Author Archive: Kenneth Davids

Kenneth Davids is a coffee expert, author and co-founder of Coffee Review. He has been involved with coffee since the early 1970s and has published three books on coffee, including the influential Home Roasting: Romance and Revival, now in its second edition, and Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, which has sold nearly 250,000 copies over five editions. His workshops and seminars on coffee sourcing, evaluation and communication have been featured at professional coffee meetings on six continents.

rss feed

June Tasting Report: Coffees from Australia

June Tasting Report: Coffees from Australia

Australia is one of the most vibrant of the consuming world’s coffee cultures. I recall visiting Sydney some years ago and being astounded by the size of the crowd of consumer visitors and the quality of the espressos being served in the booths of roasters and cafés at a local coffee festival. But despite the […]

By March 5, 2016 Read Article
CoffeeCon in Los Angeles Saturday

CoffeeCon in Los Angeles Saturday

This coming Saturday, January 30, CoffeeCon, the consumer coffee festival/event, arrives in Los Angeles at The Magic Box@The Reef, 1933 South Broadway. CoffeeCon is a genuine consumer-facing event that combines a casual, intimate feel with coffee-obsessive rigor. Most of the LA area’s leading roasters will be represented with tables or booths. There are hands-on classes […]

By January 26, 2016 Read Article
How Coffee Review Works

How Coffee Review Works

Coffee Review is an online publication that reviews coffees and comments on them in formally written tasting reports and informal blogs. Kenneth Davids and Ron Walters founded Coffee Review in 1997. Today it hosts over one million unique visitors per year. All of Coffee Review’s past seventeen years of reviews, tasting reports and blogs are […]

By December 31, 2015 Read Article
The 100-Point Rating Paradox

The 100-Point Rating Paradox

This is a revision of an article first published by Coffee Review editor Kenneth Davids in Roast Magazine in 2010. We offer it here as a considered overview from Ken on 100-point ratings systems for coffee and on the problematics and philosophy of coffee evaluation. In 1997, Coffee Review started reviewing coffees for consumers and […]

By December 31, 2015 Read Article
New June Tasting Report

New June Tasting Report

We know the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle is a thoroughly conceived and unprecedentedly spectacular coffee space and facility. But what about the coffees it produces? For our June article we have changed direction rather radically, and in place of our originally planned survey of “Big Box” store coffees, we will publish the results […]

By May 26, 2015 Read Article
The Everyday Exceptional: Macro-Lots 2015

The Everyday Exceptional: Macro-Lots 2015

Coffees that attract a high rating on Coffee Review are often produced from very small, or “micro” lots of green coffee, specially selected for quality and distinctiveness, precisely described in regard to botanical variety and other details, and not likely to be available for more than a couple of months before they’re sold out. And […]

K-Cups and Other Cups: Capsule Single-Serve Coffees

K-Cups and Other Cups: Capsule Single-Serve Coffees

When Coffee Review last visited the single-serve filter-coffee capsule scene in 2013, smaller, high-end roasting companies were eyeing the soaring popularity of Keurig K-Cups with some apprehension and, in a few cases, with interest: Hey, maybe I can get in on the action once the patents start lapsing. However, based on what we encountered during […]

By February 6, 2015 |Reviews Tasting Report
Top 30 Coffees of 2014

Top 30 Coffees of 2014

We are pleased to present our Top 30 Coffees of 2014, Coffee Review’s second annual ranking of the most noteworthy coffees we reviewed over the past year. We selected and ranked these exceptional coffees and espressos based on quality (represented by overall rating), value (reflected by most affordable price per pound), and consideration of other […]

By January 3, 2015 Read Article
2015 Tasting Article Calendar

2015 Tasting Article Calendar

The 2015 calendar listing our cupping/tasting articles for the coming year has been finalized. Some highlights from the first half of the year: Our long-delayed survey of recent developments in the race to capitalize on consumer interest in convenience capsule-brewing will appear in February (The New World of K-Cups and Competitors, February 2015). How does […]

By January 3, 2015 Read Article
Holiday Gift Coffees: Blends and Beyond

Holiday Gift Coffees: Blends and Beyond

This holiday season may mark the definitive return of the blend to the high-end specialty coffee scene after years of almost exclusive dedication to ever-more-refined single-origin offerings. The excitement and ingenuity of many of the holiday-themed blends we sampled this past month certainly suggest such a revival. The holiday blend, a long-standing staple of the […]

By December 4, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
Geshas and the Rest: Single-Variety, Single-Lot Coffees

Geshas and the Rest: Single-Variety, Single-Lot Coffees

The variety play – marketing coffee by the botanical variety of the tree that produced the coffee – is one of the latest trends in the high-end specialty world. True, some roasters who submitted samples for this month’s article still confused tree variety (botany) with origin (geography), and sent us coffees from a single growing […]

By November 6, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
Roast, Variety, Sustainability: HarVee Awards Coffees 2014

Roast, Variety, Sustainability: HarVee Awards Coffees 2014

Some of the more interesting trends and issues that surfaced among the thirteen prize-winning coffees reviewed this month from the recent Let’s Talk Coffee/Sustainable Harvest HarVee award competition in Panama range from how (the coffees were roasted), to what (tree varieties produced the coffee) to who (produced the coffee). As far as roast goes, we […]

By October 17, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
October Article: HarVee Award Winners

October Article: HarVee Award Winners

For our October article we will report on the results of a competition among roasters at the interesting Let’s Talk Coffee event coming up in Panama October 9-12. As a result, our October tasting article will be published on Monday, October 20. Let’s Talk Coffee is a long-running annual event sponsored by coffee exporter/importer Sustainable […]

By October 16, 2014 Read Article
HarVee Roaster Awards, Let’s Talk Coffee, Panama

HarVee Roaster Awards, Let’s Talk Coffee, Panama

I’ve been at the Let’s Talk Coffee annual event in Panama over the last few days, and this last Thursday night presented awards to roasters for best retail-roasted presentation of coffees sold (as green coffee) by Sustainable Harvest, a long-established specialty green coffee importer whose business model is built around building sustainability throughout the coffee […]

By October 12, 2014 Read Article
Honey and Natural Process Coffees, Central America 2014

Honey and Natural Process Coffees, Central America 2014

Nine years ago I organized a panel for the Specialty Coffee Association of America called “Using Alternative Processing Methods to Create Product Differentiation: Perspectives and Opportunities.” Presented in Spanish and English, it attracted around five hundred coffee producers and roasters. The overall premise of the panel was simple: coffee is no longer a commodity beverage […]

By September 1, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
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 […]

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, […]

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 […]