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When you really think about it, coffee is truly a complex and mysterious thing. For some, it’s all about the caffeine content and subsequent energy boost - nothing else matters.
For most coffee lovers, however, it’s much more than that. Good coffee will have a pleasant aroma and a potent flavor profile. This offers an entire experience far beyond a simple energy kick.
Of course, there’s also quality to contend with. It’s important that you pay attention to where your coffee comes from, what types of beans are used, and whether or not it’s certified organic.
When you start to look at all the factors, it quickly becomes confusing and potentially overwhelming - especially if you’re unfamiliar with all the terms.
Read on to not only discover some of the best coffee beans out there, but how to choose the best ones, and why certain factors are so important to consider.
Ultimate Guide to Pick The Best Coffee Beans
There are literally thousands of options when it comes to choosing the best coffee beans, it can be so hard to determine not only what’s best in general, but what’s best for you. Coffee comes from all over the world, and it’s often available pre-ground or as whole coffee beans. What’s the difference there anyway?
You’ve probably also heard the terms “arabica” and “robusta” thrown around a lot. These are the names of the two types of coffee beans, and there’s much to learn about the differences between them.
Beyond this, there are still so many considerations to be made, like the coffee’s origin, brewing method and flavors. All of these things will contribute into your search for the coffee beans that are best for you - so let’s dive in.
Pre-Ground vs. Whole Bean
Ground coffee is the most common and popular option, mostly due to its accessibility and convenience. With coffee grounds, all you have to do is stick them in your coffee maker and you’re good to go. It’s super easy and great for busy mornings.
But, is this the best way to experience coffee?
The answer is no, and there are many reasons why - with the biggest one being taste.
When you buy whole bean coffee instead of grounds, you must grind the coffee yourself. The best practice is to done moments before brewing it, meaning it’s as fresh as possible. This delivers a much more powerful, fresh, and complex taste.
Buying whole bean coffee also gives you more control over the grind itself, thus allowing you more control over the resulting flavor and potency. You can choose to grind the coffee into very fine grinds, which is ideal for espresso and pour-over brewing methods, for example.
Coarse grinds on the other hand work best with cold brews and french presses. If you buy your coffee pre-ground, you have no control over this and you may struggle to get a good cup with your favorite brewing method.
While there is a multitude of different ways to brew coffee, several methods stand out as the most common:
The Drip Method
This is perhaps the most common and is the method used by most average coffee makers. For this method, you put the coffee grounds in a paper filter and the hot water falls over them and into a cup underneath, where coffee is produced.
The pour-over method is very similar to the drip method. The difference being pour-over gives you more control. Pour-over is done manually, meaning you decide the temperature of the water, the speed at which it’s poured, and the amount of time it takes. In this way, you control the taste, texture, temperature, and strength of your brew.
This method involves “pressing” the coffee grounds into the bottom of a container rather than passing them through a filter. For best results, use a coarser grind and a medium to dark roast with a French press.
While this method is much more time consuming, it yields a low-acid coffee with much of the bitterness removed from the taste. This method involves steeping the grounds, or beans, in cold water for 12-24 hours before brewing.
Espresso is essentially coffee served in small, extra-strong shots. It can be added to regular coffee for a boost or used as the base of many coffee-related drinks. It’s made by pushing pressurized hot coffee through extremely fine coffee grounds using a special espresso machine. It’s made from the exact same beans or grounds as regular coffee, but it’s the method of brewing that gives it the extra strength.
While there are many additional, specialty brewing methods, these are by far the most common. If you’re unsure what works best for you, you can try playing around with them a bit. But, once you know how you like your coffee brewed, you’ll know which roast and coarseness you need to use for best results.
Coffee Bean Types
Regardless of whether you’re purchasing coffee grounds or whole bean coffee, the type of bean is still important as there are distinct differences:
This is known to many as the superior type of bean. They are exceptionally high-quality with a rich, powerful flavor. They must be grown under certain conditions in order to reach their full potential. This why they’re so valuable and highly coveted.
Brands that use Arabica beans are always sure to put “100% arabica beans” on their packaging so people know they’re getting the best.
Robusta beans are generally considered to be inferior to arabica beans due to the weaker flavor. However, they do contain more caffeine. If caffeine content is more important to you than strong flavor, then robusta is the way to go.
They are also much easier to grow and cultivate than arabica beans, making them much cheaper to buy and sell.
Some coffee brands choose to use a combination of arabica and robusta beans. For some, this isn’t ideal as they still want the superior flavor and quality of the arabica bean. However, it is a fantastic way for companies to increase their caffeine content a little without sacrificing flavor.
If a good balance between caffeine content and strong flavor is what you’re after, then you want to look for a combination arabica/robusta coffee blend.
One last thing to consider when choosing the best coffee beans is your desired flavor. The flavor of your coffee greatly depends on its origin, freshness, roast, and bean type. To find your favorite flavor, you might need to play around a little bit as the varieties are endless.
But, you can use the following as a general guide:
- For a fruity, exotic, floral flavor, you want a light roast with a single origin, best brewed with a pour-over method. For best results, don’t add any milk.
- If you want something that is full-bodied with a traditional “coffee” taste, you want a darker roast.
If you want something a little more adventurous, specialty flavored coffees also exist. Chocolate, for example, is a common special flavor that many love in their coffee.
Finding your favorite special flavor will simply require some trial and errors.
Now scroll a bit below to reveal the Top 10 Best Coffee Beans Bucket List of 2020!
1. Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee
This coffee comes with many benefits and is superior in many ways. For starters, it’s grown in the shade and without pesticides. In addition, the coffee is USDA organic. This means this is among the purest, cleanest, and healthiest options. It’s also certified kosher for those that require this of their food and drinks.
It also has one of the strongest, purest flavors, given that it’s made with nothing but straight, organic, single-origin coffee. Even after it’s been grown, it’s sun-dried and spring-water washed. No chemicals are used in this process either.
This particular coffee also boasts a pH of 6, which is much less acidic than your average coffee. Regular coffee can cause a lot of irritation and stomach issues for some people. Lifeboost, however, allows people with these issues to enjoy their coffee free from any pain or discomfort!
All of these qualities have landed Lifeboost’s coffee on many “best of” lists all over the place and has garnered them hundreds of raving reviews from a huge variety of customers.
Not only is this coffee perhaps the healthiest coffee on the market, but the company and its practices are extremely socially conscious and environmentally friendly. While this doesn’t necessarily affect the taste or quality of the coffee itself, these things are extremely important to some customers.
For example, they are entirely fair-trade meaning all workers and employees associated with the growing and making of this coffee are paid fairly and placed in safe, healthy working conditions. They also ensure their growing environment is bird-friendly so as to not harm any of them that come around.
In addition, they donate a portion of their proceeds to RainforestTrust.org, an organization they work with that’s working hard to save rainforests around the world.
These are things that give customers confidence in the company itself as well as their high-quality coffee. There are plenty of brands that produce high-quality coffee beans, but not all do so in the same way as Lifeboost, and not many are as transparent.
Lifeboost produces some of the healthiest and most ethical coffee around while donating some of their proceeds to save rainforests - you really can’t go wrong!
2. Bulletproof Coffee
Bulletproof is an innovative and unique company that has created something that goes beyond plain old coffee. Something that enhances both the experience and performance of their coffee. We’ll get to this in a minute, but first, let’s talk about the coffee itself:
Their coffee is the result of years of research and an obsessive desire to find and create the best-quality and highest-performing coffee possible. The result is their clean, healthy, versatile premium Bulletproof blend.
The coffee is produced from organic, hand-picked beans, chosen by highly skilled and experienced coffee roasters. They are grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Each subsequent step of the process has been carefully researched and perfected to minimize the introduction of mold and toxins, which ultimately hinder the performance of the coffee.
On its own, their coffee is fantastic. But, they’ve created an enhanced formula, the results of which inspired their very name: it makes you feel bulletproof.
This method requires only a few ingredients and a few extra minutes of your time. The end result is a cocktail of health benefits and supercharged, long-lasting energy. It’s also a fantastic additive to any weight-loss initiative.
It’s going to sound a little strange at first, but don’t let that prevent you from giving it a chance. To experience the aforementioned health benefits and superior energy boost, Bulletproof recommends adding MCT oil (or something similar) and unsalted, grass-fed butter to your coffee.
To prevent the butter and oil from simply sitting on top, you must blend the mixture together. The result is a creamy, latte-like consistency with an equally creamy flavor and texture.
A wonderful flavor and texture is not the only purpose of this combination, however. The added healthy fats offer many health benefits:
- Healthy fats are extremely beneficial to the heart, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- They can lower cholesterol levels.
- They are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin E.
This combination is also fantastic for those looking to lose weight, as it keeps you feeling full and satisfied for quite some time. Many use this bulletproof coffee mixture as a substitute for breakfast.
While the bulletproof method does require some extra ingredients, the company doesn’t leave you hanging. Grass-fed, unsalted butter is easy enough to find at your local grocery store and you can buy a high-quality MCT oil from Bulletproof themselves.
Not only is this coffee pure and healthy, but the company has created a formula that offers even more amazing health benefits and perhaps the best energy boost you’ve ever experienced.
3. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee
Origin: Brazil, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Vietnam
Lavazza has been crafting some of the world’s best and most sought-after coffees since 1895. The company’s founder had a passion for discovering the best coffees from around the world and combing the varieties for a unique, premium blend of coffee. Today, the family continues this tradition, taking the best of both arabica and robusta beans to create something truly great.
Their Arabica beans come from Brazil, Columbia, and India, with Robustas from Vietnam and Indonesia. The combination here is deliberate, as each origin boasts it’s own unique flavor profile. Each of their coffee blends takes origins into consideration to create something distinct and specific. This particular blend is a four out of five on the aroma scale, offering notes of honey, almonds, and dried fruit.
Once harvested in their respective countries, the beans are then taken to Italy, where they are blended and roasted locally, in a nut-free facility. The result is a creamy, mild, medium roast that’s perfect for making an aromatic espresso.
Not only is their coffee highly aromatic and flavorful, but it contains only coffee. Their process is entirely chemical-free, ensuring only the cleanest, purest, healthiest end result. Their overall commitment to quality is impressive. They monitor every phase of the process carefully and make adjustments when and if necessary.
For over one hundred years, top-notch quality is all they’ve ever known and they don’t plan on changing that.
This company has been creating premium coffee for more than one hundred years - meaning they pour generations of knowledge and experience into their coffee, resulting in a superior, powerful, flavorful cup every time.
4. Stone Street Cold Brew
While it’s much more difficult and time-intensive, cold brew coffee is a unique method of brewing that many love. Despite a strong desire for cold-brew, many have trouble getting it just right. Not only do you need the right roast, but you must get the coarseness just right in order to maximize the taste and experience.
Stone Street Cold Brew is dark roasted for the best possible flavor after a cold brew. It’s also perfectly, coarsely ground for optimal extraction during a cold brew. The result is a perfectly smooth, bold, flavorful cup of cold brew coffee every time.
Stone Street is proud to be a specialty small-batch roaster, meaning its process is carefully monitored and each small batch is of superior quality and freshness. In addition, all roasting is done on-site in Brooklyn, New York.
They are proud of the close-knit and ethical relationships they have with their top-notch sources – a solid combination of coffee farms in a variety of growing regions. Their sourcing and grading assurance combined with their strong commitment to small-batch roasting gives them the confidence to proclaim their coffee beans are some of the absolute best around.
Creating coffee since 2009, they have worked hard to perfect their roasting process in order to perfectly and expertly develop the unique flavor profile of each unique blend of coffee.
In addition to their superior, expertly crafted cold brew, they offer a solid variety of coffee types. Their espresso, for example, is just as great and you can purchase the coffee in whole bean form or as grounds. They even offer unroasted green coffee beans if that’s what you’re after.
This small-batch, artisanal roaster maintains solid relationships with some of the best coffee farms from around the world, allowing them to create a wide variety of bold, delicious, high-quality coffee for everyone.
5. Death Wish Organic Whole Bean Coffee
Origin: India and Peru
Death Wish coffee is only for the most intense, hardcore coffee drinkers. It’s even more ideal for those who prioritize their caffeine intake and want something that offers an intense, above-average energy boost.
Death Wish uses a combination of Arabica and Robusta beans to optimize their caffeine content without sacrificing quality or flavor. They deliver something that encapsulates the best of both worlds to “awaken your inner rebel” as they put it.
Between their perfect combination of beans and their slow-roasting process, they boast a blend that contains double the caffeine than the average coffee – all of which come from the coffee itself. They stress that there are no caffeine additives used at any point in the process and all of their beans are USDA organic and fair-trade.
This means that their coffee is not grown or treated with the use of pesticides or other chemicals. It also means you can rest assured that all personnel associated with making this coffee is paid fairly for their hard work.
In addition to offering a superior energy kick, Death Wish coffee boasts a unique and wonderful profile of flavors. In addition to promising that their flavor is never bitter, it also offers subtle notes of both cherry and chocolate. This caters well to those like to appreciate a sweeter coffee experience, in both aroma and taste.
In addition to their amazing, bold flavor, they also promise superior freshness. They roast their coffee in only small batches, meaning it comes to you as fresh as possible, while also ensuring both quality and consistency every time.
This coffee is unique in both it’s flavor and caffeine content. The high amount of caffeine is exactly what some are looking for, just make sure you’re well-prepared for it!
6. No Fun Jo Decaf
Jo Coffee is a fair-trade company that doesn’t mess around with quality. For starters, they are USDA certified organic. This means that they only use coffee beans that are grown on farms that follow strict standards set out by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The entire process uses no chemicals or pesticides whatsoever. And for those that care about the people behind the process, their fair-trade status offers you confidence and peace of mind that all staff and workers associated with the coffee are paid and treated fairly.
In addition, they only use beans that are in the top two percent of all Arabica raw coffee throughout the entire world. The beans are directly sourced by a team of coffee cupping experts. This dedication to superior quality means you’re getting a premium cup of coffee every time from a highly-experienced artisan roaster.
This particular brand of coffee is for those who want the aroma, flavor, and overall experience without the effects caused by caffeine. To ensure optimal quality and maximum caffeine extraction, the beans are put through the Swiss Water Process.
This is a process by which caffeine is removed in a gentle and chemical-free way until 99.9 percent of it is gone. This gentler way of doing things ensures that everything else about the coffee is preserved, including flavor and quality.
In terms of flavor, this coffee is ideal for those that like something a little sweeter. It offers notes of sweet blueberry and milk chocolate, which is achieved without any flavor additives. The flavor is complex and full-bodied with a smooth finish that everyone loves.
Especially when it comes to decaf, you’ll find that quality varies greatly. Some won’t remove enough caffeine, while others are simply made with low-quality beans and have very little flavor by the time it reaches your cup.
With Jo Cofee, you can rest assured that not only are you getting a true decaf coffee with 99.9 percent of caffeine removed, but you’re also receiving the utmost in quality and taste.
Jo Coffee is an artisan coffee roaster that takes extreme pride in their amazingly detailed process and superior quality product - a decaf coffee to rival even the best beans out there.
7. Valhalla Java
Origin: Honduras, Guatemala, Sumatra, Peru, India
Valhalla Java is another killer coffee from the Death Wish brand. As the brand’s name implies, its products have no mercy. They are very intense and meant for people who specifically desire that intensity. They are open about their high caffeine content and the intense effects it will have on you should you choose to drink it.
This particular blend encourages you to “harness the power of Odin” with their masterful, artisan roast. This goes along with the fun, old-fashioned illustration of Odin on the bag. The goal of this imagery is, no doubt, to depict just how intense the coffee is.
The beans for this blend are specifically selected and expertly roasted to offer an “ultra” strong coffee that is smooth and bold. It’s designed to pull you out of even the lowest of lows and your most exhausted state.
It’s for the morning after a super late and intense night, or as they put it – “the night you thought you’d never wake up from.”
The intensity was originally crafted specifically for guitar legend Zakk Wylde, who no doubt leads a busy life with many late and high-energy nights on the road. But, it soon branched out and many other busy, chronically tired people latched on to the extreme caffeine content as they found it gave them what they needed to wake right up.
Super high caffeine is not all that this coffee has going for it, however.
The coffee meets the standards of high quality with it’s USDA organic and fair-trade status. So, not only can you experience an energy boost so intense it’ll get you through the day, but you can rest easy knowing the product is both healthy and ethical.
In terms of flavor, many reports that it’s one of the highest-quality dark roasts they’ve tried, with no “burnt” taste that often comes with low-quality dark roast varieties. With its strong flavor comes an equally powerful aroma, which only adds to the intense and energizing experience offered by this extreme blend of coffee.
Lastly, the coffee is available as whole beans to preserve the freshness, but they also roast their coffee frequently and in small batches to ensure it’s as fresh as possible when it reaches your door.
This extremely high-caffeine coffee offers a powerful aroma, taste, and boost of energy that’ll help you get through the day. While it’s what many people desire - it’s imperative that you prepare yourself for the intensity you’re signing up for.
8. Subtle Earth Organic Coffee
This USDA organic coffee is sure to cater to high-end coffee lovers everywhere. The flavor profile is complex and versatile. It offers a deep, rich, and chocolatey flavor with notes of honey and caramel. It has a clean finish and is low-acid, for those with sensitive stomachs.
It’s made from 100 percent Arabica beans, sourced from only the best organic, family-friendly farms in the Marcala region of Honduras. No chemicals or pesticides are used, and it’s deliberately grown at an altitude with minimal insects, meaning no insecticide is necessary either. If insects ever do pose a problem, farmers will plant peppers as a repellent instead of using chemical deterrents.
Subtle Earth ensures they get only the very best beans as they have close and personal relationships with their suppliers. They also grow and process a lot of their own beans, handpicking only the best to use in their coffee blends.
To round out the quality process, they have a Q Grader on staff who personally ensures the quality of each and every bean.
Once the beans are selected, they roast them to order in small batches to ensure they retain maximum flavor. They pay close attention to each element of roasting – sight, smell, and sound – to ensure that the natural sugars in each bean are being properly and expertly caramelized exactly right.
Their extremely close attention to detail is what gained them a loyal customer base and a solid reputation as roasters of fresh, superior coffee. The quality in their coffee beans is so much better than the average run-of-the-mill large corporation coffee that you can literally smell the difference.
What ultimately sets them apart from the rest is not only their unwavering dedication to quality and freshness but their noticeable passion for coffee. At its core, it’s a family business filled with people who simply love coffee – specifically good coffee.
These people knew that the world was too saturated with stale, low-quality coffee so they set out to make a difference, and it shows.
Subtle Earth Organic Coffee offers a sweet, bold coffee that is carefully and lovingly grown, picked, and roasted by a group of dedicated, passionate coffee-lovers who strive to offer the best of quality and freshness, every time.
9. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Ground Coffee
Not only is this coffee high-quality, but it’s extremely unique in that it offers a multitude of extra health benefits that most blends don’t. It’s a superb choice for anyone looking to supercharge their nutrient intake and overall health.
For starters, it’s USDA organic, which means that it goes through the entire growing and harvesting process without the use of a single chemical or pesticide. This is the base of all good coffee – you don’t want chemicals tainting the quality or the taste.
But, this blend takes things much further with its addition of Lion’s Mane, Chaga, and mushroom powder. Each of these things adds a number of benefits to the coffee.
For starters, this particular combination mixed with slightly lower caffeine content places a bigger emphasis on creativity and focus. Lion’s Mane especially is a natural nootropic that is proven to support the brain, improving memory, concentration, and focus. This is great for kickstarting your morning in the best possible way.
In addition, the organic Chaga mushroom contains antioxidants that offer support to your immune system.
The coffee itself is organic, and you can rest assured that these other ingredients are as well. The Chaga is wild-harvested in Siberia and is made from only the wood-grown fruiting bodies. This means that no fillers, carriers, or GMO’s were used at all.
The Lion’s Mane is treated much the same way, only the wood-grown fruiting bodies are extracted and there are no carriers or fillers present. Both of these ingredients are USDA certified organic.
All of this, plus it’s still perfect for any diet you may be on, paleo, keto, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. It contains no carriers or fillers and is entirely natural and organic.
The best part is, you can get all of these benefits without even worrying about a compromised taste. Despite the presence of mushroom powder, there is no “mushroom” taste whatsoever. This medium roast offers a clean, balanced, and full-bodied flavor without the bitter aftertaste.
The company as a whole is passionate about its all-natural ingredients and practices. They want to make it more common practice, which is why they are entirely transparent about their process and their quality.
They test each batch of their coffee for heavy metals, allergens, bacteria, molds, and so much more before it goes in the package and onto the shelf. If you have any questions or want more information, they encourage customers to reach out and ask. This should give you the utmost confidence that this company has nothing to hide and truly does prioritize your safety and health.
This coffee is produced in small batches by a dedicated and passionate company, who strives to create the healthiest and most beneficial coffee possible, with organic and science-backed ingredients.
10. Real Good Coffee
Rounding out this varied list of great coffee is a simple, back-to-basics coffee that won’t disappoint. Right from the start, it’s certified USDA organic meaning it’s one of your healthier options, given the lack of chemical and pesticide used in the process.
The flavor notes on this roast are geared towards those who like a spicier coffee as opposed to sweet. It’s invigorating and exotic – you can find hints of cedar, bell peppers, and lemony acidity. The taste is bold, but simple and definitely a classic way to kickstart your day.
The company is run by a small team who are passionate about good coffee -it’s that simple. They work hard to create the best possible experience for you in an honest and authentic way. This comes right down to their simple, no-nonsense packaging and stark lack of gimmicks or wild promises. They’ve been roasting great coffee for more than 30 years, so they’re confident in their process and their quality at this point.
Not only do they produce a simple, expert, high-quality coffee, but they do so in a versatile way. They ensure their coffee beans can be ground up in a way that suits any coffee maker and/or method of brewing you might prefer.
To make things even easier for you, they offer instructions for a number of the most common brewing methods: drip, pour-over, and French press. They offer guidance in terms of the optimal coarseness and the best ratio of coffee grinds to water, and the amount of time spend brewing.
Between this, their simplicity, and their years of experience and dedication, you can plainly see how much this company loves both their coffee and their customers. They care about your health and they strive to create a product that combines simplicity, tradition, and quality.
In business for more than 30 years, this company operates with a small team of dedicated and passionate coffee lovers that strive to create a coffee that’s simple, classic, spicy, and high-quality - every time.
If you care about quality in your coffee, and you want something you’re going to love for a long time, you can’t skip the research. There are so many factors that go into finding the best possible cup of coffee for you and all of your needs and preferences.
Educate yourself on the different types of beans and what they have to offer. Then, take your knowledge and apply it to your coffee purchases. If you’re just starting out, try a few different brands and blends before settling on a favorite. This way you’ll never wonder if you’re missing out on something.
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