Tasting Reports

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.

Readers’ Choice 2008: Hearty Coffee from the Heartlands

Readers’ Choice 2008: Hearty Coffee from the Heartlands

A Readers’ Choice article at Coffee Review always provides an interesting pretext for speculation about specialty coffee drinkers’ latest tastes and preferences. The following would hardly make it through an academic review process, but here are some observations based on our 2008 sampling of reader nominated coffees (this speculation has a margin of error of […]

Single-Origin Espressos 2008

Single-Origin Espressos 2008

Those new to espresso connoisseurship may be surprised to learn that producing this dense, aromatic beverage from coffee of a single origin rather than from a blend of coffees from different origins is a mildly controversial practice. Traditionalists argue that the espresso system extracts flavor-bearing components from coffee so efficiently that a single coffee from […]

“S” as in Sexy: New Specialty Offerings from Brazil

“S” as in Sexy: New Specialty Offerings from Brazil

The fact that at least half of the American roasters submitting coffees for this month’s cupping spelled Brazil with an “s” – the Portuguese-Brazilian spelling – may be symptomatic of what has happened of late to the reputation of high-end coffees from that country. The spelling implies that these are not your old-fashioned, low-grown, stolid […]

Special Reserve is Dead.   Long Live Special Reserve.

Special Reserve is Dead. Long Live Special Reserve.

Two or three years ago, offering small, distinctive lots of coffee on a temporary, seasonal basis and calling them “special reserve” or “limited edition” appeared to be one of the most promising trends in specialty coffee. These offerings proposed to wean coffee drinkers from expecting the same kind of consistency in single-origin coffees as they […]

By April 6, 2008 |Reviews Read Article
Decaffeinated Single-Origins: A Slow Tour with Limited Stops

Decaffeinated Single-Origins: A Slow Tour with Limited Stops

How deep a flavor rut are coffee drinkers stuck in if they give up caffeine? Are they eternally condemned to token decaf blends at the end of the counter, or can they tour the world by cup, or try to save it by cup, like their caffeine-consuming colleagues? Based on this month’s cupping of decaffeinated […]

By March 3, 2008 |Reviews Read Article
Juan Valdez’s Progeny: Micro-Lot and Other Fine Colombias

Juan Valdez’s Progeny: Micro-Lot and Other Fine Colombias

This month’s cupping of coffees from Colombia confirms that this giant among coffee producers has successfully turned at least a portion of its industry from supplier of immense quantities of good-but-not-great generic “100% Colombian” coffee to prized source of smaller (sometimes tiny) lots of subtly distinctive specialty coffees. Handsome symbol Juan Valdez and his photogenic […]

By February 5, 2008 |Reviews Read Article
Big Bags from the Big Boxes: Value All-Arabicas from the Discount Chains

Big Bags from the Big Boxes: Value All-Arabicas from the Discount Chains

Those who read Coffee Review regularly may have noticed the appearance of some rather pricy coffees recently, albeit many of them very highly rated and well worth the money for those willing to pop. This month’s article heads in an entirely different direction. On behalf of those consumers who nose their carts down the cluttered […]

By January 2, 2008 |Reviews Read Article
Exotic Procedures in Far Places: Aged, Monsooned and Luwaked Coffees

Exotic Procedures in Far Places: Aged, Monsooned and Luwaked Coffees

This month we review two of the world’s more exotic coffee types – monsooned coffees from India and aged coffees from Sumatra – together with the novelty kopi luwak, a coffee famously processed via the digestive tract of a coffee-fruit-eating mammal, and, perhaps understandably given the procedures involved, currently the world’s most expensive coffee. Monsooned […]

By December 3, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Berries, Wine and Chocolate (Some of the Time): Dry-Processed Coffees of Ethiopia and Yemen

Berries, Wine and Chocolate (Some of the Time): Dry-Processed Coffees of Ethiopia and Yemen

Dry-processed or “natural” coffees from Yemen and Ethiopia (those coffees dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed) are the world’s original coffees – and also, in their most recent incarnation, one of the newest trends in coffee. Unfortunately, most of the exotically distinctive coffees I reviewed this month with co-cupper […]

By November 5, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
2007 Prize-Winning Coffees from Central America and Colombia

2007 Prize-Winning Coffees from Central America and Colombia

This month we review ten prize winners from green coffee competitions held this year in Central American countries and in Colombia. These competitions, “during which a jury of international cuppers spends several well-caffeinated days slurping, spitting and obsessing over a gradually narrowing group of fine coffees from a given growing country,” to quote my own […]

By October 5, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Fair-Trade Coffees: The Controversy and the Cup

Fair-Trade Coffees: The Controversy and the Cup

There are likely to be two categories of reader for this article: Those who know something about Fair Trade coffees (and who probably hold strong opinions on the subject) and those who don’t. For those who don’t, Fair Trade certification is an assurance from an internationally recognized third-party certifier (in the United States the certifier […]

By September 4, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Italy Seen from America: Nine (Genuine) Italian and Three American Espressos

Italy Seen from America: Nine (Genuine) Italian and Three American Espressos

Italians must both wonder and cringe when they observe the amazing globe-trotting journey of espresso, a beverage system so quintessentially (and once so exclusively) Italian. Setting aside the implied stereotype that associates Italian-Americans with gangsters, the scene in an early episode of The Sopranos in which Silvio encounters a Starbucks-style espresso bar for the first […]

By August 3, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Caribbean Coffees 2007: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic

Caribbean Coffees 2007: Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Dominican Republic

This year’s review of coffees from the islands of the Caribbean is notable as much for what isn’t here as for what is. Samples of Caribbean coffees were hard to come by this year, even from Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountains. And only the tiniest smattering of offerings turned up from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and […]

Alternative Africas: Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Alternative Africas: Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Most specialty Africa coffees sold in North America are from Ethiopia and Kenya, the two most distinctive coffee origins in the region and arguably in the world. However, coffee is grown in substantial quantities all along the string of mountains and plateaus extending south from Ethiopia and Kenya. Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and […]

Low-Acid Options for Coffee Drinkers

Low-Acid Options for Coffee Drinkers

The title alone of this article raises a sizable number of questions. For example: What is acidity in coffee? The tart yet sweet sensation that animates the sensory character of the finest coffees and keeps them from falling into woody neutrality? An edgy sourness that messes up our tummies? Prime contributor to coffee’s newfound status […]

Sweetness and Earth: Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Timor

Sweetness and Earth: Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Timor

One starting point for understanding the intriguing coffees that emerge from the islands of Indonesia (Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java, Bali) and Timor is the prosaic issue of processing, or how the fruit is removed from the coffee seeds and how they are dried. The famous “earthy” character of traditional Sumatra and Sulawesi coffees clearly derives from […]

By April 3, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Better Than You Think: Decaffeinated Espressos

Better Than You Think: Decaffeinated Espressos

The term “decaffeinated espresso” gets even more snickers from coffee insiders than do allusions to ordinary decaffeinated coffee. The assumption seems to be that espresso is such a strong intensification of coffee-ness that drinking a decaffeinated version of it is a particularly perverse contradiction. In fact, decaffeination and espresso can be surprisingly well suited to […]

By March 5, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Cupping the Andes: Southern Colombia, Bolivia and Peru

Cupping the Andes: Southern Colombia, Bolivia and Peru

Coffee growing regions strung along the rugged Andes from central Colombia south through Peru have much in common: high growing altitudes; a reliance on sturdy, simple varieties of arabica like typica and caturra; small-holding farmers whose struggle to produce fine coffee is challenged by daunting transportation problems and sporadic social and political conflict. As in […]

By February 4, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Starting with Cans: Mainstream Supermarket Coffees

Starting with Cans: Mainstream Supermarket Coffees

True, not all of the coffees reviewed this month came in cans and the term “mainstream” may be ambiguous, but all definitely were purchased retail at supermarkets and most should be available in any large, well-stocked grocery in the United States. All were sold pre-ground with the exception of Eight O’Clock Coffee, the traditional supermarket […]

By January 4, 2007 |Reviews Read Article
Award-Winning Coffees of Central America 2006

Award-Winning Coffees of Central America 2006

For me, the most enjoyable aspect of this sampling of prize winners from Central American green coffee competitions was experiencing the pride and passion of the small North America roasters who purchased these coffees and roasted them. All of the samples arrived impeccably fresh, and with a couple of exceptions all were roasted within the […]

By December 2, 2006 |Reviews Read Article