Halfway through 2016 I published a list of my favorite coffees from the year so far. Well, 2016 is officially over, so I figured now is as good a time as any to share the final list of my favorite coffees from the year.
I drank a lot of coffee in 2016. In fact, most of the year I had more coffee in my apartment than I knew what to do with. For those who are obsessed with coffee, I guess this is a good problem to have.
Still, I wish I was a little bit swifter in getting my reviews published, and this is definitely one of my goals for The Coffee Concierge in 2017.
I'm also hoping to bring a bit more variety to the table. Clearly, I have a preference for light roast African coffees, but obviously all coffee-drinkers are different. So my hope is that I can suggest at least one coffee that you, as an individual reader, will enjoy.
All right, let's get to it! These were my 10 favorite coffees from 2016:
10. Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz, CA) – Ethiopia Duromina
I was really excited to try this Ethiopian coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters given that this was the first coffee I had ever picked up from this popular roaster in Santa Cruz, CA.
While it didn't impress me nearly as much as the Kenya Karinga I also picked up (more on this coffee later), it tasted consistently good across brew methods and it had a really nice aroma.
Lemon, milk chocolate, tangerine, and vanilla were some of the tasting notes I picked up.
9. Ceremony Coffee Roasters (Baltimore, MD) – Decaf Colombia Espresso
One of the few coffees I reviewed this year that seems to be available year-round, the Decaf Colombia Espresso from Ceremony Coffee Roasters knocked my socks off with its chocolate covered cherry flavor and smooth balance.
One of the better espresso blends I've had in my life. It may be decaf, but that didn't take anything away from the quality of this coffee.
8. Huckleberry Roasters (Denver, CO) – Ethiopia Guji Uraga
The Ethiopia Guji Uraga from Huckleberry Roasters was an incredibly pleasant light-bodied coffee with fruity, floral, and smokey notes. It really covered a wide spectrum of flavors, making it one of the most complex and balanced coffees I've reviewed this year.
The coffee isn't currently available from Huckleberry, but my guess is that it will be back sometime early next year (if not sooner).
7. Tandem Coffee (Portland, ME) – Kenya Murang'a Kiriani AB
The Kiriani AB is the type of coffee you drink if you love citrus acidity. In this case, the citrus notes are sweet, rarely sour.
Granted, it wasn't the most forgiving coffee I brewed up, but when I got things dialed in the coffee was hard to rival.
Grapefruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon notes dominated this cup's flavor profile for me.
6. Panther Coffee (Miami, FL) – Rwanda Dukunde Kawa Musasa
This was the first coffee I've ever reviewed from Rwanda, and it definitely did not disappoint.
The flavor profile was not necessarily something I'd usually go for, but I found it to be very forgiving and consistent across brew methods. Cherry up-front with an earthy, tobacco finish. The aroma was particularly impressive and complex between whole bean, ground, and brewed form.
5. Noble Coffee Roasting (Ashland, OR) – Decaf Ethiopia Sidama
Yes, my friends, decaf coffee can definitely be delicious, and Noble Coffee Roasting proved it with this one.
Decaffeinated through a natural process known as “The Mountain Water Process”, this coffee is full-bodied and well-balanced, with notes of cherry, licorice, caramel, and nutmeg.
If you're a decaf drinker who has been looking for a coffee that is comparable to its fully-caffeinated counterparts, look no further. The Ethiopia Sidama is my top decaf recommendation for 2016.
4. Vigilante Coffee Company (Washington, DC) – Kenya Gathiruini
The very nice folks from Boxo Coffee, a coffee subscription I'm currently testing out, sent me this gem of a coffee in my October shipment. The Kenya Gathiruini had a nice syrupy thickness and packed some nice complexity into the flavor profile.
Notes of plum, raisin, tomato soup, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry, and butter. Easily one of the best coffees I've had all year. Great as both pour over and French Press.
Unfortunately I didn't get the review published in 2016, but hopefully this little blurb is enough to convince you to check it out. CoffeeReview.com agreed, giving it a 95/100 possible points.
You can buy the Kenya Gathiruini from Vigilante Coffee Company here.
3. Rev Coffee Roasters (College Park, GA) – Costa Rica Alexis Badilla Cruz
Although I still haven't had a chance to officially publish the review for this knock-out coffee from Rev Coffee Roasters, I couldn't possibly leave it off the list as one of 2016's best.
Very strong grape and blueberry notes with fudgy undertones made the Alexis Badilla Cruz sit very favorably on my palate. The coffee has a floral perfume aroma to enhance the fruity notes found in the coffee's flavor.
I'm not sure if I'll get the full review published, but I had to at least mention it here in case I don't get the chance. Especially since it was one of the best coffees I've had all year.
2. Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz, CA) – Kenya Karinga
My favorite coffee from the first half of 2016 was the Kenya Karinga, roasted by Verve Coffee Roasters in Santa Cruz, CA.
In my opinion, the only thing lacking in the Karinga was its aftertaste, which, in this case means it didn't really have one.
What it lacked in aftertaste however, it made up for in fruity sweetness and complexity. Notes of tangerine, butter, milk chocolate, cinnamon, and red wine makes this my current favorite coffee of 2016.
1. Black Oak Coffee Roasters (Ukiah, CA) – Ethiopia Gedeb Lot 002
My favorite coffee from 2016 came late in the year, but it was the winner by a landslide.
Packed with blueberry sweetness and a nice milk chocolate finish, the Gedeb Lot 002 was grown, produced, and carefully selected by the Worka Cooperative in Gedeb, Ethiopia. The beans were then expertly roasted by Black Oak Coffee Roasters in Ukiah, CA.
Although this was my favorite coffee of 2016, it is certainly not for everyone. If light roast coffee isn't your cup of tea (see what I did there?) then I'd tread lightly. Still, my experience with this coffee was nothing short of spectacular. So give it a try if you dare 🙂
So which coffees did I miss?
There are obviously thousands upon thousands of coffees I haven't tried yet, so what were your favorite coffees from 2016?
Let me know by leaving a comment below. Hopefully I'll get a chance to try some of your recommendations in 2017 and beyond!