The Best Coffee of 2015
Ah, just what we needed…another “top coffee of 2015” post. And it’s coming at ya 2 weeks into 2016, no less.
But this was the first year I reviewed coffee, and I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if I didn’t get to reflect on all of the great coffee I had the pleasure of drinking.
So don’t think of this so much as a “you must buy these coffees because they are so good” kind of list.
No. Simply think of this post as Benji’s favorite coffee of 2015, and nothing more.
There were millions and millions of beans and blends I didn’t even have the opportunity to try, so the idea that I could even offer a speck of credibility in telling you what the best coffee of 2015 was is pretty much, blasphemy.
Now that we’re clear on this, let’s start with #10, because that’s apparently how the cool list-post writers do things.
#10 Stumptown Coffee – Guatemala Finca El Injerto Bourbon
El Injerto is one of the most well-known coffee farms in the world, having grown delicious coffees for more than four generations. Stumptown did this year’s crop justice with the Guatemala El Injerto Bourbon.
This was a coffee that worked great with immersion brewing methods. I picked up everything from earthy notes to cherry cola.
#9 Andytown Coffee Roasters – Wind & Sea
Andytown is one of my favorite coffee roasters.
They’re located in the Outer Sunset District of San Francisco, and have a beautiful, unpretentious shop that features a small roaster in the back.
The Wind & Sea blend was one of two Andytown coffees I tried this year, and it had a very nice fruitiness up-front with a smokey, buttery finish.
This wasn’t a great one for espresso, but it did make a brilliant cup of coffee coming out of the AeroPress.
#8 Chromatic Coffee Co. – Gamut Espresso
The Gamut Espresso blend by Chromatic Coffee (San Jose, CA) was recommended to me by Margaret Fischer at the Coffee Cantata blog earlier this year.
I was also impressed with the coffee obviously, as it’s coming in at #8 on my list of the best coffee from 2015.
The Gamut Espresso is the signature espresso blend from Chromatic, and it features coffee from four different regions: Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, and El Salvador.
Incredible body for espresso with a dark chocolate, buttery flavor profile. There were also some slight berry and nutty undertones.
I didn’t find this to be a very good blend for anything outside of espresso, but it could have had a lot to do with my brewing parameters. In any case, I’d give this a try if you’re an espresso enthusiast who craves full bodied, savory shots.
#7 Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. – Ethiopia Konga Yirgacheffe
This is a very aromatic coffee that comes from the popular Ethiopian coffee cooperative, Konga.
This particular coffee is the Heirloom varietal and wet-processed.*
Overall, the Konga Yirgacheffe had a chocolate aroma and very citrusy flavor. Chocolate notes were present in the aftertaste.
Definitely a unique Ethiopian washed coffee in that there weren’t really any blueberry notes present. I also must say that this was probably one of my favorite coffee bags (aesthetically speaking), for what it’s worth anyways.
*To be honest, I still know very little about processing methods and coffee varietals. However, I think I’m starting to pick up on the patterns in flavor notes across regions.
Hopefully the other intricacies become clearer in 2016.
#6 Quills’ Coffee – Ethiopia Konga
I got a hold of these beans in my Angels’ Cup Subscription.
I’m not sure if it was the exact same crop, but it’s funny how #6 on the list, Quills’ Coffee Ethiopia Konga, is from the same cooperative as #7 on my list. I also gave it the exact same score as the Konga roasted by Olympia.
Quills’ beans were very different from Olympia’s though.
Most of the flavor was strawberry and pineapple, with no apparent chocolate or lemon undertones.
This was sweeter than its Olympia counterpart in my opinion, and maybe just slightly better overall.
#5 Stumptown Coffee – Hair Bender
It was a huge year for Stumptown. They really don’t need anymore accolades either (if you can even call this list one).
Still, the Hair Bender was one of my favorite blends of the year simply because of how great it is for brewing espresso. It’s so damn consistent, I love it.
Very heavy body, deep chocolate notes, extremely forgiving.
It works great for espresso, but it’s also pretty good when brewed as a cup of coffee. This is Stumptown’s best-selling coffee, so in my opinion it’s definitely a blend worth trying.
About 7-9 different types of beans here, all fully washed.
#4 Blue Bottle Coffee – Hayes Valley Espresso
Blue Bottle’s Hayes Valley Espresso is named after their small cafe in an alley of the posh (and once, rough) San Francisco neighborhood, Hayes Valley.
I would imagine that most of the espresso pulled at this particular Blue Bottle location is with this remarkably forgiving espresso blend.
The Hayes Valley Espresso consists of beans from Guatemala, Congo, and Brazil. I couldn’t tell you the varietals though.
Thick body, dark chocolate with berry undertones.
#3 Case Coffee Roasters – Ethiopia Reko Kochere
I’m an Ethiopian coffee junkie, and the Reko Kochere roasted by Case Coffee Roasters in Ashland, OR ended up being my favorite single origin Ethiopian coffee of the year.
The Reko Kochere was a super fruity coffee with tons of complexity in its aroma. The flavor itself was also complex with peach, lavender, cherry, and other delicious flavors across brew methods.
#2 Chromatic Coffee – Unicorn Pony Anniversary Blend
The Unicorn Pony Anniversary Blend from Chromatic Coffee (San Jose, CA) was a coffee blend that simply could not be ruined.
I completely blew it with two of the shots I pulled and they still ended up tasting very good.
It’s a very simple blend in that it only consists of two types of Ethiopian beans, but the flavor profile packs a huge punch full of blueberry, peach, chocolate, and floral notes.
#1 Case Coffee Roasters – Kenya Gachatha AA
My favorite coffee from 2015 was the Kenya Gachatha AA from Case Coffee Roasters.
One of the most amazing things about this coffee was how good it tasted, even when it was 3-4 weeks off-roast. Raspberry, chocolate, raisin, cinnamon…it seemed like the flavor profile never ended with this one.
Super complex, forgiving, versatile. Ladies and gentlemen, the Kenya Gachatha AA is The 2015 Coffee Concierge Coffee of the Year.
2016 will bring much more coffee reviews
Coffee reviews are still very new to me. I don’t claim to be good at them either.
For these two reasons, I’m going to be doing a whole lot more of them in 2016.
Sound backwards? Well yeah, maybe a little bit. But I want to review more coffee simply so I can get better at it.
And maybe I won’t get any better. But hey, at least I’m having a good time, right?
If you’d like me to review a particular coffee feel free to leave a comment below with some of your favorites. I’ll do my best to give all suggestions a try!