Author Archive: Kenneth Davids with Jason Sarley

Kenneth Davids is the co-founder and editor of Coffee Review as well as its primary cupper and writer. Jason Sarley is the co-cupper for most coffees reviewed on Coffee Review. He passed the Coffee Quality Institute’s challenging Q-grading exam and holds a Level One Roaster Certification from Roasters Guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

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Coffees of Kenya 2015: Still Great, Still Kenya

Coffees of Kenya 2015: Still Great, Still Kenya

One thing that can be said about this month’s survey of 32 Kenya coffees from 26 specialty roasters is that the good samples — and there were many — were not just exceptional, but exceptional in a thoroughly Kenyan way. In fact, the 23 Kenya samples that rated 90 or better often provoked rather repetitive […]

Decafs 2015: The Splendid, The Strange, The Listless

Decafs 2015: The Splendid, The Strange, The Listless

Some observations about decaffeinated coffees prompted by this month’s modest sampling of decafs from twelve American specialty roasters. Observation one: Most decaffeinated coffees continue to be bad, in some cases close to foul. Not only are the sensory profiles flattened and simplified by the brutality of the decaffeination process, but this process often adds mysterious […]

Blends 2015: Quietly Agreeable with Some Fireworks

Blends 2015: Quietly Agreeable with Some Fireworks

Blends (particularly those designed for regular brewed coffee) have been out of fashion at the top end of in American specialty coffee for some time now – say for the last ten to fifteen years. The excitement has been focused on “single-origin” coffees, meaning coffees from a single growing region (the broadest definition), or (a […]

New Starbucks Reserve Coffees

New Starbucks Reserve Coffees

For the past ten years or so smaller, hipper, more nimble roasting companies have dominated the coffee conversation in America, outflanking Starbucks in roast style (lighter than Starbucks), freshness (roast-dated packaging), coffee selection (precisely identified seasonal small lots), brewing (by the cup, often by hand), and even design sensibility (usually blunt, simple and utilitarian, often […]

Open Source Espresso Blends

Open Source Espresso Blends

With this espresso tasting we focus on what appears to be a new trend in espresso blending – the open disclosure to customer and competitor of the identity of the specific green coffees that compose a blend, as opposed to the deliberate secrecy around blending that has prevailed in the coffee industry for decades. The […]

Elegant Earth: Wet-Hulled Sumatras and One Sulawesi

Elegant Earth: Wet-Hulled Sumatras and One Sulawesi

Wet-hulling is not an obscure Olympics sailing event nor (at least to my knowledge) a special trick in waterskiing or wakeboarding. It is a fruit removal and drying variation that contributes much of the distinct character of traditional Indonesia coffees, particularly those from Sumatra and Sulawesi. It is also practiced on other Indonesian islands, almost […]