Coffee lovers, brace yourselves because we’re about to take you on a journey into the world of some of the best coffee beans on the planet.
From the lush highlands of Ethiopia to the misty mountains of Colombia, coffee beans grown in different regions can have vastly distinct flavor profiles. And with the rise of specialty coffee, more small-batch, high-quality beans are now readily available to coffee enthusiasts everywhere.
In this article, we will take a sip through 10 of the top-rated coffee beans, highlighting the unique characteristics that make them stand out from the rest. We will explore the diverse flavor notes, from the fruity and floral to the bold and rich, that is found in the beans from different growing regions.
We will also discover the best brewing methods to bring out the full potential of these amazing beans. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you to your next cup of coffee heaven!
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Atlas Coffee Club
- Best Runner-Up: Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans
- Best Budget: Atlas Coffee Club
- Best Budget Runner-Up: Bean Box Coffee
- Best Medium Roast: Fabula Medium Roast Organic Coffee
- Best Light & Floral: Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
- Best Dark Roast: Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee
- Best for Cold Brew: Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans
- Best for Espresso: Kenya AA Coffee
- Best for Espresso Runner-Up: Mocha Java Coffee Beans
- Best Decaf: Real Good Whole Bean Coffee
- Best Kona: Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Peaberry Coffee
OUR TOP CHOICE
Atlas Coffee Club
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Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans
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Bean Box Coffee
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Fabula Medium Roast Organic Coffee
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Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Peaberry Coffee
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Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee
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Mocha Java Coffee Beans
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Real Good Whole Bean Coffee
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Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
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Kenya AA Coffee
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10 Best Coffee Beans Brand Reviews
Finding the right coffee beans is no easy task. There are many brands out there and each one has its own unique taste and flavor. Choosing a brand can, therefore, be a chore.
In this buying guide, we will be reviewing the top 10 brands of coffee beans and give you our opinion on how to choose them.
Let’s get into the review!
1. Atlas Coffee Club
First on our list of the top-rated coffee beans is Atlas Coffee Club. Variety is the spice of life and Atlas Coffee Club stands true to that fact. Each month, the brand delivers brews from popular coffee-growing regions of the world, such as Columbia, Congo, Mexico, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Peru, and more. The packaging, too, reflects brand ethos. It’s designed to depict the landscape, culture, and local traditions of the region.
The icing on the cake? Atlas Coffee Club offers an affordable subscription service – it’s cheaper than Starbucks!
You can get your caffeine fix delivered in a month, fortnight, or every two weeks. The choice is yours. Moreover, you get to decide the roast profile (light, medium, or dark), and bean type (whole bean or ground).
Atlas Coffee Club is also a brilliant gifting option for anyone who loves coffee. It’s best suited for those who desire quality and taste, but also don’t want to spend a hefty amount. You pay for the flavor and adventure that Atlas Coffee Club takes you on with every package!
- High-quality, consistent, and flavorful coffee
- Provides a unique experience by sourcing coffee from various regions around the globe
- Offers an exceptional subscription option
- One of the most affordable, flavored coffee brands
- The base subscription offers only 6oz of beans a month
- Not all coffees are fair trade and certified organic
2. Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans
- Shade-grown, USDA-certified, and mycotoxin-free coffee
- Available in a variety of flavors and in decaf
- Low-acid, good for sensitive stomach
- Rich, aromatic coffee with hints of brown sugar
Sourced from the gorgeous mountains of Nicaragua, Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee Beans are 100% organic, ethically grown, and deliciously smooth. If you are trying to cut down creamer from your diet, Lifeboost can be an incredible addition to your brew stock.
And even though it’s a low-acid coffee, Lifeboost does not compromise the depth of flavor at all. In fact, it’s one of the world’s best-tasting brews you will ever try. Moreover, the beans are grown in a sustainable environment, and farmers are paid a fair price. So, if you’ve been searching for the best coffee beans that are not only eco-friendly but also beneficial for your health, Lifeboost is definitely worth a try.
How is it good for your health?
Well, there is zero presence of mold owing to a hybrid of dry and wet processing methods. Apart from that, Lifeboost goes through an extensive process to ensure that their beans are free of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
This coffee is best suited for making cold brew coffee.
- The low-acid profile does not comprise its flavor
- Rich in antioxidants
- Each coffee bean is handpicked to ensure purity
- More expensive than other brands
3. Bean Box Coffee
- Impressive 50+ roasters available
- Handpicked, specialty-grade coffee
- Fresh, gourmet coffee with an assortment of flavors and roast profiles
Bean Box Coffee sources the top artisan coffees from across the globe and delivers them fresh to your doorstep. You can choose from small sample sizes delivered weekly or biweekly or a large bag sent monthly.
If you wish to enhance your knowledge and widen your coffee-tasting experience, choose the subscription service offered by Bean Box Coffee. The package you receive also includes free gifts (like chocolates) and fun facts about that particular coffee.
Bean Box Coffee origins include Africa, Indonesia, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Brazil, and more. Subscribers vouch for both single-origin coffees and blends sent by Bean Box Coffee. Apart from the classic roasts, you can also choose from decaf and espresso roast profiles.
Moreover, Bean Box Coffee is an excellent option if you are on a budget. And if you are not ready to pay for a subscription yet, you can always place a one-time order and try it out! It might as well become your daily cup of coffee.
- Offers a personalized coffee experience
- Shipping is always free
- Relatively affordable coffee subscription
- Delivery might take some time
- Not all coffees are fair trade and USDA certified
- No personalized tasting notes
4. Fabula Medium Roast Organic Coffee
- USDA, direct trade certified
- Low-acid coffee
- Mold and chemical free
- Fairtrade accredited
- Shade-grown coffee
Coffee is known to be acidic in nature. In some people, it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort – especially when consumed on an empty stomach. The acidic nature contributes to stomach pain, acid reflux, and heartburn.
For those with a sensitive stomach, Fabula Medium Roast Organic Coffee is a boon. This low-acid, organic, and specialty-grade coffee is refreshing and easy on your stomach.
Fabula coffee is sourced from a variety of coffee-growing regions, such as Jinotega, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, and Peru. These regions are known for producing the most delicious beans in the world.
What’s more, the final brew tastes incredibly smooth, rich, and sweet. Since they are speciality-grade, organic coffee beans, they are tested for mold and mycotoxins. Moreover, Fabula beans are medium-roasted to perfection.
It is the perfect blend of smoothness, freshness, and aroma. If you are looking for coffee beans that are a brilliant combination of low acidity and superior quality, we recommend Fabula Medium Organic Coffee.
- Low-acid profile is good for people who suffer from acid reflux
- High-quality beans are grown at high altitudes
- Smooth, sweet flavor eliminates the need for creamer and sugar.
- It may not be suitable for those who like their coffee bitter.
- No free shipping
5. Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Coffee
- Medium-light or medium-dark roasts
- Sweet, caramel, cinnamon-tasting notes
- Single-origin, premium-quality coffee
Big Island Coffee Roasters Kona Coffee is one of the most beloved brews in the world. The coffee is grown in rich volcanic soil and is handpicked, processed, and roasted to perfection. Apart from that, this Hawaiian Kona coffee has made it to several prestigious lists including the “2018 Top 12 Roasters in the US”.
Kona Coffee holds high regard in the brewing community owing to its amazing flavor profile. The medium-light roast, for instance, has cedar, cacao, plum, caramel, and cinnamon-tasting notes. It is also incredibly rich and sweet.
On the other hand, the medium-dark roast has fresh-cut cedar, black cherry, cinnamon, and cacao nibs tasting notes. You can expect a lingering, pleasant aftertaste as well. The aroma is reminiscent of fruit, cocoa, butter, and caramel. Moreover, the unique, addictive combination of aromas, aftertaste, and flavor of this Hawaiian coffee is definitely your money’s worth.
- Works well with French press and drip machines
- Intensely aromatic with bright acidity
- Cultivated in fertile, nutrient-rich volcanic soil
- A bit pricey but less expensive than other coffee brands
6. Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee
- USDA and fair trade certified
- Smooth, delicious dark roast
- Organic and highly caffeinated
- World’s strongest coffee with infused dark chocolate
Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee is the strongest brew you will ever taste. It’s not for everyone, but for coffee lovers who prefer high caffeine content. Death Wish uses robusta beans from Peru and India which gives it the signature bold taste.
This coffee company is also Earth-conscious and USDA-approved. Despite the excessive caffeine level, it does not taste bitter but is strong. It’s also surprisingly smooth and flavorsome.
If you feel the caffeine in Death Wish Coffee is too much for you, don’t use it on a regular basis. Instead, you can consume it when you need to stay awake and super alert. Since the maximum caffeine limit adults can safely consume daily is 400 mg, one 8oz cup of Death Wish Coffee should keep you going.
However, if your body doesn’t handle high levels of caffeine very well, it’s best to opt out of it. Look out for signs of caffeine hypersensitivity like muscle tremors, fast heartbeat, restlessness, and insomnia. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s better to choose a less caffeine-intensive coffee company. Apart from that, this coffee isn’t recommended for heart patients and pregnant women.
- Excellent choice for people who need the coffee buzz to achieve ultra productivity
- Strong flavor but not too bitter
- Sustainably sourced
- Comes with a high price tag
- Beans might be too oily (dark roast) for some grinders
7. Mocha Java Coffee Beans
- Handcrafted artisan blend coffee
- Bold-bodied with chocolate and fruit-tasting notes
- Medium roasted coffee
The Mocha Java Coffee Beans are a great addition to any coffee lover’s pantry. They have a rich and smooth taste that is perfect for those who like a little sweetness in their coffee. The Mocha Java Coffee is also the oldest coffee blend in existence.
It is a blend of two premium beans, Indonesian Java Arabica coffee and Arabian (Yemen) Mocha coffee. The bright smoothness of Indonesian Java wonderfully complements the lively intensity of Yemen Mocha.
The result is a well-balanced yet complex coffee blend with tasting notes of spice, cacao, toasted nuts, and blueberry. Typically, Mocha Java Coffee contains two parts Indonesian Java and one-part Arabian Coffee.
However, the ratio may vary with brands. This coffee is best suited for making espresso. Some people also add robusta beans for extra caffeine.
If you prefer blends over single origin, then Mocha Java Coffee is a must-try!
- Fairly light, good flavor
- Low-acid profile, great for sensitive systems
- Direct trade, USDA accredited
- Some people may find it weak in freshness and flavor
- Relatively pricey
8. Real Good Whole Bean Coffee
- Consistent, rich dark flavors
- Low caffeine content due to dark roast
- Flavor notes of lemon, cedar, and bell pepper
- Full-bodied, single-origin coffee
If you are a great admirer of Central and South American brews, you must try Real Good Whole Bean Coffee. This variant is dark roasted to perfection, which means it has the least amount of caffeine compared to light and medium roasts.
Before it’s delivered to your doorstep, Real Good Coffee is freshly roasted in Seattle – the coffee capital of the United States. Its wine-like smoothness stands out from the rest. Thanks to its low caffeine content, this coffee is best suited for decaf. Moreover, the brand employs sustainable farming practices and its packaging is 100% recyclable. Good for the taste and the environment!
If you are someone who feels overwhelmed with choices and all the variety, Real Good Whole Bean Coffee is a pretty straightforward option. As mentioned, it’s freshly roasted in Seattle, packaged in a minimalistic manner, and delivered to your door as soon as possible.
- Works well with all coffee brewers, including French press, drip machines, and AeroPress
- Sustainably grown coffee
- USDA organic
- Great quality, fairly priced
- Offers affordable subscription service
- Not suited for individuals who prefer a wide flavor palette
- Some people may find the beans too greasy
9. Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
- Unique flavor with notes of sweetness, acidity, spicy, and earthy
- Highest quality coffee is grown in high altitudes
- Voluminous body
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is loved by many for its lack of bitterness, bright acidity, and floral and sweet taste. It grows at a high altitude of 900-1700 meters above sea level. These arabica beans when brewed give inviting aromas and bursting flavors.
What’s so special about Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee that makes it stand out from other brands? For one, the ripening of beans takes twice as long as other beans. It is due to the fine mist that covers the produce all year long and also gives the mountain range its signature blue color.
During that period, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee beans acquire a unique taste that is unlike any other brand. No wonder, many coffee fanatics have labeled it ‘The King of Coffees’.
Each bean is meticulously handpicked by small farmers. They ensure that only the best quality beans make it to the wooden barrel they use for collecting them. This is why Blue Mountain Coffee is so special. The slow maturation and manual labor involved are also why it’s so expensive.
The quality is tightly regulated by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (JACRA), which ensures that you get a genuine product instead of knock-offs.
If you love a good cup of coffee, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee should definitely be on your bucket list. And if it has been on your list for a while, you will find that Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is indeed true to its claim.
- Medium-acid coffee with a nearly complete lack of bitterness
- Distinct aroma and complex tasting notes
- Expensive coffee brand
- No fair trade label, but is controlled by JACRA
- Not USDA compliant; discretionary use of fungicides and pesticides is allowed
10. Kenya AA Coffee
- Single-origin, fair trade coffee
- The finest arabica coffee is grown at 4,900 to 6,800 elevations
- Medium-acidic profile
Kenya AA is a coffee that has a very deep, slightly acidic, and rich taste. It is a medium roast that is grown in the highlands of Kenya. Coffee enthusiasts adore its intense floral taste, thanks to arabica.
One cup of coffee brewed from Kenya AA beans leaves a sweet and piquant aftertaste. Its flavor profile is unique, which is a combination of cranberry, raspberry, alyssum-like flowers, fresh-cut redwood, berries, and lemongrass.
This coffee is also known for its rich body and aroma. Apart from that, Kenya AA coffee is wet processed, which involves the removal of fruit prior to drying. It is this wet process that gives Kenya AA its voluptuous body.
Kenya produces several types of coffee. AA beans are of the highest grade, indicating top-tier quality. Coffee lovers like to pair Kenya AA with doughnuts or a sweet pastry. The fruity notes of the coffee complement the sweetness of doughnuts and pastries.
This light-medium roast works amazingly well with Moka and espresso.
- One of the most complex flavor profiles
- Boldy and heavy body
- Relatively economical brand
- Not USDA approved
Whole Bean vs. Ground Coffee
A common question that many people have is whether they should buy ground coffee or whole beans.
Ground coffee is a quick and easy way to make a cup of coffee, but it doesn’t have the same rich-tasting notes as whole beans. The latter are more expensive and require more work, but the robust flavor and freshness are worth it.
Moreover, whole beans have a greater shelf life compared to ground coffee. As soon as you open the bag, ground coffee starts to deteriorate in quality. On the other hand, whole beans typically stay fresh for five to eight weeks post-roasting.
However, if it’s pre-ground coffee, it might last for up to four weeks. Therefore, before you buy coffee beans, evaluate your preferences carefully.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Beans – Impactors Factors to Check
There are many different types of beans, and they all have different flavors and tastes. To find something that tastes good till the last drop, you need to consider a few parameters, including:
1. Roast Profile
The roast profile of coffee has a significant impact on flavor.
Roasting beans at a lower temperature for a longer period of time will produce a coffee with a less pronounced flavor. Heating the beans to a higher temperature for a shorter period of time will bring out more of the coffee’s acidity, producing a more pronounced flavor.
There are three kinds of roast profiles:
- Light roast
- Medium roast
- Dark roast
Light roasts have low viscosity (also known as ‘body’), lack of oil on the surface of coffee beans, and are light brown in color. They are heated at a lower temperature and for a shorter duration. Compared to other roast profiles, light-roasted coffee retains more caffeine and thus tastes stronger.
On the other hand, medium-roasted coffees have a thicker body than light roast. It has a medium amount of caffeine and loses some of its fruity flavors. Moreover, the medium roasted coffee appears brown in color.
The final roast profile, i.e., the dark roast has the most oil on the surface. Hence, it appears glossier and darker brown in color. It is also robust, full-bodied, and gives a smoky, bold taste.
Your choice of brew thus depends on what your taste buds prefer!
2. Growing Location
Coffee beans have a rich history, but have you ever wondered where they grow?
It turns out that beans grow in a variety of climates and environments. The two major coffee bean types are arabica and robusta. Arabica coffee is grown in the high-altitude areas of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Brazil.
The beans produced in these areas are known for their subtle fruit and floral notes with low acidity and a well-rounded finish. On the other hand, robusta beans are grown in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America. They are known for their strong and bitter taste.
Lifeboost Medium Roast Coffee and Death Wish Whole Bean Coffee are examples of arabica. Robusta coffee, on the other hand, is used in espresso blends as well as in instant coffee.
Almost 60% of the world’s brew comprises arabica beans. It is often preferred over robusta because it has a sweeter flavor and a lower acidity level. Robusta, on the other hand, is cheaper and can be more bitter. There are some health benefits to drinking robusta as it has more caffeine and antioxidants than other coffee bean types.
3. Single Origin or Blend
Single-origin coffee is sourced from a single estate, farm, or region. It has a more complex flavor and is usually grown in a more sustainable manner. Blend coffee, on the other hand, is a mixture of coffee from different regions. It’s usually cheaper, but the flavor is not as pronounced.
Single-origin coffee is all the rage these days and for good reason. Besides the rich flavor, it is also less acidic in nature. Therefore, it is easier to consume for people with sensitive stomachs.
This type of coffee is also more sustainable because it cuts down on the carbon footprint of coffee beans. However, some people prefer blend coffee, which is a mix of two or more different types of coffee beans. It can be a great way to experiment with different flavors and find the perfect way to start your day.
4. Roast Date
Coffee beans are labeled with a roast date. It is usually in the format of “roasted on” followed by the date. The date is important because it can tell you how fresh the coffee is.
For example, a coffee that is roasted on January 1st will be much fresher and have more flavor than a coffee roasted on December 15th. That means, the longer the beans sit out, the more flavor they lose.
Once opened, the coffee beans are exposed to contaminants, humidity, and other atmospheric substances. Since they are biodegradable, coffee beans are bound to react with those elements which affect their quality.
The shelf life of your coffee, however, depends on many other factors including how you store them and what type of beans you buy. Whole beans are considered to have more shelf life compared to ground coffee. Apart from that, it’s crucial to store them in a dark, cool place – away from any heat source.
5. Processing Method
There are many different ways to process coffee. Some of the most popular are washed, natural (or dry), and honey processed.
Washed coffee is the most widely used method.
It involves the removal of the outer layers of the coffee bean and then washing the beans with water. This process removes the fruit, the mucilage, and the parchment. A washed coffee will have a lot of acidity and fruit, which is desirable to some people.
The second is the dry process, which is where the beans are dried and then removed from the cherries. The last is the honey process, which is where you take the cherries and put them in a tank that has honey and water.
Once the cherries and honey are in the tank, you agitate the tank, which causes the cherries to burst and the beans are removed from the cherries. The dry and wash processes yield a fermented, more complex flavor. On the other hand, beans processed using the honey method obtain a well-rounded, more acidic flavor.
6. USDA Organic
If you’re looking for a coffee that tastes great and is good for the environment, you should buy USDA coffee. It’s grown in the most natural way possible with no pesticides, herbicides, or other synthetic chemicals. This means that the coffee is more nutrient-rich and delicious.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, hormones, artificial flavors, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified organisms as well. If you see the USDA seal on a coffee container or bag, it means that it was grown, processed, and packaged in compliance with the USDA’s standards. Most of the coffee bean brands in this list are USDA-approved.
7. Fair Trade Coffee
Have you ever wondered about the ethics of coffee production?
Coffee is a very popular drink, and most people don’t think about where their coffee comes from. However, the reality is that most coffee is produced by farmers who are paid very little for their hard work. Some are even paid nothing at all.
Buying fair trade coffee ensures that farmers make the best profit for their produce and that the coffee beans are grown in the most ethical and eco-friendly way possible. Therefore, it is better for the environment, the farmers, and the people who drink it. The best coffee beans listed in this guide have the certification.
8. Flavor Profile
Coffee beans have unique flavor profiles, and you need something that’s best suited to your taste. For instance, if you love a well-rounded, low-acidic coffee, go for medium roasted beans. Brews that grow in South and Central America tend to have well-rounded flavors.
And if you prefer fruity and floral tasting notes over bitterness, choose light roast coffee. Most of the brands listed in this guide offer all variants – light, medium, and dark roasts. On the other hand, if you enjoy a robust flavor profile, pick dark roast coffee beans instead.
The world’s best dark roast beans are grown in Asia. Of course, the flavor profile doesn’t end here. You can choose other flavors including hazelnut, caramel, coconut, and vanilla.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which is the least bitter coffee?
Arabica is the least bitter coffee. Brands that use arabica coffee beans include Real Good Coffee Co, Lifeboost, and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.
- What are the best-tasting coffee beans?
When it comes to taste, coffee connoisseurs vouch for Atlas Coffee Club, Death Wish Coffee, Mocha Java Coffee, and Lifeboost Coffee Beans.
- Which coffee bean has the most caffeine?
Light roast coffee has the most amount of caffeine. Out of the two coffee bean types, robusta beans contain greater caffeine than arabica.
- Should I buy whole beans or ground coffee?
If you prefer the richness of taste over convenience, then whole bean coffee is the more appropriate choice. On the other hand, if you are looking for a quick way to make your daily cup of joe, get ground coffee instead.
- Can you refrigerate coffee beans?
We advise you not to refrigerate your coffee beans to avoid exposure to the aroma of other foods and dampness. Instead, store them in an airtight container. Preferably, in a cool and dark location to keep the beans fresh for a long time.
- Which is stronger: dark or light roast coffee?
Light roast has more caffeine content compared to dark roast coffee. Therefore, it tastes stronger than the dark roast.
- What are must-try coffee beans for beginners?
The best coffee beans for beginners include Robusta, Liberica, and Arabica.
There is nothing like a hot reviving brew in the morning. The best coffee beans to buy are a matter of personal preference and taste though. All the coffee bean brands we have handpicked for this list are rich, aromatic, and flavorful. They are sourced from the most popular coffee-growing regions in the world.
Some people like a fruity flavor with hints of chocolate while others enjoy a rich, dark roast. It is important to know what flavor profile you enjoy before purchasing a bag of beans. Apart from that, if you have a sensitive gastrointestinal system, try coffee beans like Fabula and Lifeboost which have low acidity. Overall, you need to consider the roast profile, roast date, single origin or blend, processing method, and growing location to reach a decision.