Tasting Articles

Below you can browse hundreds of Coffee Review tasting articles with reviews. To refine your results, you may use the key word search box at the upper right by selecting the 'Articles' drop-down.

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 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
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 […]

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
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
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
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
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 Read Article
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 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 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 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 […]

By August 5, 2013 |Reviews 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 […]

Better and Better: Sumatras 2013

Better and Better: Sumatras 2013

Sumatra coffees continue to amaze. Aside from Ethiopia, I can think of no other origin currently producing fine coffees displaying as much sheer range and distinction of sensory association. But whereas Ethiopia’s range of sensory surprise is owing to a rich store of ancient plant varieties, Sumatra’s range and diversity of sensation is primarily achieved […]

By June 14, 2013 |Reviews Read Article
Lighter and Brighter: Single-Origin Espressos

Lighter and Brighter: Single-Origin Espressos

Coffees from a single farm or cooperative roasted for espresso preparation – aka “single-origin” or simply “SO” espressos – are now a familiar presence on high-end coffee menus and counters in North America, and in many East Asian countries as well. But it was not so long ago that the argument ran that a single […]

The (Not Quite Arrived) New World of K-Cups

The (Not Quite Arrived) New World of K-Cups

Yesterday, 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. A significant portion of that thirteen percent undoubtedly used a Keurig brewer and its matching K-Cups to produce their single brewed cup. Keurig and K-Cups were the first single-cup drip-style system […]

By April 2, 2013 |Reviews Read Article
The Andes Cup: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador

The Andes Cup: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador

For a couple of hours during the early preparation for this article I was haunted by the challenge to a coffee reviewer occasioned when it looks like perhaps a whole category of coffees produced by wonderful, hard-working indigenous farmers may turn out not to taste very good, meaning the reviewer might then have to face […]

By March 7, 2013 |Reviews Read Article
Three Trends at the Cusp of the New Year

Three Trends at the Cusp of the New Year

As the New Year settles in I thought it might be worthwhile revisiting some interesting coffees recently reviewed outside the framework of our monthly review articles. All but one were reviewed in either December 2012 or January 2013, and all reflect in one way or another ongoing trends at the top end of the specialty […]

By February 5, 2013 |Reviews Read Article