horse Coffee – Best Medium Roast
- 3. Koffee Kult – Best Dark Roast
- 4. Lifeboost Pure Beans – Best Organic Coffee
- 5. Volcanica Coffee Decaf Blend – Best Decaf Coffee
- 6. Biohazard Coffee – Highest Caffeine
- 7. Waka Instant Coffee – Best Instant Coffee
- 8. Volcanica Low Acid Blend – Best Low Acid Coffee
- 9. Stumptown Hair Bender – Best Espresso Beans
- 10. Tiny Footprint – Best Coffee for Cold Brew
- 11. Intelligentsia Coffee Frequency Blend – Best Beans for French Press
- 12. Koa Peaberry Beans – Best Kona Beans
- 13. Wallenford Estate Blue Mountain – Best Blue Mountain Beans
- 14. Don Pablo – Best Colombian Coffee Beans
- 15. Sumatra Gayo Peaberry – Best Indonesian Coffee
- 16. Costa Rica Peaberry Beans (Volcanica) – Best Costa Rican Coffee
- The Verdict
This article covers the best coffee beans rather than grounds. After all, freshly ground beans yields the beverage that puts a smile on your face.
But before you dive into the best coffee beans reviews, check out the buyer’s guide to get acquainted with all the options and terminology.
At A Glance:
How to Find the Best Coffee in the World
Getting the best coffee in the world doesn’t mean you need to travel to the far corners of the earth. In fact, you can get great coffee beans online or via a subscription. But choosing the best type and brand is a completely different ballgame. Here are the tips and tricks to nail the selection.
Where to look for the best coffee beans…
As indicated, coffee beans can be bought online, via subscription, and at a local shop. In all fairness, there is no right or wrong way, though each method has its pros and cons.
At your local roaster’s you can get first-hand advice about the coffee beans that suit your coffee machine/grinder and brewing preferences. Some local shops can also make you a custom blend and mix in different roasts, and you might even get to taste some samples. Look for roasters who also cup their own coffee. This shows commitment to quality.
Buying online saves you time and there are specialized websites that offer great insights about the coffee beans. If your heart is set on a particular brand, buying online is a no brainer and it works similar to subscription services.
A lot of coffee brands offer monthly subscriptions and you can get mystery boxes that let you explore small-batch blends and exotic coffee beans. The downside is that some of the subscriptions tend to be quite expensive.
Consider: Single Origin vs Blends
Hard-core coffee connoisseurs would always go for single-origin coffee beans to get consistent flavor notes. If you like your coffee straight and black, it’s usually better to opt for a single-origin. (1) This way you get to experience the rich taste and different notes of the beans from one region.
However, whether single-origin coffee is superior to blends is still up for debate. What’s more, those who like lattes and cappuccinos may even find single-origin coffee too strong. For this reason, a lot of coffee shops have the so-called house blend that’s ideal for espresso-based drinks with milk.
The main difference is, with a blend we have a goal in mind. We have a certain flavor profile, certain body, acidity. Sometimes that involves selecting specific coffees to come together as a whole.
You should know also that there is much more to beans than just the origin. Roasting affects bean quality and the same goes for the grinding process. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a taste of both to determine which one suits your palate best.
Buying Whole Bean Coffee vs Pre-Ground Coffee
Right off the bat, you should know that there is no contest here. Buying whole bean coffee is just better than the pre-ground.
Using pre-ground beans might be more convenient because you save some time and money if you don’t own a burr grinder. But unlike using whole bean coffee, you do not get any control over its texture and consistency.
More importantly, the freshness of coffee that’s ground just before brewing cannot be compared to pre-ground. As a result, the extraction brings out the full flavor profile and gives you the best aroma. It’s worth noting that coffee beans is also very delicate and might be prone to contamination.
Moisture and oxygen are among the main enemies of coffee grounds. Admittedly, most containers are very good at keeping the moisture away from the grounds. However, when you open the container it takes only 15 minutes for the grounds to lose about 60% of the aroma. (2)
Type of Coffee Bean (Arabica vs Robusta)
Even though there are more than 25 coffee species, Arabica and Robusta are the two types you’ll encounter most often. These are some of the main features that make them different.
Robusta is rich in caffeine and tends to have a more bitter taste. The beans are naturally pest-resistant and need less attention and care. Robusta is also quite affordable and is often mixed with Arabica for a more punchy flavor.
Arabica can fetch high prices and is considered a more premium variant. It accounts for the majority of the world’s production and statistics show that Arabica exports hit more than 83 million bags in 2020. (3)
Economics aside, this type of beans usually has a milder taste but there are certain regional differences. Also, the change in the climate can affect the beans’ profile and this applies to both Arabica and Robusta.
Understanding the Lingo
Terms such as USDA-Certified Organic, fair trade, and shade-grown help you gauge the beans and roast quality when you wish to give a novel brand a try. This is what you need to know.
Surprisingly, there’s not a single fair trade standard and it’s not uncommon to see labels from several organizations on one packaging. Regardless, fair trade means that the company utilizes fair business practices that are beneficial for everybody in the production chain.
The most rigorous standards are employed by the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). It’s worth pointing out that these labels don’t indicate coffee quality. They are an indication that the company adheres to certain ethical standards.
The USDA-Certified Organic label shows that the beans are organically grown. In other words, producers adhere to sustainable farming practices and actively promote biodiversity.
There is no use of pesticides and fertilizers that may damage the soil. The farms need to be integrated into the ecosystem without disrupting the natural flow. Most of the time, farmers use traditional growing methods to maintain soil health and deal with pests and weeds.
Shade growing is one of sustainable farming practices. Simply put, coffee grows under tree canopies. This is one of the oldest methods and it is very beneficial for the plant and the surrounding ecosystem. The canopy protects the coffee plant and beans against the sun and it is the place where pest-controlling birds live. Plus, the fallen leaves ensure the coffee plants retain an optimal amount of moisture.
Coffee Processing Method
After picking, coffee cherries are first processed using either dry or wet method. The former involves laying out the cherries and letting them dry naturally. The wet process involves more machine work. The bean is separated from the pulp, then run through rinse cycles, and then dried.
After that, beans get milled. They may be hulled to remove the outer layer and polished to remove any skin that might be left. Then the beans get sorted, graded, and from there it’s off to the ports to export them. Next come the roasting and grinding, and each process deserves a separate article.
Just to hint at important things, roasts can be light, medium, dark, or double-roast. And grinding depends on the type of coffee you like to drink.
Best Whole Bean Coffee in 2020: Awards and Reviews
|Onyx Coffee Lab Sample Box||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Kicking Horse Coffee||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
||See on Amazon|
|Lifeboost Pure Beans||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Volcanica Coffee Decaf Blend||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
||See on Amazon|
|Waka Instant Coffee||
||See on Amazon|
|Volcanica Low Acid Blend||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Stumptown Hair Bender||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
||See on Amazon|
|Intelligentsia Coffee Frequency Blend||
||SEE ON AMAZON|
|Koa Peaberry Beans||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Wallenford Estate Blue Mountain||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
||See on Amazon|
|Sumatra Gayo Peaberry||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Costa Rica Peaberry Beans (Volcanica)||
||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
Want to know more about the world’s best whole bean coffee? Keep reading and check out our ultimate rundown. There are coffee brands from every corner of the world and they’ll fit any brew style or taste. You just need to take your pick.
Those who like to explore the fine nuances of premium Arabica are going to love the Onyx sample box. Our pick for the best light roast coffee is a package includes four 4oz bags of proprietary blends that have been hand-crafted in Arkansas.
If you are wondering where the coffee comes from, it’s tricky to list all the places. To entertain your imagination a little, the beans have been sourced from Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia, to name but a few.
Aside from the international pedigree, this coffee has also been roasted in small batches to provide better control of the flavor profile. Judging by the title, there is no need to stress the roast type, but what about the taste?
The flavors vary from one bag to another and there might be some seasonal differences. But expect a punch of fruity notes with just a touch of citrus on the palate.
BEST SUITED FOR: This sample box is for those who like to explore new tastes and blends. It’s also a good choice if you are just getting into craft coffee.
The Kicking Horse Coffee brand will surely grab your attention with a logo depicting a cute horse wearing glasses. But the goodies beyond the packaging put this bag on the list of the best coffee beans.
First of all, Kicking Horse Smart Ass ticks the right boxes in terms of the certificates; coffee is USDA Organic and sports a Fair Trade label. According to the company, this blend is great for the drinkers as well as the farmers.
Plus, there is no need to worry about the pesticides and other impurities messing up the flavor, which is, to say the least complex. Honeyed berry and red currant dominate the body and there are also hints of milk chocolate and sugar cane. Overall, the brew can be described as rich and creamy.
As for the beans, they are Arabica and come from South and Central America and Africa. However, the roasting happens at the foot of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
BEST FOR: Those who want a punch in the morning and beans that make a nice espresso shot.
Despite the somewhat sinister name and packaging, this blend is crafted to make all the dark roast enthusiasts happy. And if you submit to the Koffee Kult, the company offers an 80oz bag to keep you well-caffeinated for quite some time.
The major highlight of the Koffee Kult is that the brand is actually run by an artisan roaster and it’s an environmentally friendly business. That said, the coffee doesn’t seem to have an organic label, but this is not a deal-breaker by any means.
You are getting expertly roasted beans that retained their full flavor profile with no residual oils on the beans. As you might have guessed, the strain is Arabica and it has been sourced from Sumatra, Colombia, and Guatemala.
Taste-wise, the roast has been brought to the second crack and then quickly cooled. Expect to get a fuller profile with caramel notes and a bitter-sweet body.
BEST SUITED FOR: Those who are getting on the pour-over bandwagon should get a taste of the Koffee Kult.
The mission and dedication to quality behind this brand are bound to impress you. The beans are grown inside a small protected area atop a slope in Nicaragua. Each step of the way, the producer goes at length to provide the purest whole bean coffee possible and preserve the environment.
The beans are grown, washed, and dried by hand and without using any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Because of this, the brand received Mycotoxin, GMO, and Pesticide-free labels. In other words, this roast is as organic as they come.
Going all organic is great, but how does it affect the taste? It’s safe to assume that the shade of the guava trees is partly responsible for bringing out more natural sugars. You get a mellow, yet aroma-rich brew with delicate caramel notes.
As for the roast, it’s medium and the beans undergo a 30-day rest before roasting. This allows for all the flavors to come out and give it a more complex profile.
It’s so smooth, so rich, and it has this wonderful nutty flavor. It’s not acidic or bitter at all, so I’m happy to say that I’m finally going organic.
BEST SUITED FOR: Anyone interested in trying great organic coffee
This coffee brand truly lives up to its name. The beans are grown and sourced from Central and South American highlands where the volcanic soil gives the blend a unique flavor. The Volcanica coffee has a rich and somewhat earthy body, but the sweet notes allow for a reinvigorating taste and creaminess.
Since this is the decaf option, you might be wondering about the decaffeination process. The company utilizes the Swiss Water Process which is completely chemical and solvent-free. This way, the Volcanica keeps the original Arabica beans’ flavor profile.
What’s more, the beans are roasted the moment you place the order so there is no need to worry about the freshness. The decaf roast is medium. However there are other types of Volcanica roast. With this in mind, the blend is quite versatile and works well as a cold drip, pour-over, or espresso.
In the end, it’s worth noting that the Volcanica Decaf Blend falls into great value for money category.
BEST SUITED FOR: If regular coffee gives you the shivers, decaf is there to help. And rest assured that you won’t have to compromise on taste with the Volcanica decaf.
Here’s another bold name and packaging to hint at an even bolder aroma and high caffeine concentration. The Biohazard Coffee will make you feel as if running on steroids. How much caffeine does this coffee have?
This blend has 928mg of caffeine per 12oz of brewed coffee. While this sounds like a lot, but it pays to put things into perspective so you get a better understanding. For example, one ounce of espresso has 63.6mg of caffeine. If you do the math, you’ll find out that 12oz of espresso have 763.2mg of caffeine.
Similar to the popular Death Wish Coffee, Biohazard Coffee is indeed strong. But there is little to no information about the origins and roast of the beans. That being said, this is a NY-based company and the coffee has undergone rigorous third-party testing to verify the strength and purity of the blend.
The beans are Robusta so you can expect somewhat lower acidity with pronounced grainy taste and nutty notes. The only thing is that you should go easy on this coffee, at least in the beginning, to see how your body reacts to it.
BEST SUITED FOR: Need something to keep you going through a tough day? Biohazard coffee is crafted to reinvigorate you unlike any other blend.
Hard-core coffee aficionados may frown upon the very notion of instant coffee, but the Waka is here to prove them wrong. From top-notch Arabica beans to advanced processing technology, this brand does everything to ensure top quality.
The beans are sourced from Colombia, carefully roasted, and freeze-dried to keep the natural taste notes intact. This particular box comes with 8 servings of medium roasted beans, though there are three other package sizes to choose from. Be it as it may, the taste is what matters.
Waka instant coffee offers a great balance of smooth creamy body and citrusy notes. As such, this instant is a great pick-me-up in the morning. And what’s best about it, you don’t fancy coffee makers to make a cup of coffee.
Grab a cup, pour one serving inside, top it with some hot water, give everything a light stir and you are good to go.
BEST SUITED FOR: Waka is for people who are always on the go. Grab a few servings, put them in your pocket, and you can grab a cup of coffee wherever there’s hot water.
Volcanica is on the path to becoming the go-to brand for novice as well as veteran brewers. The trick lies in the carefully selected coffee beans and artisan blends that suit a wide range of styles and tastes. This particular Volcanica comes from the coffee varieties grown in lower altitudes.
Arabica beans have naturally lower acidity. But why is this important? Coffee that’s high in acidic content tends to be heavy on the stomach and might cause bloating or cramps. The Volcanica Low Acid Blend is more soothing, plus there are no compromises in the flavor profile.
If you were wondering, the blend is medium roasted and the roasting is done when you place the order. Due to this, the beans work great for espresso and its variants like cappuccino or latte. Your job is to nail the right grind. Remember, it should be medium-fine and have a soft texture.
Just one more thing – this Volcanica blend doesn’t have any bitterness in the aftertaste.
BEST SUITED FOR: Of course, Volcanica low acid is for those with a tender stomach. But feel free to check out its mellow and refined taste even if you prefer more acidic blends.
The catchy name and vintage packaging hide an interesting story. The coffee was named after its Stumptown Coffee Roaster’s first location which was a former beauty parlor – Hair Bender. However, these are the best coffee for other reasons.
The roast brings an exciting combination of beans from Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America. Even though the company doesn’t specify it, it’s safe to guess that they are medium to medium-dark roast coffee beans. Anyway, the flavor notes it provides is a force to be reckoned with.
Stumptown’s textured body reveals dark chocolate complemented by pronounced citrusy notes. The flavors are well-layered, with a subtle bitterness in the aftertaste to round off the chocolaty body.
These beans are best suited for espresso shots. However, this blend also gives you a nuanced brew with a pour-over method and in a cold brew. Should you grow fond of Stumptown, feel free to get one of the company’s subscription plans.
BEST SUITED FOR: Wondering which coffee beans would be best for your new espresso coffee maker? The Stumptown Hair Bender pretty much fits the bill.
Becoming an expert of the cold brew style is in keeping with the current trends. But you don’t want just any beans. The way they are grown and harvested can significantly affect your brew. Imagine waiting for 12 hours, only to realize that there’s something off with the taste.
This won’t happen with the Tiny Footprint. This blend is among the 1% that are shade-grown and completely organic. You’ve guessed it, the brand’s name signals at the dedication to preserve the environment and the label features the USDA Organic certification.
The Arabica beans undergo a rigorous selection process before being sent off to the vintage Probat roaster. The machine is from another century, but the entire process is computer-controlled to provide consistent quality.
All this creates a taste profile that’s worth the 12-hour wait. You’ll get to enjoy the floral and fruity tones coupled with cocoa notes and silky texture.
BEST SUITED FOR: Cold brew aficionados are bound to love these beans. What’s more, this is the perfect blend to get you hooked on brewing cold.
A lot goes in favor of the Intelligentsia whole bean coffee blend. It’s crafted from naturally-pulped Brazilian strain and designed to provide smooth profile ideal for a French press. In addition, the company follows the Direct Trade principles and partners with the growers to secure high-quality and fair business practices.
One thing needs to be pointed out, though. The beans are labeled as a blend, but it’s actually a single-origin coffee because the beans come from Brazilian farms. This allows the specific flavors characteristic of the region to shine through.
Taste-wise, milk chocolate notes are dominant in the body, but you’ll also feel a subtle taste of dried fruits, lemongrass, and pineapple. The coffee is medium roasted which makes the beans excellent for immersion method, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try different coffee makers.
For example, the Intelligensia Frequency whole bean coffee make for a great cappuccino. Personally, we think that it’s one of the best coffee beans for pour over.
BEST SUITED FOR: The Intelligensia Frequency blend is a good all-rounder. Due to this, it’s recommended for various coffees and tastes.
If you are looking for truly exclusive coffee beans, Koa Peaberry Kona coffee brand should be right up your alley. To explain, peaberry Kona are small beans that don’t have the two usual flat sides. Instead, you get one small bean with a flavor that stands out.
The taste is rich and somewhat fruity, reflecting the unique nature of the beans. The body is smooth with just a hint of bitterness in the end, but this may partly depend on the brew style. Speaking of styles, this is also among the most versatile coffees out there.
It delivers a charming punch in an espresso and works well with the coffee press, AeroPress, and pour-over. On top of that, you shouldn’t hesitate to test it out in a cold brew. When it comes to the roast, it’s medium which gives the Koa Peaberry Beans another layer of versatility.
Premium quality goes hand in hand with a premium price. But once you get a taste of it, you’ll know your money was well spent.
BEST SUITED FOR: If money is no object, you need to treat yourself to these Kona coffee beans every now and again.
The characteristics that put the Wallenford Estate on the best coffee beans list are the unique origin and flavor profile. As suggested by the name, the beans are grown in Jamaican Blue mountains. The soil’s richness, 2,000ft elevation, and constant precipitation make for an outstanding flavor profile.
When brewed, the Wallenford Estate Blue Mountain has a sophisticated aroma that’s almost buttery. You palate will also feel an explosion of floral flavors and orange, with chocolate in the end. This is also among the best roasts for cold brew because cooling brings out a minty note.
The beans’ processing is traditional. They get washed and sun-dried before the roasting process. The roast is medium and these Blue Mountain Beans are labeled under the Volcanica brand.
When all is said and done, Wallenford Estate is yet another premium blend and many connoisseurs consider it the Rolls-Royce of coffee beans. This is reflected in the price, but one sip is enough to understand your money was more than well spent.
BEST SUITED FOR: Veteran brewer or a novice, with Wallenford Estate it’s not hard to understand why all the buzz about Blue Mountain coffee beans.
Cafe Don Pablo is quickly becoming one of the most popular Colombian brands. After all, the latino charm of a guy with a mustache wearing a fedora is hard to resist. Jokes aside, this brand produces some the best coffee beans.
The blend uses Arabica beans which are roasted in small batches to achieve the artisanal quality. Most of the beans come from Colombia but the company also sources them from all over the world. The beans in this review are medium dark roast and they have a mild flavor with medium body.
Similar to some other coffee brands, this whole bean coffee from Don Pablo variety is low in acidity and has a characteristic sweetness with a nice cocoa finish. It’s worth noting, that the coffee is GMO-free and features a Sharing certification which is one of the Fair Trade variants.
Being medium dark roast and low in acidity, Don Pablo is suitable for various coffees and brew styles. Drip, pour-over, or French press, it won’t fail to amaze you.
BEST SUITED FOR: If you are looking for optimal value for money, Don Pablo is a good choice.
Sumatra Gayo Peaberry is competing against other exotic coffees with a price that won’t break the bank. But don’t get things wrong, you are still getting the exciting Peaberry flavor profile the coffee lovers cherish. Truth be told, these are some of the best coffee beans because of the taste layers that are hard to rival.
First, your palate gets hit by herbal sweetness, after that the body reveals cardamom and clove with a hint of refreshing acidity. Depending on your preferred brew style, these beans can develop aromas of wisteria, cacao nip, and caramel.
This peaberry is medium roasted coffee and it’s also low in acidity. Plus, you don’t need to worry about manufacturing and sourcing. The brand features Fair Trade and organic certificates. The coffee beans are also washed and sun-dried to protect the natural characteristics.
If you are into trivia, Sumatra Gayo Peaberry is a coffee strain that thrives at really high altitudes. The beans are harvested between 4,000ft and 6,000ft near Lake Laut in Sumatra.
BEST SUITED FOR: These coffee beans are tasty, affordable, and work great with a lot of coffee makers. Don’t think twice about placing your order.
Costa Rican Peaberry coffee beans are not for the faint-hearted. Get ready for a taste that’s hard to match. It can make the best Costa Rican coffee you’ll ever brew.
Coming from the Tres Rios region, the coffee plants grow at 5,200ft in the shade of the centuries-old rain forest. Also, this is one of the few brands that have the Shade Tree certificate as well as the Rainforest Alliance label. So how does this affect the taste?
The beans are medium roasted and offer a palatable, yet strong presence of citrusy tones and fruity flavor notes. The body is bright and sweet with just a hint of bitterness at the end. This is one of the things that put the Costa Rica Peaberry among the most versatile coffees.
But the exotic origins ask for an exotic brewing style. Try these beans for cold brew or pour-over and you won’t regret it.
BEST SUITED FOR: coffee lovers who love to experiment with exotic tastes.
Choosing just one brand and pronouncing it the best coffee beans is an impossible task, so the final choice is up to you. Anyways, half the fun comes from exploring different options, tastes, and brew styles.
Colombia has the best coffee beans and about 15% of the world’s supply comes from this county. Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Arabian Peninsula follow closely.
If you consider some of the rare and best beans, Ethiopia and Jamaica will surely be near the top of the list.
You should choose coffee beans based on your preferences, taste, and brew style. For example, certain Robusta blends are better for espresso than Arabica. On the other hand, there are blends crafted specifically for French press, cold brew, or pour-over.
Plus, each variant has a distinct taste and flavor profile. When you factor in all of that, you can choose the best coffee beans for you more easily.
Medium roast is the best type of coffee roast. At the same time, it is among the most popular and versatile roasts. It is great for espressos, drip coffee, pour-overs, and various other styles and brews.
- What’s the Difference Between Single Origin and Coffee Blends? (2017, June 30). Retrieved from https://www.mrcoffee.com/blog/archive/2017/jun/whats-the-difference-between-single-origin-and-coffee-blends.html
- Lorenzo. (2018, March 15). What’s Wrong with Buying Pre-Ground Coffee? Retrieved from https://coffeeconfidential.org/grinding/ground-coffee/
- Supply Surplus Weighs on Global Coffee Prices. (2019, September 3). Retrieved from http://www.ico.org/show_news.asp?id=698
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.