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9 Must Try Whole Coffee Beans [Before You Kick The Bucket]

Mind blowing coffee starts with the right choice of coffee beans. There are literally thousand of options to choose from when choosing beans. Thousands.

Make the wrong choice and you won't be brewing amazing coffee. 

Here's a list of the 9 best coffee beans in 2018 (beans you should try before you die)

Whether you like a strong, dark Columbian bean or a medium roast with light, refreshing floral undertones there is something for everyone on this list.

Read on with us as we travel the globe asking one simple question; who has the best beans in the coffee business?

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
hg-table__imageKona Coffee Beans
  • Winner for outstanding quality and balance
  • Forbes called “Best in America”
  • Roasted to a perfect medium roast
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageBlue Mountain Coffee
  • Medium roast
  • Roasted when you place your order
  • 100% Certified Blue Mountain Coffee
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageKenyan AA Coffee Beans
  • Medium Roast
  • Roasted when you place your order
  • Reputation as a top quality coffee producer
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imagePeaberry Beans From Tanzania
  • Roast more uniformly than other beans
  • Bright acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar
  • Brew style: Drip coffee
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageDark Sumatra Mandheling Beans
  • Organic
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageSulawesi Toraja Coffee Beans
  • Medium Roast
  • Very sweet and complex, with a low acidity
  • Brew type: French press or espresso
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageCentral American Geisha Coffee Beans
  • Geisha coffee beans are very rare
  • Natural tea-like body with lots of bright, sparkling flavors
  • Brew type: Pour over/ filter coffee
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageMonsooned Malabar beans from India
  • Coffee is roasted fresh immediately prior to packaging
  • Coffee beans are slow-roasted to bring out a fuller, more even flavor
  • Whole bean coffee stays fresher longer
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageYiracheffe Beans from Ethiopia
  • Exotic Flavor with pleasant acidity
  • Very complex coffee origin
  • Includes a thick body and an earthy aroma
CHECK PRICE →

WHERE to buy great coffee Beans...

Good coffee comes from people who care. Who cares about coffee as much as you do?

The FIRST answer is local roasters. When you buy coffee directly from a local roaster you get the important benefit of fresh roasted coffee.

These local coffee companies tend to be very passionate about the craft of roasting. Your first step in buying great coffee is to start exploring any roasters nearby and trying their coffee.

Don’t see any local roasters around you? No problem. Check out a farmer’s market. Many people who have really small scale operations sell at such markets. These are often very fresh and worth a try.

If you don’t have access to a great local roaster, there are also great ways of ordering coffee online. What’s important is that you choose a company who clearly says that they only roast coffee once it’s ordered.

This is important, because you don’t want them roasting coffee 2 months in advance of shipping it. For example, if you order coffee Volcanica Coffee on Monday, they will roast and ship it on Tuesday.

  best coffee beans being brewed

Where you should NOT to buy coffee Beans 

While there are some places you can find the best coffee, there are many places that you should definitely not buy coffee from.

The grocery store is one of those places. Not only do most grocery stores sell really old coffee (they claim a shelf life of up to a year), they are also extremely low quality.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from the coffee aisle.

The exception here is Whole Foods and other artisan grocery stores, which carry coffee from reputable roasters.

And this next one may come as a shock to many of you:

Amazon is another place you probably shouldn't be buying coffee from.

Why?

Again, it’s the question of freshness. Most of the stuff on Amazon sit’s in a warehouse before it ships. That means it was roasted ahead of time so it could be packaged, shipped and stocked in the warehouse. 

Unless you are certain that its been roasted within a few days of you recieveing it, don't buy it.

PRO TIP: Even if the Amazon listing says, “Fresh Roasted,” it might be 6 months old, as that is fresh in comparison with many of the other store bought beans. Yikes!

A 2 Minute Crash Course In Coffee Terminology

What are we even talking about?

Sometimes coffee bags are covered in words that don’t mean anything to us. 

Let’s decipher some of those for you.


 Arabica vs Robusta

Arabica beans are far superior to Robusta in terms of flavour and quality.

Arabica beans can be grown at higher elevations, giving the beans more time to develop their favor.

Robusta beans however contain more caffeine than Arabica. They are also much more disease resistant and produce a higher yield. That is why farmers still like to grow robusta, even though they sell for a much lower price.

Robusta is grown for companies that produce instant coffee and other lower quality, grocery store blends.

You probably won’t see a roaster advertising their Robusta coffee. Stay away from it if you love great coffee.

Acidity vs Bitterness

Different coffees will have different amounts of acid content.​

Acidity is not a bad thing, as that is what gives coffee its natural flavour. Some people like more, some like less.

The acidity present in coffee has more to do with taste as opposed to pH, though many claim acidity in coffee to cause digestive issues.

Coffees from Africa are typically characterised by a higher acidity, with fruity or floral tasting notes. Coffees from places like Brazil or Sumatra tend to have a much lower acidity with cocoa and nutty notes.

PRO TIP: A big part of it has to do with growing altitude. Coffee's grown at lower altitudes generally have lower acidity level. Read this article if you want to learn more about low acid coffee's
Bitterness is the result of brewing. If you extract too much out of the coffee grounds, the result will be a harsh, bitter finish. This usually happens when the grind size is too fine. The particles are smaller, so the water can touch more of the coffee, and ultimately extract more of it.

  • Bitterness in coffee is something you can avoid by brewing properly. 
  • Acidity in coffee is natural and cannot be avoided by brewing. Though, you can “cover” some of the acidity by roasting darker or simply buy beans with a lower acidity.

Single Origin vs Blends

Many coffee companies will offer single origin coffees as well as blends.

Single origin simply means unblended. It’s a coffee from one specific region, such as an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.

A blend, therefore, means its a few beans, blended into one packet. Duhhh.

So why do some people blend beans? There's a good reason and a bad reason.

Blends are designed to produce a balance in terms of flavor, body and acidity. A roaster might blend a coffee with a full body with another coffee that has very bright tasting notes in order to get the best of both coffees in one cup.

Thats what happens when a roaster knows what he/she is doing. If they don't, they may blend to hide poorly roasted beans among normal beans. Stick to roasters that have a good reputation.

Interested in blending the beans yourself? Learn some tips here.

PRO TIP: Watch out for companies who blend to save money. E.g if they are selling an expensive bean, they will use it as a blend to make it go further.

3 VERY important questions to ask yourself before choosing one of these coffee beans

Answer these questions before you read the list below. If you do, you'll choose the right bean for your needs; meaning you'll be slurping a hot, smooth, silky and full-o-flavour cup of exotic tasting coffee every morning.

Click each question to reveal more information.

1) WHATS MY BREW METHOD?

2) HOW DO I DRINK MY COFFEE?

3) WHAT ROAST TYPE DO YOU PREFER?

THE BEST COFFEE BEANS OF 2018 (WHOLE BEAN COFFEE)

Ok, enough with the education. You're ready for the list.

Here are 10 beans that you should get on your coffee bean bucket list before you die.

#1 - Kona Coffee Beans (Hawaii)

Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown. Kona is the largest Hawaiian island and is the best for growing high quality coffee. The best coffee in American, in fact, voted by Forbes,

WIth an excellent microclimate, the perfect blend of rain and sun, and fertile, volcanic soil, the slopes on the big island just happen to be perfect for growing coffee.

Read more about Hawaiian coffee beans here.

To get your hands on high quality Kona coffee, you will have to pay a premium. Not only is coffee from here limited in production and highly sought after, it’s grown in the United States where farmers are paid much more than the average farmer in a traditional coffee growing country.

A high quality Kona coffee is worth the money, as long as you buy the real thing

Never buy a blend, as only 10% of the blend will be Kona. Always buy Extra Fancy (the grade) as that is the highest quality.

Kona beans will typically be found as a medium roast, because they want to preserve and highlight as much of the natural flavor as possible. With a medium body, low acidity, and rich, smooth taste, this coffee will be an excellent addition to your auto drip or pour over routine. 

Koa Coffee is our favourite place to buy Authentic, quality, coffee beans. 

>>> CLICK HERE for a 10% discount on Kona Coffee Beans

Specifications

  • Brand: Koa Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Hawaii, USA
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nuts
  • Aroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidity
  • Recommended brew styles: Drip and French Press

#2 - Blue Mountain Coffee (Jamaica)

Another rare, extremely sought after coffee. 

Jamaica produces a relatively small amount of coffee each year, and not all of it comes from the Blue Mountain. But the coffee that does grow here is grown at a very high elevation.

It’s extremely limited in production and about 80% of each years crop goes to Japan. Plus, these beans are extremely labor intensive to produce, needing to be handpicked from the mountain slopes.


The high elevation, cool temperatures and volcanic soil helps result in a harvest that takes nearly 10 months, which is much longer than that of other coffee growing regions.

The resulting cup will be well balanced with a full body, medium acidity with a mildly sweet taste. Some say blue mountain coffee is the smoothest brew they've ever enjoyed.

So getting these quality beans in the States will cost you a pretty penny. Is it worth it?

Anyone that has tasted Blue Mountain Coffee will say: F-yes.

But like Kona, Blue Mountain is one of those coffees that needs to be purchased wisely.

Many brands will mislead you into buying their coffee, claiming the Jamaican Blue Mountain name. Avoid blends and any Jamaican coffee priced less than $20/lb. To call a coffee Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend, only a very small amount of the coffee actually needs to be Blue Mountain.

The profile of this coffee will make for an excellent drip coffee, whether pour over or automatic. Drink it black and enjoy one of the most sought after coffees in the world.

>>> Click here to see the price on REAL blue mountain coffee beans.

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Jamaica
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Sweet herbs and floral, with overtones of nuts
  • Aroma: Mild, smooth with vibrant acidity
  • Recommended brew styles: Drip

#3 - Kenyan AA Coffee Beans

Kenya coffee beans are among the finest in the world. The effort that farmers go through cleaning and processing these beans is unmatched.

Perhaps one of the greatest contributors to the quality of
Kenyan coffee is the fact that the farmers are rewarded for better coffee. The government runs an auction in which all the coffee in Kenya is sold. Higher quality coffees sell for a higher price, giving farmers an incentive to improve their crop.

AA is the largest sized bean, followed by AB. In Kenya, the bigger the better. Always look for AA. These coffees are characterised by sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy body. Due to the processing, these coffees are among the cleanest tasting in the world.

Kenyan coffee beans make for excellent drip coffee, pour over or automatic. The medium-full body and bright fruit notes are sure to leave you smiling with each cup.

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Kenya
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Sweet fruit notes, a winey acidity and a syrupy body
  • Aroma: Fresh and floral
  • Recommended brew styles: Drip

#4 - Peaberry beans from Tanzania

What is a peaberry? And where is Tanzania?

Tanzania is a country in east Africa situated between Kenya, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A peaberry is a single, round coffee bean inside the coffee cherry. A normal coffee cherry holds 2 beans, side by side, each with a flat side. The peaberry is alone inside the cherry and shaped differently.

Because of the round shape and the fact that these beans are more dense than most coffee beans, they ​roast more uniformly.

Only about 5% of all coffee beans are peaberry. In order to get a lot of strictly peaberry beans, rigorous hand sorting is required to separate them from their half-bean counterparts. This added labor increases cost.

Peaberry coffee beans from Tanzania tend to have a brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitiness.

Peaberry is made for an automatic dripper and is great as a pour over. Grab a serving here.

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Tanzania
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: A brighter acidity, medium body and notes of brown sugar and subtle fruitiness
  • Aroma: Complex and sweety floral with layered notes of citrus, pineapple or coconut
  • Recommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over

#5 - Dark Sumatra Mandheling Beans from Indonesia

Sumatra is the 6th largest island in the world, and one of the largest in Indonesia. Mandheling coffee is named after the Mandailing people who once farmed the coffee in northern Sumatra.

Coffees from this area tend to have lower acidity with a sweet, smooth body. The coffee can vary in taste from cocoa and tobacco to earthy and herbaceous. Many people choose to roast Sumatra coffees dark to enhance sweetness and it’s almost spicy flavor.

Coffees from Sumatra as a whole are typically processed with a hybrid method, akin to wet-hulling. This processing method is perhaps the largest factor in the outcome of the coffee.

These coffee beans are different, there’s no doubt about that. The fact is, some people swear by it and some people won’t touch it. It’s one of the great controversies in coffee.


Due to it’s full body and low acidity, this coffee does very well in a french press or in an espresso blend. 

Buy you Sumatran Beans here (to ensure you get the best, fresh beans)

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: lower acidity with a sweet, smooth body
  • Aroma: earthy, mossy, funky and mushroomy
  • Recommended brew style: French Press and Espresso Blend

#6 - Sulawesi Toraja Coffee Beans

Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is an Indonesian island to the east of Borneo. Toraja is the name of the group of people who grow and harvest the coffee here.

Coffee is a family business on this island. Many families grow coffee on their property as a means of adding some income to their household, but is often not a priority. Therefore, the coffee infrastructure isn’t very strong.

This may be the reason these beans aren’t very common.

Coffee beans are partially processed by the family before being sold to a middleman at the local markets. These middlemen then go to the larger processing mills where the beans are completely dried and the work is finished.

The best coffees from Sulawesi will be very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notes to it. This coffee will make for a great medium-dark roast, highlighting the sweetness and full body present in the coffee.

Brew up a french press or pull a shot of espresso with this solid, unique coffee.

Click here to try these tasty, yet rare, coffee beans

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Sulawesi, Indonesia
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Very sweet and complex, with a low acidity, full body and some earthy and herbal notes
  • Aroma: Spicy, earthy, musty and woodsy
  • Recommended brew style: French Press and Espresso

#7 - Central American Geisha Coffee Beans

Geisha coffee beans are among the most unique in the world.

 Though they can in theory grow anywhere, they have a special reputation when grown in Panama and Costa Rica. The most famous farm is Hacienda La Esmeralda.

The Geisha bean was originally discovered in Ethiopia, near the town of Gesha. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that this bean varietal made it to Panama.

What makes the Geisha bean unique? It has a natural tea-like body with a ton of clear, bright, sparkling flavors such as citrus, mango, peach and jasmine. You may also pick up on some bergamot or vanilla notes..

This is a tough coffee to find for a few reasons. Few cafes serve it because it is an extremely expensive coffee and it is served best as a filter coffee. Cafes serve mainly milk based beverages, so it doesn’t make sense for many to serve a coffee that can only be taken black.

You’ve likely never had a coffee like this before. It is truly unique. If you enjoy lighter, brighter coffees, this is one you need to try.

Start enjoying some of the worlds most sought after coffee after picking up an authentic bag of beans here.

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Central America
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Natural tea-like body, sparkling flavors like citrus, mango, peach and jasmine
  • Aroma: Floral and lemony tones
  • Recommended brew style: Pour Over and Filter

#8 - Monsooned Malabar beans from India

Mellow flavor lies within the Monsooned Malabar beans from India given their name because of how the wind disperses them during the monsoon season.

The beans expand with moisture and create a rich finish - so we recommend trying them if you live in a humid environment to get the most out of the experience.

Specifications

  • Brand: Coffee Bean Direct
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: India
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: Strong, intense, low acid, tons of syrupy chocolate and dark cocoa tones
  • Aroma: Funky, pungent, mixed spices and herbal
  • Recommended brew style: Espresso

#9 - Yiracheffe Beans from Ethiopia

Yirgacheffe is almost regarded as holy among the global coffee community.

Ethiopia itself is regarded as the birthplace of coffee and beans from Yirgacheffe are it’s pride and joy. Sidama is a region in Ethiopia that contains the microregion of Yirgacheffe. Within Yirgacheffe, however, are even smaller regions; Adado, Aricha, Kochere, Konga, and more.

These coffees are typically wet processed, producing a coffee that is light in body, almost tea-like, with complex fruit and floral notes.

Go into any specialty coffee shop and you are likely to find coffee from this region on the shelf. It’s easy to see why these coffees are known as the gateway to great coffee.

When roasted lightly, these coffees are excellent in an automatic drip or pour over. They also make for a refreshing iced coffee or cold brew. Roast a little darker for a unique shot of espresso.

Here's our favourite place to buy freshley roasted Ethiopean Yiracheffe online.

Specifications

  • Brand: Volcanica Coffee
  • Beans: Arabica
  • Origin: Ethiopia
  • Type: Single origin
  • Tasting notes: light body, with complex fruit and floral notes
  • Aroma: earthy, with cinnamon and strawberry undertones
  • Recommended brew style: Drip and Pour Over

Mmmm, is your body craving a fresh, exotic brew after reading about the above wonder beans?

Enjoy these beans as they are or dress them up with froth, sugar or spice - it all depends on your brewing method. You can also eat them, and treat yourself to some delicious chocolate covered beans.

Whatever your taste is for the day you will find something unique and different within each bean and within its given region of growth. From earthy to fruity, bold to bitter expand your taste buds and explore some of the best coffee found throughout the world. Find them online in coffee bean marketplaces such as Volcanica Coffee

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
Catherine DeBlieux - January 20, 2018

This is a very helpful synopsis. Thank you. Are coffee plants like grape vines?

Reply
Gloria - January 30, 2018

And then you read that coffee from other places is better,so another list is created ! I love coffee have travel a lot.
I can tell you this coffee even from the same grower will taste different due to many variants even from the same tree ! I asked that ti afew growers and they told me that thats why every year coffee is auction and no single grower gets the same price or gets chosen year after year . Sometimes they do strike adeal and buy the entire production for a couple of years but thats about it.

Reply
Sherry - January 30, 2018

I have an Oracle Touch. We like to have cappuccinos and americanos but don’t want to change beans each time. What coffe would you recommend to do double duty?

Reply
WiSH - March 8, 2018

My favorites are dark roasted coffee, rather bitter, strong. Originally from Brazil, or Sumatra also from Philippines – Baraco. This is the Liberica group of a kind.
My preferred making is espresso or French Press.

Reply
Peter Karahalios - March 11, 2018

You have a serious problem with the use of apostrophes; otherwise, your content is much appreciated…

Reply
Taylor - March 23, 2018

The map of Costa Rica and Panama is wrong

Reply
B Carr - May 17, 2018

It was really nice to find your assessment of various premium coffees. I was looking for good information on Jamaica Blue and this really helped. I am still trying to decide if spending almost a hundred dollars on a pound of coffee is really worth it. So hard to decide.

Reply
Javanese - August 31, 2018

How about Java Coffee..??

Reply

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