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.

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
Price, Quality and Value: Questioning “Competition Coffees”

Price, Quality and Value: Questioning “Competition Coffees”

[In the following piece Kevin Knox, at various times coffee buyer for Starbucks and Allegro Coffee and well-known coffee writer, takes a controversial view of the new specialty coffee phenomenon of green coffee competitions and Internet auctions. His comments are aimed at roasting companies and green coffee buyers, but Coffee Review readers and consumer buyers […]

By December 2, 2006 |Reviews Read Article
Holiday Blends and Other Gift Coffees

Holiday Blends and Other Gift Coffees

Creating special blends and offerings for the winter holidays is a long-standing coffee tradition, and, well, a cool retail opportunity for roasters. It’s a natural: nights are long, mornings are dark, days are cold, and coffee is a good thing. Coffee roasters tend to meet the winter holiday challenge in several ways. One is crafting […]

By November 5, 2006 |Reviews Read Article
Readers’ Choice Espressos

Readers’ Choice Espressos

Well, special readers. The majority of the espressos reviewed this month were nominated by the roasting companies that produced them. I assume that a roaster knows what his best products are, so it also may be logical to expect these espressos to impress. Most did. Of the twenty-eight we tasted, nine scored 90 points or […]

By October 6, 2006 |Reviews Read Article
Experimenting with Tradition: Naturally Flavored Coffees

Experimenting with Tradition: Naturally Flavored Coffees

In beverages, there are added flavorings – and then there are added flavorings. On one hand are traditional, natural flavorings: anise seed in many liqueurs and spirits or jasmine flowers in jasmine tea. On the other are newer flavorings, those that have been pouring in endless invention out of the chemistry lab of pop-modernity. Most […]

By September 4, 2006 |Reviews Read Article
Now or Never: Special Reserve Coffees

Now or Never: Special Reserve Coffees

Special seasonal offerings of small lots of exceptional coffees are a sure sign of coffee’s coming of age as true specialty beverage. These coffees, often described using wine-influenced language like “Special Reserve,” “Limited Edition,” “Roastmaster’s Reserve” and so on, represent coffee from a single crop and single place, often a single hillside, and are sold […]

By August 2, 2006 |Reviews Read Article
Breakfast Blends 2006: An American Tradition Goes Cosmopolitan

Breakfast Blends 2006: An American Tradition Goes Cosmopolitan

What is a “breakfast blend”? The word and the idea come from a seemingly long-gone era in America when pancakes, diners and endless refills were the norm rather than quaintly retro exceptions. In 2006, what can American specialty coffee consumers expect from the term – and from the coffees? If the twenty-six nominal breakfast blends […]