Top 30 Coffees of 2016
Coffee Review‘s Top 30 Coffees of 2016 appear below.
We selected and ranked these 30 exciting coffees and espressos from the thousands we cupped throughout the year. The rankings are based on quality (represented by overall rating), value (reflected by most affordable price per pound), and other factors that include distinctiveness of style, uniqueness of origin or tree variety, certification, and general rarity.
Luscious, deeply sweet, sumptuous. Blackberry, lavender, marjoram, roasted cacao nib, grapefruit zest in aroma and cup. Rich, juicy acidity; smooth, syrupy mouthfeel. The long, flavor-saturated finish is zesty and sweet, offering a surprise appearance of tropical fruit notes (coconut) that resonate for a long while.
Evaluated as espresso. Delicate, exotic, profoundly floral. Star jasmine, tamarind, saffron, bittersweet orange blossom, dark chocolate in aroma and small cup. Sumptuous, levitating mouthfeel. Bittersweet, citrus-driven short finish; dark chocolate enveloped in jasmine in the resonant long, with waves of saffron notes best described as umami-floral. Maintains its nuance in three parts milk, where dark chocolate and saffron round and deepen.
Lush, sweetly savory, deeply floral. Black currant, hops, coriander, kola syrup, violet in aroma and cup. Juicy, round acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. The flavor-saturated finish consolidates around fruit and floral tones in the short, modulating to crisp, resonant notes of hops and kola in the long.
Delicate, intricate, refined. Lychee, pink peppercorn, candied ginseng, jasmine, honey in aroma and cup. Lyrical, complex, balanced acidity; juicy, silky mouthfeel. The finish, saturated with sweet and spicy tones (lychee, pink peppercorn), is resonant in the short and elegant in the long, where candied ginseng reappears and an intriguing coconut note surfaces.
Big, intricate; vast but coherent. Black currant, vanilla, sandalwood, violet-like flowers, hints of chocolate and coconut, more in aroma and cup. Forceful but juicy sweet acidity; delicately syrupy mouthfeel. Sandalwood and coconut, in particular, resonate in a richly drying finish.
Deeply pungent, richly sweet-savory. Pink grapefruit zest, cashew, red currant, butterscotch, fine musk in aroma and cup. Intense, crisp but juicy acidity; delicate, silky-smooth mouthfeel. The finish consolidates around floral-toned musk notes in the short while an attractive new element, coconut, emerges in the long.
Price: $13.99/16 ounces
Deeply sweet, layered complexity. Dried papaya, gardenia, baker’s chocolate, fine musk, almond in aroma and cup. Juicy, balanced acidity; creamy, nectar-like mouthfeel. The seemingly infinitely long cocoa-toned finish is resonant and deep, with lingering hints of dried papaya, gardenia and almond.
Intense, exotic, exhilarating. Moist, fresh-fallen leaves, ripe watermelon, blackberry, nut-toned chocolate, jasmine-like flowers, considerably more in aroma and cup. Pungent, juicy acidity; plushly soft mouthfeel. Deep, balanced, thoroughly flavor-saturated finish.
Price: $18.00/12 ounces
Deep, savory, yet profoundly sweet and floral. Magnolia, lavender, mulberry, oak in aroma and cup. Rich, roundly ringing acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor deeply saturates a crisply dry finish: flowers, oak, mulberry.
Delicately lush, deeply sweet. Blueberry, bergamot, wisteria, chocolate fudge, a hint of whisky in aroma and cup. Bright, lively acidity; syrupy but buoyant mouthfeel. The resonant, flavor-saturated finish carries through on all the promises of the cup, including the suggestion of highlands Scotch whisky, a discreet touch of elegant, fruit-toned sweet ferment.
Sweetly tart, spicy, mesmerizing. Red currant, roasted cacao nib, lantana-like flowers, thyme, pink peppercorn in aroma and cup. Balanced, juicy, sweet-tart acidity; plush mouthfeel. The resonant cocoa-toned finish begins with herb-toned red currant and ends with pink peppercorn.
Evaluated as espresso. Lush yet deeply savory; original. Honey, dark chocolate, roasted pine nut, horned melon, wisteria in aroma and small-cup. Full, syrupy mouthfeel. Fruit and flowers carry into a resonant short finish that turns richly drying in the long. Fills out milk with a complexly savory-sweet chocolate and peach- and melon-toned fruit.
Delicately sweet and intricately composed. Black currant, dried jasmine, frankincense, cocoa butter, candied ginseng in aroma and cup. Buoyant, juicy acidity; luxuriously silky mouthfeel. Black currant and cocoa butter in the rich, elegant short finish, candied ginseng in the sweet, resonant long.
Seductively pungent, richly sweet, tropical. Cognac, almond butter, frankincense, lychee, sandalwood in aroma and cup. Bright, juicy acidity; full, satiny mouthfeel. The crisp finish is richly nut-toned in the short, while tropical fruit notes (lychee) return in the long, along with a pleasing new coconut (the fruit flesh) note.
Price: $50.00/8 ounces
Sweet, crisp, deeply floral. Wisteria, dried mango, blood orange, almond butter, clove in aroma and cup. Bright, juicy-tart acidity; silky-smooth mouthfeel. The crisp, clean, deeply flavor-saturated finish is sustained and resonant.
Evaluated as espresso. Extravagant, intricate, yet balanced. Strawberry guava, tangerine zest, lilac-like flowers, sandalwood, roasted cacao nib in aroma and small cup. Velvety and honeyish in mouthfeel. Deeply fruit-toned and sweet in the finish. Superb in three-parts milk: juicy, fruit-toned, chocolaty.
Richly sweet-savory, intricate. Sweet chocolate, juniper, red currant, a violet-like floral top note in aroma and cup. Resonant, low-toned acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. The juniper note is crisply bright and almost gin-like in the finish, though cushioned by sweet chocolate and a continued shimmer of violet.
Evaluated as espresso. Lively, complex, deeply expressive. Red currant, wisteria, hazelnut butter, lemon zest, chocolate fudge in aroma and small cup. Full, syrupy-smooth mouthfeel; crisp cocoa- and citrus-toned finish. Chocolate fudge leads in three parts milk, complicated by continued floral resonance.
Crisply and deeply sweet. Mango, blood orange, fermented tobacco, baker’s chocolate, sweet lilac in aroma and cup. Round, balanced acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. The rich, resonant finish is saturated by tobacco and mango notes.
Sweetly bright, balanced, complete. Pomegranate juice, tangerine zest, wisteria, hazelnut butter, roasted cacao nib in aroma and cup. Gentle, buoyant acidity; velvety mouthfeel. Clean, floral finish with notes of wisteria and tangerine zest that go long.
Deeply sweet, round, balanced. Blueberry, hazelnut, pipe tobacco, orange zest, graham cracker in aroma and cup. Crisp, richly tart acidity; satiny-smooth mouthfeel. The rich-toned finish leads with ripe blueberry notes in the short; a citrus-toned hazelnut resurfaces in the long.
Price: $22.50/12 ounces
Sweet-toned, delicately rich. Maple syrup, ripe persimmon, orange zest, roasted cacao nib, gardenia-like flowers in aroma and cup. Juicy, balanced acidity; plush, syrupy mouthfeel. The rich-toned finish is saturated with crisp cacao nib and deep orange zest notes.
Complex, deeply pungent, sweetly savory. Lavender, pink peppercorn, gooseberry, lemongrass, baker’s chocolate in aroma and cup. Juicy, sweet-tart acidity; lightly creamy mouthfeel. Cocoa and lavender tones lead in a resonant, flavor-saturated finish.
Deeply sweet, richly savory. Butterscotch, lavender, tamarind, roasted cacao nib, mango in aroma and cup. Big, juicy acidity; viscous, velvety mouthfeel. In addition to resonant butterscotch and lavender tones in the short finish, the long introduces an appealing coconut note.
Price: NT $1300/16 ounces
Evaluated as espresso. Exuberant, vibrantly composed. Buttery chocolate, wisteria, blood orange zest, almond, pineapple guava in aroma and small cup. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel. The rich finish is flower-forward and chocolaty, precise in its clarity. It continues to impress in three parts milk, which further sweetens the chocolate notes and rounds the bright fruit tones.
Big, rich, deeply sweet. Raspberry, tamarind, lilac, butterscotch, a hint of rye whisky in aroma and cup. Sweetly brisk acidity; plump, syrupy mouthfeel. The rich, long, flavor-saturated finish resonates with tamarind, lilac and raspberry notes.
Deeply rich, sweetly tart. Pink grapefruit zest, pipe tobacco, hazelnut, pineapple, lantana in aroma and cup. Crisp, very juicy acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. The flavor-saturated finish leads with rich notes of floral-toned pipe tobacco in the short, hazelnut and pineapple in the long.
Delicate but deep, fruit-forward. Raspberry, violet, blood orange zest, liquorice, roasted cacao nib in aroma and cup. Juicy, vibrant acidity; lean but silky mouthfeel. The flavor-saturated finish consolidates to blood orange zest and roasted cacao nib.
Complex, sweetly rich. Pungent grapefruit, sweet violet, almond brittle, pipe tobacco, fragrant sandalwood in aroma and cup. Juicy acidity; lightly syrupy, buoyant mouthfeel. The crisply rich, long finish retains a pretty combination of violet and tobacco tones.
Elegantly floral, strikingly complex. Roasted cacao nib, jasmine, caramel, dried raspberry and cinnamon in aroma and cup. Vibrantly rich, balanced acidity; delicate, velvety mouthfeel. Flavor notes carry intact through the strikingly long, satisfying finish.