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The Top 10 Coffees As Voted On By the Angels' Cup Community!

The Top 10 Coffees As Voted On By the Angels' Cup Community!
This week, we launched a new subscription service, Angels' Cup All Stars. What makes All Stars so exciting is that instead of just shipping our favorite coffees, we'll be shipping our community's favorite coffees. What better time than now to review the top rated coffees from our first year in business, as voted on by our app users!

10. Ethiopia Aramo (#0111)- Spotted Cow Coffee Co.

"From the start after grinding, the overwhelming aroma of blueberries dominated. It continued through the brewing and althoughthe overall taste ended up being much more complex, the whole experience really lifted my mood." - Magiccoffeetruck
spottedcowcoffeecompany.com spottedcow aramo

9. Bali Kintamani (#116)- Sunergos Coffee

"Smooth flavor defintiely without bitterness. Light and almost refreshing!" - Coffeehunter 520
sunergoscoffee.com Sunergos Bali

8. Colombia San Roque (#228)- La Colombe Torrefaction

"This coffee reminds me of campfires and the forest. It first comes across as sweet but then starts to get more woodsy in taste." - Coffeehunter 2839
lacolombe.com la colombe workshop colombia san roque

7. Natural Process Ethiopia Yirgacheffe (#093)- Bespoken Coffee Roasters

"Most notable flavor int he coffee is blueberry. It has flavors like grape, cherry and bubblegum. This has a complex profile that creates a wild cup!" - Coffeehunter 147
bespokencoffee.com bespoken

6. La Esperanza El Salvador (#229)- Coava Coffee Roasters

"Strong blueberry notes explode with a grapefruit undertone. Semi-sweet chocolate finish with a rose-like lightness." - Coffeehunter 1928
coavacoffee.com coava coffee el salvador la esperanza

5. Panama Pinton Gesha (#075)- Post Coffee Co.

"Delicate, sweet, and extraordinarily interesting." - Coffeehunter 201
postcoffeeco.com Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 3.56.56 PM

4. Ethiopia Ardi (#182)- Topeca Coffee Roasters

"Wow! Berries blast you up front followed by a tropical mango-like sweetness and a finish of black tea with a touch of grapefruit." - Rick Nakama
topecacoffee.com Topeca-Coffee-Ethiopia-Ardi

3. Kenya Nyeri (#088)- Gimme! Coffee

"Nice smooth taste. Easy to drink. I want more of this coffee! Not sure I know how to describe the flavors and aromas so may be wrong there. I haven't even touched the cinnamon rolls the were supposed to accompany my cup of coffee, it's delicious on its own." - Coffeehunter 294
gimmecoffee.com Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 7.06.52 PM

2. Kenya AA Gakuyuni (#220)-Beanfruit Coffee Company

"Wow #220 delivers! A rich chocolaty aroma which gives way to floral notes. The flavor is complex yet clear; notes of honeydew and dark chocolate at first taste, and a subtle grapefruit finish! The aftertaste is superb as well." - David
beanfruitcoffeeco.com Beanfruit Coffee Kenya AA and Ethiopia Chele'lektu

1. La Esmeralda Panama Gesha (#176)- Square One Coffee Roasters

"Aromas of citrus and lavender upon brewing and in cup. Fantastic sweetness, delicious citrus notes and acidity and a sweet aftertaste that reminds me of Fruit Loops." - Kremrik
sqaureonecoffee.com square one gesha

Want to try more coffee?

Angels' Cup is an online coffee tasting club where subscribers get to blindly sample up to 208 different coffees per year, from over 100 top 3rd wave roasters. Small samples sizes mean you get to sample more coffees for less money. Tasting flights start at only $8.99!

Join Angels' Cup Today!

10 Best Seattle Coffee Roasters for When You're Ready to Graduate From Starbucks

10 Best Seattle Coffee Roasters for When You're Ready to Graduate From Starbucks
It's finally coffee weather, time to gear up with some good beans! So put down that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (no disrespect, I had one yesterday), here are our favorites from the state known for making coffee cool -> Washington.

1. Conduit Coffee

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 3.23.30 PM Conduit Coffee is one of the very first roasters that we shipped on our tasting flight when we first launched. We were ecstatic then and we still get super excited when we get a chance to feature them now! Jesse Nelson is one talented roaster and we love working with him and getting to try his coffees. One of our favorites, the Kenya Kirinyaga, has that juiciness Kenyans have with flavors of marshmallow, Nutella, and graham cracker. That's Nutella s'mores in a cup!

2. Bluebeard Coffee Roasters

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 5.14.48 PM The team at Bluebeard spends their days roasting the most interesting coffees they can get their hands on. They recently released new awesome packaging and have a wonderful cozy space in Tacoma, WA. We love the Misty Valley Natural Ethiopia is delicious. Juicy and sweet with fruits like melon and berries with hints of dark chocolate.

3. Spotted Cow Coffee Company

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 5.10.28 PM We are totally infatuated with Spotted Cow and they were one of the first roasters we featured early on. Maxwell Mooney is one cool dude and an incredible roaster. Go ahead and drop by their cafe in Millcreek, WA not only for coffee but tasty ice-cream as well (Maybe an Affogato? Yum!). The San Jose Pedregal Colombia is what great Colombian coffee tastes like. This cup changes from citrus and apricots to donut, figs, and spices when it cools. A nice Autumn coffee to enjoy while watching the leaves change colors.

4. Indaba Coffee Roasters

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 5.01.19 PM Indaba Coffee in Spokane, WA believes in the simplicity and beauty of coffee and that greatness shines through when those two things come together. They are dedicated to their craft and it's evident in each cup. We've featured them a couple of times in the tasting flight but this season get their Nicaragua Finca El Retiro. Nice and chocolate-ey with hints of caramel and toffee. Who needs a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato now?!

5. Roast House Coffee

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 9.44.23 PM A small and passionate craft coffee company in Spokane, WA, Roast House Coffee is Good Food Award winner and dedicated to giving the best coffees that are organic and Fair Trade as well as 100% shade grown. They are featured this week in Angels' Cup and the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe is fantastic and one of our favorites. When it's hot you get a burst of peaches, as it gets cooler strawberries come out with sweetness from honey.

6. Victrola Coffee

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.04.37 PM Victrola Coffee Roasters has been around for 15 years and counting. They are fun, quirky, and engaged with the community. Grab a seat in their cozy cafe and enjoy a cup of the Ethiopia Oromia Harrar. Brown sugar, hazelnut, and chocolate covered blueberries will have a party in your mouth.

7. Lighthouse Roasters

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 10.53.51 PM This beloved roaster has a dedicated following in the community. Their beans are exquisite and there is a pleasant and genuine comfort about them that's hard to find. Try their Sumatra Mandheling this fall. It's nutty, spicy, and with a hint of sweetness.

8. Kuma Coffee

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.06.39 PM Kuma Coffee is a 2015 Good Food Award winner. They started small, turning a hobby into a business and are one of the best in the country and definitely worth checking out. The Guatemala Chuito is a juicy and satisfying. Big chocolate notes on this cup.

9. Zoka Coffee Roaster

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.28.02 PM Zoka Coffee was born right in the heart of Seattle. They have created a close community around their coffees and it gets bigger everyday. They have a very limited Panama La Esmeralda Geisha you gotta get your hands on. Super complex with notes of blueberry, apples, and chocolate dipped strawberries.

10. Herkimer Coffee

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.43.29 PM Herkimer Coffee Roasters believe in educating people about the coffees they are drinking therefore spreading the word about what great coffee really is. the Guatemala El Pollo is an exciting cup with pineapple and cranberries mixed in with the sweetness of cane sugar and some cocoa.

Want to try more coffee?

Angels' Cup is an online coffee tasting club where subscribers get to blindly sample up to 208 different coffees per year, from over 100 top 3rd wave roasters. Small samples sizes mean you get to sample more coffees for less money. Tasting flights start at only $8.99!

Join Angels' Cup Today!

A Guide to Buying Coffee on the Internet: Gourmet, Specialty, & Third Wave Coffee Defined

A Guide to Buying Coffee on the Internet: Gourmet, Specialty, & Third Wave Coffee Defined
Being interested in coffee, I talk to a lot of people about coffee and their approach to it. One of the things that surprises and interests me the most, is how different someone’s perception of a good cup of coffee can be from mine. More specifically, when I start talking about coffee, I am taken aback when someone steers the conversation towards “Gourmet Coffee.” I am not a coffee snob and I don’t mind what coffee you drink or what you put in it. I have and do drink coffee in the bottom tiers of quality on occasion. That being said, gourmet flavored coffees are unpalatable to me, I can’t bring myself to drink them. I’m not mad at you if that is what you like, I’m just not going to drink it. This of course begs the question, what is gourmet coffee and how does it differ from Third Wave coffee like the coffee sold by Angel’s Cup?

Defining Some Terms

When trying to understand the differences between gourmet coffee and Third Wave coffee, it helps to have a base definition of each. Here is the “view from 30,000 feet,” brief fly-over of a few of the common terms. Gourmet coffee- This term is actually a little up for interpretation. It doesn’t have a specific meaning in itself but it does have a connotation. As a general rule of thumb, if a roaster is referring to their coffee as gourmet, you can probably expect these things:
  • There will be a heavy emphasis on flavored coffee
  • They will probably describe their coffee as having a “shelf-life” or expiration date (15 months on one website!).
  • The majority of the coffee will come out of extremely large coffee farms in Brazil.
There is no set standard for gourmet coffee, it is more-or-less a marketing term that can be used at the discretion of the roasting company. Specialty Coffee- This term was first used in 1974 by Erna Knutsen as a way of differentiating a segment of coffee away form the “Gourmet Coffee” label. Specialty coffee is defined as being rated 80 points or more on the 100 point coffee grading scale. There is a governing organization, The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), that monitors quality and standards of specialty coffee. Third Wave Coffee- This term is refers to a smaller segment of specialty coffee. It is a group of roasters, cafes and consumers that view the process of roasting, brewing and drinking coffee to fall into the artisanal and specialty foods category. Coffee is more than a commodity to this group. With Third Wave coffee you can typically expect sourcing from small farms, single origin coffees and lighter roasts. There will be an emphasis on coffee being consumed fresh, as well as, roasting in a way that highlights the origin characteristics and processing method of the coffee.

Three Important Differences

Besides the obvious differences that can be seen from the basic definitions of the terms, there are a few other differences that should be noted. Although some of it applies to gourmet coffee in general, these differences focus on gourmet flavored coffee as I believe this is the greatest misrepresentation of the word “gourmet.”

Flavored Coffee versus Coffee with Flavor

Support for gourmet coffee comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of coffee and coffee flavors. There is a general misconception that coffee tastes bad and we need things (sugar, flavoring, whimsically named creamers) to make it drinkable. Third Wave coffee is good on it’s own merits, without additives. A good cup of coffee has all sorts of interesting and delicious flavors both subtle and not so subtle. Coffee can have a natural sweetness, an enjoyable complexity or creamy smoothness (take a look at this coffee tasting chart). Do not underestimate the potential of a quality coffee. As with most food related tastes, artificially flavored coffee is no match for the natural flavors that a quality Third Wave coffee can have. Don’t opt for “Blueberry Pie” gourmet coffee. Search out coffee that has blueberry in the tasting notes.

Chemical Process Versus Natural Processes

One of the things I love about coffee is the roasting process. Did you know that you can roast coffee at home? You cannot, however, roast gourmet flavored coffees at home. The chemicals used for such a process are too dangerous to sell to an average consumer. (They typically use propylene glycol… yikes!) The processing that a coffee goes through to produce it’s natural flavors are, as you may expect, 100% natural. The country of origin and how it was picked and processed impact the flavors immensely. Don’t spoil your morning ritual with an unappetizing mixture of coffee and flavoring chemicals.

Mega Farms Versus Micro lots

Most coffee for gourmet flavored coffee comes from large farms in Brazil. These giant coffee plantations use the most convenient (cheapest) methods for growing, harvesting and processing your coffee. This means you are getting an inferior product and the roaster has no choice but to add flavors or over-roast the coffee in order to make it “palatable.” A great majority of Third Wave coffee comes from small farms. In many cases, there are people and organizations working with these farmers to improve their coffee crop. These small farms typically expend tremendous amounts of effort to maintain, grow and harvest their product. The results of their efforts are small lots of unique coffees, prized for their flavors and quality.

Give Third Wave Coffee a Try

There are other things that differentiate between “Gourmet” coffee and Third Wave coffee but I hope you can see that there is huge quality gap between the two. Whether you are searching for a coffee for yourself or as a gift, I want to encourage you to consider Third Wave coffee (Angel’s Cup is also now available on Amazon). You can, of course, drink whatever you like but don’t be fooled by the marketing gimmicks. Gourmet is a term that is often associated with connoisseurship and quality. Gourmet coffee is typically not either of those things. If you are looking for a relentless pursuit of quality and craftsmanship, Third Wave coffee is where you want to be.