The 9 Best (Highest Rated) Coffees of 2017
Ever year, I share the best rated coffees from the past year here at The Coffee Concierge. You can review the previous years’ lists at the links below:
2017 was definitely a year where my day job, travel, and weddings (including my own) got the better of me when it came to publishing coffee reviews.
I always want my coffee reviews to be the most thorough out there, but this perfectionism has tended to backfire to some extent.
Since I spend so much time on each review, it’s tough to get it published while the coffee is still available from the roaster. It can be a pretty big race against the clock, especially since I can only drink so much coffee every day.
Secondly, adding a video review to the mix makes production and editing take more than twice as long as a simple written post. And that’s probably why you’ll notice that most other coffee reviewers on the internet only do one or the other (written or video reviews), not both.
Despite this, I still think I learned plenty of lessons in 2017 to help me improve and publish more reviews for 2018 and beyond.
So before I share my list of best rated coffee from 2017, I figured I’d first provide a quick summary of all the coffee that was reviewed here this year. So, of the 9 coffees that made this years list:
- 5 of the top 9 coffees reviewed were from Ethiopia
- 7 of the top 9 coffees were from a single origin/producer
- 7 of the top 9 coffees were light roasts
- 7 of the top 9 coffees came from U.S. roasters
- The average score of the coffees on this list was 8.3
- 6 of the top 9 coffees came from 2 roasters
Obviously, these statistics are an alarming wake-up call to more diversity in not only the coffee that I review, but the roasters the coffee comes from.
Since I clearly have my own individual preferences when it comes to the coffee I drink and review, a big goal for 2018 will be to integrate reviews from other coffee reviewers and Coffee Concierge readers as well.
If you’re interested in writing coffee reviews for The Coffee Concierge, please contact me here.
As always, If there’s anything you think I can do to make these reviews better, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Finally, if you’d like to learn more about how I review and rate coffee, click here.
All right, let’s get to it! These were my 9 favorite coffees from 2017:
Coffee Concierge Score: 7.4
This is one of the few blends on the list, and perhaps the darkest roast of all the coffee I reviewed this year.
Although I brewed the coffee through multiple methods, espresso is the only brew method I would recommend for the Urban Espresso.
With its thick body and chocolate covered cherry notes, this is definitely a blend worth looking into if you’re any kind of espresso fan.
Coffee Concierge Score: 7.6
The Ethiopia Hambela Alaka from Black Oak Coffee Roasters comes in at #8 on the list, and it won’t be the last Ethiopian coffee either.
The Hambela Alaka is a current nominee for the 2018 Good Food Awards, and for good reason.
The coffee has a little bit of everything in terms of flavor notes. Florals, stone fruit, and berries accompany its naturally delicious aroma.
This coffee tended to do best with drip methods, but you might have some luck with immersion brew methods like the french press if you extend your brew time or use a slightly finer grind than you usually use.
Coffee Concierge Score: 7.8
Yes, it’s Black Oak again, and this won’t be the last time you see them on this list. They just had that many good coffees this year!
The Adame Gorbota was one of the more difficult ones to dial in, but that didn’t take too much away from its overall quality.
Rich aroma with remarkable depth, the Adame Gorbota did great as both espresso and drip coffee.
I wouldn’t recommend it for Press or Moka pot coffee though, as I found its lighter body and strong acidity didn’t work too well with these brew conditions.
Coffee Concierge Score: 8.1
Perhaps the most interesting (and expensive) coffee I got to try this year came from Manawai Coffee out of Kona, Hawaii.
This is the first Hawaiian coffee I’ve ever reviewed, and it was definitely memorable considering the name of the coffee matched the coffee’s dominant flavor and aroma (black rum).
As espresso, it was without a doubt delicious, but not $99-for-8oz-delicious by any stretch.
Coffee Concierge Score: 8.3
The Othaya won multiple awards at the 2017 Golden Bean Awards, both of which fell under espresso-related categories.
Though I experienced great things from the Othaya when brewing it as espresso, I also had excellent results through drip methods.
In the end, the Othaya was a versatile coffee that I think is worth trying for pretty much any brew method under the sun.
Coffee Concierge Score: 8.5
Black Oak Coffee Roasters’ Ethiopia Gedeb Lot 002 was 2016’s best-rated coffee here at The Coffee Concierge, and they came awfully close to the #1 spot again with this delicious coffee.
The Chelelektu Natural is a standout Ethiopian coffee with intense berry aroma and flavor.
Not only did it cup well, but it also tasted great across most of the brew methods I tested it with, especially espresso and drip.
Blueberry, grape, strawberry jam, and club soda were just a few of the tasting notes I picked up in this versatile and complex bag of coffee.
Coffee Concierge Score: 8.8
I don’t usually get to try too many Panamanian coffees, but that changed in 2017 when Caffé Diemme sent me this stellar one.
Allegedly, this was of the Gesha variety, but I was never really able to get complete confirmation or clarity about this from the roaster. In either case, it had a very nice floral and blueberry aroma that could have been all the confirmation I needed.
As far as flavor goes, I picked up blueberry with a dark chocolate finish for the most part.
Coffee Concierge Score: 8.9
Coming in at #2 for 2017’s best rated coffee is the Ethiopian Shilcho from Noble Coffee Roasting out of Ashland, Oregon.
This coffee had both floral and fruity elements to its flavor profile and aromatics. The mouthfeel is clean, and it brews very forgivingly (i.e. it’s tough to mess it up).
The coffee comes from the Dara Woreda region of the Sidama Zone in Ethiopia. It was produced by the Shilcho Cooperative through a complex washing process that includes a 36-hour fermentation period and double-rinsing with fresh water.
Notes of raisin, jasmine, green tea, and cinnamon make this easily the most complex coffee I reviewed this year.
Coffee Concierge Score: 9.1
My favorite coffee from 2017 came pretty early in the year. It was a single origin Ethiopian coffee from an Italian roaster, crafted especially for espresso.
Gli Speciali Ethiopia was an insanely sweet and balanced coffee that I was unfortunately never able to refer my readers to because Caffé Diemme hadn’t gotten the coffee to their U.S. distributor at the time of the review. To-date, I still haven’t received word on its availability.
In any case, the coffee was packed with blueberry and dark chocolate notes and absolutely stunning. Prouced by the Bebeka Estate, this Geisha variety had everything going for it in terms of body, aroma, flavor, and acidity.
Hopefully I’ll get a hold of another bag at some point in 2018.
Browse Caffe Diemmé’s current coffee offerings here.
So which coffee(s) did I miss?
There are obviously thousands upon thousands of coffees I haven’t tried yet, so what were your favorite coffees from 2017?
Let me know by leaving a comment below. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try some of your recommendations in 2018 and beyond!