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.

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The (Not Quite Arrived) New World of K-Cups

The (Not Quite Arrived) New World of K-Cups

Yesterday, according to the latest data from the National Coffee Association, thirteen percent of the U.S. population drank coffee made in a single-cup brewer. A significant portion of that thirteen percent undoubtedly used a Keurig brewer and its matching K-Cups to produce their single brewed cup. Keurig and K-Cups were the first single-cup drip-style system […]

The Andes Cup: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador

The Andes Cup: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador

For a couple of hours during the early preparation for this article I was haunted by the challenge to a coffee reviewer occasioned when it looks like perhaps a whole category of coffees produced by wonderful, hard-working indigenous farmers may turn out not to taste very good, meaning the reviewer might then have to face […]

Three Trends at the Cusp of the New Year

Three Trends at the Cusp of the New Year

As the New Year settles in I thought it might be worthwhile revisiting some interesting coffees recently reviewed outside the framework of our monthly review articles. All but one were reviewed in either December 2012 or January 2013, and all reflect in one way or another ongoing trends at the top end of the specialty […]

By February 5, 2013 |Reviews Tasting Report
Readers’ Nominations: Trends and Successes

Readers’ Nominations: Trends and Successes

Over the years we have used our annual readers’ nominations story to attempt to find and celebrate regional roasting companies whose coffees we have never reviewed before. This year we ended reviewing six coffees from companies that have never appeared in Coffee Review, and five from companies that have. Overall, we tested forty-three coffees from […]

Holiday Coffees: Solid to Spectacular

Holiday Coffees: Solid to Spectacular

This month’s collection of thirteen holiday coffees splits neatly into two categories: special proprietary holiday blends – suavely comfortable and balanced in profile – and an assortment of distinctive single-origin coffees, very high-rated and quite spectacular in sensory profile (and in some cases rather spectacular in price as well). In all cases these are seasonal […]

By December 5, 2012 |Reviews Tasting Report
Big Box Value Coffees

Big Box Value Coffees

The least expensive coffees by far to be had in the U.S. are offered by the two leading big-box retail chains, Walmart and Costco. For this month’s article we tested twenty-one samples purchased from our local Walmart and Costco outlets. The coffees we found at Costco were offered in largish bulk packaging ranging from two […]

By November 9, 2012 |Reviews Tasting Report
Cause Coffees

Cause Coffees

The specialty coffee movement has always attracted idealists of various kinds, from those obsessed with sensory perfection – the perfect espresso shot, the perfect cup – to those who simply are looking for stuff to sell in a way that will help the world. The two idealisms are usually entwined, of course, at least in […]

Honey and Pulped Natural Coffees

Honey and Pulped Natural Coffees

“Honey” is a relatively new term describing coffee that has been dried with all or some of the sticky fruit pulp or “honey” (miel in Spanish) still adhering to the bean. Those familiar with coffee processing methods will, of course, recognize this practice as a kind of compromise between two more familiar processing methods: the […]

By September 3, 2012 |Reviews Tasting Report
Not Your Same Old Panama Coffees

Not Your Same Old Panama Coffees

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 […]

Coffees of Taiwan

Coffees of Taiwan

Citizens of the economically dynamic little island nation of Taiwan have been seriously discovering coffee over the last decade or so, as have people in many other Asian countries. This month we decided to review some of the specialty coffee production of Taiwan to share just a little of the intense explorations of fine coffee […]

Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania

Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania

Rwanda and Burundi, two small, mountainous, landlocked countries in Central Africa, have emerged over the last few years as significant producers of high-end specialty coffees. Both started their climb to prominence already in possession of the most fundamental ingredients for success: High growing elevations and extensive plantings of distinctive-tasting heirloom Bourbon-related varieties of Arabica. Small […]

Coffees of Brazil

Coffees of Brazil

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this month’s sampling of Brazil coffees may have been the absence of surprises. On the positive side, we suffered through almost none of the dismal “did anyone actually taste this coffee before they sold it?” moments that sometimes turn our cuppings into wakes rather than celebrations. This month’s Brazils […]

Coffees of Colombia 2012

Coffees of Colombia 2012

Both the dark side and the bright side of the trend toward offering select, precisely identified lots of green coffee (aka “microlots”) showed up in this month’s sampling of thirty-four coffees from Colombia. On the bright side, we cupped several precisely identified, small-lot coffees that expressed pure and subtle variations on the classic Colombia high-grown […]

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
Low-Acid Coffees

Low-Acid Coffees

True, acidity is a good thing in coffee. It provides the sweetly tart spark essential to lifting the sensory experience of a fine Arabica coffee from grainy, dull inertness to lively complexity. It signals the presence of certain organic acids with powerful anti-oxidant properties that have helped turn perception of coffee from a health threat […]

Single-Variety Coffees: Aficionado Fun

Single-Variety Coffees: Aficionado Fun

This month’s reviews give consumers an opportunity to sample fourteen retail-roasted coffees that express a range of the cup character associated with specific botanical varieties of Coffea Arabica. The Arabica species, of course, produces virtually all of the world’s finest coffees. But within that species hundreds of distinct commercial varieties have developed. Coffea arabica is […]

By December 5, 2011 |Reviews Tasting Report
Don’t Give Up Your Grinder: Pre-Ground Supermarket Coffees

Don’t Give Up Your Grinder: Pre-Ground Supermarket Coffees

Many years ago I was introduced at a party as “the guy responsible for messing up your kitchen counter every morning” because I had asserted in my first coffee book that the single most important thing one could do to improve one’s coffee was to grind it fresh just before brewing it. In the forty […]

By November 10, 2011 |Reviews Tasting Report
From the Transparently Pure to the Creatively Edgy: Twelve Certified Organic Coffees

From the Transparently Pure to the Creatively Edgy: Twelve Certified Organic Coffees

Organic is the oldest and best established of the various certifications – Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, etc. – represented by the little seals that cluster on coffee packaging, all of them intent on reassuring the buyer that something positive has happened with the coffee inside the bag, even though it may not always be clear […]

Still Tops: Coffees of Kenya

Still Tops: Coffees of Kenya

Generally the central highlands of Kenya produce some of the most complex and subtly distinctive coffees in the world. There are a few other coffee origins/types that may be more distinctive, meaning more different from the sensory norm for coffee: Ethiopia Yirgacheffes, the very finest traditional Sumatras, the small but growing volume of coffee produced […]

By September 5, 2011 |Reviews Tasting Report
Nicaragua: Continuity and Innovation

Nicaragua: Continuity and Innovation

Nicaragua, very much in the news when we last reviewed its coffees in 2004, seems to have slid into the background of coffee consciousness again. In 2004 general coffee prices had just recovered from devastating lows and Nicaragua was in many ways the poster origin representing both the suffering in the coffee sector caused by […]