I'm far from an expert on coffee but I like to drink it. My preferred style is higher acid, medium body with hints of chocolate, citrus and spices. I'm trying to learn about coffee by buying coffee from different regions and roasts and roasting companies. I'm always trying new roasts and roasteries. Here are some companies that I've had coffee from my opinions.
Note: I always use a Bodum French Press and the Kitchen-Aid ProLine Grinder. I never buy coffee pre-ground. I drink my coffee with cream and no sugar.Equator Estate Coffees & Teas (who roast coffee for all of Thomas Keller's restaurants in Napa Valley). Bouchon Bakery - Bouchon House Blend (A blend of Sumatra Golden Pawani) While it says it's a Viennese Deep Roast - it's a bit lighter but still darker than I'm used to with almost dry beans and a good balance. Notes of dark chocolate made me seek it out again and I'm on my second pound. Highly Recommended. (Note: March, 2008 - I had erroneously attributed the Bouchon Bakery Coffee to the Napa Valley Roasting company in a previous update.) Dallis Coffee in Queens, NY (who do custom roasting for high end restaurants like Gramercy Tavern). Blue Hill Special Roast - Blue Hill Blend. I puchased a pound of this Certifed Organic coffee
at Blue Hill Stone Barns in New York. 100% Arabica coffee. It was good. Nutty with good acids. I wouldn't seek it out but I would buy it again.Electric City Roasting Company
Blue Moose A not-too-dark blend which had good balance. I've made a note for this coffee as a buy again if I happen upon it. Good!
Premium Blend Coffee - Definitely a good restaurant coffee, it's pleasant and unassuming. Made from Arabica, it's not unusual I would like it. A little darker than I would choose but a nice surprise. I wouldn't seek it out but I would try it again. Good.New Mexico Pinon Coffee - Swayed by the labeling I really wanted to like this "pinon coffee" made from roasted pinon nuts (from a soft pine tree), and just didn't. I'm not a fan of pine nuts either. In fact I found it was undrinkable in a french press. Ugh... I'll stick to traditional coffee, thanks.
Outland Java Company Santa Cruz/Half Moon Bay, CA
Organic French Roast - this coffee was Fair Trade and Certified Organic. 100% Arabica. Good but I didn't like the "scorch". I might try another blend if I crossed paths with it.
LA Burdick Whole Bean Dark Roast Coffee This Boston/Cambridge Cafe/Chocolatier has a great reputation for both chocolate and coffee. The blend is truly Darker than I like but heavy on the chocolate notes which is seductive. I wouldn't seek it out but I'd happily drink it again.Sunshine Coffee Roasters Organic French - A local coffee roaster in Forestville, CA. I've had this coffee at events and never been that impressed, but on home ground it's really quite good and I would buy it again. Also Fair Trade.
Ecco Caffè Ecco Caffe is a local roaster in Sonoma County (and this bag I purchased at the Santa Rosa Farmers' Market) so I will definitely try another blend from them. The beans were fresh and quality was high.Papua New Guinea Organic was a little on the dark side for me. Nicely roasted, not oily but just a hint of bitterness. The beans have a hint of charcuterie. Raven's Brew Misty Fjords The label caught my eye and I was surprised to encounter this WA-based coffee company on the East coast. Their vibrant and fun labels are worth looking for as the earthy mushroomy notes of this blend were stand-out. Roast date on the package. Highly recommended. Dean & DeLuca
My current favorite is their After Dinner Viennese Blend from Venezuela. Runner up is the St. Helena Blend.A Great Standby. I've also bought the Water Decaffeinated - which is not notable but just fine! At the stores they stock a selection of coffees that are bagged to order. I've tried their Blue Mountain from Jamaica and their Kona. I loved the Kona and would not buy the Blue Mountain again. A while back I did a comparison of Dean & DeLuca's Kona and Blue Mountain coffee – both outrageous at $32/pound. I really preferred the Kona. To my palate it was richer and more chocolate-y. The Blue Mountain was higher in acid but not friendly. I like round rich mellow coffee. Kona gets my buck out of the two if you want to buy it at D&D you will have to go there they don’t sell it online. I would have guessed that other Kona coffees should be on par but cheaper ones I've tried have been failures. Dean & DeLuca's Sumatra MandhelingNot just another great blend from Dean & DeLuca, this one is stand-out with fruity and chocolately notes, good acidity and almost a sweetness. Recommended. Bodega Coffee Co - Premium Blend Continental Roast Liked this one. Roast was not too dark and had good acids but lots of body. I was not expecting to like this one as much as I did! Flying Goat Coffee - Mexico Already a fan of Flying Goat's Espresso Bar I ventured to purchase a bag of beans. Amazing stuff. Their roastery is in Healdsburg, CA. They offer many organic and fair trade options. Highly recommended! Nectar of Life - Happy Place Another sleeper - I ordered this WA-based coffee on a whim from igourmet.com. It exceeded my expectations and I would happily order it again. Happy Place is both USDA Organic (and Idaho Organic) and Fair Trade.
I was really surprised to find this Marin County company up to the challenge. Fair Trade Blend is a solid roast with good body and acidity and flavor. I would buy again. They let you "build your own blend" on their website which looks like lots of fun! They offer a number of organic options.
A great suprise in Sonoma - they are located across the street from the Sonoma Mission Inn. I have not yet visited their espresso bar. A great blend and a well roasted coffee (they roast on-site). Highly Recommended. Thomas Hammer Spokane, WA
Fireball Blend Wow. I really liked this one. This Spokane based roaster has really got it down. They offer Organic and Fair Trade choices. I would seek it out. Really good!
Organic Venezuelan Single Estate - 100% Arabica This Palo Alto Cafe's coffee has been a pleasant surprise. Not too dark with good flavor - almost fruity with a walnuty nose and hints of almond paste. I'm really liking it. Worth a try!
Clive's Wake-up Call I chose the roast I thought would be the right one - not too dark? All the other offerings in the store I purchased it at were darker roasts. This one appears to be a mix of dark and lighter roast - it's still too dark for me with not enough character - perhaps it's my own fault - it's fine to drink, but nothing exciting. Better than my first experience though - I disliked the coffee I tried at their St. Helena Coffee Shop, so much so I poured it out. I'll try once more and pin down a lighter roast this time.
Tupinamba Torrefacto Coffee A sugar roasted coffee? Too intriguing to pass up! This is supposed to be the coffee a Con Leche is made from. I expect ethereal delicacy, dark depths with a sweet finish. Nope. Perhaps you have to add a lot of milk to it because it's such a dark roast. It still has some bitterness to it on the finish - mitigated by the sugar - it does have a long finish. Anyway - so far I'm not a convert. I still love the concept though. I'm guessing that french press is not the best way to test this coffee - an espresso machine would get the fabled crema to sit on top, so I'm probably not the best judge.La Colombe
Nizza & Phocea - I’m liking both the Nizza and the Phocea. Nizza has distinctive notes of almond paste and a hint of chocolate. It’s very smooth and likeable. I’m not loving it though. I would choose it again but not seek it out. Phocea is really definitely almond extract. Good. Smooth. Rich. Good - it doesn't have lots of character. It's subtle. Perhaps that's the draw - understated and smooth with the slight almond notes. I purchased them from Chelsea Market Baskets - but you can also order direct from La Colombe. Moka Joe -Moka Joe Blend Certified Organic. I liked this coffee. It has definite chocolate notes and is very smooth. I would buy it again.
Giamaica My new love? Formaggio Kitchen offers Giamaica coffee exclusively. Babapudan's Peaberry Arabica - This is supposed to be considered the purest strain of arabica available. This is the 1st of the 3 types I've ordered and I adored it! Highly Recommended. Giamaica's Crema Caffe - Possibly my favorite now of the 3 types of Giamaica coffees I've tried – but they were all superior. This one is very creamy and smooth with a mild flavor – a brilliant cup for breakfast. Available from Formaggio Kitchen.Arabica Caffe Cubano - a pleasant coffee but did not excite me the way the Peaberry did. I just found out they make an Indian Mysore so that will be my next purchase. I like this coffee roaster alot.Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Although they are located in Oakland, I have to go to San Francisco or Berkeley to buy it in person. I seek it out. They roast in small batches and sell in 1/2 pound bags. The coffee is so freshly roasted that it doesn't even have time to transfer it's aroma to the bag before you brew it. They seem to have a good handle on roasting (i.e., not over-roasting).
I've had three flavors so far, and prefer the Bella Donovan over the 3 Africans and Espresso Temescal. They will ship coffee to you. Highly Recommended!Gold Coast Coffee No website, sorry. They are in Duncan's Mills, CA on Steelhead Blvd, right off River Rd. It's on the way to the coast from Santa Rosa. They roast onsite - and their coffee is truly outstanding. Worth the drive. Don't forget to try a pastry or later in the day their wood-oven pizza. Jim's Organic Coffee I purchased their Limited Edition Colombian Borbon Reserve
Coffee from igourmet.com. It has definite chocolate notes and is very pleasant. It seemed really fresh when I opened it.
I would not seek it out. Big River Coffee Company I liked the Mendo Bistro but it had a bit of a burnt characteristic on the finish.
Caffe Roma I purchased it at Dean & DeLuca. Roma Blend - It seemed even a little light for me. I would try it again but not seek it out.Via Veneto Blend - ok, buy again but not seek out.
Zingerman's Coffee Company I think this a wonderful coffee company. The coffee always seems freshly roasted - but the real sell for me is the style of roasting. I really haven't had one yet that I haven't liked. Perhaps my favorite has been Guatemala Antiqua - but I would be stretching to say I could make the choice.
I've tried Indian Coorg (Elk Hill Estate), Ugandan Mt. Elgon Bugisu, Papua New Guinea (Sigri Plantation), Daterra estate reserve espresso, Joe's Roadhouse, Guatemala Antigua(notes of Chocolate & Hazelnut), and French Roast. I would happily order any of these again - but the French Roast and the Espresso are a little too dark for me. Highly Recommended.Duvall Coffee Roasting I've tried Tanzanian Peaberry and Peru Organic. My first thought was about the size of the Peaberry's "beans" which look like berries.. They are almost round. Really interesting. The style is medium bodied. I liked it. I'll try it again. Jeremiah's Pick Organic Guatamalian Slightly Burned flavors linger on finish. I like that it's organic and fair trade. Try again.
Really intense dark roasted coffee. It's sometimes tricky to make this coffee not taste bitter. Some locals swear by it – I'm only happy drinking it with some sugar element added and lots of milk and cream - then it's deep and rich and delicious. If dark and rich and slightly bitter is your style you need to try this coffee. Other Coffee: