It’s been an absolute pleasure exploring the world of gourmet coffee. Our search for the top ten options took us through several unique options. We kept connoisseurs’ preferences in mind as we narrowed our list to present you with only the best-tasting gourmet coffee.
Table Of Contents−
- The best 10 gourmet coffees
- 1. Volcanica free-range kopi luwak coffee – Overall winner
- 2. Lifeboost pacamara luxe gourmet coffee
- 3. Cooper’s cask Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged – Best ground coffee
- 4. Koa coffee swiss water processed Kona – Best decaf coffee
- 5. Fresh roasted coffee whole bean ‘Tanzanian peaberry’ coffee
- 6. Death wish organic whole bean coffee
- 7. Jose’s organic french roast whole bean coffee
- 8. San Francisco bay coffee ‘breakfast blend’ whole bean
- 9. Wallenford roasted whole bean blue mountain coffee
- 10. Stone street ‘Brooklyn roast’ whole-bean coffee
- What is “gourmet coffee”?
- What is “specialty coffee”?
- Can “specialty” be “gourmet” – and can “specialty” be “gourmet”?
- Should you buy gourmet or specialty?
- How to choose the best gourmet coffee beans: A buyer’s guide
The coffees on our list were chosen because they are the tastiest, richest, rarest, and most aromatic options available. We’ve also tried, wherever possible, to include a few gourmet blends that won’t break the bank.
The best 10 gourmet coffees
1. Volcanica free-range kopi luwak coffee – Overall winner
Kopi Luwak is one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffees, so it’s perfect for Volcanica to take great care of this variety to provide the best from the best. Wild cats consume, digest, and dispose of the beans. They are then harvested, roasted, and processed to produce a true one-of-a-kind cup of coffee.
While unpleasant, the digestive process brings out distinct flavors in the beans and a distinct syrupy mouthfeel. The digestion produces a rich, chocolatey flavor and lessens the acidity of the coffee, making Kopi Luwak one of the best gourmet coffees for consumers with sensitive stomachs.
This medium roast coffee has a certificate of authenticity to ensure its authenticity. It’s also cage-free and free-range, so you won’t have to worry about potential ethical issues with the coffee.
- Rich, distinct flavor profile
- One of the world’s rarest coffees
- Low acidity
- Free-range, cage-free, and certified authentic
- Small sample size available
2. Lifeboost pacamara luxe gourmet coffee
Lifeboost Coffee is known for its healthy, sustainably grown coffee — the beans are Kosher, Fair Trade, Organic, pesticide- and mycotoxin-free, and low-acid. All of this is included in the Pacamara Limited Collection and something more unusual: the rare Pacamara bean, which is one of the largest in the world.
- Pacamara beans are unique and rare
- They are certified Kosher, Fair Trade, Organic, pesticide- and mycotoxin-free
- They have a creamy, complex flavor with notes of chocolate, nuts, and flowers
- It’s a little pricey
3. Cooper’s cask Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged – Best ground coffee
Cooper’s Cask’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel-Aged coffee is another delectable gourmet coffee. This aromatic coffee is made from single-origin Colombian beans that have been aged for two months in Kentucky bourbon barrels.
In terms of flavor, this medium-dark roast coffee has a pleasant sweetness complemented by notes of chocolate and fruit. Just wait until you get a whiff of the bourbon finish!
This variety isn’t as rare or unique as our top two picks, but it has a delightful, unusual flavor and is more affordable. Cooper’s Cask will refund your money if you don’t like it.
- Five convenient grind sizes
- Premium beans aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels
- Not as expensive
- Satisfaction guarantee
- It is not as unique or rare
4. Koa coffee swiss water processed Kona – Best decaf coffee
Koa’s decaf coffee is a full-flavored coffee with a distinct Kona flavor. Because it’s a whole bean coffee, you can maximize the freshness factor by making your grounds. The company also sells pre-ground coffee if you don’t have a grinder.
This coffee isn’t cheap, but if you’re looking for gourmet beans, you’re probably prepared to pay. It is worth noting that some customers have reported difficulty opening these coffee bags. It would be nice to have easy-open, resealable bags at this price point. Nonetheless, this gourmet coffee is sure to knock your socks off!
- Unusual, delicious Hawaiian Kona coffee
- Chemical-free Swiss Water Process decaf
- Rich flavor that does not resemble decaf
- Whole beans allow you to customize grounds to your preference
- Bags can be difficult to open
5. Fresh roasted coffee whole bean ‘Tanzanian peaberry’ coffee
This unique product is made entirely of “Peaberry” coffee beans. Peaberry coffee accounts for only 10% of all beans harvested in a given year. They are prized for their unusually rich and full-bodied flavor. Of course, because they are rare, they are also very expensive, as with Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC’s bag.
If you can forgive the price, you’ll get a rare coffee that’s smoother and richer than almost anything else you’re likely to find. The company ensures that its coffee is ethically roasted in an environmentally sound environment as a bonus.
- The rarity of the Peaberry blend
- Rich, smooth flavor
- The environmentally friendly roasting process
- Fairly expensive
6. Death wish organic whole bean coffee
Death Wish claims to be the world’s strongest coffee. The manufacturer packs the beans with more than twice the caffeine of a typical cup, making it unsuitable for beginners.
But this isn’t just a novelty coffee. It’s not only potent, but it’s also delicious. The surprisingly smooth flavor will appeal to those who can handle a strong brew. It also comes from a fair trade company that emphasizes environmentally responsible business practices.
It is expensive, but the one-of-a-kindness factor may justify the price.
- Surprisingly smooth flavor
- Surprisingly high caffeine content
- Fair trade business practices
- It may be too strong for some drinkers
7. Jose’s organic french roast whole bean coffee
The Jose Gourmet Whole Bean Medium Roast is a medium blend with a mellow flavor profile. The Brazilian blend prioritizes freshness, harvesting, and roasting the beans before packaging. The goal is to ensure that consumers receive the coffee as soon as it is processed to maximize the flavor.
The coffee’s flavor is bold enough to entice the drinker, but a strong acidic aftertaste detracts from the overall experience. If you have a sensitive stomach, this coffee is probably not for you. However, this is a good one to try if you’re looking for a low-cost option with great flavor.
- Reasonably priced
- The company places a high value on freshness
- Some buyers may find it too acidic
8. San Francisco bay coffee ‘breakfast blend’ whole bean
This Coffee Whole Bean two-pound bag is a good option for buyers who want the taste of gourmet coffee and the convenience of a true bulk purchase.
To ensure that it has all of the data needed to provide a great cup of coffee, the company takes a scientific approach to its beans, performing soil analysis and a variety of other treatments.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed. This breakfast blend has caramel, cream, and citrus notes. Even though the coffee appears to have a strong acidic flavor, it is still a good choice for buyers looking for a good deal.
- Bulk purchase
- A scientific approach to bean cultivation
- The subtly sophisticated flavor profile
- Acidic tendency
9. Wallenford roasted whole bean blue mountain coffee
Blue Mountain produces high-quality, high-priced gourmet coffees. This is the case in this instance. The luxury coffee is grown, harvested, and roasted in small batches to prioritize quality and flavor.
Gourmet coffee enthusiasts will enjoy the coffee’s intensely rich and aromatic aroma and its deeply smooth taste. The company also promises to pay fair wages to farmers, harvesters, and roasters.
- Delicious taste
- Aromatic scent
- Fair trade business practices
- Bag easily tears
10. Stone street ‘Brooklyn roast’ whole-bean coffee
The Stone Street’ Brooklyn’ Roast coffee beans round out our list. This blend has a smoky, sweet flavor profile with subtle chocolate undertones. It’s also reasonably priced for the quantity, making it ideal for gourmet coffee enthusiasts on a tight budget.
It’s not a bad coffee by any means, but it doesn’t quite compare to some of the finer options on our list.
- Lacking in taste
What is “gourmet coffee”?
Before we get into the best gourmet coffee brands, let’s take a step back and define what that means. What exactly is “gourmet” coffee?
In fact, “gourmet coffee” has no established definition within the coffee industry, and there are no standards that coffee must meet to be labeled “gourmet.”
A coffee is labeled as gourmet simply because the company that produces it chooses to label it as such.
The term “gourmet” is supposed to imply that a product is of higher quality than standard versions. It denotes a more refined version associated with luxury – and, of course, a higher price tag.
When a company decides to label their coffee as “gourmet,” they claim it is a superior coffee worth paying more for. They claim that the beans are of higher quality and that the coffee tastes better.
This means that there is no difference between labeling coffee “gourmet,” “luxury,” “superior,” or “premium” – they are simply claims about the quality of the product made by the company that makes the coffee.
Because there is no standard, any coffee can be labeled “gourmet” and sold at a higher price, and you won’t know the quality until you take it home and brew it.
What is “specialty coffee”?
Specialty coffee, on the other hand, is quite distinct. When harvested, coffee undergoes a procedure known as “cupping.” A small batch of beans is roasted, ground, and brewed into coffee, and the finished product is tasted and rated.
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), “specialty coffee” is defined as coffee with a cupping score of 80 or higher. These are the best coffees on the market. When you buy a specialty coffee, you are paying for more than a better taste – though that is a big part of it. You’d expect to know much more about how and where specialty coffee was grown.
You’d want to know about the farm where it was grown (specialty coffees are usually single-origin coffees), the elevation, the processing method, the plant varietal, and any other relevant information. There is a strong parallel with wine. A wine connoisseur would never purchase a wine labeled “France.”
They would expect to learn much more about the wine, such as where it was grown, the terroir, the grapes, the individual vineyard, the tasting notes, and so on.
Can “specialty” be “gourmet” – and can “specialty” be “gourmet”?
These two terms do not have to be used in the same sentence. A coffee labeled “gourmet” can also be considered “specialty” if it receives a high enough cupping test score. Because specialty coffees are all high-quality luxury coffees, all specialty coffees can be regarded as gourmet coffees.
Let me say it another way. Gourmet coffees are all specialty coffees, but not all gourmet coffees are specialty coffees. This is because an expensive luxury coffee with great taste may still fail to achieve the required score of 80 in a cupping test. This means that, while the beans may be of high quality, grown at high altitudes, and handpicked, they cannot be sold as specialty coffee.
They may be more expensive to produce and warrant a higher price than regular beans – but they aren’t specialty beans. These beans may taste great to a casual coffee drinker, but they could not meet the exacting standards of a professional cupper.
These could be your favorite beans – remember, tastes in coffee, like tastes in wine, are subjective, and no one can tell you what you should and shouldn’t enjoy. Finally, the best rule of thumb is that it’s a good coffee if you like coffee.
If you’re willing to pay more for a gourmet coffee, it doesn’t matter whether a professional cupper gave it a high score or not – because you’ll be the one drinking it!
Should you buy gourmet or specialty?
We can take our analogy a step further. Regular supermarket coffee is comparable to basic table wine, whereas gourmet coffee is comparable to a decent, more expensive wine that you might serve at a dinner party.
Specialty coffee is a fine wine that only the true connoisseur can appreciate. Gourmet coffees will suffice if you want a better-tasting brew in your cup.
If you want to take your coffee passion to the next level and immerse yourself in the world of cuppings, varietals, and single-origins, you should look for some more exclusive specialty coffees.
How to choose the best gourmet coffee beans: A buyer’s guide
We make choosing the right gourmet coffee for your needs as simple as possible in the tips highlighted below. Continue reading!
Choosing a roast
As you explore the vast world of coffee, you will discover three unique types of roast: light, medium, and dark.
Choosing the right style will significantly impact your overall drinking experience. Here are a few things you should know about each option to help you decide.
- Light Roast: The light roast coffee has the most delicate flavor. Because this is a more subtle blend, many flavored coffees are lightly roasted to allow for the distinct flavor they are attempting to achieve.
- Many people believe that because a light roast coffee has a mild flavor, it is also low in caffeine, but this is not the case. Light roast coffee is frequently higher in caffeine, so keep that in mind. Light roast coffees are also frequently more acidic than other varieties, which may be unpleasant for those with sensitive stomachs.
- Medium Roast: As the name implies, this is a very mild coffee. It’s not too subtle, not too overwhelming; it’s just right, as Goldilocks would say.
- Dark Roast: A dark roast brings out the full flavor of the coffee. The flavors are frequently bold and rich, which can be off-putting to those who prefer something a little more subtle.
Coffee isn’t often thought of as rare, but some anomalies can provide unique flavors while also increasing the price of the coffee.
For example, “Peaberry” coffee accounts for only 10% of all beans harvested yearly. They have a rich, smooth flavor that no other bean can match, but they are also very expensive.
Another example of an extremely rare coffee is Kopi Luwak. Wild cats have eaten, digested, and excreted Kopi Luwak beans. Although it may sound disgusting, the digestion process brings out unique flavors in the beans. It also significantly reduces the drink’s acidity, making Kopi Luwak one of the smoothest coffees available.
Budget shoppers tend to buy coffee in bulk to get the best deal. Unfortunately, this is not always possible in the world of gourmet coffee. Most fancier blends are only available in limited quantities.
This is actually to your advantage. You want to maximize the freshness factor when drinking a rare, expensive coffee. Because the quantities are smaller, each cup you drink is consumed soon after the beans have been processed and packaged. Remember that while buying smaller quantities of coffee may improve the taste, it detracts from the value.
The majority of coffee connoisseurs prefer whole bean coffee. This is because the moment you grind beans, they lose their flavor.
If you want to keep things as simple as possible, you can buy pre-ground coffee. If you want to spoil yourself, consider buying whole beans and experimenting with a grinder.
Our gourmet coffee reviews have most likely proven that buyers looking for the best coffee have a difficult decision ahead of them.
Allow us to clarify things a little further by highlighting two standout options from the list you just read. Consider our rare top pick, Volcanica’s Kopi Luwak, if you want to treat yourself to something unique. Prefer something a little less daring? Try out the one-of-a-kind Lifeboost Pacamara Limited Collection.
Do you like your beans pre-ground? Cooper’s Cask Kentucky Bourbon Barrel-Aged beans come in five grind sizes and are highly recommended. Do you want a great decaf coffee? Try the tasty Koa Coffee Kona Decaf.
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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.
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