Other than crude oil, coffee is the world’s most valuable legally traded product. According to the National Coffee Association, 59 percent of Americans aged 18 and over drink coffee on any given day, and that's just here. There are more than 21,360 Starbucks stores all over the world. Over 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed annually worldwide according to Business Insider, and over 25 million people consider coffee farms their livelihood.
The connection between those farms and the people who sell the finished product is becoming ever more transparent. While big commercial coffee companies continue to source beans from massive plantations and blend them to insure brand consistency from month to month, an increasing number of independent coffee companies — many of which seek out and import, and virtually all of which roast, their own beans — are taking the opposite approach.
Starbucks may have led the way in introducing the American consumer to the idea that there was actually a difference between coffee from, say, Costa Rica and New Guinea (or even that those places grew coffee plants in the first place), but now much smaller artisanal firms are discovering great beans around the world, often paying fair-trade prices for them, and bringing their customers unique flavors even while they help them make it through a foggy morning or a droopy afternoon.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best coffees from around the world, from premium roasters in various parts of the country, guaranteed to expand your coffee palate.
Boca Java: Hawaiian Kona Extra Fancy Coffee
This coffee from Colorado-based Boca Java is made with 100 percent Kona coffee beans, grown on volcanic slopes on the Big Island of Hawaii (many "Kona" coffees blend the pricey bean with lesser ones). The coffee is smooth and silky taste, with a balanced flavor offering suggestions of hazelnut and chocolate.
Counter Culture Coffee: Idido
Counter Culture Coffee, out of Durham, North Carolina, has been working with the Idido cooperative in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia — where coffee was born— for almost 10 years, and the best coffee from the 200-member cooperative is made into this blend. The end result includes hints of floral and citrus, as well as notes of melon.