There is an absolute plethora of coffee beans available on the market. This provides a huge range of choice that is great for consumers in one way, but in another way, such an array of beans can be daunting. Which ones should I buy? Are these good or are they trash? HELP ME!
Never fear – we are here to give you a helping hand. We drink a lot of coffee thanks to our roles here as coffee blog snobs at The Coffee Bazaar, and have tried a huge range of different beans – so we believe we are pretty well qualified here.
Below we have selected our 7 favourite arabica beans of 2018 so far and tell you why we think they are so good. We have selected only roasted whole beans here, so if you are looking for pre-ground coffee you’ll be disappointed (although if you are a coffee nut then you really should get a grinder and be grinding your own beans at home). If you want to learn a little more about what to look for in a coffee bean then you can click here to take a look at our guide at the bottom of the page.
So in no particular order, here are our ten favourite coffee beans of 2018:
This single origin, single estate coffee from Sumatra in Indonesia not only tastes great but it also supports a very noble cause. Sales of the coffee help support farmers to produce ecologically friendly plantations without deforestation. As far as the taste goes, the flavour notes say cherry and chocolate – and that is exactly right! The flavour is deep and rich and very pleasant. And all while supporting a good cause. What’s not to like?Check price at Amazon »
We’re big fans of Union Coffee and this Liberacion is our favourite of theirs. The beans are grown in Huehuetenango, Guatemala at altitudes of nearly a mile high, and less than half of the beans produced are actually purchased by Union to ensure that only the highest quality beans go into the coffee (if you are wondering, the remaining half is sold at local markets). This is a medium roast and has some lovely clean, chocolatey notes.Check price at UnionRoasted.com »
Spiller and Tait are another excellent coffee producer, roasting beans in small batches to ensure consistent quality. This coffee originates from Huila in southern Colombia and is a medium strength, medium roast. What stands out about this coffee is the complete lack of any acidity, which coupled with fruity flavours makes for a delicious cup.Check price at Amazon »
As the name suggests, this coffee comes from Guatemala, where the beans are grown in the fertile volcanic earth around Lake Atitlán. The beans themselves are Maragogype beans which are three times the size of ‘normal’ coffee beans and the roast is medium dark. All of this makes for a very bold flavour – extremely smooth with deep tones. A perfect breakfast coffee.Check price at Whittard »
The name ‘Cuttlefish Coffee’ might conjure up images of ground up treats from a budgie cage, but nothing could be further from the truth here. The beans are Yirgacheffe from Ethiopia and the taste is extremely well rounded with blueberry notes at the top end. Works well across a variety of different brewing methods (chemex is our favourite here) and really delivers an incredible tasing cup.Check price at Amazon »
Café Saula is a blend of four different arabica beans, harvested by hand in Spain. This medium roast coffee has won two double-gold awards and really stands up to it’s reputation with rich, complicated flavours yet still creamy and smooth. It is great drunk at any time of the day and produces a really quality cup of coffee.Check price at Amazon »
This coffee from Sacred London is a blend of arabica beans sourced from Honduras, Ethiopia and Brazil, and hand-roasted right here in the UK. This blend gives the coffee a deep nutty flavour with light acidic and fruity overtones. Sacred serve this coffee in their gourmet coffee shops in London, and now you can make it in your own home.Check price at Amazon »
What to look for in a coffee bean?
There are three main types that coffee beans are available in – Arabica, Robusta and a blend of Arabica and Robusta.Arabica
These are the highest quality beans available (hence why all of the coffees we’ve included on this list are 100% arabica).Robusta
Robusta beans have a higher caffiene content so are typically used in stronger coffees (you’ll find most of the strongest coffees you can buy use robusta beans). But they typically are not as high quality in terms of flavour.Robusta/Arabica blend
Naturally, some producers who are looking to make a strong coffee but don’t want to sacrifice flavour too much, may blend the two beans together to provide a reasonable balance.
Some coffees use beans sourced from a single location (or single-origin coffee), some use a blend of beans from different locations. Neither is really ‘better’ than the other, because as long as all the beans are arabica and created by an artisan roaster rather than cheaply mass-produced, they will generally speaking taste good.
It really depends on your preference. If you are looking for a specific flavour (for instance, deep and dark) then you may want to go for a single origin coffee from Brazil. But if you are looking for a more complicated flavour profile, a blend may be right up your street. The best thing is to experiment to find what you like – and indeed, isn’t trying lots of different coffees to hone in on your favourite one of the most compelling things about the drink?