I always come to the last few weeks of the year unsure about if I’ve had enough “good” coffee to fill up a top 10 list… until I skim over all of the reviews I’ve written over the past 50+ weeks. Then, I’m always like “oh yeah!!!” It’s like looking at old photos and being reminded of memories that you had thought you had forgotten, until they come flooding back. And what lovely memories these are!
These were my favorites from 2018 in the following four categories:
Favorite “everyday” espresso: Single O Killerbee Espresso Blend (Sydney, Australia)
Okay, so this really wouldn’t qualify as an accessible “everyday” espresso to the majority of my readers, since most of you all are based in the USA, but this really was an excellent espresso for everyday drinking – rich, chocolaty, sweet, syrupy, balanced, with loads of crema, and equally good straight and in milk. A close second in this category would be PT’s Coffee Flying Monkey Blend (Topeka, Kansas).
Favorite “splurge” espresso: Edison Coffee Co. Ethiopia Kochere (Flower Mound, Texas)
My favorite “splurge” espresso wasn’t technically meant to be an espresso at all! I used to be fairly dismissive of single-origin espressos, especially made into milk drinks, but I changed my mind after having an astonishingly good flat white in Wellington, New Zealand made with an Ethiopian bean from Flight Coffee. Since then, I’ve occasionally tried pulling single-origin coffees as espresso shots to see what will happen, and while I liked the regular coffee I made with these beans from Edison, I absolutely fell in love with the espresso I made with them, mixed with just 3-4 oz of steamed milk. The result was like a subtle and delicious lavender latte. In fact, I had never had a regular lavender latte prior to this tasting, so I later went to a shop and ordered a lavender latte made with housemade lavender syrup just to see how it would compare. I liked it, but it was sweeter than I would have preferred. The flat white I made with the Edison beans (no added sugar) was superior.
Favorite coffee blend: Stumptown Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain Blend (Portland, Oregon)
This coffee finished just outside of my top 10 for the year, but it definitely ranks as my favorite coffee blend from my tastings in 2018. It was exceptionally good brewed in a Chemex, and even while technically underextracted. I brewed this for just 3 minutes due to a miscalculation with my grind size, but the resulting coffee was like Milky Way candy bars in liquid form. So deliciously sweet and decadent!
Favorite single-origin coffee: Square Mile Ethiopia Mormora (London, England)
I had this coffee in July, and I can still taste it in my mind… I don’t know that this coffee would please everyone, as I could see it being too fruity and sweet for some, but if you like African coffees, and you like naturally sweet coffees, these beans will be right up your alley, as they were mine. I was completely bowled over by the explosive flavors of purple fruit and white sugar. Definitely one of the most memorable coffees I’ve had this year, if not my whole life!
For anyone that read my review of Heart Coffee Roasters’ Panama Geisha Hacienda la Esmeralda, I’d say that’s probably my actual top single-origin coffee of the year, but I had decided years ago to exclude Geishas from these year-end lists because they are SO much more expensive than “normal” craft coffee. The one exception was the Square One Panama Gesha La Esmeralda Bouquete (2015) since it was a “second-tier” batch of beans and fetched a price of just $20/12 ounces, instead of a whopping $50/8 ounces.
And here is my top 10 list for most enjoyable cups I’ve had in 2018!
10. PT’s Coffee Flying Monkey Blend (Topeka, Kansas) – espresso
5. Patriot Coffee Roasters Ethiopia Worka Co-Op (Lakeland, Florida) – French press
4. Ozone Coffee Colombia Finca Villa Norena (London, England) – Hario V60
3. Single O Killerbee Espresso Blend (Sydney, Australia) – espresso
2. Edison Coffee Co. Ethiopia Kochere (Flower Mound, Texas) – flat white
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to posting many more reviews in 2019! As always, if you have suggestions on roasters I ought to check out, please feel free to send me a message on my Contact page. Happy New Year!