My top 10 coffees of 2020

In 2020, I got to enjoy at least 73 different coffee blends or single origin coffees from 12 different countries and 33 companies. Now it’s time to wrap up the year by listing the very best products!

While I had the opportunity to try all kinds of coffees, all of the products that made my top 10 list were unflavored high-end coffees. That said, I included one flavored coffee and one grocery store blend into the ”Honorable Mentions” category.

Like last year, the products were so different from each other that it wouldn’t have been fair to compare them with each other. Therefore, instead of ranking the coffees, I organized them into three categories according to the approximate roast level (dark, medium, and light). Of course, the darkness of a roast is a subjective matter. It is also probably not the best way to categorize coffee products. Obviously, there are so many other factors that affect the flavors. However, I wasn’t able to come up with a better way to list the coffees. So, in each of the three categories, I presented the coffees in alphabetical order according to the company name. The resulting list can be thought of as a pool of excellent coffees. You can pick any product you want and end up enjoying a truly memorable experience.

I used two different brewing methods. Espresso coffees were brewed in my three cup Bialetti Moka pot. On the other hand, the coffees that were intended for other brewing methods I prepared in my AeroPress, with my favorite inverted method and a paper filter. I used no additives.

So, here we go. My top 10 coffees of 2020:

Dark roast:

Medium roast:

Light roast:

You could not go wrong with any of these coffees. Unfortunately, some of these products might already be out of stock. If that is the case, you could check out any product from these great roasteries. They really know what they do.

Lastly, there were three blends that did not make the top 10 list but still deserve to be mentioned.

Honorable mentions:

  • Hamwi Café Classic—the best flavored coffee (cardamom) (United Arab Emirates)
  • Loumidis Papagalos (ΛΟΥΜΙΔΗΣ ΠΑΠΑΓΑΛΟΣ)—the best Greek grocery store coffee (Greece)
  • Paulig Presidentti Gold Label—the best Finnish grocery store coffee (Finland)

Special thanks to everyone at Cafetoria Roastery, E’s World Coffee, Kahwe, Mokafina, Muki, and Rob Beans Coffee for making this possible!

Now it’s time for me to take a small break and enjoy some great blends I recently received from the USA. I’ll be back in early January to tell you about them!

Happy New Year!

Arcaffè Meloria—a classic Italian A/R espresso

This time, I’m reviewing Meloria, an honest espresso made in the Italian way by Arcaffè (Livorno, Italy). It is a classic blend, comprising 75% Arabicas, and 25% Robusta.

Again, there’s a description on the bag:

Meloria is named after the shallows of Meloria, made of rocks arising 2 miles in front of Livorno. It’s made of estate coffees only (75% Arabica) and created for those who prefer a strong taste. It produces thick and long-lasting cream. The high percentage of unwashed coffee makes it a full-bodied blend.

The company also states that the blend is ”Strong, Complete”. The familiar graph describes the flavor profile thus:

In my opinion, these statements hold true—for the most part, at least.

As I brewed Meloria in my Bialetti Moka, I immediately detected the familiar Robusta notes: the bouquet was vanilla-y, and slightly floral.

The mouthfeel reminded me of the other Arcaffè blends I’ve had: It was smooth and creamy, but pretty light, almost juicy. Very nice!

What about the flavor profile? Despite the smoothness of the blend, there was a classic ”Italian” bitterness that seemed to ”come from within the blend”. Try to imagine a big, soft (rubber?) ball with a silky smooth surface, and a hard core, and you may get a picture of ”where” the bitterness was ”located” in the blend. (Please bear with me, these things are quite difficult to describe, even in Finnish, my native language!) Anyway, the vanilla flavor was pretty noticeable, but then there was also a deep chocolate note, accompanied with some of that florality. None of these flavors was super dominant. Rather, they were very nicely balanced.

To sum up, out of the four Arcaffè espressos I’ve had, Meloria was probably the most traditional. While it didn’t offer any big suprises, it was very enjoyable, to the point where it made me dream of my next trip to Italy.

In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from Crema, Helsinki. I highly recommend you do so!

Arcaffè Gorgona—An amazingly good Italian espresso

In these past days, I’ve returned to what I really like: espresso blends from Arcaffè, Livorno, Italy. This time, I’ll give you my thoughts on Gorgona, their Arabica/Robusta espresso blend.

On the back of the bag, the company states:

Gorgona, named after one of the Tuscan Archipelago’s islands located in front of Livorno, is blended with single estate coffees: two kinds of Arabica (85%) coming from Brazil and two washed Indian coffees: an Arabica and a Robusta (selected for and by CSC). it’s perfect for who prefers definite taste [sic!].

From this description one gets the impression that in addition to the 85% of Arabica, the remaining 15% consists of both Arabica and Robusta. However, on the label it says that there is 85% Arabican and 15% Robusta. Be that as it may, I’m interested in the flavor profile! And there is some information on that too:

Of course, I had to brew Gorgona in my Italian coffee maker numero uno, the Bialetti Moka.

Right off the bat, I could tell that the quality of the coffee was very high. (What else would you expect from a traditional company like Arcaffè?) The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy, and yet pretty light at the same time.

The flavor was moderately complex. I detected the following notes:

  • very nice bitterness—this is not to say that the blend was harsh in any way; rather, the bitterness seemed to come ”from within” the flavor profile
  • a tiny hint of pine needles
  • cinnamon
  • dried figs
  • liquorice

As was the case with Arcaffè Roma, here too the overall experience was quite unique: Gorgona was kind of fullbodied and masculine (well, it’s Italian espresso!) on the one hand, and light, sophisticated and almost juicy on the other. In this way, it offered the best of both worlds, and yet the whole thing felt very much ”together”. This seems to be an Arcaffè trademark; I’ve never experienced anything like it in other Italian coffees. I really, really like it! Lastly, I should also mention that the liquorice flavor was only barely detectable in the finish. So, even if you don’t like liquorice, I don’t think you would be offended by this blend.

As you can guess, I can highly recommend Arcaffè Gorgona. Like its sister blends, it is an amazingly good Italian espresso! In Finland, you can get it—and other Arcaffè products—from the good folks at Crema, Helsinki.

Arcaffè Mokacrema—smooth & full-bodied straight Arabica

Here’s Mokacrema, my second blend from Arcaffè, Livorno, Italy.

On the bag, the company describes the coffee as follows:

Mokacrema is a prized coffee blend produced by our company since 1949, made of 100% C. arabica with a high percentage of coffees coming from high ground estates of Central America and Ethiopia.

This time, the Arcaffè graph showed us this:

I think this is a pretty accurate description.

As was the case with Arcaffè Roma, here too the mouthfeel was pretty smooth and rich. Mokacrema was slightly more acidic, though—and that in a very pleasant way. The acidity was mostly apparent in the high end of the flavor spectrum, which was floral and citrusy, just as promised. But then, to balance out the flavor profile, the midrange was malty and honey-like. Even then, the overall experience was not too sweet, in my opinion. Lastly, in the lower midrange I detected a very pleasant, almost earthy and slightly bitter layer of baking spices.

At first sip, Arcaffè Mokacrema might not have been as mind-blowing as its sibling blend, Roma. However, after several cups, I started to appreciate it for what it is: a very good, smooth, yet full-bodied straight Arabica espresso, made in the traditional Italian way.

If you love true Italian coffee, you should try Arcaffè Mokacrema! In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from Crema, Helsinki.

Arcaffè Roma—Italy at her best

If you’re like me and love Italian coffee, you should try the espressos blended by Arcaffè, the traditional coffee company in Livorno, Italy. I recently got four of them, and here’s the first one: Arcaffè Roma.

On the bag, the coffee is described thus:


Roma is a fusion of multiple Arabica coffees, originating from Brazil and high ground estates in Central America, Ethiopia and India. This blend has been produced without alteration (apart from wartime) since 1926.

Talk about a long tradition! I like that.

There’s also a cool graph:

The aroma of the ground beans was definitely caramelly, and cocoa-like.

The body was smooth and rich, and yet the mouthfeel seemed to be on the lighter side, ”medium” at most. Actually, Roma felt almost juicy in the mouth—an unexpected experience indeed, considering that this is a no-nonsense Italian espresso blend. And yes, the acidity was ”medium”, at least no more than that.

The flavor was medium full. The overall experience was caramelly and cocoa-like, and there was some of that natural, nutty sweetness of American burley tobacco leaf as well. All of these flavors were in perfect balance.

Even the aroma of the emptly cup was great. It evoked a memory from my childhood:

– – A cool summer evening in the Finnish archipelago. I’m standing in the garden of my friend’s house, watching his dad tend his lovely rose bushes. The sweet and caramelly aroma of his aromatic pipe tobacco. – –

Back to Arcaffè Roma: I loved everything about it! Roma is Italian straight arabica espresso at its best. It is flavorful, but very well balanced. It will satisfy the hard core espresso lover, but it will do so very gently. I can’t say how much I loved it.

If you haven’t tried Arcaffè Roma, you are missing out! In Finland, you can get Arcaffè blends from the coffee experts at Crema, Helsinki.