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Well, this isn’t an easy decision…
I’ve had the pleasure of drinking so much wonderful coffee since I started this blog, and long before that.
But now it’s time to narrow down the list of the final few truly extraordinary coffee beans that you can enjoy at home.
I’ve gone for a range of prices and tried to get every angle of coffee bean you might be looking for but if there’s something specific you have in mind that you’d like let me know in the comments below.
Let’s get stuck in!
Top 5 Best Coffee Beans
- Top Choice (Best Everyday coffee) – Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, Donut Shop Medium Roast Coffee Beans
- Best Luxury – Spirit Animal Honduran Coffee
- Strongest Coffee Beans – DEATH WISH COFFEE [16 oz.] The World’s Strongest Coffee
- Best for Espresso – Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender Whole Bean Coffee, 12 Oz
- Best for Cold brew – Kicking Horse Coffee, Three Sisters, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound – Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
1. Top Choice (Best Everyday coffee) – Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, Donut Shop Medium Roast
- 2-pound bag
- 100% Arabica Beans
- Brown sugar & Hazelnut Notes
- Roasted in Seattle
- Tastes great with any brew method
- Reasonable price
- Fresh taste
- Made with sustainable practices
- No roast date on the bag
- No smaller bag available
You can easily have a different coffee for every occasion, and every brew method. But I wanted the top choice to be a quality coffee that tastes fresh and delicious no matter how you brew it.
And the Real Good Coffee Co do just that, their donut shop blend is the perfect everyday blend.
A flavor profile of Sweet tasting notes with a slight fruity nuttiness underneath, and all the flavors come through because it’s roasted fresh in Seattle, the place some consider to be the homeland of specialty coffee.
As a company they’re committed to great-tasting arabica coffee that doesn’t cost the earth nor does it hard the earth, only selling whole bean coffee for added freshness.
I chose the Donut Shop blend because it’s not super out there, it’s not extremely harsh and strong it just tastes good, in any coffee maker. A medium roast to balance the flavor allowing you to sip and enjoy your coffee at any time of day.
The only things I didn’t like are that there’s no roast date on the bag, it tastes fresh but I like to know exactly how fresh. And a 2-pound bag is quite big so you might need some sort of coffee container to store it.
One of my new favorite coffee brands and a delicious cup of coffee, plus you can buy it on Amazon for ease.
2. Best Luxury – Spirit Animal Honduran Coffee
- 12 oz bag
- Roasted and sent farm to cup
- Microlot coffees
- Only Specialty grade coffee
- Unique single-origin coffee
- Profits go to coffee farmers
- Ships from Honduras
- A really special cup of coffee
- Brews well in any method
- Availability shifts throughout the year
- Shipping takes a little longer
This is the nicest coffee I’ve ever tasted, and I’ve tasted a lot of coffee!
While Real Good Coffee Co coffee makes a good cup of coffee, coffee I’m perfectly happy to brew every day for my wife and I, this is different. This is “best coffee in the world” level of coffee, and the price reflects that but it’s worth every penny.
I tasted the Catuai/Bourbon coffee but any of these will be superb, they even sell Geisha coffee which is something that if you consider yourself a coffee lover then you know, a coffee to be tasted before you die.
But to save me going on and on about how great the coffee, which it is, I’ll tell you that what makes this coffee special is that it’s shipped directly from the coffee farms in Honduras, with a price that assures a truly fair wage to everyone involved, and the profits getting reinvested into Spirit Animals own coffee farms.
It doesn’t get more sustainable than that.
If you’re a passionate coffee drinker who wants to drink something special then I can’t recommend Spirit Animal highly enough, saying high-quality coffee doesn’t do it justice.
Click through the Price & Reviews button above and head to their website to see what’s on offer. It’s single-origin coffee that’s on rotation through availabilities so all I can say is that the Cactuia & Bourban is delicious but so is all the coffee they have.
Coffee created with care from farm to table.
3. Strongest Coffee Beans – DEATH WISH COFFEE [16 oz.] The World’s Strongest Coffee
- 16 oz bag
- Arabica Robusta mix
- Cherry and Chocolate note
- Fairtrade & USDA Certified Organic
- Very strong flavor and caffeine
- Reasonably priced
- Great for any brewing method
- Money-back guarantee
- Not the tastiest coffee out there
- No roast date to check the freshness
This always splits opinions, because some people who are really into coffee complain of this being nothing but hype, but others swear by it and can’t start the day without it.
Regardless, these are the strongest coffee beans you can buy in terms of caffeine content, plus it’s a dark roast coffee so you get a really intense flavor alongside.
I’m not the biggest dark roast coffee fan in the world, I find it tends to flatten flavors to make it more generic but I can’t argue against the 1000s of happy customers who love this.
The flavor notes are cherry and chocolate and the easiest way to describe the flavor would be big and bold.
This actually makes it great for cold brew if that’s your thing, then you get extra super strong coffee with the long brew time. But if that isn’t your thing this still works great in a drip machine, French press, pour-over, whatever takes your fancy.
But how does it have more caffeine? Well, Robusta beans have almost double the caffeine of Arabica beans, but the taste is about half as good.
So to get the high caffeine Death Wish need to use a higher percentage of Robusta, but they search out the highest quality Robusta beans to maintain a higher-quality cup.
They don’t disclose the ratio but I think it must be quite high Robusta to Arabica.
Regardless this is one kick-ass cup of coffee that will put a firecracker down your pants and get you going when you need a boost. I’d brew it with a little extra coffee for an extra punch.
4. Best for Espresso – Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender Whole Bean Coffee, 12 Oz
- 12 oz bag
- 100% Arabica
- Citrus & Dark Chocolate
- Medium Roast
- Roasted with care and attention to detail
- Great taste and consistent flavor
- Perfect for a daily morning espresso
- Well priced
- Isn’t the most complex coffee out there
To some Stumptown are the peak of hipster coffee, but that’s not fair, they take care and time to produce quality coffee from sourcing through to serving you at a cafe, and it’s genuine.
If they were hipsters it would all be masked with fakeness, but Stumptown don’t go in for that, they want quality American roasted coffee that tastes great no matter when you drink it.
The hair bender coffee is Indonesian coffee roasted fresh and stored in a bag that will keep it fresh for 90 days if left unopened.
The coffee tastes superb and is surprisingly well priced for its quality, they certainly could charge more if they wanted to but they want to keep great coffee as available as they can while ensuring a fair price for the coffee farmers at the other end.
This was almost my top everyday choice but they roast it with espresso in mind so I think it should be enjoyed with espresso in mind.
It’s a blend that makes a balanced espresso with very little fuss, it doesn’t take a long time to tune in, and is easily the modern classic of espresso coffee.
You might consider a single-origin coffee or the Spirit Animal above if you want something really exciting where you can fully explore all the subtleties within the coffee by tinkering with every shot you pull.
But if you want a blend you can enjoy time and time again then I can’t recommend the Stumptown Hair bender enough, good coffee with every shot. easily the best whole bean coffee for espresso.
5. Best for Cold brew – Kicking Horse Coffee, Kick Ass Dark Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound – Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee
- 2.2 lb bag
- 100% arabica
- Organic coffee
- Chocolate malt, molasses & licorice
- Great flavors for cold brew
- Makes nice and strong coffee
- Organic and sustainable coffee
- No roast date on the bag
- No smaller bag option
Why have normal coffee when you can have kick-ass coffee?
I really like what Kicking horse coffee are all about, they don’t take themselves too seriously, they want to keep things playful with the different blends of coffee they have, and they roast great coffee.
That’s pretty much all I want from any coffee company!
The Kick-Ass coffee blend is made with Indonesia & South American coffee beans and it makes a mean cold brew.
It makes a mean any brew to be honest but there’s something about the slight smokiness that works super well in cold brew coffee.
Ground coarse you get some nice vanilla smells which compliment well if you’re looking for a sweet Starbucks-Esq sweetened cold brew drink. But black or with a little cream that slight sweetness keeps it a really smooth cup of coffee.
And while I don’t tend to love a dark roast this one has a lot of subtlety in it, a range of flavors that are delicious hot or cold, and when you open the bag you can tell they only use quality beans.
Roasted in Canada and shipped out fresh it’s an ideal coffee bean for cold brew.
Arabica vs Robusta
Since you’re here looking for whole bean coffee, not ground coffee I’m going to assume you already have a coffee grinder, I’m also going to assume you’re a confessed coffee lover and already know the difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee so feel free to skip on.
If not you’ll like this…
Arabica and Robusta are two species of the same thing, both are grown on coffee trees but the result is completely different.
Generally, Arabica is considered to be the better choice, it’s harder to grow but the taste is generally far superior.
And this is in part to the fact that Arabica has some natural sugars in it that come out when it’s roasted, and humans are hardwired to crave sugar (study here) which I think leads to the preference of preferring Arabica coffee.
But that’s not a hard and fast stop, some Robusta coffee is grown with care and expertise and can produce some really nice results. Plus as I said earlier Robusta has almost double the caffeine content which can make it much more preferable to some.
And if you’ve ever drunk an instant coffee then you’ve almost definitely drunk Robusta coffee, usually if the packaging doesn’t say made with Arabica beans that means it’s made with Robusta, and if it doesn’t say 100% Arabica beans then it’s almost all Robusta.
What to look for in buying coffee beans online
I love going to my local roaster for coffee, it’s usually my default choice, but if I’m going online these are the rules I try to stick to, though none of them are necessarily a deal-breaker it’s good to be aware of them.
Stumptown roast somewhat lead the way with this, using packaging that keeps coffee fresh for 90 days if left unopened. Yes it will be better the sooner you use it but that’s still pretty good.
Generally, you want to look for the little valve with some dots poked into it, this is a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide out of the packet while stopping fresh air from coming in. Which together work to keep your coffee fresher for longer.
This is normally a good sign that at least a little thought has gone into your coffee packaging and so freshness is at least a factor being considered.
Otherwise, it’s good to look for sustainable packaging, the likes of which MTPak do, which doesn’t affect the coffee but it’s good to be environmentally conscious when you’re shopping.
Another good sign is if the roast date is written on the bag itself. This way you can know exactly when it was roasted and exactly how fresh the coffee you’re drinking is.
It’s not the be-all and end-all, roasters can commit to fresh coffee without having to write it on their packaging, but it’s something I’m always pleased to see. And if I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee then I like being able to look at the bag in the cupboard and know how fresh it is.
Grinding whole bean coffee will always be tastier than pre-ground coffee though so at least we’ve got that going for us! And my drip machine has seen its fair share of less than fresh coffee beans and it usually still tastes fine, not amazing but fine.
But for the espresso machine, fresh beans will always be king, I want that full coffee shop barista experience, even if I’m having a decaf coffee.
When I’m looking around a new coffee roaster’s website I always want to see some sort of commitment to freshly roasted coffee, specific days for roasting if it’s a small place, or just something stating freshly roasted coffee.
Because if they haven’t said it why would they do it?
A Word On Flavor Notes
Flavor notes of coffee are a strange one because you can read what they are, drink the coffee and not taste any of them.
And that’s absolutely fine.
Flavor notes are there to give you a general idea about the feel of a cup of coffee rather than an explicit description of the flavor in the way you’d get with, say, an ice cream. Strawberry ice cream should taste of strawberries, but a flavor note of strawberry in a cup of coffee is still going to taste like coffee.
And if you want to get super into your coffee then you can start keeping a little diary talking about flavor notes and such, but if you don’t then don’t worry about it.
Use it to guide you that if you don’t want a smoky flavor probably steer clear, equally if it says milk chocolate notes don’t expect sweetness in the sense of sugar added, just appreciate an overall aura of sweetness.
And know that proper coffee tasters go so far as to keep little vials with different types of tree bark in them so that when they say “a woody after taste” they can specifically say birch or oak, or maple wood aftertaste.
For at-home enjoyment, it’s a step too far but it’s what helps coffee roasters keep working harder at their craft to roast beans that are tastier and tastier so they can just fire on.
What is the best-tasting coffee brand?
That’s a tough one not easily answered because of how many factors and personal tastes go into a coffee, not to mention how well you make it. But as a general rule, you won’t go wrong with some Stumptown coffee. They are a superb coffee brand always offering great coffee.
Where do the best-tasting coffee beans come from?
Kona coffee in Hawaii is always a good choice if you’re looking for the best tasting coffee, the conditions make it just perfect for delicious coffee. But there are so many countries growing incredible coffee that it’s impossible to narrow down, Sumatra, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, I could really just keep going.
But Hawaiian coffee is always a real treat if your stuck.
What coffee does McDonald’s use?
McDonalds, I was surprised to learn only use 100% Arabica beans in their coffee, and use a blend of coffee from Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.
Brazil is the largest exporter of coffee so it makes sense that they would use a lot of Brazilian coffee in their cup, but what I like about McDonald’s coffee compared to some of the other cafe chains is that they use a medium roast in their coffee rather than a dark roast, like Starbucks. This makes it a little smoother and less harsh while also having a little more caffeine in it.
They only really sell ground coffee rather than whole bean but you can buy it here at Amazon if you’re interested.
What’s Peaberry coffee?
If you go to a local roaster you’ll sometimes see Peaberry coffee on the menu, and often you’ll see it slightly more expensive. If you do and you haven’t tried it then buy some.
Coffee beans come from coffee cherries that each have two coffee beans inside them, the husk then gets washed away and you’re left with the green coffee beans.
But sometimes there’s only a single coffee bean inside in the cherry and it’s larger than normal. This is a Peaberry coffee bean and it’s a supercharged coffee bean with all the power and nutrition of two coffee beans pushed into one.
And so a Peaberry coffee has to be made with only these single coffee beans that are often much more flavorful than the two bean counterparts.
It’s a pretty painstaking process separating these out as a lot of care and attention is needed. So if you come across peaberry coffee it’s definitely up there amongst the best coffee beans you can buy so it’s definitely worth a try.
Other Coffee Beans Reviewed
Best for French Press – Intelligentsia Frequency Blend Direct Trade Coffee
- 12 oz bag
- Medium Roast
- Milk chocolate, dried fruit, and almond notes
- 100% Arabica
- Roasted Fresh
- Balanced well for French press
- Not too dark
- Best drank black, a little light to be adding milk too
- Only one size of bag available
Intelligentsia are amongst the royalty of Specialty coffee, they started as a small roaster who wanted direct trade with coffee farmers to ensure a fair price and top quality standards.
And while they’ve grown to be a big company, they still keep those values of attention to detail, incredibly high standards, and fair pricing.
As for the coffee, it’s a medium roast with chocolatey flavors that always seem to come through well in a French Press.
I tend to avoid dark roast in a french press since the coffee already comes through thicker and heavier compared to other brew methods.
Intelligentsia sells through Amazon but they ship the coffee themselves to ensure it’s freshly roasted coffee coming to your door.
The frequency blend is ideal for the French press because it’s well balanced and a little forgiving if you accidentally over or under brew it. A great-tasting cup of coffee that will set you up in the morning.
Best for Pour Over – Gorongosa National Park – Premier Whole Bean Coffee – Speak for the Trees, 12oz
- 12 oz bag
- Dark roast
- 100% Arabica
- Clove, cinnamon, dark chocolate
- Profits go to charity
- Bold flavors
- All arabica coffee
- No roast date
- The coffee is a little strong for some
I love a coffee that’s giving something back and doing good in the world, and the Gorongosa coffee is doing just that using locally sourced beans and investing all profits back into the restoration of the rainforest.
1 bag = 1 tree planted and one step towards restoring the area which has been decimated by civil war and unsustainable farming practices.
As for the coffee itself, it wouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t delicious, dark roast so it is stronger but a pour-over really brings out the flavors of African spices along with a little smokiness and an altogether bold flavor.
It also makes nice espresso if you have the capability to do so with a nice crema on top, but pour-over is probably the best way to enjoy this.
Best Dark Roast – Olde Brooklyn Coffee French Roast – Roasted in New York
- 5lb bag
- Dark Roast
- 100% Arabica
- Sweet & Smoky Flavor Notes
- Roasted Fresh Weekly
- Intense flavor without the bitterness
- Roasted in the coffee hipster capital
- Only large bag size available
- No roast date on the packet
Some of the best coffee New York has to offer and certainly some of the best dark roast coffee you’ll find around.
French roast is very similar to Italian roast both being very dark in color offering a deep flavor. It will make a superb espresso but equally a delicious pot of coffee.
So who’s it for?
Those who like strong coffee, with an intense flavor to wake you up in the morning but without the bitterness that can ruin a cup of Joe.
The darkness is oddly similar to a Starbucks coffee for a bit of context and brewed any which way still comes out smooth yet strong.
As for freshness, you don’t get a roast date but they commit to roasting their coffee every week to ensure freshness.
And while the bag is airtight storing 5lbs of coffee isn’t the easiest so you might want to look into some air-tight containers and possibly even freezer-safe containers to keep it all as fresh as possible.
Whole bean coffee that will blow your head off.
Best Light Roast – Wink Blonde Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- 2.2 lb bag
- Blonde Roast
- 100% Arabica
- Citrus, Milk chocolate, and Earth
- Reasonable price for high-quality coffee
- Makes great espresso and French Press alike
- Certified Rainforest Alliance
- Small batch roasting
- They often sell out so get it quick
One of the surprising things about light roast coffee, I’ve always thought, is that it actually has more caffeine than dark roast coffee (study), which seems to go against what you would expect but it’s true.
Wink coffee are careful coffee crafters roasting small-batch coffee in a 1923 Jabez Burns Roaster. They are committed to single-origin coffee that comes from Colombian farmers and rotates through the year to always serve in-season coffee for the best taste.
That’s what I love in a coffee roaster, when they show they take the time to do every stage right with no corners cut.
They use “Clean Beans” which is their way of saying organic and pesticide-free. Because believe it or not having organic beans and being certified organic could be the same product, but to be certified organic you have to pay the premium price for the certification.
Brew up this delicious coffee using any brewing method and enjoy, I think light roast is always delicious in an Aeropress but you live your life and enjoy your coffee.
Best Cuban Coffee – Gavina Since 1870 Old Havana Espresso
- 2lb Bag
- Medium-Dark roast
- 100% Arabica
- Nutty with hints of Citrus
- Well balanced cup
- Makes delicious espresso
- Committed to a greener footprint
- No word on freshness
The strange thing about an espresso roast is that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s roasted exclusively for making espresso.
But in the case of the Gavina, it does make excellent espresso that’s nice and strong perfect for adding milk too.
When I’m making cappuccino I like a nice strong flavor so tend to opt for a medium or medium-dark roast, enough flavor to punch through the milk without being overpowering.
The Stumptown coffee at the top of the list is also a great choice for lattes and cappuccinos of course but I wanted to give you some options.
This was created with a nod to Cuban coffee culture where espresso is king, and sweetening some milk in an espresso is also the complete norm.
Roasted with care in Los Angles making this an ideal choice if you’re anywhere in California.
Smooth taste, great espresso, superb cappuccino.
Best for Moka Pot – SF Bay Coffee Moka Java Whole Bean
- 32 oz (2 lb) bag
- medium roast
- 100% Arabica
- Golden raisin, brown sugar, Jasmine
- Not too strong
- Freshly Roasted
- Carefully roasted
- Delicious flavors
- Perfect for Moka Pot
- Misleading name
- I prefer a smaller bag so it stays fresher
Moka by name, moka by brew.
And while these aren’t the same Moka this is really nice in a Moka pot, the medium roast stops it from getting too overpowering and with the right grind the sugar flavors really come out giving you that little bit of sweetness to your brew.
I like to see roasters boast about the lengths they go to to ensure a great cup of coffee, and the San Francisco Bay roasters do just that, describing how much the beans get tested before and after the shipment arrives with them.
And about how they take careful measurements through every minute of the roasting process and have a full cupping after every roast to ensure it’s all gone to plan.
That’s what we need in the coffee world, people who care about the coffee they’re making.
But what’s strange is this Moka Java, has no coffee beans from java, or mocha coffee beans from Yemen. Rather just a name based on two general coffee nicknames.
The coffee comes from Indonesia and Central Africa and while still delicious that does cause some confusion.
Best Low Acidity – 2LB Don Pablo Signature Blend – Whole Bean Coffee – Low Acidity
- 2 lb bag
- Medium-dark roast
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Flavor notes of cocoa
- Low acidity
- Reasonably priced
- Good everyday coffee
- Not the most complex flavors
- No roast dates on the bag
The low acidity in this coffee comes from the fact that its high-quality beans are grown at 4000-5000 feet altitude in origins that naturally produce coffee low in acidity.
How does it taste? Well it isn’t the most exciting coffee in the world, it’s nice and fresh whole bean coffee is always a good time but it doesn’t seem to have a big wow factor.
But it’s tried and tested, a great go-to coffee that will make you a good cup of joe in the morning while being low acid to help keep your stomach happy.
The finish is smooth and it’s a good everyday drinker perfect for making in a drip coffee maker.
I’m not a big fan of gimmicks but this is a popular low acid coffee so I thought it deserved to be on the list.
Best Organic – Tyler’s No Acid Organic Coffee Beans
- 12 oz bag
- Medium-light roast
- 100% Arabica
- Completely acid-free
- USDA Organic Certified
- Brews in any device
- Not the most complex flavors
This is one of the most unique coffee’s I’ve ever come across because they have invented their own roasting process that allows them to remove all the acids from the coffee.
The problem? It tastes good, not amazing, not incredible, but it tastes pretty good. I think something definitely happens in the roasting process that affects the final flavor.
For instance, they make other low acid coffees, not no acid coffees, and state that they do this for the taste.
BUT, if the alternative is no coffee at all because it upsets your stomach then this is a fantastic choice.
Certified USDA Organic and made using Mexican coffee beans. If stomach problems are a big issue for you then definitely consider this fantastic organic coffee.
For more choice, check out Fried Coffee and their recommendations of popular low acid coffees.
Wow, almost 5000 words later and you’ve made it to the end of this article, good for you!
There are a ton of good coffee’s to choose from in this article, and anyone will see you up your coffee game to Above Average.
But don’t forget to have a look for a local roaster, nothing beats walking into your local roaster and talking with the same person each week while you buy the freshest possible coffee you can.
And if you want something special to drink then you definitely need to consider getting yourself some Spirit Animal coffee, it’s coffee worth drinking.
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