Author Archive: Kenneth Davids

Kenneth Davids, coffee expert, author, and co-founder of The Coffee Review, oversees all of our cuppings. He regularly contributes a feature called Cupping with Ken Davids, which reviews roasters' coffees and rates them using the Coffee Review proprietary 100-point rating system.

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Cupping Calendar Changes

Cupping Calendar Changes

The article “Coffees of a Single Variety, from a Single Lot,” originally scheduled for publication in October, has been postponed to November, with cupping occurring in October. Submissions for this article (“Coffees of a Single Variety, from a Single Lot”) should reach Coffee Review between October 14 and October 23. Roasters may not submit more […]

By August 31, 2014 Read Article
Hawaii 2014: The Classics Rule

Hawaii 2014: The Classics Rule

When writing about Hawaii coffees – more specifically, Kona coffees – I invariably feel conflicting impulses about whom to take on. Should I attack the many cynical Kona-bashers among the mainland high-end coffee-roasting community who sneer that Hawaii coffees (Kona in particular) are at best ordinary and always overpriced? On the other hand, should I […]

By August 6, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
Bottled Iced Coffees

Bottled Iced Coffees

North American cafés for some years now have been brewing coffee in advance to refrigerate and serve over ice on warm summer days. The brewed, refrigerated coffee is usually prepared by the cold-brew method: ground coffee is steeped in cool or room temperature water for around ten to twenty-four hours, and after this prolonged extraction, […]

By July 10, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
Home Roaster Competition 2014: A Long Way from Iron Skillets

Home Roaster Competition 2014: A Long Way from Iron Skillets

Recently Henry Chang, a passionate home coffee roaster (when he’s not pursuing his successful career as an obstetrician/gynecologist), sponsored a contest for his home roaster Internet correspondents. He asked Coffee Review to act as judge. As busy as we were, we agreed, since both my co-cupper Jason Sarley and I are strong supporters of the […]

By June 12, 2014 Read Article
Subtle Exoticism: Sulawesi and Papua New Guinea

Subtle Exoticism: Sulawesi and Papua New Guinea

This month’s reviews include coffees from two Indo-Pacific growing regions, the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (formerly Celebes) and Papua New Guinea. We had planned to include coffees from several other Indo-Pacific islands – Java, Bali, East Timor – but we were not able to source enough samples to justify including them. Never mind; we turned […]

U.K. Coffee Reviews

U.K. Coffee Reviews

In 2013, we reviewed coffees from 12 countries, namely the United States, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, China, Netherlands, Guatemala, Italy, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, and Sweden. The United Kingdom was noticeably absent from the list.  London (and the U.K. in general) has a thriving specialty coffee scene that rivals that of other well known U.S. […]

By May 24, 2014 Read Article
Rwanda and Central Africa: Sweet and a Hint of Savory

Rwanda and Central Africa: Sweet and a Hint of Savory

Perhaps a more accurate geographical descriptor for the coffee origins we focus on this month may be African Great Lakes coffees rather than Central Africa coffees. The growing regions that produced almost all of the thirty coffees we cupped this month are clustered around or near the gigantic lakes that dominate the geography of the […]

Colombia on the Rebound

Colombia on the Rebound

When we last tested Colombias two years ago we turned up several fine coffees, but generally were disappointed by the many samples that arrived bearing fancy names but displaying little distinction in the cup. Back then the trend toward select, precisely identified lots of green coffee (aka “direct trade,”“microlots”) seemed to have been honored more […]

By April 4, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
Melbourne Has the World’s Best Coffee?

Melbourne Has the World’s Best Coffee?

According to an article in the Melbourne Herald Sun, Booking.com surveyed more than 1,000 of its users from around the world and determined that Melbourne, Australia has the world’s best coffee.  Really? This conclusion merits a little closer look.  First, at Coffee Review, we always point out that there is no such thing as a […]

By March 26, 2014 Read Article
Subtle but Not Tame: Brazils 2014

Subtle but Not Tame: Brazils 2014

The various cup profiles associated with the world’s coffee regions are the result of a complex interplay between nature and nurture, between the givens of nature – growing altitude, soil and rainfall patterns – and local traditions that for decades determined the varieties of coffee tree typically grown in a region and how the fruit […]

By March 5, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
A Tribute to the Life of Wicha Promyong, Doi Chaang Coffee

A Tribute to the Life of Wicha Promyong, Doi Chaang Coffee

In 2011 I spent several days at the Doi Chaang coffee cooperative in northern Thailand. There I encountered the extraordinary Wicha Promyong, the inspirational leader of the Doi Chaang coffee cooperative and its sister company, Doi Chaang Coffee. Shockingly and unexpectedly, Khun Wicha succumbed to a heart attack on Thursday, January 23, 2057 (2014) near […]

By February 10, 2014 Read Article
State of the Blend 2014

State of the Blend 2014

To say that blends are out of style (at least for drip and French press brewing) in the contemporary high-end world of specialty coffee would be an understatement. Today one seldom sees blends intended for drip brewing featured by cafes and roasting companies with serious upscale coffee aspirations. And any drip blend that does show […]

By February 1, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By Country

Where Coffee is Hot: By Country

We’re wrapping up our “Where Coffee is Hot” series by looking at Coffee Review readership by country.  In 2013, we hosted readers from 233 countries and territories, which must be just about all of them. We’ll look at our readership three ways: total readers in 2013, per capita readers in 2013, and percentage growth from […]

By January 27, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By International City

Where Coffee is Hot: By International City

In 2013, Coffee Review hosted visitors from 223 countries and territories, including countless cities and town around the world.  Our readers hail from famous world capitals such as Rome, Italy and Nairobi, Kenya to lesser-known Nuuk, Greenland and Apia, Somoa.  However, some cities have more visitors than others and none of the above cities ranked […]

By January 24, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. State

Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. State

Last summer, we looked at Coffee Review readership by state for the second quarter of 2013.  We calculated per capita readership, that is, readers normalized for each state’s population, to get an idea where people are most interested in coffee (at least as measured by Coffee Review readership.)  We’ve just re-crunched the data for the […]

By January 23, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. City

Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. City

Last summer, we took a mid-year look at Coffee Review readership by U.S. city and state.  We normalized readership figures to account for population differences and produce a more accurate picture of each locale’s interest in coffee, at least as measured by Coffee Review readers per capita.  We normalized for Internet access and literacy too, […]

By January 22, 2014 Read Article
Seattle Edges San Francisco… In Coffee Anyway

Seattle Edges San Francisco… In Coffee Anyway

First of all, for anyone who doesn’t follow NFL football, the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49′ers this weekend in the NFC Championship Game.  The winner will be one of two teams that go to the Superbowl. With that as background, for an upcoming piece on online coffee trends, we started crunching the numbers […]

By January 17, 2014 Read Article
Top 30 Coffees of 2013

Top 30 Coffees of 2013

Coffee Review introduced 100-point reviews to the specialty coffee industry in 1997. Over the years since then we’ve cupped tens of thousands of samples and produced reviews for nearly 3,500 coffees. We are often asked, “What is the best coffee?” To which we give the obvious answer: “There is no single ‘best’ coffee.” Of course, […]

By January 6, 2014 |Reviews Read Article
2014 Coffee Review Cupping Calendar

2014 Coffee Review Cupping Calendar

At the beginning of each month, we publish a new feature article with reviews.  The planned cupping calendar for 2014 is shown below: January – Top 30 Coffees of 2013 February – Real Blend: Blends Produced from Three or More Origins March – Specialty Coffees of Brazil April – Specialty Coffees of Colombia May – Coffees […]

By January 2, 2014 Read Article
Arabica Anxiety and Robustas

Arabica Anxiety and Robustas

I’m here in El Salvador for “Let’s Talk Coffee,” a yearly meeting of mostly small-holding coffee producers, roasters, importer and exporters, and development agencies. It’s sponsored by Sustainable Harvest, a long-time pioneering American importer of cooperative and small-producer coffees.   I came here in part to deliver a presentation on Robusta coffees. It was part […]

By December 15, 2013 Read Article