Coffee is more than just a hot beverage. It is a way of life, a culture, a staple of modern day living. Coffee can revive us, regenerate us and give us the energy to start the day.
Coffee has become an integral part of our daily lives, and we drink it every morning...and afternoon...or sometimes early evening. But it is not as often that we think about where our favorite coffee comes from.
We often enjoy sitting in our best-loved coffee houses and take a sip of a glorious freshly brewed cup of steaming hot coffee. We look around, see the many different varieties of coffee; the latte, the cappuccino, the lungo, the macchiato, the list is endless.
We see branded coffee beans, ground coffee, instant coffee... coffee coffee coffee!
There are so many to choose from.There are Arabica, Robusta, 100% pure, blended, dark roast, light roast, medium roast and so many more. Your head can swirl just thinking about it.
How do we know what kind of beans we like? What does Robusta mean? What are Arabica beans? Where are the best beans from? Where does coffee come from?
Luckily, we are here to answer all of your burning, or shall we say beaning questions.
Where does coffee come from?
Let’s start at the beginning, with the coffee plant.
Coffee comes from a genus of plants or bushes known as Coffea. The small berries that are harvested from this plant are the coffee beans. These are called cherries, which makes coffee technically a fruit!
The coffee beans that we typically brew are actually roasted seeds from the coffee cherry.
The most popular coffee plants come from a region called The Coffee Belt that encompasses many coffee growing regions near the equator. The Coffee Belt shares a tropical climate that offers prime conditions for the growth of coffee beans.
Different types of coffee beans grow at different elevations, soils and are harvested in a variety of ways.
This is why there are so many unique types of coffee beans, flavors and roasts.
Coffee beans can come from various sources and countries. Our favorites come from Ethiopia, Columbia, Hawaii, Kenya and even Canada. Tasting a diverse variety of coffee beans can help expand your palette and refine your preferred flavors.
We would recommend trying many different coffee beans from all over the world, to distinguish your favorite blend!
If you have ever wondered about the origin of coffee, which country it came from or who pioneered the latte, then check out our Guide To The History of Coffee post.
It may surprise you to discover the origins of your most beloved beverage!
How to find the best coffee beans
Here at Portafilter, we run exclusively off coffee beans. Words cannot espresso how much we love coffee. We are passionate about coffee and have tried some of the finest beans and blends available.
To help you finetune your coffee taste, we have created a list of the 10 best coffee beans in the world, and a little overview of what makes them so special.
You really are going to wonder where these coffees have bean all of your life!
If you are a coffee connoisseur looking for your next perfect blend, then this guide is for you. So let’s find a coffee bean that you can espresso your love to.
With this list, we have included a multitude of different origins, roasts and types of coffee to help you discover the best beans that the world has to offer.
Finding the best coffee beans can lead to a heated and strong debate, so luckily we have compiled a list of 10 very different coffee beans with varying qualities, that will set your soul on fire.
Top 10 Best Coffee Beans
OUR TOP PICK
If you are looking for a simply brewtiful, balanced and natural cup of coffee, made with the finest organic beans available, then you have to try LifeBoost Coffee!
This coffee is one of the best available at the moment as it is completely organic, packed with flavor and an all natural taste.
LifeBoost coffee is even endorsed by Doctors as a healthy option because it is completely GMO, herbicide and pesticide free for your general wellbeing.
LifeBoost coffee also boasts a single origin for a pure blend of coffee beans from the same farm, same plant and featuring the same roast profiles. This coffee is derived from all natural, shade grown, unharmed and the purest coffee beans.
LifeBoost coffee promises to look after your health, gut and wellbeing whilst still letting you enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.
Let’s be honest, we are not going to ever give it up, but knowing that we can still enjoy our favorite hot beverage guilt free is pretty good, right?
The best part is, LifeBoost coffee will never upset your stomach!
We have all, at some point, been in a situation where that first sip of a barista brewed, strong cup of coffee has just hit your stomach.
Suddenly it rumbles and turns and starts...getting things moving. This is never the case with LifeBoost coffee beans.
LifeBoost provides a gentle blend of coffee beans that will never turn your stomach!
This expert coffee brewing company has even taken it a step further and now offer their coffees in light, medium and dark roasts that are still much less acidic and will not give you a belly ache..
For so many of these reasons, this high-elevation grown, speciality coffee has become one of the world’s affordable luxuries.
Our favorite coffee from LifeBoost is their smooth medium roast, with hints of caramel and wood, for a rich, full bodied flavor made from premium arabica coffee beans.
You will have to try these health boosting beans for yourself, and if you still are not sold, then we should tell you that these are completely fairly traded coffee beans from a sustainable environment.
LifeBoost only naturally grows, sources and farms their coffee beans from Nicaragua in Central America. They are a breath of fresh air with their open approach to how their coffee beans are farmed.
As a single origin coffee bean left unblended with other types, this coffee’s flavor is unrivalled for its unique aroma derived from the Nicaraguan highlands.
Certified organic, with no chemicals or genetically modified crops, LifeBoost coffee beans are hand-picked, shade-grown and farmed in a sustainable practice.
See for yourself why everyone is calling LifeBoost the best coffee they have ever tasted.
If you are looking for some of the world’s best coffee beans, then you are in the right place.
Koa Coffee utilizes some of the most rare and unique coffee beans in their delicious, sweet, mouthwatering blend.
This is not just any coffee, Koa coffee has its own distinct, individual coffee blend that every coffee connoisseur will have to try. Its uniqueness is derived from the Peaberry Kona Coffee beans.
Kona is a coffee growing region located in Hawaii. This is one of the only states in the United States that actually grows its own coffee beans.
100% Kona coffee comes only from the heart of Hawaii, and let us tell you, this coffee is sure to make you feel at one with nature. Feel the island breeze and cultural touch of the Big Island, Kona with their distinctive coffee bean.
So what makes Kona coffee so special?
Hawaiian culture depicts that their land is their home and sacred. Their ideology is rooted in the belief that nature should be respected and protected. Kona coffee is carefully handpicked by Hawaiian farmers all year around.
Although, handpicking takes much more time, power and money, and so the price of Kona coffee is typically higher. However, this coffee is so sought after for its highly prized and enthralling aroma.
The Kona coffee tree thrives off nutrients and soil rich in the volcanic land of the Mauna Loa Mountains, packed with flavor and care.
Koa Coffee uses only 100% Hawaiian coffee beans.
They have a strong reputation for only premium 100% Kona coffee, which has even won the company the Forbes award for Best Coffee in America.
Koa Coffee’s Kona Peaberry Medium Roast is their most popular and most premium coffee available. Despite its price tag, this is arguably the rarest coffee bean on the market.
This particular blend is made from Peaberry coffee beans, as the name suggests, which are highly rare and exclusive beans packed with taste and aroma.
Traditionally, coffee cherries contain two beans sitting face to face, this is why coffee beans are generally flat on one side. On rare occasions, coffee cherries will have just one bean about 3-5% of the time.
These are called peaberry beans. The Peaberry coffee beans are incredibly rare creations of nature. The peaberry beans roast up incredibly, creating an infatuating flavor and scent that has invited drinkers from all over the world to enjoy the coffee bean.
Coffee lovers and connoisseurs of this unique blend have dubbed the Peaberry the ‘Champagne of Kona’ for its varying flavor, and rare complexities.
With high demand of peaberries, and their rare nature, this coffee is a highly sought delicacy, that includes a hefty price tag.
However, true coffee lovers will need to taste this coffee bean to call themselves a real coffee enthusiast.
The Koa Peaberry Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee is a smooth, perfectly roasted medium blend with delicate sweet notes and superior balance.
For a divine, rare coffee bean and the highest quality coffee, you have to try the Koa Peaberry Blend.
Have you ever felt like trying some new, fresh coffee beans that will help you escape the daily grind? Then the Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee is perfect for you.
As we always say less depresso, more espresso! These coffee beans will get you hooked, and feeling brand new.
This is a number one bestseller, and it is no wonder why. These coffee beans are organically grown, and medium roasted for a balanced flavor.
These highly unusual Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee beans are gathered from wild coffee trees for an exotic taste and pleasurable acidity.
This coffee is derived from the Yirgacheffe region in southern Ethiopia that produces a distinctive fruit toned, sweet, deep and floral notes in their beans.
Made from a variety of Arabica beans, this coffee promises the best quality and taste from the heart of Ethiopia, with an aromatic scent that will refresh your senses.
If you have read our Guide to the History of Coffee, then you will know that the original story tells us that coffee was first discovered in the forests of Ethiopia.
The Volcanica Ethiopian coffee beans are derived from the regions in which coffee first came to mankind!
For a fruity, refreshing coffee bean that will keep you energized and bring you a new lease of life, you will have to try the Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee.
Volcanica actually offers a diverse and extensive range of coffee beans and grounds from all over the world.
With blends of Ethiopian, Sumatran, Costa Rican and Kenyan coffee beans it is hard to tell which is for you!
Along with Ethiopia, Kenya is one of the big players in the coffee game. Kenya is also one of the top quality coffee producers in the world.
Kenya AA coffee is typically grown on mountainous plateaus where plants enjoy the prime weather conditions to grow and thrive.
Kenya coffee is commonly described as having a sweet, wine like taste and fruity flavor. This type of coffee is comprised of the largest, densest coffee beans available in the plateau.
Kenya AA coffee has become a fast growing popular type of coffee among aficionados for its full-bodied, robustly flavored, and brightly acidic taste.
Kenyan coffee is grown in the East African terrain of Kenya in the rich volcanic soil that provides a perfect fertile ground for the cultivation of premium coffee beans.
Kenya coffee is closely inspected by The National Kenyan Coffee board that deals with the highest quality and flavors in all of their exports.
In addition, The National Kenyan Coffee Board ensures that all coffee farmers, growers and processors spread the proceeds equally.
Volcanica also takes all of the effort to ensure that their growers and suppliers are well-compensated for their efforts and adhere to all fair-trade practices.
Volcanica’s Kenya AA coffee is famous for its deep, rich body, vibrant acidity, fragrant aroma and wine aftertaste.
This aromatic and intensely attractive scent is optimally restored as each Volcanica Kenyan blend is roasted fresh before it is packaged to maintain its freshness.
This medium roast blend of crisp, sweet, savory and delicate flavors is like flowers in a cup. If nature is your thing, this floral cup of coffee is even rainforest alliance certified and sustainably made.
Have you ever tried coffee beans from the Indonesian region of Sumatra?
Many coffee connoisseurs swear by Sumatran coffee beans as some of the best in the world. Indonesian coffee has some of its own distinctive qualities that you will not find elsewhere.
Its earthy, natural and deep notes make it a powerful and flavorful bean that will thrill your senses. Volcanica has created a Sumatra Mandheling coffee that has to be tasted to be believed.
Sumatra Mandheling coffee is one of the most common varieties of Sumatra coffee and one of the most popular from the region.
This coffee is named after the Mandheling people that have traditionally farmed and processed the coffee throughout history.
At Volcanica coffee, you can rely on their sustainable and fair trading methods. Volcanica promises to pay their suppliers a fair living wage and focus on sourcing the finest coffee beans without harming the environment.
The Sumatra Mandheling type of coffee is generally grown at altitudes of 2,500 to 5,000 feet for its low acidity, bold chocolate, creamy caramel flavors and earthy notes.
With a pleasant aroma, and bursting flavor it is clear to us why so many have dubbed this the best Sumatran coffee available on the market.
The Volcanica Sumatra Mandheling Coffee is a rare, smooth coffee from the regions of Indonesia. For an exotic flavor, heavy body and intense syrupy aftertaste this coffee will please any aficionado.
With tasty notes of brown spice, wine, and dried fruit, and a pleasant aroma of cocoa, this coffee is well-balanced, full bodied and has a mild acidity.
These Volcanica Sumatran coffee beans are medium roasted, and 100% arabica for a fine, high quality coffee bean with a complex flavor profile that you are sure to enjoy.
If the thought of a speciality peaberry coffee bean tickled your fancy, but you would prefer not to invest in the high price tag of 100% Kona, then you should definitely try the Volcanica Costa Rica Peaberry coffee.
As we know, peaberry beans are the rarest coffee beans in the crop, and offer intense and special flavors.
Peaberry blends are therefore far more prized and sought after beans by coffee connoisseurs for their beautifully balanced taste and mildly sweet flavor.
This peaberry coffee is produced from the Tres Rios region close to the pacific coast, and is shade grown and completely Rainforest Alliance Certified.
With gorgeous notes of fruit, citrus and a mild acidity, these Costa Rican balanced coffee beans provide their own character and have remarkable flavor.
This medium roast is mild, sweet and bright, and is one of the worlds most prized coffees for its unique flavor.
Try brewing this Costa Rican coffee in an espresso to really get the fruity, delicious notes to come through.
Colombian coffee is much loved for its perfectly balanced sweetness, acidity and a slight nut aroma.
Colombian coffee is often one of the most popular coffee beans used in commercial coffee houses and favorite blends.
Volcanica Colombian Supremo coffee is grown at a high altitude in the Colombian Andes for its desirable smooth and pleasant finish.
This medium blend offers a smooth and sweet cup of coffee with slight fruit tones and rich undertones.
Colombian Supremo coffee is all about balance and these coffee beans deliver. With no bitter aftertaste or overpowering flavor, Colombian coffee is the bean’s knees.
Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified, this coffee will feed your soul and the environment from which it came.
Want to taste the dark horse of the coffee bean trade? You will have to try Kicking Horse Coffee’s Kick Ass Dark Roast.
The remarkable and expertly blended beans embody the spirit of kicking horse coffee, with a bold and bursting flavor.
The Kicking Horse Coffee company exports their beans from Indonesian and South America, and are always grown in a socially and environmentally responsible manner by farmers and pickers that they can rely on.
The Kicking Horse Coffee is organic, fairtrade, kosher, shade grown Arabica coffee that is good for you, the farmers, and the planet.
Roasted in the rocky mountains, this coffee is dark, delicious and promises the personality of the peaks of the Canadian rocky mountains..
This whole bean coffee is recommended for French press, drip machines, pour over or cold brew coffees to pack in its glorious flavor.
With rich notes of dark chocolate, brown sugar, roasted hazelnuts and cacao nibs, these coffee beans have to go on your coffee bucket list!
This Canadian coffee is a definite front runner for one of the best coffee beans on the market, but you will have to try it for yourself, Eh?
Are you ready to try beautifully Italian blended ground coffee that will knock your socks off?
Then Illy is ready for you.
This blend of Arabica coffee beans can be bought in Moka, Intenso and Classico for whatever mood you are in.
For a richly aromatic flavor with a well-defined, tasty body, Illy has provided a beautifully roasted and professional grade coffee for you to enjoy right at home.
Their unique pressurized coffee packaging preserves the flavor, intensity and complexity of the Illy blend and enhances the aroma whilst giving you optimal levels of freshness for your beans.
With 100% pure Arabica coffee beans, you can be assured that you will have smooth, rich, and full bodied flavor for a cup of coffee you will want to keep sipping all day!
These coffee beans produce a rich and balanced coffee taste, but if you desire delicious notes of chocolate and caramel, try the Moka blend.
It will really mocha you addicted to Illy coffee beans!
One of 2019’s World’s Most Ethical Companies, Illy works to keep their coffee beans innovative, sustainable and fair.
Illy have spent decades refining their singular and signature blend of Arabica beans for a coffee flavor you will never forget.
This fresh, balanced coffee bean blend will impress even Italian natives, and definitely deserves a spot in your kitchen cupboard.
If you want to try and tingle your taste buds with an organic, fair trade and mind blowing medium-dark roast, then you sure do have a Death Wish.
Death Wish’s Valhalla Java Whole Bean Coffee is made up of a blend of arabica and robusta coffee beans by Death Wish Coffee Co, that will take your breath away.
Every bean is full to the brim, bursting with full bodied flavor and the highest quality caffeine to keep you buzzing all day long.
Valhalla Java whole beans are birthed from nutrient rich volcanic land of Indonesia and both Central and South America.
With these coffee beans, you can immerse yourself in a mouthful of flavor with every single sip. These coffee beans pack flavor and oomph with every taste.
Say goodbye to your usual store bought coffee and hello to Valhalla!
This expertly roasted premium Arabica and Robusta coffee beans are derived from 5 different bean origins around the globe for a unique and death-defying blend.
For a natural, smooth and earthy aroma, Death Wish Valhalla coffee beans will leave you feeling fresh, energized and ready to conquer the world.
These coffee beans are completely fair trade certified, so you can enjoy your cup of coffee guilt free knowing that your beans are ethically sourced and distributed.
This coffee not only empowers you, but the farmers and pickers across the globe, too.
Best Coffee Beans Buying Guide
Types of coffee beans
The main types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee beans are some of the most popular and widely distributed coffee beans across the globe. Arabica coffee actually accounts for between 60-70% of the coffee produced across the world.
Arabica coffee has a more delicate, sweeter flavor and a roast that is generally less acidic than others.
This may be why it's one of consumer’s favorite types of coffee beans. These beans are typically farmed from areas where rain is plentiful. They give a soft, sensitive flavor that is generally enjoyed by all.
Arabica coffee plants are generally quite sensitive to their environment, and can be prone to disease. In this way, they can take much more care and attention to grow and therefore can be more expensive than other coffee varieties.
Robusta, on the other hand, are a lot more bitter in flavor.
This coffee bean lives up to its name with its robust, strong, and harsh taste profile that can be a little more powerful for some drinkers. Because of its bitter, burnt taste, Robusta is not as popular in coffee houses as it can turn off drinkers.
Robusta coffee is however, far easier to grow and has higher levels of caffeine.
Robusta coffee beans are produced in Africa, the Middle East and even some parts of Europe. They are Robusta by name and robust by nature, and are much hardier than Arabica beans. However, these beans do require a hotter climate in order to thrive.
What is the difference between blend and roast?
When you walk down the coffee aisle in your local supermarket, or look in your favorite coffee shop, it is overwhelming how many different types of beans, blends and roasts there are.
It can be difficult to understand what it all means.
A coffee blend is when roasters mix several single origin coffees together, or even sometimes the same origin coffees together to create a complex flavor profile.
Coffee blends can also be a mixture of different beans for more variety in their taste. On the other hand, you will know if a coffee is pure or premium with a 100% blend.
You may also be confused by the varying ‘roasts’ to choose from. You may be thinking: How do I know whether I like a dark or medium roast? We feel you. The term roast, literally describes the degree to which the coffee beans are roasted.
For instance, coffee beans when they are raw often do not have as much taste to them. Once they are roasted, they begin to reflect their aromatic, flavorful taste that we all love.
As coffee beans become roasted, their color will change from light to dark. When they absorb more heat and are roasted for longer, they will turn darker. This is a way of gauging how roasted you prefer your coffee beans.
How do I tell which roast I like?
With so many varying levels of coffee roasting, we have a little guide to help you decide which ones are best for your coffee palate.
Lightly roasted beans are typically light brown in color and have little to no oil on the surface of the bean. Light roast coffee beans are generally light bodied but have a lot of caffeine within the bean.
Medium roasts are the most popular roasted coffee beans. Everyone loves a happy medium. These types of coffee beans are quite brown in color and have more body and balance than light roasts.
They also have no oil on their surface, but do offer more flavor, aroma and some acidity unlike the light roast.
Dark roasts have a more distinctive flavor, and can become more powerful and strong.
They have a rich, dark color and develop some oils on the surface of the beans. Some darkly roasted beans may even look black in color. This type of coffee bean may have a bitter or burnt taste, with less caffeine than lighter roasted beans. These are best used in espresso blends for their powerful flavor.
Picking a type of roast truly depends on your personal preference. Most people will opt for a medium roast first, and see whether they would prefer a fuller bodied or lighter bodied roast afterwards.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the smoothest coffee?
There are thousands upon thousands of choices when it comes to coffee beans, that it is hard to tell which ones are best.
Generally speaking, most people prefer a smooth coffee flavor that will leave you feeling regenerated and refreshed.
For unrivalled flavor, premium beans and the smoothest blend, try Koa’s 100% Kona coffee in the Peaberry Medium Roast.
Which country has the best coffee beans?
Colombia is widely considered to be the country with the highest quality Arabica coffee beans. By itself, Colombia supplies 15% of the world’s coffee beans.
It is generally believed that the best conditions for growing the optimal coffee bean is in an established growing climate like that of Central America.
Colombian coffee beans are often grown with a lot of care as Colombians treat their coffee with a sense of pride.
Colombian coffee often has a mild and balanced taste, with a hint of acidity. This has led it to become one of the most popular types of coffee bean for home and commercial use!
Which is better whole bean or ground coffee?
As with many things, this depends on your personal preference and preferred taste profile.
On one hand, whole beans are fresher, more flavored and produce a high quality taste in a beautifully crafted cup of coffee.
Ground beans are obviously coffee beans that have been grounded, and so they may have lost some aroma and flavor in the process. However, ground coffee is far more convenient and can be used instantly.
You may prefer ground coffee as it will save you some time, and if you are anything like us in the morning, then time is key. You may not want to stand around and start grinding up coffee beans as soon as you wake up, just so you can have a nice brew, so ground coffee is the way to go.
On the other hand, coffee beans are packed full with divine, distinguished and beautiful flavor.
You will have to grind the beans before you even think about brewing, and will have to grind them evenly for a great cup of coffee. Without grinding, you will not be able to extract a strong flavor from them, and will not get that glorious coffee taste that you want.
It kind of all depends on whether you are comfortable with sacrificing a little flavor to save yourself some time, or prefer to be a coffee connoisseur in the morning.
What coffee beans do Starbucks use?
There are two types of coffee beans; Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica beans are the most commonly consumed coffee beans around the world. These are considered a high quality coffee bean that is used by many coffee chains and companies for its distinguished taste.
Robusta coffee beans are also sometimes utilized by coffee giants because they have a more bitter flavor, which makes them great for brewing espresso with their dark taste. The bitter flavor we love in commercial coffee is because the beans are burned. This is where the strong, bitter flavor comes from in Starbucks coffee.
Starbucks use high quality 100% Arabica beans and burn the beans to create a fuller, more powerful ‘coffee’ flavor that we love to wake us up in the morning...or in our case, all day.
Many people believe that Starbucks coffee is rather bitter, despite being made of the finest Arabica coffee beans.
This is purely because Stabucks roast their coffee beans at a higher temperature due to demand, and will therefore create a darker, stronger and more bitter or burnt roast.
Which country is famous for coffee?
Although Italy does not harvest its own coffee beans, it has become one of the most famous countries synonymous with coffee.
With the terms like latte, cappuccino, espresso, lungo and many others borrowed from the Italian language, we all know how much coffee is integrated within the Italian culture and has become associated with coffee.
Which country produces the most coffee?
The top ten countries best known for producing coffee are Brazil (in the number one spot), Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico, and Guatemala.
Brazil is the number one producer of coffee beans, and this has actually played a vital role in the economy and the development of the country.
Which types of coffee beans are fairtrade?
Fair trade coffee beans is coffee that has been certified by the trading standards of Fairtrade.
Fair trade coffee is produced through partnerships between the pickers, growers and distributors of coffee beans to ensure that there is respect, equity and properly paid workers.
Fair trade coffees also often support sustainable production and are environmentally conscious.
Fairtrade coffee beans will be certified with the fair trade logo to give consumers the assurance that their coffee beans are made ethically and responsibly.
What is Geisha coffee?
Geisha coffee is a world famous coffee which originated in Ethiopia and was subsequently introduced to Panama where it grew in popularity and has earned a reputation as one of the best and most expensive coffees in the world.