Wondering what is the best coffee in the world? Well, I know what it is, and I might just tell you, because I’m a nice guy ;-).
It is…. Drumroll… speciality coffee. Freshly roasted high quality coffee beans from one of the dozens of small batch coffee roasters that we’re fortunate enough to have in the UK! Exactly which speciality coffee is the best in the word is down to personal preference, but without a shadow of a doubt, the best coffee in the world is high quality recently roasted coffee beans from small batch coffee roasters. To experience it at it’s very best, you should also be grinding your own and freshly brewing just after grinding.
For more about exactly what speciality coffee is read what is speciality coffee and why should I care.
If you’ve only purchased coffee beans or ground coffee in the past from supermarkets, or other big brand names, you haven’t tried speciality coffee!
I’ve seen comments from people in the past who appear to think that some of the very well known big brand coffee beans that they have purchased online or via supermarkets, is the best coffee in the world, and that this is speciality coffee, it isn’t either! Big brand coffee is what is referred to as second wave coffee, which means that it’s mass imported, mass roasted and pass packaged coffee beans, what I usually refer to as commodity coffee. Even if it’s sold in fancy packaging with buzz words such as “single origin” or “artisan roast”, it’s still not speciality coffee.
Don’t get me wrong, some of this coffee is OK, but there is a world of difference in between second wave coffee like this, and 3rd wave coffee AKA speciality coffee. This is also the same when it comes to chain coffee shops and speciality coffee shops. Big chain coffee shops serve second wave coffee, as do many independent cafe’s that serve coffee but don’t particularly specialise in it.
They may serve the same drinks as independent third wave coffee shops, such as flat white, latte, cortado and so on, and they may have well trained Baristas (although some of them cheat with bean to cup machines), but it’s all down to the coffee beans they’re using.
Big brands are good at presenting products with a higher perceived value in order to provide decent margins. So it’s very easy to be tricked into picking up a bag of coffee from a supermarket or online, and believing that what you’re getting is among the best coffee on the planet, when in reality what you’re buying is commodity coffee, bought at the lowest possible price in huge volume, roasted in bulk & packaged in “keep fresh” packaging with a year or more sell by date.
This kind of coffee isn’t even close to being close to being close to being the best coffee in the world. Even if the coffee beans themselves were fairly good quality, the fact that they’re being roasted in huge volume and are more than likely over roasted usually results in a much more dull and less interesting tasting coffee than would have been the case if they were roasted in smaller quantity with more care.
It’s the same with the most well known chain coffee shops too, they are very clever when it comes to presenting what appears to be a very high quality product, but when it all boils down to it, the coffee they’re using is second wave commodity coffee, not speciality freshly small batch roasted “third wave” coffee.
This isn’t at all to say that all independent coffee shops are speciality coffee shops of course, but most independent cafe’s are honest and transparent about what they’re about. If you walk into a “cafe” somewhere for breakfast for example, and you see that they sell “coffee”, if you’re a coffee lover you would usually expect that the coffee isn’t going to be anything award winning, it’s probably from an electric drip filter machine, or in some cases instant, but usually there is nothing being done by the cafe to try to give you the idea that what they’re serving is something special.
It isn’t cat poo coffee!
While Kopi Luwak may be the most expensive coffee in the world, that doesn’t make it the best. What you’re paying for with this pricey coffee, is the fact that it has passed through the digestive system of the palm Civet. Nice… The movie “The bucket list” helped to increase the status of Kopi Luwak, and maybe drinking something that a cat has crapped out is one of the things you want to do before you kick the bucket, it’s certainly not high on my list ;-). I don’t like the idea of this coffee though not because I’m squeamish, but because it’s production often means cruelty to Palm Civets, which is something that I can’t stomach.
I’m vegetarian, not because I think eating meat is wrong, but because I think the way animals are usually treated when it comes to the production of meat, is wrong, and the same thing applies here. By the way, if I were living off the land and needed the protein, I’d have no problem hunting one animal at a time, that has lived wild, to feed my family, but Animals being bred just for food, with little or no care given to the experience of the being that is being created in order to feed us, that’s what I don’t agree with.
Anyway, I’m digressing… So the best coffee in the world, is not a single coffee bean, it is the best quality coffee beans, grown picked and processed with great care by the best coffee farmers, and then roasted by specialist small batch coffee roasters who know how to get the very best taste profile from the beans.
When it comes to the best roasters, there are lots of UK coffee roasters, see my list of UK coffee roasters to see if there’s a roaster near to you, some of them welcome customers popping in. My current favourite suppliers are Adams & Russell, Hasbean, Pact coffee & decadent decaf.
In terms of the beans themselves, they’re 100% Arabica, or sometimes a blend which includes Robusta, especially when it comes to espresso blends. They can be single origin, and in some case even single estate / farm, but we can also blend beans from different origins in order to create interesting flavour profiles. I
In fact, I was contacted a few days ago by eightpointnine coffee, a coffee subscription service based in Brighton, who allow customers to create and name their very own blends, by using a very clever web app. Their tool allows you to use sliders to set the taste and the intensity of the coffee, and you can tweak your blend as you go along until you achieve your own perfect blend. I think this is genius, and I’ve created three custom blends, I’m going to try them and let you know what I think in an upcoming blog post. If you decide to give it a try, use the discount code coffeeblog16 for 50% off your first bag.
So there we are, you now know if you didn’t already that the best coffee in the world isn’t any one particular coffee bean, it’s not cat crap coffee, it’s not any one particular origin, it is freshly roasted speciality coffee.
Life is like a box of chocolates, so follow me on Twitter, and that’s all I have to say about that.