In the world of caffeine consumption, you will get a variety of different thoughts.
You get thoughts from people who believe that coffee is the best thing to happen since sliced bread, and then you have those people who shudder when you mention the word “coffee.”
I am here to tell you about my personal favorite: natural coffee. Organic Coffee is in general healthier than conventional, and surprisingly tastes better in some cases, and there are many reasons why.
To start off with: in coffee production, conventional growers use fertilizers and pesticides which cause runoff into waterways and create pollution that causes oceanic dead zones. This is an important issue because we rely on healthy oceans to feed our population.
These fertilizers and pesticides also end up in the beans themselves, which is what you’re ultimately drinking. There are also other problems that arise with conventional coffee growing, but this article isn’t about convincing anyone of one method or another (although I will state I am pro natural/organic), rather, for those who already drink natural coffee, I have put together a list of the best beans that are worth your money.
So, where to begin? What defines good coffee? Taste is number one for me, but there are many other factors at play in bean quality. How it was processed and where it came from can be just as important as how it tastes.
What country was it grown in? Was it single origin or a blend? Were they washed or natural processed beans that were dry-hulled? These are all factors you might take into consideration when buying coffee.
I would like to clear up some misinformation about flavored coffees. Like I stated previously, taste is number one for me, but some flavored coffees I have come across do not taste good. If a coffee is flavored, it means that the bean itself has been messed with in some way.
The natural flavors of a coffee are always going to be far superior than any added flavoring you will find on the market today, and I will tell you why another time. In short, just don’t waste your money flavoring coffee that already tastes good in the first place.
To clear up another point, although I think natural processed beans are better than washed beans in some cases, this does not mean you should avoid washed coffees. Washed coffees can be very tasty when they are done right, it’s just that natural processed beans typically produce better cups of coffee.
So, my advice is to buy washed/dried processed coffees when they are specialty grade (i.e. single-origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe), and avoid them if they aren’t specialty grade or even very good at all.
I will start with some lighter colored beans and work my way towards the dark.
Top ten list from people’s least favorite to best:
#10- Costa Rica Tarrazu
This is a washed coffee with a very bright acidity that borders on sourness in some cases. It’s not usually my first choice when I pick up a bean for this reason, but it isn’t the worst bean in the world.
#9- Mexico Chiapas
Most of what I’ve had here came from bags that were mass produced and didn’t taste great to begin with. However, when a company does a good job at picking out a bag of these beans, they can be pretty tasty if you’re craving a lighter flavor.
#8- Brazil Santos/Brazil Espirito Santo
This is a washed coffee, but it can taste very good if you find a good bag. I’ve had some that just tasted like chocolate and nothing else at all, whereas others were rather bland and boring. It all depends on who roasts the beans and how they are blended.
#7- Colombia/Colombian Supremo
This is probably the most widely available coffee on the market today, and it usually comes from a blend of beans. I have had some bags that tasted very good, whereas others have been too bland or even sour to enjoy. It all boils down to how it’s processed and roasted.
#6- Kenya/Kenyan AA
These are usually very tasty coffees, but they can be rather expensive. Again, it’s all about the processing and picking out a good bag in the end.
When done right, these beans are just sweet enough to keep your mouth watering for that next sip. They have a sort of herbal taste that you won’t find in any other beans. Very unique to say the least.
#5- Costa Rica Tarrazu
The only reason why this isn’t higher on my list is because it doesn’t have a very interesting flavor profile like the others do.
However, it’s still a great light/medium roast coffee and it’s always the first bean I pick up when I go to a cafe. The texture is also very smooth with no signs of bitterness at all that comes from over-roasting them.
#4- Nicaragua/Nicaraguan Gesha
I know this sounds strange, but I’ll explain why in a moment. This coffee is typically very expensive, but the flavor is certainly well worth it. This tastes like no other coffee you will ever taste in your life.
It’s very herbal, with notes of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (but better) and berries all in one. There’s also a floral finish to each cup that I can’t put my finger on exactly, but it makes me come back for more.
#3- Honduran/Honduran Marcala
This is another washed coffee that I usually like to drink when I’m in the mood for something lighter with medium acidity. It’s very tropical, with notes of juicy fruits all throughout each sip.
Some bags I’ve had tasted like it was flavored somehow, while others tasted like tea. It’s all about picking out a good bag in the end, but this is one of my favorites if I’m willing to pay the high price for it.
#2- El Salvador/El Salvador “Perla Negra”
This is another washed coffee that tastes very similar to the Nicaragua Gesha, but it’s just missing that particular flavor profile I mentioned before.
It also has that Jamaican Blue Mountain herbal taste, only a little more buttery with a stronger finish to each sip. This is one of my top choices when I’m in the mood for something light with strong flavors and medium acidity.
#1- Guatemalan Antigua
This bean is usually my overall favorite coffee in the world. It has a very unique flavor profile that I’ve never tasted in any other coffee. It’s similar to the Marcala, except it doesn’t have notes of fruit at all.
Instead, there are strong hints of black licorice mixed with molasses throughout each sip. It’s very herbal, refreshing and the most flavorful of all the beans I’ve tried.
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