2020 was an amazing year for coffee. All in all I reviewed 102 coffees on the site and likely tried over 400 coffees. I discovered the amazing flavor notes possible with the anaerobic processing method that grew in prominence this year, found a new love for blends (specifically single origin blends) and tried dozens of new roasters around the country and world. I tried so many amazing coffees this year, it was almost impossible to pick only a few that were in my top list, but I did my best and have compiled a list of 15 of my favorite coffees from throughout the year. The coffees are ordered in the order I reviewed them this year.
Wush Wush, Ethiopia
Cirque Coffee Roasters
I started off 2020 with a bang with one of my favorite coffees of the year. This was an amazing coffee and met the hype of what I’d heard about the possibilities of Wush Wush’s. It had an incredibly strong and deeply sweet flavor of banana cream, berry, stone fruit and clove.
Raimutin – Timor Leste
Country: Timor Leste
This coffee was the March 2020 coffee for my Yonder subscription and my first experience with the origin of Timor Leste. Needless to say, it blew my mind. It was sweet & jammy, exotic & complex.
Noble Coffee Roasting
Noble is one of my favorite roasters and one of their coffees is almost always in my top list for the year. Usually it is an African coffee though, so I was surprised with how impressed I was with this Peruvian coffee. It was likely the best coffee from Peru I’ve ever had and it’s sweet, tangy complexity, while still being balanced and approachable made this a clear favorite for the year.
El Salvador Finca El Cerro Natural
Red Rooster Coffee
Country: El Salvador
This was one of the first naturally processed El Salvadorian coffees I have had and kicked off a love affair with them throughout the entire year. The sweetness, brightness and crispness in the cup were incredible and I loved the strawberry & raspberry notes in the flavor.
Guatemala Gesha Natural
Three Story Coffee
Three Story Coffee is a small roaster based in my home state of Missouri. I got to try a variety of their coffees earlier this year and was blown away by this naturally processed Guatemalan Gesha. It was one of the most complex coffees I tried during the year and was incredibly fun to explore.
Alt. 4915 – Costa Rica
Country: Costa Rica
This was the first “anaerobic” processed coffee I had ever tried. While the term anaerobic is a bit misleading, the flavor variety you can achieve with various anaerobic fermentations is incredible and I had so much fun exploring a lot of coffees that used that processing method throughout the year. This one in particular featured pronounced cinnamon, apple and baking spice notes that blew my mind.
Amity Brothers Coffee
The defining flavor note in this coffee was banana bread and it was amazing. I was blown away by how strongly I tasted the banana notes and it quickly became one of my favorite coffees for the year.
Nirvana Anaerobic Natural Gesha
Black & White Coffee Roaster
I had the opportunity to try a wide variety of Black & White coffee this year and all of it was excellent. It was this naturally processed Gesha from Panama though that really stood out. It was another coffee from my Yonder subscription and had incredible tropical fruit and citrus notes that really blew my mind.
Costa Rica Duran Family
White Star Coffee
Country: Costa Rica
I knew from the moment I started sipping this coffee earlier this fall that it was going to be a top coffee for the year. It was bright, juicy and incredibly delicious. My flavor description included “tropical fruit (pineapple, mango and even banana), blackberry, lemon drops and an undertow of apricot.” Yep, it was as delicious as it sounds.
Wonderstate (formerly Kickapoo Coffee Roasters) has been a favorite roaster of mine for a few years. This Kenyan was likely my favorite from the year and had the perfect mix of richness, complexity and intense flavor. It represented everything I love about a good Kenyan coffee.
Organic Ethiopia Dur Feres Natural
Black Sails Coffee Roasters
A year or two back, naturally processed Ethiopian coffees were the clear front-runner for my favorite type of coffee. While they still are probably top of my list, as you can see from the list here, the variety of excellent coffees has broadened a lot for me. This naturally processed Ethiopian from Black Sails though brought me back to my roots and reminded me of why I still love Ethiopian coffees so much. The acidity, berry notes and sweetness could not be beat.
La Esmeralda Gesha Especial Noria
La Esmeralda is a legend in the coffee world and it was an intense privilege to get to try some of their coffee this year. Theodores Coffee did it proud and brought out an amazingly complex and intense cup that was full of tropical fruit, banana, honey, grapefruit and floral notes.
Costa Rica Tarrazú F1 Natural
Oak & Bond Coffee Company
Country: Costa Rica
This is the third Costa Rican coffee on my favorites list this year and one of a few Oak & Bond coffees I had the opportunity to try. Oak & Bond has become one of my favorite roasters over the past year or two and each coffee of theirs I try is better than the last. This one had notes of lime citrus and berries, which created a rich, crisp cup with a full, velvety mouthfeel.
Monte De Oro Natural Gesha
Abracadabra Coffee Co.
The description for this coffee was “totally bonkers” and I have to agree. It was intense from beginning to end. It was sweet, rich and complex with notes of tropical fruit, pineapple, honey and a floral foundation.
Savage Geisha – Nirvana Process
This rare and exotic coffee was a true treat to enjoy and is the last in my set of favorites for the year. It was incredibly juicy like a kiwi and sweet like berries with deep fruit notes throughout. As with many of the above coffees, it was intense, complex and delicious.
There were about 15-20 others I could have easily included and trying to limit myself to an arbitrary number of “favorites” is a bit frivolous. That said, I do love looking back after a full year and trying to limit myself to just a few favorites to highlight some of the best coffee I tried throughout the year. I can’t wait for the amazing coffees that are waiting ahead in 2021.