This is a list of the best coffee beans of 2020 available online. They represent what’s available across the globe from the top ten producing countries. Use this guide to get started finding your favorite coffee beans and where they come from. We’ve provided different buying options so you can either buy direct (free-shipping in some cases) or on Amazon. We hope you’ll try the products we’ve reviewed and let us know how you like them. We think it’s important to know the variations among beans across the globe, recognize what you like or dislike about them, and find your favorite for continual enjoyment. Enjoy!
Best Coffee from INDONESIA: Sumatra Mandheling
- SUMATRA (Indonesia) [outbound]: Sumatra is the largest island comprising Indonesia and it is where the majority of Indonesian coffee is produced. Once the Dutch “discovered” coffee and started to cultivate their own, they used their former territory Indonesia to produce coffee.
- Why: If you like these beans characterized by rich, full body and mild acidity then this type of coffee (Sumatra) may be a stepping stone for your exploration into other Indonesian varieties. [More information about Indonesian Coffee]. Also, this one is single-origin.
- FLAVOR: Smooth Chocolate with Earthy Undertones
Best Coffee from COLOMBIA: Colombian Supremo
- COLOMBIA: Third Place producer of coffee in the world with 1.8 Billion pounds per year, Colombian coffee production took off due to its close proximity to the US and the increased demand for coffee in the 1800’s. Combine these fortunate circumstances with the ideal climate, elevation, and soil and it’s obvious why Colombia is producing some of the best coffee in the world.
- Why: Many people know “ Juan Valdez” the fictional, mascot-like character used to personify the Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia in the early eighties. Has Don Pablo has since taken over?
- SPECIES/VARIETAL: Arabica
- ORIGIN: Colombian Supremo coffee is grown high in the Colombian Andes and is famous for it’s smooth pleasant acidity, smooth finish, nutty overtones and rich medium to full body. From the Colombian Supremo Andeano Estate and is shade grown. Colombian coffee is the world’s second largest producer of coffee and is famous for consistently producing fine gourmet coffees.
- TYPE: Medium Roast
- TASTING/CUPPING NOTES: Smooth body, medium acidity, cocoa-toned finish
- AROMA/FLAVOR: sweet, Fruit tones Floral and fruit aroma
- BREW STYLE (recommended): ex french press
- MORE INFO: Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance Certified
Best Coffee from ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
- ETHIOPIA: This is where coffee originated! Coffee plants have been growing wild until the people of Yemen started sourcing beans from Ethiopia and popularity took off from there.There’s some lore involving goats and taste tests. True or not, it’s generally agreed that Ethiopia is the source of the original coffee bean. By the time religious leaders attempted to ban coffee use (something so awesome surely shouldn’t have a regular place in society), the popularity had already spread around the world and major world powers started growing their own plants in places with similar climate, latitudes, and elevation.
- SPECIES/VARIETAL: Arabica
- ORIGIN: Ethiopia
- TYPE: Medium Roast
- TASTING/CUPPING NOTES: Sweet, deeply and complexly fruit-toned.
- AROMA/FLAVOR: Very ripe strawberry, pineapple guava, dark chocolate, distinct lavender-like flowers, aromatic cedar in aroma and cup. Roundly sweet in structure, with a gentle and pleasing bitter edge. Full, plush mouthfeel. Lavender and chocolate dominate in a faintly and pleasantly spirits-tinged finish.
- BREW STYLE (recommended): NA
- MORE INFO: Organic; Dry-processed; Roasted on Demand
Best Coffee from MEXICO: Mexican Altura
- MEXICO: Altura (“high altitude”) simply means that the beans were grown at higher elevations which imparts specific flavor characteristics into the beans. Price controls in the past disrupted the market and smaller, local, farms have filled the void meeting market demands created by more conscientious consumers.
- Flavor: Described as acidic, light, and smooth, the best Mexican brands are widely available. We like supporting smaller, organic farms.
- Check out our blog about Mexican Coffee Brands
Best Coffee from VIETNAM: Robusta Peaberry & Vietnamese 100% Arabica
- VIETNAM: Recently ranking #2 in Worldwide production of coffee (3.6 Billion pounds annually), most of the beans were Robusta variety. However, as we have seen, there is an emerging market for these beans as unique flavor profiles are helping varieties from various growing regions win awards and become an important part of coffee culture.
- Importantly, not ALL varieties are robusta and there’s plenty of 100% Arabica available. Maybe you should test your palate and try both of these vietnamese coffees for comparison. Both options are roasted in Brooklyn, NY so you’re not comparing apples to oranges.
- FLAVOR: “Courage” is sweet and fruity while “Grit” will be strong and nutty
Best Coffee from BRAZIL: Brazil Santos
- BRAZIL: Still the top producer of coffee in the world but with 30% of the world’s share. Port of Santos was the primary port used to ship from Sao Paulo to the rest of the world. Brazil Santos is considered the best coffee from Brazil.
- FLAVOR: Brazil Santos is characterized by a fresh mouth feel, low acidity, and notes of caramel to chocolate depending on the roast.
Best Coffee from HAWAII (US): 100% Kona (not a blend) $$$
- KONA Hawaii: America First. MAKE AMERICA AWAKE AGAIN. If you love your country you’ll overpay for your coffee! Just kidding. If you want to try some of the best coffee beans produced in the United States try these.
- FLAVOR: Mellow, Aromatic, Spicey-notes.
- SPECIES/VARIETAL: Arabica; 100% Kona Peaberry
- ORIGIN: Hawaii, USA
- TYPE: Med Roast
- TASTING/CUPPING NOTES: “big sassy” taste!
- AROMA/FLAVOR: Peaberry beans roast up wonderfully. Full bodied and smooth, with just a hint of bite.
- BREW STYLE (recommended): French Press or Pour over
- MORE INFO:
Most coffee cherries contain two coffee beans nestled face to face. That’s why coffee beans are flat on one side. But, about 3-5% of coffee cherries hold just one small oval-shaped bean instead of two flat-sided beans. These small oval beans are called “peaberry” beans. Peaberry kona coffee is rare simply because nature makes it so. Out of every 100 bags of Kona coffee, only 3-5 bags will be Peaberry.
Connoisseurs have dubbed Peaberry the “Champagne of Kona.” As more coffee lovers discover this unique little bean with the big sassy taste, demand for peaberry is growing. Demand for peaberry is so high that we often have to purchase unroasted Peaberries from smaller farmers that don’t sell to the public. Even then we sometimes run out. Enjoy this decadent little bean that natures makes so rare.
Best Coffee from HONDURAS: Organic Marcala
- HONDURAS: Among Central America’s best coffee bean producers, Honduras ranks in the top 10 of all worldwide coffee production. Higher elevations help independent farmers achieve high quality harvests and make organic certification easier. Our favorite coffee beans to try are from Fresh Roasted Coffee. As usual, it’s best to have your beans roasted fresh but Amazon often sets quality standards and is the easiest way to try new roasts and brands before you commit to something.
- Flavor: Marcala is characterized by walnut, chocolate, and lemon flavors. This medium roast should be a great way to taste these flavors when you brew it your favorite way.
Best Coffee from UGANDA: Smokin’ Beans Roast to Order
- UGANDA: In terms of agriculture and GDP, Uganda relies heavily on coffee. Coffee is #1 source of agricultural income for Uganda. Like Vietnam, Uganda produces a large amount of Robusta because it grows natively there.
- WHY: Higher elevations and the ideal climate for arabica production. While a little bit smaller than other coffee brands, Smokin’ Beans is a great source for high elevation grown Ugandan coffee beans.
- We love that this company is roasting to order: the absolute best way to brew coffee with your favorite roast: light medium dark roast cold brew – you name it!
Best Coffee from GUATEMALA: Volcanica Guatemalan Antigua
- GUATEMALA: With the help of Anacafe ( a precursor to the ICO), Guatemala has a highly effective means for producing and distributing great coffee to the world markets. The geography of Guatemala is ideal for providing necessary elevation along with enough shade for young plants. Lots of Organic, Fair Trade, and delicious options.
- Guatemala Antigua Coffee is from the Santa Barbara Estate and is a rich full bodied coffee with a smooth, sophisticated flavor and an intense aroma.
- Medium roast
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
- Roasted on demand
- CUP NOTES: Smooth creamy body, vibrant acidity
- FLAVOR NOTES: Nutty, Chocolate Balanced flavor
- COFFEE PROCESSING: Traditional wet process
- DRYING: 100% sun dried
- Flavor: Heavy-bodied, slightly smokey, sweet finish
Best Coffee Beans: Around the World
The ideal conditions for coffee trees to thrive are found around the world in along the Equatorial zone called “The Bean Belt,” located between latitudes 25 degrees North and 30 degrees South.
The two most common species of coffee are ARABICA and ROBUSTA.
Arabica: The “original” coffee. Thrives in rich soil and higher elevation. Unfortunately, this species of coffee was susceptible to Coffee Leaf Rust and makes coffee one of the earliest casualties of monoculture. It is still the “premier” coffee type and is lower in caffeine.
Robusta: A cultivar developed in response to the a pathogen (Coffee Leaf Rust) that decimated the coffee industry in the late 1800’s. It is usually higher in caffeine but in recent years robusta coffee is making a comeback and winning taste competitions worldwide as artisanal coffee culture.
There are numerous varieties of coffee but the primary species – arabica and robusta are used for modern consumption. While Arabica was known to be the “best” coffee in the world and robusta, a more disease resilient, higher-yielding cultivar was developed in response to crop threatening diseases. For many years, especially in the late 1980’s when artisanal coffee shops started emerging in major cities, arabica was the ONLY coffee species worth drinking.
Could YOU tell the difference?
Flavor and Quality Around the Globe: How and Why Does It Differ?
Similar to wine cultivation (viticulture), there are many things that contribute to the wide variety of flavor and quality: species, microclimates, elevation, soil type, cultivation methods, processing, storage, and how the end product is handled/distributed. These differences will impart flavor profiles unique to each coffee bean. Like wines, coffees are available as blends, single origin, mixes of arabica and robusta but they are also subject to quality variances, roast styles, grind consistency, freshness, and style of preparation. All of these variabilities make the coffee industry complex and subjective.
Luckily, there are some standards that lend some science to the industry despite taste preferences.
Higher elevation provides the ideal climate for arabica coffee beans. In some cases pest control happens naturally and the need for pesticides is minimized as higher climates dissuade certain pests. While coffee can grow at any elevation/altitude, arabica grows best at higher elevations. Explanations include oxygen levels, direct sun, lack of heavy machinery [harvest methods], and soil quality.
Light, Medium, Dark, or anywhere within this spectrum, coffee beans can be roasted to preference. French and Espresso roasts are usually the darkest. Breakfast blends are typically light to medium. Some beans will caramelize at higher temperatures and are sweeter as a dark roast while others might taste “burnt” at such temperatures and should be roasted lightly. A good roaster will know what beans work best for which roasts. A light roast might be best for cold brewing but a medium roast is great for french press. Experiment with different roasts and different brewing styles to figure out what you like best.
Once a bean is roasted the shelf-life is typically one week to a month (maximum). However, a green (unroasted) bean if dried properly and stored appropriately can last for a year (or more). This is why we recommend utilizing a local roaster, roasting your own, or sourcing from a vendor on Amazon that will roast to order. We’re determined to help you find the best coffee beans available online but you should always source from a local roaster if possible.
Some varieties are larger than others. Some are longer and more oval shaped. Others are more round. There are standards that national growing unions utilize and use to manage market prices in their respective constituencies.
Growers bring their harvest to markets; the best beans are graded and purchased; large corporations can afford to buy the best, highest quality beans. Single-origins for that matter can be AMAZING or really bad. Like a wine blend, coffee blends are made using a variety of beans to achieve a likeable yet interesting flavor within a price point.
The “Bean Belt” wraps around the entire Earth but not all geographies provide the essential elevation, not all governments work effectively to optimize coffee production or workers rights, not all soil is fertile, nutrient dense, or surrounded by trees (necessary to protect young plants with the right amount of shade). Once you develop your palate you may be able to taste different varieties from around the world and determine the best coffee beans for you.
Often times higher elevations correspond with the presence of volcanoes and with this there is a great deal of nutrients found within volcanic soil. The types of soil – how arid, how coarse, and mineral composition can all contribute to flavor profiles and the overall health of coffee crops. Those lively adjectives you read to describe coffee aren’t just marketing gimmicks, there are terpenes and flavonoids found in the chemical composition that are actually identical to those found in nuts, citrus fruits, candies, chocolate, grass, etc. The best coffee beans will separate themselves from the rest but still be pleasant enough to drink regularly.
Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around the world.
BEST COFFEE BEAN PRODUCTION WORLDWIDE 2020 (TOP 20)
|17||Papua New Guinea||48,000||105,821,000|