The 10 Best Coffee Beans

Updated May 25, 2018 by Gregg Parker

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We spent 42 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 by choosing something from our selection of coffee beans. They can 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. Don Pablo Signature Blend

The Don Pablo Signature Blend is a medium-dark offering from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil that is designed for low acidity and a smooth taste with a hint of cocoa in the finish. It's roasted to order in small batches to guarantee freshness.
  • usda certified organic
  • no additives or artificial colors
  • quality varies from bag to bag
Brand Cafe Don Pablo
Model DPSB02LB
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. illy Medium Roast

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

8. Fresh Roasted Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Enjoy a mild body 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 preservatives
  • slightly bitter aftertaste
Brand Fresh Roasted Coffee
Model FRC850_WB
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. 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.
  • lovely aroma during grinding
  • ideal for drip or espresso
  • not freshly roasted
Brand Lavazza
Model 74
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Italian Roast Espresso

Coffee Bean Direct's 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
  • fair trade option available
  • taste may vary between bags
Brand Coffee Bean Direct
Model 5102345W
Weight 5.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Stone Street Coffee Reserve

If you're hooked on cold brew, Stone Street Coffee Reserve has you covered. This is a dark roast with a coarse grind to bring out a slightly sweet flavor with low acidity that works great in a French press or a simple mason jar to get you going on hot summer days.
  • single origin colombian beans
  • brewed coffee holds taste for days
  • grind not suited for drip method
Brand Stone Street Coffee
Model pending
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. 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 at high altitude
  • wet processed to remove pulp
Brand Kicking Horse Coffee
Model 629070700087
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. 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
  • low acidity for a smooth aftertaste
  • great for pour-over method
Brand Koffee Kult
Model SYNCHKG064305
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

2. 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, which means that your cup of Joe will never taste burnt or harsh. It's also shade grown at high elevation for a unique flavor.
  • single origin and single estate
  • intense caffeine focus
  • beans are hand-selected
Brand Imagine
Model SYNCHKG097070
Weight 13.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 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.
  • certified organic choice
  • money-back guarantee
  • undergoes consistent quality testing
Brand Death Wish Coffee Compa
Model pending
Weight 2.5 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, 2018 by Gregg Parker

Gregg Parker is an author, screenwriter, and comedian who divides his time between Los Angeles, California, and Osaka, Japan. When he’s not watching sports, he spends most of his free time on his artistic pursuits or collecting miles for his next international journey.

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