For the past couple of years, I’ve been counting down my favorite coffees of the year. For historical perspective, you can check out my favorite coffees of 2012 and 2013.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember, the coffees in this list are only coffees that I had in 2014; it is a highly subjective list and is in no way meant to be authoritative or comprehensive.)
In 2014, I cupped around 175 different coffees from about 75 different roasters. I’ve compiled my 50 favorite coffees and today I present to you, Dear Reader, my Best Coffees of 2014, numbers 20-11!
20. PILOT COFFEE ROASTERS // KENYA KIKAI PB
Weird, bizarre, and wonderful, Pilot Coffee Roasters’s Kenya Kikai PB is an exceptional coffee—even for a Kenya.
19. BLUEPRINT COFFEE // KENYA KARIMIKUI
In its debut at The Table, Blueprint Coffee provided one of the best Kenyan coffees I’ve had all season (
possibly probably, ever) with their Kenya Karimikui. I mean – this is some coffee.
The Karimikui is intensely flavorful, complex, and nuanced, with a melange of fruits, spices, and sugary sweetness that bombards the taste buds relentlessly. However, this is a coffee in which every flavor complements each other, so it’s not too much for the palate to handle – rather, it’s a very well-rounded, balanced coffee that is as sweet as it is acidic.
This is a coffee that didn’t stay in my cup long after brewing it, nor on my shelf long after receiving it. It’s just… delicious.
18. POPULACE COFFEE // COSTA RICA LOS LOBOS
I can summarize Populace Coffee’s Costa Rica Los Lobos with one word: DAYUMN.
This is an absolutely beautiful coffee; super flavorful, an absolutely crystalline clarity, and a stunning, sparkling acidity. This was a real “sipping coffee”—not just because of the tartness towards the finish, but because it’s a coffee that you just don’t want to end.
17. RUBY COFFEE ROASTERS // COLOMBIA AGUACATE
What a coffee.
I can’t remember the last time I was this challenged by a cup of coffee; the Colombia Aguacate, from Ruby Coffee Roasters, really pushed me and took my brewing skills and my palate to task. It was one of those coffees that I had to wrestle with – a lot, actually. Dialing it in, choosing brew method, playing with pour styles… It was a lot of work for a cup of coffee.
But I have to say, the reward was well worth the effort. The Aguacate is such a unique and dynamic Colombian coffee, with a profile more similar to a Brazil than many of its brighter, fruit-forward Colombian counterparts (especially in recent years), but it has a narrow window through which to get the best cup.
16. PASSION HOUSE COFFEE ROASTERS // RWANDA LAKE KIVU KABIRIZI
What a beautiful, unique coffee! I’ve had a few Rwandan coffees so far this year and, thus far, I have to say – the Rwanda Lake Kivu Kabirizi, from Passion House Coffee Roasters, just might be the best of the bunch.
This was a voluptuous and curvy full-bodied coffee, but it was also a bright, shimmery, and somewhat effervescent coffee. This was a flavorful and powerful coffee, but it was also balanced and ethereal. Because why should a coffee be just one thing when it can be all things to all people?
15. FORTY WEIGHT COFFEE ROASTERS // GUATEMALA FINCA EL PILAR
Wow. Forty Weigh Coffee’s Guatemala Finca El Pilar is crazy. Crazy flavorful, crazy complex, crazy unique.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever tasted a Guatemalan coffee quite like this one. I think I’d be hard-pressed to think of any coffee I’ve had that was quite like this one. Sweet, spicy, savory… This coffee runs the gambit.
14. SUNERGOS COFFEE // ETHIOPIA WORKA
Once again, Sunergos Coffee has provided me a very difficult coffee to review with their Ethiopia Worka; not difficult because of its incredible complexity (which it certainly possesses) nor because of its intricate layers of dynamic and unique flavors (which it also possesses), but because of its drinkable deliciousness. Honestly, I had to cup this coffee five times because the first three times I enjoyed the coffee so much that I forgot to jot notes down.
And, personally, I don’t think I can pay the Worka any higher tribute than that—it’s so good that it made this coffee reviewer forget to review it three times. That’s pretty damn good.
13. KUMA COFFEE // GUATEMALA LA ESPERANZA
Two years ago, Kuma Coffee released their Guatemala Bella Carmona and it has since become something of coffee lore. Even two years later, I know of many people that still sing its praises; me included. That coffee was absolutely incredible and truly special. And, honestly, I didn’t think we’d ever have another Guatemala at the Table that would ever top the Bella Carmona.
Dear Reader—I have found that coffee. And I don’t think it’s irony at all that coffee, once again, comes from Kuma Coffee.
Their Guatemala La Esperanza is, to put in scientific terms, 100% bonkers. It has everything you could possibly want in a coffee: it’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s juicy, it’s fruity, it’s… It’s everything. And it’s amazing.
I don’t know if this will be the best coffee of the year for me, but it will be a very tough contender for that honor.
12. KICKAPOO COFFEE ROASTERS // ETHIOPIA IDIDO
This is a coffee to be excited about. The Ethiopia Idido, from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, is a special, uniquely complex coffee that dances and glides all over the palate, inundating it with beautiful flavors. With as much as this coffee does to the taste buds, I’d love to say that it was all over the place, but it’s not—it has some really wild flavors, but they’re perfectly contained and presented in a perfectly rounded, balanced cup. Furthermore, it has a sparkling clarity that really shines, particularly in the finish.
The Idido is simply spectacular, and it comes highly recommended from the Table.
11. QUILLS COFFEE // CONGO SOPACDI
My goodness. This coffee… This coffee just does not quit.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has emerged, in the past year, really, as the home of some of the most dynamic and interesting coffees in the world. And it has really been just in the past year or so. Or maybe it’s that importers have finally discovered what the farmers of Congo have known along. Which is probably more likely.
Coincidentally, Quills Coffee has emerged as one of the best roasters in the United States, really, within the past year or two.
So it only makes sense that the marriage of Quills and the Congo Sopacdi would be a real treat. And it was. This coffee is incredible.
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.