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Organic-Certified Coffees from Africa: Benefits, Challenges, Complexities

Organic-Certified Coffees from Africa: Benefits, Challenges, Complexities

| November 11, 2017

Certified organic coffees must be propagated, grown, processed, transported, stored, and roasted without contact with synthetic chemicals—particularly without contact with pesticides and herbicides. The certification process (carried out by a variety of organizations operating inside a common framework) is lengthy, thorough, rather expensive, but apparently reliable and free of abuse. The use of the term […]

The New Nicaragua: Direct Trade Coffees Rule

The New Nicaragua: Direct Trade Coffees Rule

| October 9, 2017

When we first reported on coffees from Nicaragua, in 2004, the overarching theme was economic development. Specialty coffee was viewed as a way of opening access to economic and social benefits for Nicaragua’s many small- to medium-holding coffee farmers, most of whom had been decimated by the global drop in coffee prices during 1999-2003, and […]

Gesha Coffees 2017: Still Pricey, Still Amazing

Gesha Coffees 2017: Still Pricey, Still Amazing

| September 8, 2017

I was at one of the Specialty Coffee Association’s Re:co Symposia a couple of years ago, where Jay Ruskey of Goodlands Organic, the pioneer of California coffee-growing, was displaying fresh branches of two varieties of coffee trees at his table outside the meeting rooms. Some of the branches were from the respected mainstream Caturra coffee […]

Darker-Roasted Coffees: Confessions and Amends

Darker-Roasted Coffees: Confessions and Amends

| August 10, 2017

Those readers sensitive to language and to shifting, overlapping tastes in the coffee world may have noticed the nuance in the title of this report: “darker–roasted” coffees rather than “dark-roasted.” When titling this report we wanted to avoid encouraging a polarization between those coffee drinkers who prefer at least a little (perhaps a lot) of […]

Cold-Brew Coffee Makers for Home Use, Four Tested and Rated

Cold-Brew Coffee Makers for Home Use, Four Tested and Rated

| July 8, 2017

Summer is upon us, and our July report features reviews of four cold-brew coffeemakers. These are devices that brew coffee using cold water and extended coffee-water contact times rather than hot water and short contact times, as is the case with conventional coffee-brewing devices. The cold or iced coffee we enjoy in cafés and stores […]

Holding Up (More Than) Half The Sky: Coffees From Women Producers

Holding Up (More Than) Half The Sky: Coffees From Women Producers

| June 7, 2017

Mao Zedong’s famous statement that “women hold up half the sky” became central to the zeitgeist of the Western feminist movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, when identity politics began to foreground the plight of women—economically, socially and politically—both in the U.S. and abroad. Regardless of one’s position on the merits of focusing on gender-based […]

Aged, Casked and Cured: Innovations in Green Coffee Conditioning

Aged, Casked and Cured: Innovations in Green Coffee Conditioning

| May 8, 2017

Green, unroasted coffee beans are porous and absorbent. As anyone in the industry knows from painful experience, green beans easily pick up odors from almost anything in their environment — paints stenciled on coffee bags, for example, concrete floors, petroleum residue in shipping containers, cardamom stored in the same warehouse. But where there is a […]

Equipment Report: Five French Presses, Tested and Rated

Equipment Report: Five French Presses, Tested and Rated

| April 9, 2017

For this survey of French presses, we selected a representative cross-section of widely available units from this popular brewer category. We tested one example for each of five key sub-categories: a classic model (Bodum Chambord), a budget-friendly option (Mr. Coffee Coffee Press), a high-tech addition to the market (KitchenAid Precision Press), a technically refined premium […]

Reflecting on Two Decades of Coffee Review

Reflecting on Two Decades of Coffee Review

| March 14, 2017

Twenty years ago, Ron Walters, my colleague and co-founder of Coffee Review, arranged a meeting with me at a bar in a San Francisco hotel to discuss an idea he had for starting a publication that reviewed coffees with the same seriousness that other magazines reviewed wines. That was 1996. Some may recall that in […]

Exploring Roasters in the American Southwest

Exploring Roasters in the American Southwest

| March 6, 2017

For Coffee Review’s monthly tasting reports we typically focus on coffee-producing countries or regions, or certain tree varieties or processing methods, or innovations that arise from the creativity of today’s specialty coffee world. It’s less often that we look at roasters, collectively, by geographical location. But this month we decided to focus on roasters of […]