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.

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The Top 30 Coffees of 2013

The Top 30 Coffees of 2013

View list of 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: […]

By December 13, 2013 Read Article
Holiday Blends and Gift Coffees

Holiday Blends and Gift Coffees

This month’s reviews fall neatly into two categories: first, five exceptional holiday blends; second, an assortment of fine single-origin coffees offered only for the holidays that range from versions of familiar names to three holiday splurge coffees likely to satisfy money-is-no-object gift-giving and holiday impulsiveness. Starting with the holiday blends, the most striking finding of […]

By December 9, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Dried-in-the-Fruit Refinement: Ethiopia and Yemen Naturals

Dried-in-the-Fruit Refinement: Ethiopia and Yemen Naturals

At this moment I am drinking a cup of a coffee labeled “Ethiopia Amaro Natural.” It was sourced and roasted by Old Soul, an artisan baker and small-batch coffee roaster in Sacramento, California. Aficionados and regular readers of Coffee Review know that “natural” is the latest name for coffee dried inside the whole fruit, rather […]

By November 11, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Rejoice at Low Coffee Prices? What about Fair Trade?

Rejoice at Low Coffee Prices? What about Fair Trade?

On Monday, the LA Times ran an article titled Coffee drinkers rejoice: Price of beans hits four-year low.  Now, we’re glad that favorable weather conditions are helping increase coffee production.  And, you certainly can’t blame consumers (or the LA Times) for welcoming lower prices.   However, keep in mind that lower green coffee prices can […]

By October 23, 2013 Read Article
Single-Lot, Single-Variety Excitement

Single-Lot, Single-Variety Excitement

In the new world of high-end specialty coffee, botanical variety of the tree has become one of the crucial ways to differentiate and describe small lots of fine coffee. Grape variety has long been a differentiator in wine, of course, and increasingly dominates description and selling of certain fruits and vegetables. But botanical variety also […]

By October 4, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Preview of October Article and Reviews

Preview of October Article and Reviews

In the new world of high-end specialty coffee, botanical variety of the tree has become one of the main ways to differentiate and describe small lots of fine coffee. Grape variety has long been a differentiator in wine, of course, and increasingly dominates description and selling of certain fruits and vegetables. But botanical variety of […]

By October 1, 2013 Read Article
Agtron Numbers: A Sweet Spot?

Agtron Numbers: A Sweet Spot?

An Agtron machine reflects light on a sample of coffee in order to objectively and accurately assign a number to the beans’ roast color.  The smaller the number, the darker the roast.   If you’re interested in some additional background, refer to a blog we posted in 2010: http://bit.ly/1b7fLNR. The reason that I started thinking about […]

By September 23, 2013 Read Article
A Morning Cup by Jason Sarley

A Morning Cup by Jason Sarley

Many readers ask us about the best way to brew coffee, and the short answer is: whatever way is best for you and your tastes is the surest way. Although there are some worthwhile guidelines that can help even a first-time brewer prepare a good cup of coffee, I follow three fundamental rules: How-Hot, How-Much, […]

By September 20, 2013 Read Article
Where is Coffee Hot?: Asia

Where is Coffee Hot?: Asia

Earlier this year, we speculated that Coffee Review readership in Taiwan could exceed that of Australia if traffic growth rates continued.  Well, it has happened, at least for September.  Visits from Taiwan leapfrogged those from Australia, making Taiwan our fourth largest source of visitors, after only the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. If […]

By September 18, 2013 Read Article
Suave and Idiosyncratic: Coffees of Guatemala

Suave and Idiosyncratic: Coffees of Guatemala

The thirty Guatemala coffees we sampled for this month’s article overall were remarkably true to form for this storied and celebrated origin. For the most part they were beautifully structured and balanced, yet surprising and original in detail. Most likely it is the traditionalist nature of Guatemala coffee production – the often unpredictable mix of […]

By September 5, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Guatemala Cupping: Sneak Peek

Guatemala Cupping: Sneak Peek

Sneak peek from the lab… According to Kenneth: “We have cupped about twenty Guatemalas with about ten more to go. We’ve encountered a very wide and impressive range of cup profiles, particularly in the way they reflect the cup tendencies of various botanical varieties of Arabica, from deep, meaty Pacamaras to intense, high-toned, perfumy Geshas. […]

By August 29, 2013 Read Article
Is Coffee Bad For Your Health?: “Better is More”

Is Coffee Bad For Your Health?: “Better is More”

This week, the highly respected Mayo Clinic published findings that suggest excess coffee consumption, defined as more than four cups per day every day, increases the likelihood of early death in people under the age of 55.  The study concluded, in part: “On the basis of these findings, it seems appropriate to suggest that younger […]

By August 16, 2013 Read Article
Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Currently the predominant style in high-end, artisan roasting is certainly light roasting or medium-light roasting, which allows the roaster to highlight the character of the bean rather than the roast.  However, there is no question that many coffee lovers still prefer the bittersweet bite of dark roasts, even if the subtle varietal characteristics have been […]

By August 13, 2013 Read Article
A Focus on the Classic: Coffees of Honduras

A Focus on the Classic: Coffees of Honduras

With this review of coffees from Honduras the excitement may reside more in the story than in the cup itself. The story is how this Central American nation, long considered mainly a source of low-to-decent quality, commercial-grade coffees, has stepped up over the past five years or so and is producing significantly better coffees and […]

Sneak Peek: Honduras Cupping

Sneak Peek: Honduras Cupping

Our August issue, featuring specialty coffees from Honduras, should post tomorrow, Sunday, August 4.  The cupping is complete.  Nine coffees scored 90 points or higher.  We’ll include all of them in the article.   If you can’t wait until tomorrow to read about Honduran coffees, there are 4 dozen Honduran coffee reviews on the site […]

By August 3, 2013 Read Article
What’s the Deal with Decaf?

What’s the Deal with Decaf?

We haven’t published an article about decaffeinated coffee since July 2010.  At the time, the samples we cupped “tested my optimism,” to quote Kenneth Davids.  Only one of the 50 decafs we cupped earned a score of 90 points, namely Decaf South America Blend by Cafe Valverde. However, it appears that decaf drinkers in 2013 […]

By July 16, 2013 Read Article
Three New Capsule Espresso Systems

Three New Capsule Espresso Systems

Convenience-first single-serve coffee brewing devices are on a roll in North America, fueled by the success of the Keurig and its K-cup capsules. In Europe, where espresso rules, the Nespresso espresso system has had similar blockbuster success. Both systems use rigid capsules rather than tea-bag-like paper pods that characterized earlier (and less commercially successful) single-serve […]

How Does One Rate Milk!?

How Does One Rate Milk!?

We’re currently testing new capsule espresso systems for July’s featured article.  There are three: the Starbucks Verismo, the Keurig Rivo (with coffee capsules produced by Lavazza), and a dark horse, the Singolo, with machine and capsules produced in Italy and imported by a Canadian company with distribution in the United States. We are benchmarking these […]

By July 3, 2013 Read Article
What’s the Best Hawaiian Coffee?

What’s the Best Hawaiian Coffee?

Perhaps as we approach the All-American holiday of Independence Day, it’s appropriate to consider what the “best” American coffee is.  And, given that Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows commercial quantities of coffee, it might naturally lead to the question “What’s the best Hawaiian coffee?” That is a question raised in a recent […]

By July 2, 2013 Read Article
Single-Serve Coffee and Espresso Reviews

Single-Serve Coffee and Espresso Reviews

Machines that utilize a pod, capsule, or K-Cup packed with ground coffee to brew a single serving of coffee (or espresso) are very popular.  According to the latest data from the National Coffee Association, thirteen percent of the U.S. population drank coffee made in a single-cup brewer. We first evaluated coffees brewed on single-serve machines […]

By June 28, 2013 Read Article