Buying Guides

Kicking Horse Coffee Review: Sassy and Classy Coffee

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Delicious coffee can come from many places in many ways, but none are quite as authentic as Kicking Horse Coffee.

Whether you’re looking for a new coffee to try, or are have already heard about Kicking Horse and are interested in learning more about it before buying, we’ve reviewed it for you to put your mind at ease. 

Meet The Kicking Horse Company 

Wake up and kick ass! This motto by Kicking Horse Coffee accurately sums up what this spunky coffee company is about: putting their spunky, fun, and passionate attitude into their coffee. Formed in 1996, this Canadian coffee company identifies itself by its core values: awake, authentic, inclusive, curious, and courageous. 

Created by Elana Rosenfield and Leo Johnson, Kicking Horse Coffee first opened its doors in1996 in Invermere, British Columbia Canada. Coming from humble beginnings, Rosefield and Johnson actually made its debut out of their own garage! In between raising their family, the couple balanced their day-to-day life with roasting, experimenting, and perfecting their coffee.

In 1998, Kicking Horse signed on with Transfair Canada, now renamed Fairtrade Canada to promote and support Fair Trade coffee. Following this, in 2003 the company also made the shift to only purchase, roast, brew, and sell 100% organic coffee beans, and in 2007 made the commitment to use only Fairtrade Certified coffee as well. Officially opening up their own café in 2008, Kicking Horse Coffee was named Canada’s #1 selling Organic Fairtrade coffee brand for 13 years in a row. 

Keep It Tasty: Kicking Horse Products

Kicking Horse Review

Kicking Horse’s positive, spunky attitude is backed up by its delicious coffee and products offered. Here are some of the most popular roasts and blends offered by Kicking Horse Coffee. 

Light Roasts

Packed with flavor, caffeine, and embodying a bright acidity, these roasts are designed to add a spark to every sip your take. These roasts all pack a hearty amount of caffeine and acidity, making it a delicious option for those who need a savory cup of coffee to perk them up in the morning. 

Hola Roast

A lighter roast for Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola consists of 100% Arabica beans from Central and South America. With notes of juicy ripe berries, brown sugar, and rich, sweet nougat, Hola is has a fruity acidity with a soft, light body. Some of the most popular brewing methods include everything from the French press to drip coffee, to cold brewing, and even espresso!

On Sale

Medium Roasts

Known for their well-balanced body, acidity, and flavor, medium roasts fit well for anyone who needs a nice middle-ground for their coffee flavor and caffeine content. And nobody’s medium roast coffees kick as much ass as Kicking Horse’s does. 

Smart Ass Medium Roast

Labeled by Kicking Horse as “cheeky, bright, and precocious,” Smart As Medium Roast is a signature medium roast by the company, and it has tones of flavor like tart berries, sweet sugar cane, and silky-smooth milk chocolate. With a pleasant aroma of sweet syrup, vanilla, and fruit such as peaches, cherries, and plums. The beans for this roast are located from Central and South America as well as Africa, and consist of succulent, robust coffee beans. 

On Sale

Three Sisters Medium Roast 

Need something smooth to sip on? Three Sisters Medium Roast has you covered. Named after the trio of mountains in the Canadian Rocky Mountain range, the beans for this roast are cultivated from Indonesia and Central and South America. Reflecting the individual, yet shared majesty of the Three Sisters, Kicking Horse actually combines a combination of light, medium, and darker roasted beans to result in a flavor-filled medium roast. In this roast, you can expect to enjoy tasting notes of fruit, cocoa, and sweet tobacco. 

Three Sisters Coffee

We got the chance to try this delicious roast ourselves, and we were very pleased with the overall flavor of it. As soon as you open the bag the mouth-watering aroma is almost overwhelming, and it makes you even more excited to brew it! The hints of nuttiness, cocoa, and tobacco are noticeable throughout each sip, and it’s a savory choice for those who enjoy black coffee by itself. 

Hoodoo Jo Medium Roast

Roasted with a combination of beans from Central and South America, Indonesia, and Africa, this delectable roast embodies flavors of blackcurrants, semi-sweet chocolate, and have a nutty, earthy undertone. It also has somewhat of a wine-like, fresh roasted almonds aroma, making it a delicious option for those to enjoy a hearty, savory cup of black coffee in the morning. 

Pacific Pipeline Medium Roast

Labeled by Kicking horse as a more exotic and tropical trend, the Pacific Pipeline Medium Roast consists of flavors like dried fruit, molasses, walnut, and even cola! With these off-the-wall rich inner flavors, the best brewing methods for Pacific Pipeline include the French press, pour-over, and cold brewing. 

Z-Wrangler Medium Roast

A deeper-bodied, sweeter medium roast, the Z-Wrangler Medium Roast is a bolder roast by Kicking Horse. The flavors highlighted in this roast are luscious maple syrup, spice, and a slight raisin tang. With its savory flavor and aroma, Z-Wrangler is delicious on its own or accompanied with sweetener and creamer. 

Dark Roasts

Dare to go deeper and darker with these delectable blends by Kicking Horse. Full-bodied, low in acidity, and low in caffeine content, these roasts will leave you craving a second cup with every sip. 

Kick-Ass Dark Roast

Fully embodying Kicking Horse’s motto to “wake up and kick ass,” this is another signature roast for the company. If you love a dark roast, the Kick-Ass roast is made of 100% Certified Organic Arabica beans sourced from Indonesia and South America. With tasting notes of chocolate malt, molasses, licorice, and earthy undertones, this dark roast is deep in the body and soothing to sip on while you’re tackling a stressful day of work. 

Half Ass Dark Roast

Almost an exact copy of the Kick-Ass coffee, this Half Ass roast has the same amount of body, flavor, and sass that Kick-Ass does, but with half of the caffeine! So if you enjoy the taste of Kick-Ass, now you can enjoy it without the crazy side-effects of caffeine. So after a long day at work and an evening relaxing with the family, you can now enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, and still expect to fall asleep on time. 

Grizzly Claw Dark Roast

Dark chocolate lovers, rejoice! Kicking Horse’s Grizzly Claw Dark Roast is filled with deep, smoky notes of chocolate, roasted hazelnut, brown sugar, and cacao nibs. Though this roast has a lot of spirit and soul, to best enhance these flavors, brewing methods like the French press, drip machines, pour-overs, and cold brewing. 

On Sale

454 Horse Power Dark Roast

Similar to Grizzly Claw, this 454 Horse Power Dark Roast is also full-bodied and deep in flavor. What the company refers to as a “champion roast,” 454 Horse Power is velvety in texture and has smooth and satisfying flavors of sweet tobacco and a luscious licorice finish. Enjoy this coffee as a delicious cup of black coffee or a hearty cold brew!

Espresso Roasts

Are you a dedicated latte lover? Kick your addiction up a notch with Kicking Horse’s espresso roast: Cliff Hanger.

Cliff Hanger Espresso Roast

A medium roast, the Cliff Hanger Espresso Roast is bright, fruity, and packed with wild berry syrup and a sweet cocoa finish. The beans for this roast are sourced from many places: Africa, Indonesia, and Central and South America. Though it best complements espresso-based beverages like the latte, cortado, cappuccino, and more, it’s also delicious in other brewing methods like the pour-over, French press, and cold brewing. 

Decaf Roasts

Does drinking caffeine cramp your style? Try Kicking Horse’s Decaf Roast! Now you can sip some of the most delicious coffee on the market at any time of day without a care in the world. You can thank us later. 

Kicking Horse Decaf Roast

Cultivated and washed through the Swiss Water Process, this decaf is a darkly roasted, robust roast. With inner notes of flavor like chocolate and roasted hazelnut, you can experience a savory amount of chocolate-nuttiness that will be good to your taste buds without overloading you on caffeine. 

Ground Coffee Options

Since Kicking Horse offers its coffee already ground, it’s easily available for those who may not have grinders in their own homes. Kicking Horse doesn’t offer every roast in ground form, but they do offer Hola Ground, Smart Ass, Kick-Ass, Three Sisters, 454 Horse Power, and Grizzly Claw. 

The Yays

There are many things that we enjoy about this kick-ass coffee company. Kicking Horse Coffee has been satisfying its caffeine-crazy customers for over 20 years, and here are the most notable reasons why we, and so many others, can’t get enough of Kicking Horse. 

High-Quality Company Atmosphere

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Kicking Horse other than the quality of the coffee itself is the company atmosphere. In 2018, Kicking Horse was named Canada’s Best Workplace, Best Workplace for Women, Best Workplace for Inclusion, and Best Workplace for Manufacturing.

Not only does Kicking Horse care about the quality of its coffee, but their workers’ wellbeing. You can rest assured that each batch of Kicking Horse coffee is made by individuals who are paid well, appreciated, and enjoy creating some of the highest quality coffee for customers to enjoy. 

Whole and Ground Options

Kicking Horse Review

Traditionally selling whole beans since the company’s debut, Kicking Horse Coffee recently began selling ground coffee in 2014. For those coffee fanatics who don’t have a grinder and don’t have time to grind their coffee, have no fear! Now you can enjoy Kicking Horse Coffee whether you prefer whole bean, ground coffee, or both!

Support & Fundraising

Kicking Horse Coffee not only provides delicious coffee for its customers but it supports other events and organizations as well. Organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Living Lakes Networks Canada, Idle Free BC, and Wildsight, as well as events like Wings over the Rockies, Jumbo Wild, and The Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival

The Nays

Alas, not everything can be perfect. Kicking Horse has many great qualities, but there are a few downsides to Kicking Horse that you should know about before buying. 

Canadi-Can, Ameri-Can’t

Good news? All of Kicking Horse’s roasts are available to all Canadian customers! Sad news? Unfortunately, not all of Kicking Horse’s roasts are available for American consumers. Though this is a great option for those who live in Canada, it’s still a good option for American coffee lovers despite some roasts being more difficult to access than others.

No Heavy-Duty Resealable Bags

While we were tasting Kicking Horse’s Three Sisters Roast, we realized that the bags for ground coffee don’t have a heavy-duty resealable option. With tabs on the side to ensure that the bag remains closed after the opening has been folded several times, it’s not as dependable or completely secure/protected from unwanted air exposure as some other resealable bags are. 

The Verdict

The final conclusion for Kicking Horse?

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