If you’ve seen advertisements for Fabula Coffee, you’ve probably wondered if this one is any different from the other specialty coffee roasters.
Even its claim of stomach-friendly, clean coffee might sound tenuous with all the other “healthy” coffee ads out there.
But are they legit?
In this Fabula Coffee review, I sampled this low-acid, organic coffee to see if it’s worth buying.
I’ll share my thoughts below on taste, brand, and whether it lives up to the stomach-friendly claims.
Is Fabula Coffee Legit?
Although taste is always subjective, Fabula Coffee is a legit brand that’s worth your time and money.
Separating Fabula from the noise of specialty coffee roasters is its commitment to stomach-friendly low-acid coffee.
They offer a variety of coffee types, including decaf and flavored options. Their coffees are always roasted and shipped fresh.
And yes, the quality lives up to the hype.
Coffee fans with stomach problems may find Fabula is the one brand of caffeinated coffee they can still tolerate. This coffee lover managed a cup and a half of caffeinated coffee without irritating her chronic acid reflux. Of course, Fabula sells decaf coffee if you’d rather not risk it.
Fabula Coffee Overview
Fabula Coffee’s “thing” is low-acid, clean coffee.
Their coffees are always shade-grown (which is also good for sustainability and forest preservation) at high altitudes, which is supposed to naturally lower acidity in the bean.
- Low-acid, stomach-friendly coffee
- Shade-grown, organic, Fair Trade
- Mold and toxin tested
- Limited to mostly Latin American origins
- Not as much selection as other brands
Fabula also tests for mold and over 350 chemical compounds that are considered “unclean” for the stomach (like pesticides). You can email the company to get access to these reports, if you’re interested.
Fabula Coffee roasts are all certified USDA organic, Fair Trade, and non-GMO. They’re all small batch grown; you might even notice slight variations in your preferred roast from time to time since their partnered producers aren’t mass-producing, mega-commercial farms.
Packaging and Freshness
Fabula roasts and ships three times a week, which means coffee arrives at your door as fresh as possible.
Coffee starts to lose its peak flavor and aroma after 6-9 days after roasting and is only fresh for 4-7 weeks. Your Fabula coffee will most before it has peaked and started to decline. They ship orders within two days of receipt, too, so you likely won’t wait long.
Fabula coffees are shipped fresh in sealed pouches with air valves to “breathe off CO2” after roasting. They arrived at my door in a box without unnecessary fillers.
Their plastic pouches are resealable with a ziptop after opening to help maintain freshness.
Most Fabula roasts are sourced from Latin America and all are shade-grown in high altitudes. Their Mexican, Peruvian, and Colombian roasts are especially popular.
Fabula sells a variety of light, medium, and dark roasts, as well as half-caff, decaf, and flavored coffees. (Flavors include hazelnut, vanilla, chocolate nut, and buttery caramel.)
They also sell roasts that have been optimized for a specific brew type like cold brew, French press, espresso, or Turkish coffee.
Most of their coffees are available as K-cups, which are actually sustainably packaged, too. Each K-cup is made of paper and compostable materials sealed in an airtight pouch which Fabula claims is “environmentally friendly.”
The paper cup supposedly yields better extraction. They’re filled with more coffee, too. Fabula K-cups contain an average of 12 g, compared to the average K-cup’s 8-11 g.
Subscriptions and Customer Service
You can purchase Fabula Coffee as a one-off or sign up for a subscription and get a discount on each order. Discounts range from 20-35% depending on how much you order at once (2, 3, or 6 bags).
You can choose whole bean or ground coffee and the frequency (which is crucial if you’re ordering 6 bags!) of your orders from 2 to 8 weeks.
Shipping is free when you spend more than $35 and for all subscription orders. (Of course, all subscription orders are likely to be over $35 anyway.)
Fabula has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, but it’s limited to “up to 3 bags or 2 pod boxes for first time customers (emphasis mine).”
According to their refund policy, ongoing customers can get replacements if they were shipped the wrong product. They also welcome emails to correct errors in ordering before shipping, but there’s no guarantee it will work out.
Fabula Coffee Review
I sampled two Fabula roasts: a medium from Peru (both ground and whole bean), and a medium hazelnut flavored coffee.
So here’s the scoop:
Peru Medium Roast
Fabula packages their coffees in sealed bags which can be resealed with a zip-top. It’s sturdy packaging which will easily hold up until you’re done with your roast.
Although it comes in plastic which doesn’t seem recyclable, it certainly keeps the coffee fresh.
Fabula’s Peru roast is a single origin medium roast coffee. It’s sourced from caturra beans, which are a dwarf mutation of the bourbon variety. It’s a high elevation coffee, but the exact region is unlisted.
This Peru roast stayed plenty fresh in its packaging. The smell is strong when you first open the bag and it tastes fresh in the cup, too.
Overall freshness grade: A
Finally, the good stuff.
Fabula’s Peru medium roast is complex and robust, tasting — and looking — a lot more like a dark roast.
It has the classic smokey, almost chocolatey flavor that’s common among a lot of Andean coffees, which suggests a possible origin in the Andes of Peru. But unlike the average dark roast from this region, Fabula’s medium roast has a sweet ending.
Literally. At the end of each smokey, dark sip, the bitter molasses lightens out to a sweeter, lighter, slightly more acidic flavor. Rather than tasting like a medium roast, sipping this Fabula coffee feels like tasting the progression from dark roast to fruity light roast.
Tasting notes: Smoky, molasses, marzipan, bittersweet chocolate, dried date
This medium roast doesn’t have an overwhelming scent when compared to the Hazelnut (below). You’ll get the expected notes of bitter dark chocolate and an almost sweet, but smokey, sugary scent. When brewed, the slightly fruity aromas come out, too.
Aroma notes: Dark chocolate, burnt sugar, dried date
Who’s It For?
Since this Peruvian roast doesn’t taste like a medium roast — and looks like a classic oily dark roast — it might not satisfy hardcore fans of medium roast coffees.
But if you love dark roasts, this is an intriguing coffee to try. It lightens considerably at the end of each sip, and it’s a nice way to enjoy the fruity sweetness often reserved for lighter, more acidic roasts.
And since Fabula coffee is guaranteed to be low acid regardless of flavor, it’s a stomach-friendly, low-risk way to enjoy the flavorful advantages of high-acid, light roasts without sacrificing the deeper, almost bitter flavors of darker roasts.
You might even convert a light roast fan to the dark side with this one.
Hazelnut Flavored Medium Roast
The Hazelnut Fabula medium roast came in the same resealable packaging as the other two. This one was pre-ground for drip brewing methods.
The Hazelnut roast bag has a “best if used by” date on the bottom. (Curiously, the Peru roasts don’t.) The year is worn off, but 03/16 is clearly still legible. That’s a little too far in the future to keep the coffee fresh once opened, but it will be interesting to see how long the hazelnut flavor stays potent.
It’s advertised as a single origin, but only lists “Latin America” as its origin, which narrows it down only slightly. As a high elevation coffee, that “single” origin could be from almost anywhere in Latin America.
The Hazelnut roast was washed (but not “fully” washed), small batch, and made with organic flavorings. (But no information on where the flavors come from.)
For pre-ground flavored coffee, the Hazelnut roast doesn’t seem to have lost a ton of freshness. It smells pretty fresh in the bag just after opening and tastes equally fresh in the cup.
It would be nice to try it more freshly ground, from whole beans, but since it’s a flavored coffee it can weather a minor loss in freshness better. The hazelnut flavor doesn’t diminish so quickly.
Overall freshness grade: B (probably higher if whole bean)
The Hazelnut roast is sweet and ever so slightly sour (think the sweet/earth side of the coffee flavor wheel, learning toward the sour/sweet side). It has the expected nutty flavor, too.
It tastes pretty close to hazelnut, almost like a hazelnut syrup thanks to the sweeter notes. If you want a sugar-free hazelnut coffee that’s perfectly good for you, Fabula’s medium roast Hazelnut coffee is a great choice.
The sweetness lightens the mouthfeel of this medium roast, too. Although it’s not truly acidic, it feels and tastes like a lighter, more acidic coffee, with an almost — but not quite — fruity taste at the end of each sip.
Tasting notes: Hazelnut, licorice, molasses
The hazelnut smell is nice and strong. It’s nutty and sweet, like the hazelnut syrup you get at a coffee shop. In fact, just by smelling the grounds you might swear it had been infused with hazelnut or even toffee nut syrup thanks to its sweetness.
Aroma notes: hazelnut, toffee nut, simple syrup
Who’s It For?
The Fabula Hazelnut roast is flavored coffee for people who don’t like flavored coffees. It’s remarkably balanced, neither too nutty nor too sweet. This is the kind of medium roast that can please almost anyone with its stronger flavors, but light mouthfeel.
With its sweet, lighter notes, Fabula’s medium roast Hazelnut is also perfect for fans of light roasts who want something low-acid and a little “fun” without sacrificing the lighter mouthfeel.
You’ll enjoy drinking it black so much you might hate to “ruin” it with add-ins. But a pinch of cinnamon, brown sugar, and a dash of (almond) milk will make a cozy cool weather brew.
The Final Verdict
Fabula Coffee delivers a unique, delicious cup of coffee.
Unlike the many organic, Fair Trade specialty coffees, Fabula’s guaranteed low-acid product is still pretty distinct. Not many brands specialize in low-acid coffees that have been tested for molds and toxins.
Fabula coffee truly IS easy on the stomach, even when caffeinated. Its taste might be a little unusual — your medium roast may not always taste like medium roast — but you’ll probably like it anyway.
If you’re okay drinking almost exclusively Latin American coffees grown in high-altitudes, you’ll enjoy these.
Fabula coffee is worth the hype. And for GERD-having coffee lovers, it’s a godsend.