Coffee News

Coffee Review regularly publishes coffee tasting reports and 100-point wine-style coffee reviews as well as news and updates of interest to coffee lovers and our readers. News, updates, and blog posts below appear in reverse chronological order.

Hype Meets the Cup: St. Helena Sandy Bay Estate

Hype Meets the Cup: St. Helena Sandy Bay Estate

Some interesting green coffees have come into the lab recently. These were green samples, but you can probably find roasters who offer them via an Internet search. Those who have some history probably are aware that St. Helena, a tiny island located in the middle of the South Atlantic roughly between Brazil and Africa, is […]

By June 24, 2013 Read Article
A Brief, Early History of 100-Point Coffee Reviews

A Brief, Early History of 100-Point Coffee Reviews

I was curious who received the first 90-point coffee review, which lead me to re-read the first Coffee Review article from 1997. Wow! “I have been convinced that the time has come to start assigning numerical rankings to cuppings as my counterparts have been doing for some time with wines, beers and cigars. These rankings […]

By June 21, 2013 Read Article
What Does a 96-Point Coffee Taste Like?

What Does a 96-Point Coffee Taste Like?

What does a 96-point coffee taste like?  Well, you can find out for yourself.  Three coffees in 2013 have received ratings of 96 points… and at least two of them are still available from the roasters.  Our blind assessments of these remarkable coffees appear below. La Esmeralda Mario Carnaval 2012 Panama by George Howell Coffee/Terroir […]

By June 20, 2013 Read Article
Top-Rated Espressos from the First Half of 2013

Top-Rated Espressos from the First Half of 2013

As we approach the mid-way point of 2013, we decided to take a look back at the top espressos from the first half of the year.  Six espressos earned 94 points, the highest score for an espresso so far in 2013.  Three of these coffees are from U.S. roasters: Thirty-Thirty Coffee Co. by Momma Bear […]

By June 19, 2013 Read Article
Are Espressos A Bargain?

Are Espressos A Bargain?

Coffee Review evaluates and rates coffees that are intended for both espresso and non-espresso brewing.  We are agnostic on brewing method from the point of view of rating a coffee.  So, it’s reassuring to see that the average posted score for espressos (92.10) by American roasters in the first half of 2013 is nearly identical […]

By June 18, 2013 Read Article
Some 2013 Best Value Coffees Still Available

Some 2013 Best Value Coffees Still Available

Highly rated coffees that are also affordable sell quickly. We did a little checking around for you…. Some of this year’s best value 90+ rated coffees are still available: Johnson Brothers – Ulos Batak Sumatra Peaberry – 95 points – $14.99/12 ounces – http://bit.ly/18D4gMC Lexington Coffee – Sumatra Mandheling Wahana – 94 points – $13.50/12 […]

By June 13, 2013 Read Article
The High Price of Coffee in Taiwan

The High Price of Coffee in Taiwan

Yesterday, we noted that the average price of a 90+ point coffee from U.S. roasters in 2013 is $22.13 per pound.  Count your blessings if you’re a consumer in the United States. In 2013, we’ve reviewed 23 coffees rated 90+ from Taiwan.  The average score was nearly identical to the U.S. average: 92.0 vs. 92.1 […]

By June 13, 2013 Read Article
What You’ll Pay for a 90-Point Coffee

What You’ll Pay for a 90-Point Coffee

At Coffee Review, we cup coffees on a blind basis.  To be completely objective, we hide the identity of the roasters and coffees until after scores are determined and tasting notes are completed. When we cup, we don’t know the price of the coffee either.  It’s irrelevant from a cupping point of view.  However, it’s […]

By June 12, 2013 Read Article
Promising Sumatras

Promising Sumatras

Due to Kenneth David’s rugged travel schedule over the past several weeks, the June issue of Coffee Review, which features coffees from Sumatra, is behind schedule.  We expect to post the article and reviews within the week.  Sorry for the delay. Reports from the Coffee Review lab on the samples we’ve received are very positive.  […]

By June 11, 2013 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 […]

Not Your Same Old Panamas

Not Your Same Old Panamas

It’s a tribute to how much the specialty coffee world has changed over the last ten years that the style of coffee traditionally associated with Panama – clean, soft, balanced, gently fruit- and floral-toned – hardly showed up among the coffees nominated by roasters for this month’s article. True, Panama coffees of any kind very […]

Benchmarking the New Starbucks and Peet’s Medium Roasts

Benchmarking the New Starbucks and Peet’s Medium Roasts

When Starbucks, bowing to changing tastes in coffee, debuted two “Blonde” medium-roasted blends a couple of weeks ago, reaction among the blogging and tweeting cadres of coffee observers was predictable. One of our readers wrote that she didn’t want to bias us before we tested the new Starbucks blends, but for her they tasted like […]

By February 2, 2012 Read Article
The Complexity of Coffee: Aroma Profiling Isn’t Just for Wine

The Complexity of Coffee: Aroma Profiling Isn’t Just for Wine

Proper Aroma/Flavor profiling is all too often neglected in Coffee. Coffee Aromas/Flavors are essential to understanding and appreciating coffee. As in wine, coffee gets its aromas or flavors from the soil and the climatic environment in which the coffee plant grows. The coffee variety (genetic) and the method in which the green coffee was processed […]

By December 30, 2011 Read Article
The Aeropress Coffee Maker

The Aeropress Coffee Maker

 About five years ago or so Alan Adler, the inventor of the Aerobie Flying Disk, created the Aeropress because he wanted a cup of coffee was full and rich, similar to the results from a French press but with cleaner, less acidy attributes. After some experiments and prototyping, Alder solicited feedback about his creation from […]

By October 6, 2011 Read Article
The Presso Non-Electric Home Espresso Machine

The Presso Non-Electric Home Espresso Machine

  If you frequent any one of the high end specialty coffee shops around the country these days you have observed the popular revival of manual, hands-on brewing. The movement has spawned books and blogs and even contests world-wide, but I think that the most beneficial thing to come out of it all is the […]

By August 24, 2011 Read Article
Quality: Passion, Process or Both?

Quality: Passion, Process or Both?

The challenge: The highest quality coffee is produced by large, technically sophisticated companies which do a much better job at delivering fresh, consistent, good-value coffees than do most of today’s smaller specialty roasting companies. I find I need to parse this lengthy and loaded sentence in order to comment on it. Quality in coffee is […]

By July 25, 2011 Read Article
Regardless of Size, Only the Passionate Rule

Regardless of Size, Only the Passionate Rule

The challenge: The highest quality coffee is produced by large, technically sophisticated companies which do a much better job at delivering fresh, consistent, good-value coffees than do most of today’s smaller specialty roasting companies. Neither size nor technical sophistication assures quality. Only the obsessive and unrelenting commitment of a company’s leadership assures a steady output […]

By July 25, 2011 Read Article
Travel Less and Cup More

Travel Less and Cup More

The Challenge: Coffee buyers for roasting companies should be doing much less travel and much more cupping, quality control and customer education. Kevin Knox writes:   I’d put this another way. The most important tools for buying great coffee are a well-trained palate, a well-equipped cupping room, relationships with the best importers and – last […]

By July 11, 2011 Read Article
Making Coffee Travel Relevant

Making Coffee Travel Relevant

The Challenge: Coffee buyers for roasting companies should be doing much less travel and much more cupping, quality control and customer education.   Kenneth Davids writes:   I guess my reservation with the challenge statement is the repetition of the “much” word. If the thrust of the challenge statement is to argue that coffee buyers […]

By July 11, 2011 Read Article
Ken Davids and Kevin Knox exchange views on the microlot trend

Ken Davids and Kevin Knox exchange views on the microlot trend

Whether a roaster is obligated by industry tradition and consumer expectation to also offer a familiar lineup of fine coffee standards, i.e. a Kenya AA, a Sumatra Mandheling, a high-grown Central America, etc. is of no consequence to me. I think consumers speak for themselves through their patronage, and if a successful business can be built on nothing but fine microlots that take advantage of seasonal opportunities[…]

By July 1, 2011 Read Article