Grind Up the Best Coffee Beans of 2022 for a Delicious and Energizing Cup of Joe

Coffee beans being ground


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My love affair with coffee started before I was allowed to drink it. Coffee reminds me of my grandmother and her sisters, who often circled our worn kitchen table laughing, gossiping, and sipping cup after cup of strong joe. I was thrilled when they finally invited me to join them and have a cup of my own. From those days of drinking basic ground coffee with my elders, my appreciation for the subtleties and flavor notes of single origin and micro-lots have grown. However, nothing will ever replace a simple cup of coffee.

Although my favorite coffee is a freshly ground light roast pour-over, I love experimenting with different flavors and production methods. The most important thing I have learned during my decades-long coffee journey is that no matter your taste or brewing style, to brew a great cup of java, you must first start with fresh coffee beans.

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The Best Coffee Beans - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall - Stumptown Holler Mountain

Stumptown Holler Mtn

SPECS

  • Roast: Medium
  • Size(s): 12 oz. or 5 lbs.
  • Available in: Whole bean and ground

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With beans originating in some of the best coffee regions in the world—Central America, South America, Indonesia, and South Africa—Stumptown's Holler Mountain pulls the best flavors from each region to produce smooth, bold notes of caramel, chocolate, and fruity jam coming through on the back end. Stumptown creates consistent, high-quality beans in several roasts, and I wouldn't have had a problem picking almost any of their offerings as the best overall coffee beans. However, with the combination of flavor notes and versatility, Holler Mountain comes out just a little ahead.

You'll be happy to see how well these Stumptown beans hold up under a slew of different brewing methods, ranging from drip to espresso to pour-overs. If I had to find a complaint, it would be that Holler Mountain is only available in 12 ounces or five pounds. I'd love for them to come out with a mid-size bag.

What We Like

  • Robust but balanced flavor
  • Consistent taste
  • Available to order and in many retailers
  • Can use several brew methods

What We Don't Like

  • Only available in 12 oz. or 5 lbs.
  • Fairly expensive for a blend

BUY: Stumptown Holler Mtn.

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso - Lavazza Espresso Italiano

Lavazza Espresso Italiano

SPECS

  • Roast: Medium
  • Size(s): 2.2 lb. bag
  • Available in: Whole bean

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Although espresso can be considered a coffee catch-all, it is not a type of coffee but a brewing method like pour-over or French press. That means any coffee can technically be espresso if prepared accordingly. Considering that the espresso method originated in Italy, it is fitting that an Italian brand, Lavazza, would bring us the best coffee beans for espresso. This espresso blend is interesting because it is a medium roast, which is light for an espresso. It is also different in that it uses all arabica beans rather than the robusta ones that make up a lot of espresso blends.

Lavazza Espresso Italiano's differences set it apart and make it the best pick. It does not get bogged down by the charred taste of many of its competitors. The flavors aren't overpowering, but you can find distinct notes of hazelnut and chocolate. This roast is a solid, consistent espresso that will give you a tasty short-pour jolt.

What We Like

  • Unique medium roast
  • Solid, consistent flavors
  • Can also be used for drip coffee
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Only 1 available size (2.2 lbs. bag)
  • Some complaints of inconsistency in freshness

BUY: Lavazza Espresso Italiano

Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew - Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve

Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve

SPECS

  • Roast: Dark
  • Size(s): 1, 2, and 5 lbs.
  • Available in: Whole bean and ground

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Although I will always gravitate towards a piping hot cup of black coffee, I have recently joined the cold brew crowd, and I am not the only one. Cold brews are the cool kids on the coffee scene. Cold brews generally have less caffeine and lower acidity. Additionally, they have a little more sweetness than their hot counterparts. Therefore, it is easy to see why cold brews are growing increasingly popular.

And, thanks to quality, artisanal roasters such as Stone Street, you can brew your own cold brew right from the comforts of your home. The Cold Brew Reserve was specifically designed for cold brew, and you'll enjoy a sweet, chocolatey taste with each refreshing drink.

What We Like

  • Distinct chocolate undertones
  • Can order in a variety of sizes
  • Specifically made for cold brew

What We Don't Like

  • Inconsistent prices
  • Bag does not include cold brew instructions

BUY: Stone Street Cold Brew Reserve

Best Decaf Coffee Beans - Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast

Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast

SPECS

  • Roast: Dark
  • Size(s): 10 oz., 2.2 lbs.
  • Available in: Whole bean

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There are times when you want the rich taste of freshly ground coffee, but don't need the caffeine lightning bolt. Unfortunately, the decaffeination process can lose some of the flavor profiles that you associate with your favorite cup of joe. However, Kicking Horse set out to produce a decaf coffee that can easily pass for its delicious, caffienated cousin.

In addition to rising to the task of providing a full-bodied and well-balanced decaf coffee, Kicking Horse is dedicated to bringing you organic and fair trade coffee. This does mean that you may pay a little more, but if you want the taste of caffeinated coffee without the jitters, we think that these beans are well worth the price.

What We Like

  • Decaf that tastes like regular coffee
  • Well-balanced and robust
  • Easy to get

What We Don't Like

  • Could be too smokey for those who prefer light or medium roasts
  • Inconsistency from bag to bag

BUY: Kicking Horse Decaf Dark Roast

Best Dark Roast Coffee Beans: Peet's Coffee - Major Dickason Dark Roast

Peet's Coffee - Major Dickason Dark Roast

SPECS

  • Roast: Dark
  • Size(s): 10.5oz, 18oz
  • Available In: Whole bean and ground

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Considering that Major Dickason was created more than 50 years ago and remains popular today, it is clear that Peet's Coffee has figured out a winning process. Peet's is an old-school coffee lover's kind of coffee. It is straightforward, full-bodied, and an excellent choice for those who prefer the strength of dark roast with a good kick.

Major Dickason was the top choice for a dark roast because of its deep flavor and consistency. It also does very well for espressos. Although you may not be able to pick out a lot of delicate flavor notes with this blend, you will be satisfied with this robust taste and rich flavors.

What We Like

  • Consistent and smooth
  • Complex, smokey flavor with a smooth finish
  • Affordable
  • Great blend for dark roast lovers
  • Makes solid espresso

What We Don't Like

  • Some may consider it to be overly caffeinated
  • Flavors don't mesh well with sugar or flavored syrups

BUY: Peet's Coffee - Major Dickason Dark Roast

Best Budget Coffee Beans - Dunkin' Original Blend

Dunkin' Original Blend

SPECS

  • Roast: Medium-light
  • Size(s): 12 oz., 30 oz.
  • Available in: Whole bean ground

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There are few coffee brands as iconic as Dunkin'. For decades, we've been able to count on them for a fresh cup of joe either inside one of their retail shops or in our own home. Further, just because this is the budget coffee bean pick, it doesn't mean that it doesn't offer more complex flavor notes. Dunkin's nutty and dark chocolate flavors dominate, but you can taste the hints of citrus and coconut.

Dunkin' uses all Arabica beans from Central and South America, and their beans are milled and processed specifically for them. Additionally, thanks to the proprietary coffee recipe Dunkin consistently produces rich, well-balanced coffee day in and day out.

What We Like

  • Consistent rich coffee from a trusted source
  • Affordable
  • Mixes well with coffee and sweeteners

What We Don't Like

  • Flavors may be too subdued for some
  • May be too sweet if you add cream and sugar

BUY: Dunkin' Original Blend

Best Medium Roast Coffee Beans - La Colombe Nizza

La Colombe Nizza

SPECS

  • Roast: Medium
  • Size(s): 12 oz., 5 lbs.
  • Available in: Whole beans and ground

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If you like hints of sweet treats such as milk chocolate and brownie in your java, then you will flip for La Colombe Nizza. This coffee strikes an excellent balance between light and dark roasts, presenting a complex flavor symphony full of chocolate and caramel, with some floral undertones that keep the sweetness from going over the top.

Additionally, this coffee holds up remarkably well with milk. I am typically a black coffee drinker, but I like a splash of milk when drinking La Colombe Nizza because they mix so well. It also does well as a short pour, making it tasty and versatile.

What We Like

  • Balanced sweetness
  • Versatile
  • Does well as espresso

What We Don't Like

  • May be overly sweet for some
  • Some complaints of inconsistent roasts

BUY: La Colombe Nizza

Best Light Roast Coffee Beans - Real Good Coffee Company Breakfast Blend

Real Good Coffee Company Breakfast Blend

SPECS

  • Roast: Light
  • Size(s): 2 lbs.
  • Available in: Whole bean

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If you want to make a good ole fashioned cup of diner joe from your kitchen, then the Real Good Coffee Company Breakfast Blend is for you. This brand was our pick for the best light roast because Real Good Coffee is dedicated to doing exactly that—bringing a good cup of coffee to everyone. Further, this coffee brings you a straightforward, no-frills breakfast blend that will make you happy cup after cup.

Although it is mainly a coffee-flavored coffee, you will still taste some milk chocolate and citrus flavors. Although Real Good seemingly concentrates on a darker roast, they know what they are doing with lighter roasts, too.

What We Like

  • Straightforward, no-frills taste
  • Roast coffee when ordered, then immediately pack and send
  • Maintain affordable prices

What We Don't Like

  • Only available in 2 lb. bags
  • Little information about bean origin and sustainability

BUY: Real Good Coffee Company Breakfast Blend

Best High Caffeine Coffee Beans - Devil Mountain Coffee Black Label Dark Roast

Devil Mountain Coffee Black Label Dark Roast

SPECS

  • Roast: Dark roast
  • Size(s): 16 oz., 32 oz., 80 oz.
  • Available in: Whole bean

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No joe-king around, Devil Mountain Coffee Company packs a serious caffeine kick, so much so that it seems prudent to warn you that it has over 1500 milliliters of caffeine per 12 ounces. Meaning one cup of Devil Mountain Black Label has more than three times the amount of caffeine that the Mayo Clinic says you should have in a day. That said, on the days you need to take it up a notch, this coffee will give it to you in a rich, full-bodied tasting serving.

I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth this dark roast was. I figured the addition of the caffeine would give it an eye-squinting, acidic taste, but I was wrong. Therefore, enjoy this savory offering, but please watch your intake.

What We Like

  • Smooth taste
  • Extra kick of caffeine
  • USDA Organic and fair trade

What We Don't Like

  • 1 cup has more caffeine than daily recommendation
  • Expensive

BUY: Devil Mountain Coffee Black Label Dark Roast

What to Look for in Coffee Beans


Roast Date

To ensure that you're getting the freshest, best-tasting coffee, you will want to consume your beans between one and three weeks from the roast date. It takes beans about a week to de-gas from the roasting process, and they won't equalize if you consume them less than a week from their roast date. This will affect the flavors and may make your coffee taste bitter. If you drink coffee made from older or expired beans, you won't have to worry about getting sick as with other foods, but you most likely won't get the optimum taste. The flavor of coffee beans degrades and loses intensity the more exposed to oxygen it becomes.

Roast Type and Tasting Notes

There are three basic coffee roasts: light, medium, and dark.

  • Light: Light roast beans are, you guessed it, lighter in color. These beans lack oil and caramelized sugars. Light roast beans often have a sweet undertone with fruit and floral flavors.
  • Medium: If a bean is considered medium roast, it is slightly darker, and its body is thicker than light roast beans. The beans also have very little oil, but medium roast flavors are more balanced. Therefore, it is harder to distinguish individual notes.
  • Dark: Robust and bold, dark roasted beans have an oily surface. The individual flavors found in lighter roast coffees are much more indistinguishable in darker roast coffees. These beans usually have a smoky and sometimes chocolatey flavor.

Bag Size

To ensure that you are drinking the freshest coffee possible, you want to drink your coffee between seven and 21 days. Therefore, you will want to consider your daily coffee consumption before purchasing a bag. Although buying in bulk may be convenient and cost-effective, if you can't drink that amount of coffee in the two-week freshness window, buy a smaller amount or bag.

FAQs About Coffee Beans


What is the smoothest coffee bean?

Although this depends a great deal on personal taste, generally, the smoothest-tasting coffee beans are made from high-quality Arabica beans. Furthermore, lighter roast beans avoid the oils that can make coffee taste acidic and bitter if not roasted correctly. When brewing coffee beans, you want to use cool, filtered water as this will help give it a smoother taste.

What are the different kinds of coffee beans?

There are four different types of coffee beans: Arabica, Excelsa, Liberica, and Robusta. The most popular is Arabica, followed by Robusta. Excelsa and Liberica are not as typical. Each bean type has a different flavor profile from the others.

Where do coffee beans come from?

Most coffee beans come from the four-major coffee-producing countries: Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Coffee beans were believed to have originated in Ethiopia.

How to Be Healthy | Best All-Natural Soap | Best Natural Toothpaste | Best Organic Mattresses | Best Natural Laundry Detergent | Best All-Natural Deodorant | Best Natural Sleep Aids | Best Non-alcoholic Wine | Best Yoga Mats | Best Coffee Beans

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