Today is National Coffee Day in the US, but if you miss it, don’t worry. International Coffee Day is this upcoming Saturday, October 1st. Whichever coffee day you choose to recognize, this seems like a good week to celebrate coffee in all its forms. For many of us, it’s hard to imagine getting through the day without our morning fix, but coffee wasn’t always the globally beloved drink it is today. According to National Association, coffee cultivation began in 15th-century Yemen, before spreading to Europe by the 17th century, where it exploded in popularity.
Today, coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world (though tea still has it beat). And as delicious as it is, threats to coffee cultivation from climate change should serve as an important reminder of just how precious this unique bean is. Because of that, coffee companies are increasingly prioritizing sustainable practices and the well-being of workers. With more independent roasters than ever, and new coffee equipment releasing all the time, it’s an exciting time to be a coffee lover.
The most consumed kind of coffee is Coffea arabica, which is less bitter than its sibling Robusta, the latter of which accounts for about 40% percent of coffee cultivation. There are other kinds of coffee that even enthusiasts might not have heard of, such as Liberica and Excelsa.
Coffee education is growing too, and consumers are more aware of the many ways there are to make coffee. Cold brew went from a niche brewing method to a staple at Starbucks, and oddities like siphon brewers are popping up on Amazon. There are also design-forward companies like Fellow and Saint Anthony Industries that make high-quality coffee brewing equipment for home brewers and professionals alike.
To celebrate the little bean that powers the world, we’ve rounded up some of the best coffee releases from the past year, including new roasts, ready-to-drink cold brew and brewing equipment.
1. La Colombe RIP Medium Roast Coffee
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Seasonal coffee releases are typically flavored, such as the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte. But you don’t have to drink flavored coffee to get in on the seasonal fun. La Colombe released this RIP blend just in time for fall. RIP, in this case, stands for Roasted in Philadelphia. It’s a tribute to La Colombe’s home city, “one of America’s oldest cities where spirits of revolutions long ago roam the cobblestone streets.” It’s a fruity, slightly sweet medium roast coffee with natural notes of caramel and blackberry jam.
2. Stagg EKG Electric Kettle
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Fellow has quickly become one of the most popular brands among coffee enthusiasts, and the brand’s Stagg EKG is arguably the gold standard for pour-over coffee. It’s pricey, but it’s an attractive kettle that allows you to precisely dial in the temperature. This kettle has been around for years, but Stagg just released new neutral colors with wood-tone accents.
3. Blue Bottle XR Mauricio Shattah
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Each year, Blue Bottle releases a new exceedingly rare coffee in limited quantities, and SPY had a chance to taste test Blue Bottle’s XR, which was a Colombian Wush Wush coffee roasted by renowned coffee producer Mauricio Shattah. Blue Bottle’s XR has a sweet, fruity flavor with a very light color. Since it was a limited release, it’s since sold out, but Blue Bottle has plenty of specialty beans on its site. We’re excited to see what they whip up next year.
4. La Marzocco Legacy Linea Mini
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If you’ve set foot in a coffee shop, you’ve probably seen a La Marzocco espresso machine. A two-group espresso machine for a coffee shop will set you back roughly 15 grand, so by that standard, this 7-grand Legacy Linea is a steal. The Legacy Linea Mini was designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Linea Classic, used widely in coffee shops. It has a gorgeous red and cream colored-design. You might not think of this espresso machine as a travel coffee maker, but NBA star Jimmy Butler was snapped taking it on the road with him.
5. Lavazza Classic Cold Brew
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There are a lot of third-wave coffee roasters making excellent coffee, but Italy’s Lavazza predates even the first wave. The company was founded in 1895, and has become a grocery store staple. There’s a reason many coffee shops proudly advertise that they serve Lavazza — it’s an affordable coffee that’s a smooth and balanced crowd-pleaser. This year, Lavazza entered the booming canned beverage market with four cold brew flavors: Classic, Cappuccino, Nitro and Double-Shot Oat Milk. You don’t have to go to Italy to get it. Lavazza stocks it on their US website, and you can find it on Amazon.
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