Best Gourmet Coffee Revealed
Some would say it is a matter of debate which coffees should be called “The Top Ten Coffees in the World.” Which premium coffees are most deserving of this title is less controversial than one may think, however, as certain coffees have proven themselves consistently over time and may truly be considered to be the best coffees on the planet.
The world’s finest coffees are listed here in no particular order since there is a certain about of personal taste involved. For example, some people preferring the winey and fruity acidity of a Kenyan coffee over the classic balance of a Central American coffee or a Kona coffee. Others do not. Thus we accede to this subjective element and include the top overall coffees taking all of these factors into account.
Here are the world’s Top Ten Coffees:
Grown on Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania Peaberry coffee is a bright coffee with a medium body and delightful fruit-toned acidity. The taste is deep and rich, often revealing hints of black currant which soften to chocolate and then blend into the coffee’s lingering, sweet finish.
Try a medium roast which provides an aroma that is floral and complex, often exhibiting hints of pineapple, citrus, or coconut. The flavor is delicate, sometimes revealing winey notes and a velvety feeling on the palate.
Tanzania Peaberry coffee beans come from a coffee cherry (fruit) that is comprised of one whole coffee bean instead of the usual two half-beans. Typically less than seven percent of a coffee crop is peaberry.
An Arabica coffee grown at about 2,000 feet above sea level on the fertile slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai Volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii, Kona coffee is known for its rich yet light and delicate taste with a complex aroma.
Well-balanced with a medium body, it is clean in the cup with a bright and cheerful acidity. Kona coffee often reveals buttery as well as spicy qualities and subtle winey tones with an excellent aromatic finish.
This wet processed (washed) Arabica coffee is grown on the Indonesian island of Java, and in particular on the Ijen Plateau at elevations around 1,400 meters on the east side in the Ijen volcano complex.
With a somewhat heavy body, Java Arabica is nonetheless lighter than many other Indonesian coffees and also has a lower level of acidity (medium acidity). The flavor is somewhat rustic with a lingering, herbaceous aftertaste. The coffee’s body that is clean and thick with a low-toned richness and earthy qualities, though less earthy than Sulawesi and Sumatra coffees.
The aftertaste of Java Arabica often reveals a smoky or spicy twist and leaves the coffee drinker with a overall sweet impression, supple and smooth. Five large coffee estates established in Java by the Dutch government in the 18th century.
This multi-dimensional coffee is grown in the southeastern highlands of Sulawesi. Known for its full body and rich, expansive flavor , Sulawesi Toraja coffee is very well balanced and exhibits notes of dark chocolate and ripe fruit. The acidity is low-toned yet vibrant, with less body than a Sumatran coffee though slightly more acidic, and with more earthiness than a typical Java Arabica coffee.
Toraja’s rustic sweetness and muted fruit notes create a deep and brooding taste with a pungent spicy quality similar to finer Sumatran coffees. Toraja coffee is processed using the Giling Basah wet-hull method, which produces chaff-free green coffee beans. For Toraja coffee a dark roast is recommended.
Perhaps the most famous coffee blend, Mocha Java includes Arabian (Yemen) Mocha coffee and Indonesian Java Arabica coffee, two coffees with complementary characteristics. The Yemen Mocha provides a lively intensity and pleasant wildness which complements the clean and bright smoothness of the Java coffee. The traditional blend of Mocha and Java coffee beans creates a complex and yet well-balanced brewed cup.
See the World’s Best History of Coffee to read about how sailing ships arriving from Java Island arrived in the the great Yemen port of Mocha [Mokha] where the two types of beans became mixed in the wooden hulls of the ships creating the favored blend, a happy accident of history.
Spicy, fragrant, and heavy-bodied, Ethiopian Harrar coffee is a wild and exotic dry-processed (natural) Arabica coffee grown in southern Ethiopia at elevations from 4,500 and 6,300 feet above sea level. The dry-processing creates a fruity taste likened to dry, red wine, a power house coffee exhibiting a bold taste that resonates in the cup.
Known for its winey and fruity, floral-toned acidity, Ethiopian Harrar is bright in the cup, even intense with a heady aroma that is rich and pungent, often with notes of blackberries and a lingering finish that may seem slightly fermented with intense notes of jasmine.
Edgy and bold, Ethiopian Harrar displays a complexity of spice tones including cardamom, cinnamon, apricots, blueberry jam, and compote. Some Harrars exhibit tones of very rich, dark chocolate.
Fragrant and spicy, Yirgacheffee coffees are known for their sweet flavor and aroma with a medium to light body. The coffee is wet processed and grown at elevations from 5,800 feet to 6,600 feet above sea level.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffee displays a bright acidity along with an intense, clean flavor and a complexity of floral notes in the aroma, perhaps a hint of toasted coconut, along with a vibrant aftertaste and perhaps a slightly nutty or chocolaty quality. Yirgacheffe coffees are high-toned, floral and citrusy in contrast to the wild and jammy Ethiopian Harrars.
Grown in Jamaica’s Blue Mountain District, Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is often described as sophisticated with a smooth and silky, complex taste, outstanding full body, and ver well balanced. Many have called it the quintessential cup of coffee and it clearly stands among the world’s top gourmet coffees.
The acidity is vibrant and bright, yet very smooth, revealing virtually no bitterness in its overall clean taste. The aroma of Jamaica Blue Mountain is sparkling and bold exhibiting floral notes as well as nutty and herbal overtones.
Jamaica Blue Mountain peaberry coffee beans – when one whole bean forms in a coffee cherry (fruit) rather than the usual two half-beans, are separated out from the other coffee beans and traditionally used for espresso ,
Named for Jamaican mountain ridge, the Blue Mountain coffee growing region is located south of Port Maria and north of Kingston. To be certified as Jamaica Blue Mountain and not one of the lesser grades the coffee must be grown on the estates at elevations between 3,000 feet and and 5,500 feet above sea level.
Clearly one of the world’s finest premium coffees, Kenya AA is grown at more than 6,600 feet above sea level on Kenya’s high plateaus. The AA refers to the biggest screen size in the Kenya coffee grading system with specifications that the beans are just a little more than one-fourth inch in diameter.
Kenya AA coffee beans exhibit a full body and strong, rich taste with a pleasant acidity that some say provides the world’s brightest coffee. The aroma of Kenya AA is fragrant with floral tones while the finish is winey with berry and citrus overtones.
[Yes, we know we said ten, but we couldn’t help ourselves!]
Grown at elevations more than 4,600 feet above sea level, the grade of coffee beans of Guatemala Antigua is known as Strictly Hard Bean and include the Arabica varietals Catuai (Coffea arabica var. catuai), Caturra (Coffea arabica var. caturra), and Bourbon (Coffea arabica var. bourbon).
An exceptional premium coffee, Antigua exhibits the typical Guatemala coffee qualities of a full body (heavier than the usual Central American coffee) and spicy taste often rich and velvety. The Antigua coffee bean works well with a Dark Roast that creates a pleasing smoky taste in the brewed cup of coffee.