If we’re oversimplifying it, gourmet coffee is 100% high-quality arabica. It’s a taste upgrade from regular coffee, which is sometimes blended in with cheaper robusta.
Roasted to showcase natural and complex flavors in your cup, gourmet coffees are the best around. But, with so many options these days, it’s challenging to figure out what’s great. Even for baristas like me, finding the best gourmet coffee brands takes experience and something which we all lack – the time to research and taste test.
But, in this case, I’ve already done the work, and below you’ll find a short list of my favorite gourmet coffee brands in 2021. But, if you’re in a dash, here’s my favorite from the list:
What is gourmet coffee?
“Gourmet” is usually associated with premium and pure arabica coffee.
Compared to Robusta and Liberia, Arabica coffee beans are considered far superior when it comes to flavor complexity. Gourmet Arabica coffee is grown at a high altitude, resulting in coffee cherries that mature slowly and allow for a broad range of sugars and acids to develop.
The result? High quality coffee that makes tasty brews like no other!
It’s essential to mention that when coffee is considered gourmet, you can safely assume that the cherries have been grown and processed under the highest standards, including farming, processing, and roasting. This alone explains why we pay a premium for the best coffee. But, is all this worth it? Heck yes!
It’s an entirely different flavor when compared to your regular grocery store-bought, often dark roasted coffees. Better than just good coffee. Gourmet roasted coffee really pushes the boat out and tingles your taste buds with a taste like no other.
Regular coffees are often a blend of any of the 3 primary coffee varieties: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberia. Roasters have different reasons for blending whole bean coffee, but this comes at the expense of flavor. Consequently, regular coffee isn’t crafted for taste excellence the way gourmet coffee is.
Now that we’re clear on what quality gourmet coffee is, below I’ve detailed some of my favorite brands so you can skip the super confused part of your brewing journey:
Best Gourmet Coffee Brands 2021
Very few coffee brands do ‘all the things’ to make them stand out in the crowd. When it comes to Lifeboost, I’ve never seen a brand with such a broad set of credentials that accompany its great-tasting gourmet coffee!
- The company ticks every box
- Low acid
- Large product choice
- Higher than average price tag
- Only single origin coffees
Lifeboost whole bean coffee is shade-grown at an elevation of 5700 feet in the rural hills of Nicaragua, sitting directly on the coffee belt. The coffee is certified USDA certified organic, low acid, single-origin, fair trade, and mycotoxin free. Yup, they do everything you’d expect from a premium coffee and more!
In case you’re unaware, mycotoxins naturally occur in molds and fungi that develop via poor farming and processing techniques. With Lifeboost, you can always rest assured that the coffee is freshly roasted, farmed with care, and processed according to organic standards.
The result is single-origin coffee, which tastes like no other while being friendly on your stomach.
What else sets Lifeboost apart?
All types of coffee drinkers will appreciate their high-quality light, medium roast, and dark roast offerings. This also includes Swiss Water decaf and a variety of (naturally) flavor-infused coffee beans.
Regardless if you’re looking for whole bean or ground coffee, Lifeboost’s wide range of products will surely satisfy more than one type of coffee lover. Certainly the perfect bet for gourmet coffee explorers of all levels. Overall, a more than decent coffee menu that’ll have you struggling to decide which product you want to try first!
Gourmet coffee culture is founded on quality and exploration. What better process to guide a coffee enthusiasts journey than to grab a coffee subscription that’s essentially a world tour of flavor!
Enjoy different brews from all across the world with Atlas. Sign up to receive a new variety of beans to sample every month and enjoy the best micro lots from around the globe! Use code SIP50 for 50% off your first order!
- Makes a great gift
- Ever changing assortment
- Can’t subscribe to a product on repeat
- Shipping isn’t free
Great single-origin coffee doesn’t just develop overnight. It’s years of hard work, consistency, science, and a little bit of luck. Each country or lot of origin has its unique characteristics showcased in the flavor of the beans.
Besides all of these factors, you’ll often have to sift through suppliers with inconsistent quality to find those grown with care and roasted on demand.
Now imagine a company that puts all of that together for you on a global tour of coffee. That’s Atlas in a nutshell! All you have to do is choose, wait, and enjoy your beans or ground coffee sourced from exclusive single-origin micro-lots. Perfect!
Atlas gives you different size options, along with regular whole beans when you order your coffee. After this, you can also choose how often you want them delivered and your favorite bean profile (dark, light, or medium roast coffee) or mix them up if you like.
A coffee subscription box is one of the best gifts you can give to a coffee lover. Whether a friend or a family member enjoys exploring the world via cups of joe, or they make careers out of it (like coffee roasters), check out Atlas to access the best-curated gourmet coffee from around the world.
All in all, this is quality coffee at its finest. The fact the coffee changes every month will be super appealing for anyone looking to hop on a tour of origins and beef up their coffee experience.
Read out complete Atlas review to learn more about this choice.
One of our all-time favorites for exotic gourmet coffee, Volcanica’s name gives a hint on their selection process.
- Large range of products
- Free delivery over $60
- No light roasts available
When scrolling through the assortment, you’ll notice each pack of beans is grown in volcanic regions across the world. This makes Volcanica unique and also ensures you’re only buying the tastiest beans.
The science checks out since volcanic soil and elevation work wonders for coffee plant yields and flavor complexities. The slower the growth induced by harsher conditions, the more time for sugars and acids to develop.
Regardless if you’re a fan of the typical medium roast coffee or a darker roast brewed with milk, Volcanica has something for you. Shop by region, need, or certification, including rare brews such as Jamaica Blue Mountain or Kopi Luwak if that’s your thing.
This is one coffee brand that tastes as good as it looks. You’re only a few clicks away from fresh and premium quality beans with choices for almost all tastes. Although, the fact they don’t sell light roasts is annoying and will put some people completely off.
Onyx is known for incredible coffee and great branding.
- Perfect if you’re after a specific origin
- Sample packs available
Onyx also has some of the most complete descriptions and product information I’ve seen in the coffee industry. So you’ll quickly understand the context of what you’re drinking, from the processing method to the best way to brew. No longer will you be limited to only seeing “light roast” “medium roasted” on the label and wondering about how it’s grown and the backstory.
My favorite pick from this brand is the winner of the Cup of Excellence in Costa Rica. With flavor notes of berries, confectioner sugar, rum, and passion fruit, you’ll almost do a double-take if you see this on a cafe menu. Menu items with those flavor notes don’t last too long on the shelf either!
If you’re curious about how perceptibly better a winner of the Cup of Excellence is, the above gourmet coffee suggestion could be the perfect starting point. Look for clarity of flavors, the thickness of the body, and a nice, lingering finish.
Perfect as a gift for someone who loves gourmet coffee. Although sometimes that someone is you!
Stumptown Coffee Roasters is one of the small brands that really burst onto the gourmet coffee scene. They have a fun type of branding, which they back up with quality beans or pre-ground coffee if you need.
A blend of origins including Sumatra. An excellent pick if you enjoy an earthy espresso.
- Tastes great!
- Rated highly
- Brand has a small assortment vs others
Stumptowns’ most popular beans are the ‘hair bender’. And no wonder, it tastes like a quest to savor the broad set of flavors that are associated with coffee in a single sip. Yup, you can probably tell that I approve!
I’ve tried many of the medium roasted variants outside of the hair bender, and they pair amazingly with an espresso machine or French Press. If a French coffee press is your brewer of choice, consider trying a medium-dark coffee bean selection to enhance that thicker, stronger coffee that you can produce with it.
Be on the lookout for sweetness, body, aroma, price, and roast date when choosing beans since you’ll want them in their prime (2-4 weeks after roasting). In case you miss that short window for best brewing, remember that beans past their prime are still great as a cold brew!
With Stumptown’s fun branding, they’ve helped pique interest towards coffee culture as know it. While smaller shops wait for the customers to trickle down, this trend has managed to champion the best gourmet coffee options around thus far.
Bean Box works with a variety of gourmet coffee brands and essentially handles the sales and marketing. For you, this means that you can quickly buy beans from a variety of roasters but with one single bill or monthly subscription.
- Unique micro-lots
- Great subscription service
- Often out of stock of limited lots
Regardless if you enjoy a Rwandan light roast or a wet-hulled Sumatran, you’ll find it at Beanbox. Roasted to order and delivered to your door, the primary business is a coffee subscription, but you can buy one off too if you wish.
If exploring different beans is your thing, you’ll enjoy the broad range of assortment available at Beanbox.
The Final Verdict
When it comes to coffees, not everyone tries to understand them as passionately as we do. These top 5 picks have made coffee their thing about as much as we love drinking it. It’s reflected in the quality of their product offerings, and all 5 are of a gourmet standard.
Nonetheless, the best gourmet coffee beans, in my opinion, are Lifeboost. Why? Because they do ‘all the things’ and do them exceptionally well, all while being transparent. We’ve also agreed to a discount for Sip Coffee readers via the link below!
If you want to understand coffee better or enjoy good quality according to global standards, then Lifeboost could be the top choice for you too.