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Expanded Rankings in 2015

Expanded Rankings in 2015

| November 20, 2015

Our annual “Top 30” ranking of the thirty most noteworthy coffees of the year has attracted considerable attention over the past two years. As several readers have pointed out, however, our rankings have tended to favor high-scoring coffees produced from botanical varieties of Arabica with striking sensory properties: coffees of the Gesha/Geisha variety, coffees from […]

Fair Trade Certified Coffees

Fair Trade Certified Coffees

| November 6, 2015

Consumers who prefer to buy coffees that promise to reconcile pleasure with generosity toward the people and environment responsible for that pleasure, and who want to feel some solid confirmation regarding the generosity part, should find useful recommendations among the ten coffees reviewed this month. Nine of the ten are Fair Trade Certified, meaning that, […]

Peet’s Buys Stake in Intelligentsia

Peet’s Buys Stake in Intelligentsia

| November 3, 2015

On the heels of its acquisition of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, California-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea has bought a majority stake in Intelligentsia Coffee.  Read more coverage at Fortune.com. Coffee Review has rated 40 Intelligentsia coffees over the years, starting with their famous Black Cat Blend in way back in 1998. The average rating for […]

Crimson Cup, Propeller Named Roasters of the Year

Crimson Cup, Propeller Named Roasters of the Year

| October 20, 2015

Crimson Cup Coffee and Propeller Coffee Co. were awarded Roaster of the Year honors by Roast magazine, an industry publication for coffee roasters. According to Roast, Roaster of the Year awards “recognize companies that roast coffees of superior quality, exemplify a dedication to sustainability, promote employee and community education, and demonstrate a strong commitment to […]

Zimbabwe Coffee: Once Flourishing, Now Rare

Zimbabwe Coffee: Once Flourishing, Now Rare

| October 7, 2015

We just rated a sample from Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) for the first time since 2008.  The Zimbabwe AAA from New Year’s Gift Estate from Green Dragon Coffee earned a respectable 88 points (see review). In the early years of Coffee Review, coffees from Zimbabwe were certainly not common but they were not unheard of either. […]

Traditional Coffees of Central America: Quest for the Classic

Traditional Coffees of Central America: Quest for the Classic

| October 6, 2015

We’ve seen two conflicting, yet overlapping, trends at the growing end of specialty coffee over the past decade. On one hand, greater and greater homogeneity. Traditional coffee tree varieties, varieties that may not taste unique, but do taste subtly different, are being replaced by disease-resistant, higher-yielding varieties that incorporate robusta genes and, well, usually don’t […]

Peet’s Acquires Stumptown

Peet’s Acquires Stumptown

| October 6, 2015

According to Business Wire, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Coffee Roasters have announced an agreement in which Peet’s will acquire ownership of Stumptown from its existing shareholders, which include majority-owner TSG Consumer Partners LLC.  Stumptown, founded in Portland, Oregon in 1999, will continue to operate independently while having full access to Peet’s resources and […]

Coffees of Kenya 2015: Still Great, Still Kenya

Coffees of Kenya 2015: Still Great, Still Kenya

| September 4, 2015

One thing that can be said about this month’s survey of 32 Kenya coffees from 26 specialty roasters is that the good samples — and there were many — were not just exceptional, but exceptional in a thoroughly Kenyan way. In fact, the 23 Kenya samples that rated 90 or better often provoked rather repetitive […]

Decafs 2015: The Splendid, The Strange, The Listless

Decafs 2015: The Splendid, The Strange, The Listless

| August 4, 2015

Some observations about decaffeinated coffees prompted by this month’s modest sampling of decafs from twelve American specialty roasters. Observation one: Most decaffeinated coffees continue to be bad, in some cases close to foul. Not only are the sensory profiles flattened and simplified by the brutality of the decaffeination process, but this process often adds mysterious […]

Blends 2015: Quietly Agreeable with Some Fireworks

Blends 2015: Quietly Agreeable with Some Fireworks

| July 8, 2015

Blends (particularly those designed for regular brewed coffee) have been out of fashion at the top end of in American specialty coffee for some time now – say for the last ten to fifteen years. The excitement has been focused on “single-origin” coffees, meaning coffees from a single growing region (the broadest definition), or (a […]