Making good coffee at home starts with high-quality beans. Choose from the top 10 best tasting coffee beans of 2021 below.
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- Making good coffee at home starts with high-quality and freshly roasted coffee beans.
- Brew method will largely determine the type of coffee beans you should look for, which is why each coffee brand below has been categorized.
- For bonus gourmet coffee beans, scroll to the bottom of this post to view our honorable mentions.
- Grab the free PDF version of this list with quick links of the best 2021 coffee beans to have on hand whenever you’re running low on coffee. Click here to jump right to it.
If you’re not yet willing to kick your home brewing coffee habit (that you picked up in quarantine), you’re going to need to know where and how to get fresh-roasted specialty coffee beans.
But with tons of coffee brands out there, how in the world are you supposed to tell the difference between the coffee beans that are just okay and those that are actually worth buying? Sure, they seem to have decent reviews online, but when you actually try them at home, you find that the beans are over-roasted or worse — expired and lacking in flavor.
To help you out, we’ve done the hard work of tasting and testing (okay, so that part wasn’t hard) as well as the necessary in-depth research to find the best-tasting specialty coffee beans out there this year. That way, you can keep brewing amazing coffee at home even though quarantine has nearly ended.
Here’s our top 10 picks for the best specialty coffee beans of 2021.
At A Glance: Top 10 Best Tasting Coffee Beans of 2021
Best Overall: Volcanica Coffee
“Volcanica Coffee sources their beans from the best volcanic regions from around the world.”
Best Beans for Espresso: The WestBean Coffee Roasters
“Their Sweet Sussex Blend is in fact award winning as espresso, boasting of apricot jam, sweet chocolate, and brown sugar tasting notes.”
Best for Pour Over: Blue Bottle Coffee
“Blue Bottle Coffee offers their customers the freshest beans by roasting every bag to order, ideal for making the best pour over.”
Best Light Roast: Go Get Em Tiger
“Go Get Em Tiger is dedicated to creating innovative and memorable coffee experiences, and that they have with their bright & floral light roasts.”
Best Medium Roast: One Village Coffee
“From Peru and Columbia to Ethiopia and Burundi, One Village Coffee offers a diverse selection of medium roasts.“
Best for Cold Brew: Intelligentsia Coffee
“Intelligentsia’s Frequency Blend is perfect for cold brew, as it’s smooth in body with chocolate and molasses tasting notes.”
Best High-End: Ciel Café Prive Select
“Ciel Café Prive Select offers beans from the world’s most elite coffee estates providing a one-of-a-kind tasting experience.”
Best Organic Coffee Beans: Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company
“Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company sources 100% of its coffee beans through organic, Fair Trade farms.”
Best Responsibly Sourced: Penstock Coffee
“Penstock Coffee uses their own mark on their coffee bags that ensures specialty coffee of the highest quality and coffee that’s directly-sourced.”
Best Variety: Blossom Coffee Roasters
“From single origins and varietal blends to organic and decaf options, Blossom Coffee Roasters has a coffee sure to satisfy your coffee wanderlust.”
Best Overall: Volcanica Coffee Company makes the top of our list for their unique, smoky flavors.
Volcanica Coffee Company makes the top of our list for their unique, smoky flavors. In an effort to provide customers with one of the most refined coffee-drinking experiences out there, Volcanica Coffee sources their beans from the best volcanic regions from around the world. This produces incredibly unique and flavorful coffee you won’t get anywhere else.
On top of producing amazing coffee, Volcanica Coffee Company is also sustainably-sourced. This coffee brand works directly with local coffee farms and cooperatives to source the best beans of the highest quality. Plus, 1% of all sales go to a non-profit called charity:water.
Best Beans for Espresso: The WestBean Coffee Roasters offer award-winning beans for pulling that perfect espresso shot.
For the espresso-lover, it’s important to find a medium or medium-dark roast coffee. This reduces acidity and provides a fuller flavor & color for your resulting espresso. And one brand that’s mastered their espresso game is the WestBean Coffee Roasters. Their Sweet Sussex Blend is in fact award winning as espresso. It boasts of apricot jam, sweet chocolate, and brown sugar tasting notes.
Each of the WestBean Coffee Roaster’s coffee is carefully trial-roasted several times before proceeding to a full production roast to ensure the highest-quality yield. Additionally, all of their coffees have been cupped and approved by their roasting and production team. Beyond espresso beans, the WestBean Coffee Roasters also have a number of coffee offerings such as their blends and single origins.
Best for Pour Over: Blue Bottle Coffee offers their customers the freshest beans by roasting every bag to order.
If you’re a fan of the pour over method, look no further than Blue Bottle Coffee. This specialty coffee company takes their coffee very seriously. They offer blends, single origins, and mostly certified organic premium coffee. On occasion, you’ll also find exceedingly rare Gesha coffees on their site — arguably one of the best coffees out there that excel as pour overs.
In addition to their wonderful pour over coffee options, Blue Bottle also excels in providing the freshest coffee beans to their patrons. This is ideal for brewing coffee with pour over method, as it ensures the best flavors and that beautiful bloom you see upon that first pour over the grounds. Blue Bottle achieves this freshness factor by roasting in small batches and shipping their beans directly to their customers from their roastery. This ensures that all coffee is delivered as fresh as possible.
Best Light Roast: Go Get Em Tiger provides specialty coffee bursting with bright acidity and intense floral flavors.
For those who are big fans of light roast coffee, there’s certainly a lot out there. But one coffee brand that’s especially worth trying is Go Get Em Tiger. This coffee brand, founded in Los Angeles, is dedicated to creating innovative and memorable coffee experiences, and that they have.
Go Get Em Tiger’s Aricha, Ethiopia Single Origin is their current light roast, and it’s one that’s bursting with bright, floral, and tart flavors. Coffees from this region are known for their bright citric acidity and intense florality.
Beyond this, Go Get Em Tiger offers blends, other single origins, and decaf options that are all worth trying. And if you have the chance, stop by one of their Los Angeles cafes.
Best Medium Roast: One Village Coffee has a diverse selection of medium roast coffees.
If brightness and acidity aren’t your thing, sometimes a medium roast coffee does just the trick to give you a better balance between sweet and tart. A medium roast coffee tends to be sweeter and less intense than a light roast, and has a more balanced and well-rounded overall flavor. And one coffee brand that does medium roast particularly well is One Village Coffee.
From Peru and Columbia to Ethiopia and Burundi, this coffee brand offers a diverse selection of medium roasts while also focusing on balance and sweetness in all of their coffees. You’ll find light and dark roasts as well if you’re wanting to give one of their other roasts a try.
Best for Cold Brew: Intelligentsia‘s Frequency Blend is smooth in body with chocolate & molasses tasting notes, ideal for making cold brew.
Besides being an advocate for direct trade and environmental enthusiasts, Intelligentsia is also well-known for their naturally sweet coffee. This sweetness lends itself to making great-tasting cold brew. And while you can’t go too wrong with any of Intelligentsia Coffee’s beans when it comes to your home cold brewing efforts, their Frequency Blend is a favorite for making cold brew.
Intelligentsia Coffee’s Frequency Blend is smooth in body with tasting notes of golden raisins, raw sugar, chocolate, and molasses. This blend hails from El Salvador and Brazil, and yields a velvety smooth batch of cold brew.
Best High-End: Ciel Café Prive Select offers beans from the world’s most elite coffee estates providing a one-of-a-kind tasting experience.
If you’re looking for coffee beans that offer complexity, flavor, and a tasting a experience that won’t disappoint, take a look at any selection from Ciel Café Prive Select. This coffee brand offers beans from the world’s most elite coffee estates. Most of their coffees are exceedingly rare and are therefore produced only in small lots, making them all the more desirable.
Ciel’s signature taste is elegantly smooth coffee, perfect for savoring. You’ll find beautiful blends, single origins from Ethiopia and Panama, and even rare Geisha coffees. All beans are roasted to order, ensuring their customers the freshest beans for the ideal home brewing experience.
Best Organic Coffee Beans: Dean’s Beans sources 100% of its coffee through organic, Fair Trade farms.
For a high-quality specialty coffee organic option, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company offers only coffee that is certified Organic, Fair Trade, and Kosher. This coffee brand has been dedicated to using specialty coffee as a vehicle for positive change since its beginning in 1993. One of the most important ways Dean’s Beans achieves this is through their partnerships with coffee farming cooperatives.
They commit to the farms, and work with farmers to achieve the highest quality beans possible. This is all while partnering with these farmers on long-term projects that make significant changes in those communities. In addition, Dean’s Beans only purchases shade-grown coffees to support healthy environments for coffee growers and protects critical migratory bird habitat.
Best Responsibly-Sourced Coffee: Penstock Coffee uses their own mark on their coffee bags that ensures quality specialty coffee that’s directly-sourced.
If you’re interested in supporting an ethical specialty coffee brand that goes above and beyond, Penstock Coffee is making great strides in their coffee sourcing and trading efforts. This coffee brand sources as much of their coffee as direct as possible meaning that they select the lot and determine the price, quantity, and quality of the lot directly with the farm or mill owners. The reason for this is so that coffee roasters are better able to support coffee farmers and get more money into their pockets through direct trade.
And since there is no certifying agent for directly sourced coffee yet, Penstock Coffee uses their own mark that ensures quality specialty coffee beans that are also economic/social and/or environmental factors are well above considered if not the focus.
Best Variety: Blossom Coffee Roasters is fully committed to providing their customers with only the sweetest, cleanest, and most flavorful coffee.
If you love to mix up the type of coffee roast you use for your home brews, Blossom Coffee Roasters has a wide range of coffee offerings. From a number of diverse single origins and blends to organic options and a surprising amount of decaf options, there’s a coffee here that’s sure to satisfy your coffee wanderlust.
Beyond this, Blossom Coffee Roasters is fully committed to providing their customers with only the sweetest, cleanest, and most flavorful coffee. Every coffee is tested and must meet Blossom’s high standards to produce only the most impactful and best tasting cup of coffee. This is achieved through seeking out quality green coffee, establishing good importer and direct to producer relationships, and the tasting of hundreds of coffees every year.
We thought these specialty coffee brands were also worth mentioning if you’re looking for even more gourmet whole bean coffee options.
Best Single Origin: Stamp Act Coffee
Stamp Act Coffee, a Seattle based coffee company, is fully committed to both quality and taste when it comes to their coffee beans. This brand achieves these goals by roasting their coffee in small batches ultimately leading to the freshest coffee. Stamp Act Coffee offers a range of delicate and vibrant single origins you won’t want to miss out on.
Best Vietnamese Coffee: Nguyen Coffee Supply
Perhaps a bit unorthodox to include a coffee bean category for Vietnamese Coffee, but we found Nguyen Coffee Supply to be too innovative to pass up when putting together this list. While most of the specialty coffee industry sources from Africa and South America (arabica beans mores specifically), Nguyen Coffee Supply is the first specialty coffee company in the United States to offer single origin robusta coffee beans from Vietnam. Their most popular coffee is their Loyalty Blend consisting of robusta and arabica beans yielding the perfect balance of sweetness and nuttiness.
Best Sustainable Coffee: Counter Culture Coffee
Counter Culture Coffee, a North Carolina coffee company, is all about supporting sustainability through high-quality specialty coffee. This coffee brand supports environmental stewardship efforts through premiums, third party verification, and their Seeds program.
Best Large Quantity: George Howell Coffee
While it’s not recommended to buy more coffee than you can go through beyond 2 weeks, there are exceptions to this rule. For anyone who has a big family or quickly goes through a lot of coffee at home, George Howell Coffee offers large-quantity specialty coffee beans to keep your home well-stocked with their 2-pound and 5-pound whole bean bags.
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