Top 30 Coffees of 2013
Coffee Review introduced 100-point reviews to the specialty coffee industry in 1997. Since then, we’ve cupped tens of thousands of coffee samples and published reviews of nearly 4,000 coffees and espressos. In 2013 we introduced our first effort to rank the most exciting coffees we have reviewed over the past year. Coffee Review’s Top 30 Coffees of 2013 appear below.
We selected and ranked these 30 outstanding coffees and espressos based on quality (represented by overall rating), value (reflected by most affordable price per pound), and a ranking of other factors that include distinctiveness of style, uniqueness of origin or tree variety, certification, and general rarity.
Immense and intricate in flavor and aroma, balanced in structure. Crisp, nut-toned chocolate; lush night-blooming flowers; ripe tangerine; pungent sandalwood in aroma and cup. Sweetly tart acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. Quietly but profoundly flavor-saturated finish.
Extraordinarily lush, nectar-like fruit; cherry, black currant, nectarine; balanced by a crisp, roasted cocoa nib and roasted malt notes. Balanced, lively acidity; full, plush mouthfeel. Flavor simplifies but remains resonantly present in a long, rich finish.
Intoxicating, juicy, complete. Dark honey; dark rum; dark chocolate; complex, layered fruit, particularly pineapple and melon; narcissus-like flowers. Intense but juicy acidity; syrupy mouthfeel. Sweetly rich finish turns slightly drying but still flavor-saturated in the long.
Richly and tartly sweet, exotic, complex. Orange, honey and butter in aroma and cup, supported by a crisp backgrounded earth note. Round, gently tart acidity; syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor carries virtually intact into a long, ringing finish.
Powerfully dry yet opulently sweet; deeply complex. Blackberry, black currant, honey, mint, sage, dark chocolate in aroma and cup. Bright but roundly balanced acidity; silky, lively mouthfeel. Flavor rings on far into a deep, sweet finish.
Price: $20.00/12 ounces
Achieves a fine balance of chocolate-toned coffee notes with deep, resonant wine-associated notes – grapy fruit, oak – that presumably reflect the influence of the wine-barrel conditioning of the green coffee. The sensory depth and complexity achieved by this interaction takes this coffee far beyond novelty to something quite original and authentic. Balanced, rich acidity; syrupy mouthfeel. The complex flavor if anything deepens in a finish that balances sweetness with a pleasantly drying hint.
Deeply but vivaciously expressed complexity. Raspberry-like fruit, roasted cacao nib, honey, narcissus-like flowers, a hint of pungent sandalwood in aroma and cup. Round, juicy acidity; syrupy yet lively mouthfeel. Long, rich, flavor-saturated finish.
Price: $59.75/8 ounces
Erupts with exhilaratingly intense but delicate flowers and tropical fruit notes: pineapple in particular, mango, papaya. A crisp hint of roasted cacao nib grounds the profile. Gently balanced acidity; soft, plush mouthfeel. The finish is flavor-saturated and almost disconcertingly juicy.
Delicate but lush; piercingly sweet. Honey, jasmine-like flowers, tangelo-like citrus, hints of chocolate and fresh-cut fir in aroma and cup. Lyric, flower-saturated acidity; full but lively mouthfeel. The tangelo note in particular resonates inside immense sweetness in the finish.
Succulent, richly intricate. Wild strawberry, dried blueberry, rich mousse-like chocolate, fresh ginseng, lush flowers in aroma and cup. Complete, exhilarating acidity; full, syrupy mouthfeel. Flavor-saturated finish, crisply drying with a persistent ginseng note.
Intricately sweet, delicately complex. Ripe strawberry, orange, candied nut, vanilla-toned flowers in aroma and cup. Gently crisp acidity; light but smoothly silky mouthfeel. Very sweet, lightly flavor-saturated finish.
Exhilaratingly intense and intricate floral notes, candied citrus, crisp roasted cacao nib, a hint of moist pipe tobacco in aroma and cup. Balanced, gently bright acidity; silky, buoyant mouthfeel. Very sweet, long, juicy finish.
Intense, rich, pungent. Blood orange, black currant, fresh-cut fir, plum blossom in aroma and in cup, where a slight savory, truffle-like edge deepens and complicates flavor. Powerful but opulently balanced acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Resonant, gently drying, flavor-saturated finish.
Savory sweet, deep, carnal. Lush night-blooming flowers, baked mint, molasses, pecan, an enlivening hint of green grape in aroma and cup. Soft, vibrantly rounded acidity; delicate but plush mouthfeel. Flavor settles into a minty chocolate in a long, deep finish.
Price: $15.75/12 ounces
Explosively bright and juicy. Honey, tangerine, black currant, hints of flowers and spice, mace perhaps, in aroma and cup. Opulently sweet, grandly exhilarating acidity; lightly but distinctly syrupy mouthfeel. Gently dry, flavor-saturated finish.
Dramatic, intense, distinctive. Aroma and flavor are dominated by the unique and unmistakable Kenya note, a pungently cedary, lemony blackberry, very sweet yet dry in the mouthfeel, a note that is often tagged with the simplifying term black currant. This sample displayed deepening complications of musk and malt as well. Crisp yet juicy acidity; silky mouthfeel. Briefly bittersweet in the short finish, then opens into a spectacular long finish, ringing with sweetness and complex layers of flavor.
Crisply sweet, deep. Dark chocolate, hazelnut, cherry, anise, night-blooming flowers in aroma and small cup. Full, velvety mouthfeel; flavor simplifies but carries into a balanced finish. Delicately complex and sweet in three parts milk: chocolate, hints of cherry, nut and flowers.
Spectacular and juicy. The aroma starts quietly: orange, flowers, honey, a crisp hint of juniper. Round, sweet, brilliantly lively acidity; lightly syrupy mouthfeel. In the cup lavish honey, orange, lychee, rose-like flowers, and a smoothing hint of chocolate. Rose and lychee in particular carry into a refreshing, resonant finish.
Elegant flower-bomb. Exhilarating, refreshing meadow flowers, roasted cacao nib, almond in aroma and cup. Delicate, balanced structure. Soft but lively acidity; smooth, plush mouthfeel. Gently but decisively flavor-saturated finish.
Extravagantly complex, crisply lush. Night-blooming flowers, vanilla, guava, roasted cocoa nib in aroma and cup. Brisk but juicy acidity; light, silky mouthfeel. Flavor, particularly the floral notes, lasts far into a deep, sweet finish.