Who Has The World’s Best Coffee Beans? – Review and Buyer’s Guide
The title of “best coffee in the world” is debatable. In coffee, just like any food and drink, taste rules! What may be loved by somebody, maybe totally hated by someone else. Both perspectives with good reasons.
Therefore, it may seem weird to talk about a specific one or more than one “best coffee in the world”. Yet over the decades that coffee experts have been selecting, growing, and perfecting the different coffee varieties all around the world, some consensus has arisen.
Some brand coffee beans are reputed as “better”, on average, than others, and can be considered among the best coffee in the world.
Type of Coffee Beans
First, let’s start with the types of coffee beans. The vast majority of all coffee sold in the world comes from 2 types: Arabica and Robusta (also known as Canephora).
Arabica is by far the most valued, whose beans are sweeter, often with better acidity and flavorful. It is unfortunately a weaker plant, more subject to diseases and pests and that’s the main advantage of Robusta. This other type of coffee bean is less reputed for its taste but has a fuller body, a higher caffeine content, and the plant is quite resistant to diseases and more adaptable.
Much less widespread are other 2 types, Liberica and Excelsa (a variation of Liberica itself). They account for a small share of the coffee production and are cultivated in specific areas.
The best coffee in the world are unequivocally from Arabica beans.
Places of Origin
Given that the Arabica plant thrives in tropical areas with high humidity, limited direct sun, and a temperate climate, the cultivation zone of the best coffee in the world is limited to specific countries and regions within them.
These are called “coffee origins” and the most renowned ones are those who offer a warm climate and high altitude: both give temperate air, humidity, and sun to the Arabica plants to produce the best coffee in the world. The most known origins are Hawaii, Jamaica, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Central America.
A common result of these origins is that a majority of the best coffee in the world is quite acidic. This is because as the coffee cherries ripen, they become sweeter and produce more acids. By growing at high altitudes, the plant has more time to bring the cherries to maturation, thanks to a cooler climate that doesn’t “burn” the cherries too soon.
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That means that most coffee from the best origins in the world has a high component of acidity, which is not a bad thing per se. With the acidity means the coffee is fruity, sweet, and flavorful thanks to having the right time to ripen.
Acidity is a component of coffee that can give an indication of where and for how long it was grown.
Whether your coffee comes from high altitude regions or not, to fully appreciate the best coffee in the world, it is important to choose the right brewing method. Most experts will use a Pour Over (like a Chemex or V60 device) in which hot water is slowly poured over ground coffee that is resting on a paper filter. These types of methods allow the coffee to slowly be extracted and express itself the most flavors it possesses.
Similarly, Drip Coffee Makers work with the same principle but are quicker in brewing, leaving less time for extraction.
Another popular brewing method is the French Press! A small device in which ground coffee is steeped in hot water for a few minutes and then pressed out, hence the name, and left with clean coffee. This method gives usually a fuller body than a pour over or drip and is considered better for more intense coffee beans.
Recently Cold Brewing has grown in popularity, bringing a different take on brewing coffee. Instead of using hot water, the ground coffee is left to extract in cold water for hours. Sometimes brewing may take even more than 1 full day.
This allows a very slow but thorough extraction, resulting in a very flavorful cup of coffee. The chemical components of the beans extracted using this method are different from those with hot water. This can make the flavor dissimilar but certainly not worse.
Speaking of flavors, coffee has naturally over 800 different ones. That is double the amount of wine! Depending on the soil, climate, state of maturation and roasting levels, the beans can express an array of flavors.
From the most intense tones of dark chocolate, hazelnuts, caramel and even molasses, through the gentler cereals, milk and biscuits. Some coffee can have sweet and tangy fruity flavors of lemons, orange, apple, pear, cherries, apricots and more! Coffee flavors barely have any limits, as some even have flower-like undertones present in some coffee origins.
Some of the best coffee in the world may have plenty of these flavors, being complex and rich. Let’s explore our suggestions for the best coffee in the world!
Best Coffee Bean Brand Review
Between the many coffee on the market, LifeBoost is geared towards healthy-conscious individuals. All their coffee is shade-grown, with a lower need for pesticides, organic and selected to be the least acidic possible. Harvested in Nicaragua, LifeBoost coffee is good for the health and for the taste as well, being rich, chocolatey and fruity as expected from a good Central American coffee.
Atlas Coffee Beans
Atlas Coffee collects coffee from origins all around the world and it is thus perfect for those who want to taste many. Their subscription covers many countries that others don’t, like Burundi or Papua New Guinea. A vast array of different blends and origins for coffee-lovers that can never have enough of trying something new.
Kona Coffee Beans from Koa Coffee
The Kona district in Hawaii is by decades reputed among the best coffee origins in the world. It is no surprise to see it on this list. Koa Coffee has a quite heavy bodied Kona that is famed and well-reputed, in 3 different blends to accommodate all tastes.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
Another rare and famous coffee origin, Jamaica Blue Mountain grows in a shaded and high altitude part of the island, guaranteeing a great environment for the coffee plants to thrive. Fruity, wine-like and medium-bodied, the Jamaica Blue Mountain is well-known all around the world for being a solid choice for any coffee enthusiast.
Kenyan AA Coffee Beans
Kenyan coffee has a quality rating that uses letters. It is easy to guess that “AA” stands for the highest quality. Quality that means the beans are harvested and washed with the utmost care, selecting only the fully ripe cherries. This attention contributes to the great, brightly sweet and acidic, flavor of this coffee.
Tanzania Peaberry Coffee
Taking strength and flavor from the enriched volcanic soil where it grows, Tanzania Peaberry has grown very famous in the last decades in the world of coffee, and with reason. Acidity, intensity and great body are features of the Tanzania Peaberry Coffee. Both mellow notes and bold ones mix to create a very rich tasting experience.
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee Beans
Speaking of intense and rich coffee, the Sumatra Mandheling Coffee is second to none. Organically-grown and fully washed, the beans are of great intensity and very thick, earthy, even pungent. The high humidity throughout the year in Indonesia donates a heaviness to a coffee that is great when slowly sipped.
Toraja Sulawesi Coffee - 'White Eagle'
Another entry from Indonesia, the Toraja Sulawesi has a long cultivation history. It is less heavy than its cousin in Sumatra, smoother and creamy, with a sweetness that is quite prominent. It is one of the rarest coffee on this list, just about 3-600 bags are produced every year. Grab it if you can!
Central American Geisha Coffee Beans
Geisha coffee has recently reached peak consideration, after a Panaman origin was sold at record prices a few years back. Rightfully so. The Geisha is a variety of coffee that originated in Ethiopia but has been grown with success in Central America for a while now. It is mild but extremely rich in flavors, sporting a great range of different ones from tobacco to floral ones. It is quite an experience for the most refined coffee drinkers.
Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee
Indian Monsooned Malabar is the typical coffee that is the child of its environment. Grown since centuries on the Malabar coast, subject to yearly monsoons, this coffee absorbs the humidity of the torrential rains for weeks, which modify its taste profile. Earthy, cocoa-like and even spicy are common words used to describe the Indian Monsooned Malabar Coffee.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee Beans
The oldest variety on this best coffee in the world list, Yirgacheffe is naturally grown in the Ethiopian wilderness. Known for nearly a millennia now, this Ethiopian marvel is dry processed, which means the beans are left to dry under the sun instead of being soaked in the water. That donates them an earthy, very aromatic, cinnamon and fruity range of flavor, for a coffee that is highly reputed all over the world.