Top-Rated Coffees (94+ points)
We found 891 coffees and espressos that earned an outstanding score of 94 points or higher. The reviews below appear in reverse chronological order by review date. Older reviews may no longer accurately reflect current versions of the same coffee.
High-toned, complex aroma: sweet citrus, cherry, apple. In the cup gently acidy, while the fruit maintains its complex, elegant trajectory: Meyer lemon, grapefruit, tart berry. The initial, almost shocking rush of sweetness is balanced by a crisply bitter finish.
Extraordinary, luxurious coffee, lushly sweet yet vibrantly acidy, with ripe, opulent fruit tones and delicately intense floral high notes. Utterly free of bitterness or astringency. Perfectly roasted, and as extravagantly complex as the very finest East Africa coffees. Nominator David Lubertozzi of Berkeley raves about its "amazing body and milk-chocolateyness," and confesses he enjoys it even better cold than hot -- always a sign of an exceptional coffee.
A light, bright breath of acidity shimmers inside an amazing bouquet of sweet jasmine and darker, woodier fragrances. The cup soars in a delicious, reeling dizziness of flowers, then immediately relaxes into spicy shadows. Somehow, all of the range and complexity remains precariously, elegantly in balance.
About half the cups of this low-toned but forceful blend hint at the taste defect called bagginess, a flat, ropey taste green coffee acquires when it has not been fully cured before shipping or stored properly. The cups free of defect display a subdued intensity powered by a spicy, edge-of-astringent pungency.
Some cups of the sample are marred by a slight but distracting hardness, probably a fault in either drying or storage of the green coffee. The untainted cups are gentle, chocolaty and sweet, with a touch, perhaps, of flowers.
Comments on this coffee focused almost exclusively on the issue of roast: This particular sample was roasted considerably darker than the other samples in the cupping. This dark style, atypical for cupping purposes, was deliberate: The very experienced Coffee Review roaster concluded that this coffee came across best at a darker roast. However, six of eight panelists complained that the roast was too dark to permit fair evaluation. For this reason we are not publishing a rating for this coffee. The sample certainly was clean and free of defect. Whether it manifested enough power to stand up to a darker roast is another question.
To say this coffee has an atypical profile for a Hawaii coffee is an understatement. Comparing it to the other coffees in the cupping is worse than comparing apples and oranges - more like comparing apples and cocker spaniels. The Kaanapali dry-process Moka is, as one panelist called it, a "Yemen wannabe." The trees that produced it are Yemen varietals, and the coffee has been processed in the simple, put-it-out-in-the-sun-to-dry approach used in Yemen and parts of Ethiopia. Which means that, like a Yemen or dry-processed Ethiopia, it is fruity, winy, complex, with a disturbingly lush, overripe aftertaste that lovers of these coffees call gamy or wild and people who don't like Yemen or dry-processed Ethiopia coffees call fermented.Five panelists labeled this coffee fermented and dismissed it with very low scores; three recognized the Yemen/Ethiopia characteristics and treated it like a middle-of-the-road dry-processed Yemen/Ethiopia coffee, giving it scores in the high seventies. Four didn't call it anything but gave it low scores.If this coffee had been presented to the panel in the context of similar dry-processed coffees from Yemen or Ethiopia I don't think it would have provoked quite the same level of criticism. For this reason we're not publishing its scores. However, it did not fare well in the context of this particular cupping.