Being one of the most consumed drinks in the US, it’s logical to think that there are numerous coffee brands competing from that market share. Nowadays, there are plenty of different coffees with various levels of quality, roast, and type, on the market.
While it’s easy to just pop into a nearby supermarket and grab coffee from the more popular brands, there are other options which offer high-quality coffee at reasonable prices. We are talking about Artisan coffee brands and roasters.
Artisan coffee brands are smaller roasters which source, blend, roast, package, and ship, coffee to customers.
The quality offered by Artisan roasters has numerous advantages (which we’ll talk about in this article) that make them a better choice than the more popular brands you find in brick and mortar stores.
More specifically, you’ve probably been to a coffee shop that is not your average coffee chain. And the coffee there just tastes extremely different…, better, doesn’t it? Well thats because its usually artisan sourced coffee.
When Spirit Animal Coffee reached out to us, we wanted to give it a try and let me tell you, we were pleasantly surprised. So is Spirit Animal Coffee the best artisan coffee brand in the world? Find out below.
Artisan Coffee Brands: Spirit Animal Coffee
First off, yes, their coffee is more on the pricier side (with good reasons) but hear me out.
A couple of days ago a carton with 2 samples arrived and I couldn’t wait to test the coffee. So I fired up my Cuisinart DGB-900BC coffee maker with grinder and let it do its magic. You can read my full review of the Cuisinart DGB for more information.
Before actually making the coffee I wanted to make sure that the machine is clean and has no residue of old coffee grinds or tastes.
So I rinsed the machine twice and removed any old grinds from the grinder section before finally preparing my Spirit Animal Coffee. I was given a sample of the Catuai and Bourbon selection and 1 sample of the Geisha selection.
I’ll be using the Geisha selection at a later time for a special moment, so for now this is a review of the “Catuai and Bourbon” selection. This particular coffee comes from a Microlot of Alejandro Aguilar.
You’ll see that I can even tell at what altitude the coffee was grown, when it was roasted, processed and harvested. I don’t know about you but this gives me the feeling that I am “in touch” with a local coffee farmer all the way to Honduras. And not just buy my off- the-mill standard coffee beans in the supermarket.
Now onto the taste: I am finding it difficult to describe the amazing taste. Its like something I’ve never tasted before. As described on their website, I can taste hints of chocolate, tropical fruits and jasmine.
But what I can’t describe is this immense feeling of appreciation on how this coffee was made and shipped all the way to me.
I’ve had many artisan coffee’s in my life and I’ve been to places around the world. From Austria to Hong Kong, Singapore to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chiang Mai by the way is probably my favourite place in the world to have artisan coffee. I recently finished a 1000km bicycle trip there from Malaysia to Myanmar which you can read here.
But back to Spirit Animal Coffee, I may be biased with everything I’ve written already above but to me this is the best artisan coffee in the world I’ve ever tasted (made at home).
So let me give you a little bit of background about the brand:
The coffee originates from Honduras which is a well kept secret country to grow excellent coffee. Not just that, the coffee is grown above 5,000 feet altitude where trees’ slower maturation allows more time for their fruit to reach optimal sweetness.
Workers are paid a higher and very fair salary than usual. Not like your big coffee shop chain who exploit their farmers. Profits from sales go back to the farmers to improve their lives which in order brings us a better tasting coffee. You’ll even find the specific farmer and name on their website.
Most of their coffees either received an “excellent” (85-89,99) or “outstanding” (90-100) coffee quality score from the Specialty Coffee Association. You won’t see that with many coffee brands. From handpicking only the top 1% to sun driven drying technologies I could go on and on about why this coffee brand is probably the best out there at the moment.
If that’s not enough – they actually have Geisha coffee – yes the super rare, tasty and pricey coffee that you’ll pay $20 for a cup in New York. At a reasonable price compared to what you find on Amazon. I myself have tried it once in Singapore on a business trip (for 34$ at the time). If I had to choose one type of coffee for the rest of my life, it’d be Geisha coffee. A must have for Sunday’s.
Another great perk is that they offer coffee subscription. You basically sign up to receive a bag of coffee every month, on auto pilot. You can even decide to change the coffee from one month to another (pending availability, of course).
One last thing that’s worth mentioning is how these guys changed the way coffee gets shipped around the world. Coffee roasters usually buy the coffee beans unroasted and have them shipped over to their roasteries.
Often, this means green coffee has to travel for weeks in ships, damp containers and so on. But these guys chose a different way.
They roast their coffee right in Honduras and pack it immediately inside the bags. Once you order, they ship it via air. So they basically trimmed the time from coffee harvest to delivering it to you by a few weeks.
And boy, can you taste the difference.
Selection of blends:
The classics are a light/medium to medium roasts with bourbon, caramel, chocolate, tea aromatics. While the selection is small we can tell that the focus lies on delivering only the best.
However just recently they launched a new selection with mixes of tropical fruits, blackberry, raisins, sugar cane and more aromatics. You can find all of their options here: Spirit Animal Coffee.
Having said all that, I hope you’ve enjoyed this review. Due to their commitment on providing the best and purchasing from microlot farmers – there are only small batches available at a time – so get yours today!
Why Should You Buy Coffee From an Artisan Roaster?
While it’s easy and convenient to buy coffee from brands you’re used to, artisan roasters have numerous advantages which make them far better than brands offering mass produced coffee. These are:
Expertly Sourced Coffee
Artisan roasters are passionate, even experts, about coffee. With that comes experience and the will to offer their customers good and unique coffees that match their brand and mission.
Every process of coffee making is carefully thought out and vetted to deliver the best coffee possible to the customer. From picking coffee farms, testing different blends, roasting coffee themselves, and delivering to the customer.
Unlike bigger brands which have to push high volumes of coffee to market, smaller roasters cater in smaller batches, resulting in more attention to detail, and better coffee.
Many of the smaller roasters understand how hard it is to farm good coffee. Since coffee often grows in poorer regions of the world, workers aren’t paid or treated fairly (in some cases). Artisan roasters work with local communities and carefully vet farms to make sure the coffee produced is done ethically.
By doing so, they empower local communities and provide jobs. By supporting roasters who source their coffee in an ethical manner, you will be supporting these communities and getting great coffee in return.
Wide Selection Of Coffee
While this isn’t the case with all artisan roasters, most do in fact offer a wide range of roasts, coffee types, and purchase models (Bulk, Commercial, Whole/Ground Coffee, etc). Furthermore, some may even allow you to customize your order as you see fit. You won’t see that with a store bought brand!
We always stress the importance of getting good coffee. While there are many techniques and tools in the coffee world, the most important of them all is the coffee bean itself.
By carefully choosing where you choose your coffee, you will end up with a much flavorful cup. These are some of our favorite coffee brands.
Not only their whole coffee sourcing and roasting is top notch, but they offer some of the best coffee you can buy inside the US today.