Author Archive: Kenneth Davids

Kenneth Davids is a coffee expert, author and co-founder of Coffee Review. He has been involved with coffee since the early 1970s and has published three books on coffee, including the influential Home Roasting: Romance and Revival, now in its second edition, and Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying, which has sold nearly 250,000 copies over five editions. His workshops and seminars on coffee sourcing, evaluation and communication have been featured at professional coffee meetings on six continents.

rss feed

Colombia on the Rebound

Colombia on the Rebound

When we last tested Colombias two years ago we turned up several fine coffees, but generally were disappointed by the many samples that arrived bearing fancy names but displaying little distinction in the cup. Back then the trend toward select, precisely identified lots of green coffee (aka “direct trade,”“microlots”) seemed to have been honored more […]

Subtle but Not Tame: Brazils 2014

Subtle but Not Tame: Brazils 2014

The various cup profiles associated with the world’s coffee regions are the result of a complex interplay between nature and nurture, between the givens of nature – growing altitude, soil and rainfall patterns – and local traditions that for decades determined the varieties of coffee tree typically grown in a region and how the fruit […]

A Tribute to the Life of Wicha Promyong, Doi Chaang Coffee

A Tribute to the Life of Wicha Promyong, Doi Chaang Coffee

In 2011 I spent several days at the Doi Chaang coffee cooperative in northern Thailand. There I encountered the extraordinary Wicha Promyong, the inspirational leader of the Doi Chaang coffee cooperative and its sister company, Doi Chaang Coffee. Shockingly and unexpectedly, Khun Wicha succumbed to a heart attack on Thursday, January 23, 2057 (2014) near […]

By February 10, 2014 Read Article
State of the Blend 2014

State of the Blend 2014

To say that blends are out of style (at least for drip and French press brewing) in the contemporary high-end world of specialty coffee would be an understatement. Today one seldom sees blends intended for drip brewing featured by cafes and roasting companies with serious upscale coffee aspirations. And any drip blend that does show […]

By February 1, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
Where Coffee is Hot: By Country

Where Coffee is Hot: By Country

We’re wrapping up our “Where Coffee is Hot” series by looking at Coffee Review readership by country.  In 2013, we hosted readers from 233 countries and territories, which must be just about all of them. We’ll look at our readership three ways: total readers in 2013, per capita readers in 2013, and percentage growth from […]

By January 27, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By International City

Where Coffee is Hot: By International City

In 2013, Coffee Review hosted visitors from 223 countries and territories, including countless cities and town around the world.  Our readers hail from famous world capitals such as Rome, Italy and Nairobi, Kenya to lesser-known Nuuk, Greenland and Apia, Somoa.  However, some cities have more visitors than others and none of the above cities ranked […]

By January 24, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. State

Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. State

Last summer, we looked at Coffee Review readership by state for the second quarter of 2013.  We calculated per capita readership, that is, readers normalized for each state’s population, to get an idea where people are most interested in coffee (at least as measured by Coffee Review readership.)  We’ve just re-crunched the data for the […]

By January 23, 2014 Read Article
Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. City

Where Coffee is Hot: By U.S. City

Last summer, we took a mid-year look at Coffee Review readership by U.S. city and state.  We normalized readership figures to account for population differences and produce a more accurate picture of each locale’s interest in coffee, at least as measured by Coffee Review readers per capita.  We normalized for Internet access and literacy too, […]

By January 22, 2014 Read Article
Seattle Edges San Francisco… In Coffee Anyway

Seattle Edges San Francisco… In Coffee Anyway

First of all, for anyone who doesn’t follow NFL football, the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49’ers this weekend in the NFC Championship Game.  The winner will be one of two teams that go to the Superbowl. With that as background, for an upcoming piece on online coffee trends, we started crunching the numbers […]

By January 17, 2014 Read Article
2014 Coffee Review Cupping Calendar

2014 Coffee Review Cupping Calendar

At the beginning of each month, we publish a new feature article with reviews.  The planned cupping calendar for 2014 is shown below: January – Top 30 Coffees of 2013 February – Real Blend: Blends Produced from Three or More Origins March – Specialty Coffees of Brazil April – Specialty Coffees of Colombia May – Coffees […]

By January 2, 2014 Read Article
Arabica Anxiety and Robustas

Arabica Anxiety and Robustas

I’m here in El Salvador for “Let’s Talk Coffee,” a yearly meeting of mostly small-holding coffee producers, roasters, importer and exporters, and development agencies. It’s sponsored by Sustainable Harvest, a long-time pioneering American importer of cooperative and small-producer coffees.   I came here in part to deliver a presentation on Robusta coffees. It was part […]

By December 15, 2013 Read Article
The Top 30 Coffees of 2013

The Top 30 Coffees of 2013

View list of Top 30 Coffees of 2013 Coffee Review introduced 100-point reviews to the specialty coffee industry in 1997.  Over the years since then we’ve cupped tens of thousands of samples and produced reviews for nearly 3,500 coffees. We are often asked, “What is the best coffee?”  To which we give the obvious answer: […]

By December 13, 2013 Read Article
Holiday Blends and Gift Coffees

Holiday Blends and Gift Coffees

This month’s reviews fall neatly into two categories: first, five exceptional holiday blends; second, an assortment of fine single-origin coffees offered only for the holidays that range from versions of familiar names to three holiday splurge coffees likely to satisfy money-is-no-object gift-giving and holiday impulsiveness. Starting with the holiday blends, the most striking finding of […]

By December 9, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Dried-in-the-Fruit Refinement: Ethiopia and Yemen Naturals

Dried-in-the-Fruit Refinement: Ethiopia and Yemen Naturals

At this moment I am drinking a cup of a coffee labeled “Ethiopia Amaro Natural.” It was sourced and roasted by Old Soul, an artisan baker and small-batch coffee roaster in Sacramento, California. Aficionados and regular readers of Coffee Review know that “natural” is the latest name for coffee dried inside the whole fruit, rather […]

By November 11, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Rejoice at Low Coffee Prices? What about Fair Trade?

Rejoice at Low Coffee Prices? What about Fair Trade?

On Monday, the LA Times ran an article titled Coffee drinkers rejoice: Price of beans hits four-year low.  Now, we’re glad that favorable weather conditions are helping increase coffee production.  And, you certainly can’t blame consumers (or the LA Times) for welcoming lower prices.   However, keep in mind that lower green coffee prices can […]

By October 23, 2013 Read Article
Single-Lot, Single-Variety Excitement

Single-Lot, Single-Variety Excitement

In the new world of high-end specialty coffee, botanical variety of the tree has become one of the crucial ways to differentiate and describe small lots of fine coffee. Grape variety has long been a differentiator in wine, of course, and increasingly dominates description and selling of certain fruits and vegetables. But botanical variety also […]

Preview of October Article and Reviews

Preview of October Article and Reviews

In the new world of high-end specialty coffee, botanical variety of the tree has become one of the main ways to differentiate and describe small lots of fine coffee. Grape variety has long been a differentiator in wine, of course, and increasingly dominates description and selling of certain fruits and vegetables. But botanical variety of […]

By October 1, 2013 Read Article
Agtron Numbers: A Sweet Spot?

Agtron Numbers: A Sweet Spot?

An Agtron machine reflects light on a sample of coffee in order to objectively and accurately assign a number to the beans’ roast color.  The smaller the number, the darker the roast.   If you’re interested in some additional background, refer to a blog we posted in 2010: http://bit.ly/1b7fLNR. The reason that I started thinking about […]

By September 23, 2013 Read Article
Suave and Idiosyncratic: Coffees of Guatemala

Suave and Idiosyncratic: Coffees of Guatemala

The thirty Guatemala coffees we sampled for this month’s article overall were remarkably true to form for this storied and celebrated origin. For the most part they were beautifully structured and balanced, yet surprising and original in detail. Most likely it is the traditionalist nature of Guatemala coffee production – the often unpredictable mix of […]

By September 5, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Guatemala Cupping: Sneak Peek

Guatemala Cupping: Sneak Peek

Sneak peek from the lab… According to Kenneth: “We have cupped about twenty Guatemalas with about ten more to go. We’ve encountered a very wide and impressive range of cup profiles, particularly in the way they reflect the cup tendencies of various botanical varieties of Arabica, from deep, meaty Pacamaras to intense, high-toned, perfumy Geshas. […]

By August 29, 2013 Read Article