Americas

El Salvador Coffees 2019: Pacamaras, Bourbons and Change

El Salvador Coffees 2019: Pacamaras, Bourbons and Change

When we focus a report on a single origin, in this case El Salvador, we try to time the report so that we are testing mainly freshly arrived coffees, coffees that represent the best of the year’s new crop. This year, however, we were a bit too early with our report timing. Many of the […]

Hawai’i: A New Wave of Coffee Innovation

Hawai’i: A New Wave of Coffee Innovation

The Hawaiian Islands are known the world over for beautiful beaches, diverse microclimates, and both active and dormant volcanoes — pretty much paradise, as the cliché goes. Hawaiian culture is both uniquely American and, in many ways, happily incongruous with mainstream American culture. One island in particular, Hawai’i Island (often called the Big Island), produces […]

Revisiting the Andes: Coffees From Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia

Revisiting the Andes: Coffees From Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia

The three coffee-growing countries that range along the Andes south of Colombia — Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia — have rich and storied coffee histories. When Coffee Review last dove in to this region, with reports in 2010 and 2013, we found many impressively solid, softly balanced coffees in the Latin-American tradition — all produced from […]

Coffees from Brazil: Chocolate, Simplicity and Some Surprises

Coffees from Brazil: Chocolate, Simplicity and Some Surprises

For more than 150 years, Brazil has produced more coffee than any other country in the world. Coffee prices worldwide fall and rise on the slightest whisper of good news or bad news about Brazil’s next coffee crop. Brazil also is among the world’s most technologically advanced coffee producers. Nevertheless, for buyers of high-end single-origin […]

Costa Rica 2016: Innovation and Success in a Changing Market

Costa Rica 2016: Innovation and Success in a Changing Market

It has been more than a decade since Coffee Review explored Costa Rica coffees in depth, though we cup many individual samples each year from this small, coffee-celebrated Central American country. In the last year alone, we reviewed 26 Costa Rica coffees at ratings of 91 to 96, including one, Temple Coffee’s Costa Rica Alberto […]

By October 10, 2016 |Reviews Tasting Report
Brazil Naturals: Tradition Meets Trend

Brazil Naturals: Tradition Meets Trend

Although Coffee Review has published a number of articles over the years focusing on coffees from Brazil, we have never specifically focused on the coffee type generally called “Brazil naturals”: Brazil coffees of the Arabica species that have been dried inside the fruit rather than after the fruit has been removed (as is the case with conventional […]

Traditional Coffees of Central America: Quest for the Classic

Traditional Coffees of Central America: Quest for the Classic

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 […]

Honey and Natural Process Coffees, Central America 2014

Honey and Natural Process Coffees, Central America 2014

Nine years ago I organized a panel for the Specialty Coffee Association of America called “Using Alternative Processing Methods to Create Product Differentiation: Perspectives and Opportunities.” Presented in Spanish and English, it attracted around five hundred coffee producers and roasters. The overall premise of the panel was simple: coffee is no longer a commodity beverage […]

By September 1, 2014 |Reviews Tasting Report
Hawaii 2014: The Classics Rule

Hawaii 2014: The Classics Rule

When writing about Hawaii coffees – more specifically, Kona coffees – I invariably feel conflicting impulses about whom to take on. Should I attack the many cynical Kona-bashers among the mainland high-end coffee-roasting community who sneer that Hawaii coffees (Kona in particular) are at best ordinary and always overpriced? On the other hand, should I […]

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 Focus on the Classic: Coffees of Honduras

A Focus on the Classic: Coffees of Honduras

With this review of coffees from Honduras the excitement may reside more in the story than in the cup itself. The story is how this Central American nation, long considered mainly a source of low-to-decent quality, commercial-grade coffees, has stepped up over the past five years or so and is producing significantly better coffees and […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Along the Andes: Coffees of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru

Along the Andes: Coffees of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru

The short version is simple: Three coffee origins with massive growing elevations and substantial plantings of traditional varieties of Arabica but with little to no presence in the specialty coffee world suddenly provide us with fifty-three largely impressive, often distinctive coffees. For years Bolivia, despite ideal, very high-altitude terroirs and plantings of the old and […]

Island Coffees: Hawaii and the Caribbean

Island Coffees: Hawaii and the Caribbean

This month’s reviews consider coffees from two famous island growing regions — Kona and the Blue Mountains of Jamaica — together with a handful of coffees from less famous island origins: Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, plus a scattering of non-Kona Hawaii coffees. The conclusions, rather sadly, are predictable for coffee insiders but perhaps […]

Half Way to Napa? Panamas 2009

Half Way to Napa? Panamas 2009

The compact coffee growing region of western Panama, rising on the slopes of the 11,300-foot Volcan Baru, is in many respects ideally configured to develop into one of the world’s coffee versions of Napa Valley. The region is compact, ideal for coffee growing, and almost all of the production is performed by classic medium-sized, family-owned […]

By September 5, 2009 |Reviews Tasting Report
Unassuming Beauty: Coffees of El Salvador and Honduras

Unassuming Beauty: Coffees of El Salvador and Honduras

Leaders of El Salvador’s growing specialty coffee sector are quick to point out what they feel are the particular strengths of their origin. First, large plantings of coffee varieties particularly respected for their flavor and character, and second, generally impeccable preparation of those varieties. This month’s cupping of nearly thirty El Salvador coffees from twenty-two […]

By November 6, 2008 |Reviews Tasting Report