The 10 Best Coffee Beans

Updated May 25, 2017 by Melissa Harr

10 Best Coffee Beans
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Get your java fix every day without the sticker shock of an overpriced artisan latte with a choice from our selection of coffee beans. Purchasing whole beans will help you customize your drinking experience, and we’ve included something for all palates, whether you seek the eye-opening and super strong or the milder and lower-acid varieties. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best coffee bean on Amazon.

10. illy's Medium Roast

Imported from Italy, illy's Medium Roast comes in two easily stackable tins, saving you precious pantry space. They’re also less messy than fold-over bags and keep the product fresher for longer. The blend is an Arabica, with nine varieties creating a harmonious taste.
  • beans are sustainably grown
  • packaging can be reused
  • slightly overpriced for the amount
Brand Illy
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Lavazza Super Crema Espresso

Break out the Lavazza Super Crema Espresso to impress your most discerning guests. It features Brazilian, Central American, and Indonesian varieties, a combination that produces a velvety, long-lasting taste with slightly sweet notes.
  • aromatic during grinding
  • ideal for drip or espresso
  • roasted long before sale date
Brand Gaggia
Model 4202A
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Koffee Kult Dark Roast

Koffee Kult Dark Roast contains a blend of organically sourced beans from Guatemala, Colombia, and Sumatra, which balance perfectly to create a heavy-bodied, smooth, and bright flavor. You’ll also detect a cinnamon finish that pairs well with pastries.
  • rainforest friendly
  • good choice for chemex brewing
  • lighter flavor than many dark roasts
Brand Koffee Kult
Model 7005318
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Kicking Horse Three Sisters

An organic, fair trade choice, Kicking Horse Three Sisters is mellow and savory thanks to the inclusion of dark, medium, and light varieties from Indonesia and South and Central America. As you brew, you’ll notice notes of coconut and chocolate malt in its light scent.
  • certified kosher
  • roasted in canada
  • tends toward oiliness
Brand Kicking Horse Coffee
Model 629070700087
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Fresh Roasted Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Enjoy a mild body and medium roast with Fresh Roasted Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. A terrific choice for drinking cold, this is a single source beverage, grown in the small area of Kochere, Ethiopia, that has cupping notes of both lemon and honey.
  • wet processed for flavor clarity
  • no additives or preservatives
  • slightly bitter aftertaste
Brand Fresh Roasted Coffee
Model FRC850_WB
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Italian Roast Espresso

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso offers a heavy, dark roast that is achieved right before packaging, ensuring you will enjoy a full, fresh experience even if the bag sits in your pantry for a while. Its medium acidity is palatable and never bitter.
  • quality akin to big-name brands
  • good value for the price
  • taste may vary between bags
Brand Coffee Bean Direct
Model 5102345W
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Imagine 100% Kona

Savor every drop of Imagine 100% Kona, since unlike many competitors, the company never adds in low-grade or non-Kona beans. It’s air roasted, too, which means that your cup of Joe will never taste burnt or harsh. You'll notice, instead, the richly nutty flavor.
  • single origin and single estate
  • intense caffeine focus
  • may be too costly for everyday use
Brand Imagine100%KonaCoffee
Model pending
Weight 13.8 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Rising Sun Brazil Peaberry

If you love delicious morning aromas, Rising Sun Brazil Peaberry could be just the right choice, no matter your preferred grinding or brewing method. Roasted in small batches, it provides a subtle sweetness that pairs perfectly with pancakes or waffles.
  • unique alternative to kona
  • excellent gourmet gift
  • good for use in a french press
Brand Rising-Sun
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Starbucks French Roast

Save some money and brew at home with Starbucks French Roast. It produces a bold, intensely smoky flavor that's still low in acidity, which means you can enjoy it all day long without any unpleasant gastric effects. This multi-region blend is a go-to for good reason.
  • quality packaging
  • one of the brand's darkest roasts
  • great black or sweetened
Brand Starbucks
Model 11357
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Death Wish

They don’t call it “the world’s strongest” for nothing. If you can’t get moving in the morning, then Death Wish and its double caffeine is the drink for you. Amazingly, each cup manages to be delightfully smooth, with delicate notes of chocolate and cherry.
  • usda certified organic
  • money-back guarantee
  • undergoes consistent quality testing
Brand Death Wish Coffee
Model pending
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Back to Basics

In order to determine the best coffee beans in the world we will have to journey to where in the world coffee grows. South America dominates coffee plantations. Brazil alone contributes to more than 40 percent of all coffee production worldwide. Optimally, coffee grows between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, in an area known as the coffee belt. Virtually all the coffee beans you purchase will be grown in this region. Even though the coffee beans are harvested in this region, they may be roasted elsewhere. We will cover roasting in the next section.

The coffee bean is technically a seed, and it is tucked inside the fruit of the coffee plant; much like the stone pit of a cherry. It is called a bean simply because of the physical resemblance. While many varieties of coffee beans exist, the two most common types are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans dominate the market. They lend to a smoother, slightly acidic taste and they are usually, although not always, deemed the higher quality bean. Robusta beans, as the name suggests, tout a bolder and more bitter taste. They contain at least twice the amount of caffeine as their Arabica counterparts.

The taste and quality of the coffee bean depends largely on the environment in which it grows. Coffee plants require ample rainfall in the early months as fruit blooms, and less so afterwards after the fruit begins to ripen. For this reason, rainforests prove to be the ideal location for coffee production. As the fruit of the coffee plant is hand-picked, the seeds need to be dismantled from the fruit. The first method of doing so is called wet processing. The seeds are fermented in water for two or three days to get rid off the excess flesh or pulp which may be sticking to the seed. The second method is dry processing, the fruit is picked from seeds and laid out in sun for two to three weeks, turned regularly. The latter is the cheaper and lower quality method of processing beans.

Roast 'Em

The next step in the quest for a quality cup of coffee is roasting. The roasting process heats up the beans at temperatures of 230 degrees Celsius; neutralizing the extreme unpleasant flavor profiles of the bean. The newly roasted bean offers nutty, smoky, or spicy flavors. The length of time that the bean is roasted determines the flavor profile and caffeine content. Beans roasted longer have a shiny black appearance and they boast a bitter and bold taste. Also, they are noted by an oily feel. Light roasted beans, which are roasted for a shorter length of time, tend to be sweeter, smoother, and even floral in flavor. If you prefer a lighter smooth taste, you will defer from bolder, darker roasts of equal of even better quality.

Contrary to popular opinion, lighter roasted beans actually contain more caffeine. For some coffee consumers, the caffeine content is the most important factor to consider when purchasing beans. A light roast Robusta bean will contain the most caffeine of all. Is the purpose of your cup of coffee an after dinner digestif, or a bullhorn to wake you up? Those requiring more caffeine may benefit from an espresso instead of a regular drip brew.

On The Grind

After the coffee bean is roasted, it is ready for consumption. The beans you purchase will be one of two things, namely, blends or single origin beans.

Coffee blends are exactly that; a blend of two or more roasted beans to create a unique flavor profile. Think of it in terms of wine: a red blend versus a Cabernet Sauvignon. The experienced coffee roaster will match beans to balance bitterness and take the harsh edge of off unrefined beans. A blend could contain several varieties of beans from all over the coffee belt.

A single origin means the bean comes from one location and one location only. Single origin beans are overwhelmingly bitter and they have a strong aftertaste. Single origin beans are for the coffee purist; they may have a harsh taste but there is no question as to the flavor profile of what you are drinking.

Most of the beans touted on this list are whole bean; you must grind them yourself or go to a coffee grinder. While inconvenient for some, the benefits of buying whole bean are plentiful. When you grind the beans daily it releases oils, keeps them fresh, and it allows you to chose the coarseness of the grind. A coarse grind will not capture as much flavor profile as a fine grind. The difference in the grind denotes an espresso from a Turkish coffee or latte for example.

Lastly, I strongly suggest against purchasing instant or single-serve coffee makers. They are extremely limited in the coffee one can brew and they are rarely fresh tasting. I advise you to buy whole bean whenever possible.



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Last updated on May 25, 2017 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.


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