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If you have been around our site, chances are you’ve heard mention of coffee brand called Volcanica Coffee. This brand has been getting some serous recognition from the specialty coffee community, but does it really stand up to all the hype?
Good news! We actually got the chance to try out some of Volcanica’s most popular coffees for you. So read on for the full scoop on what they offer and how their beans brew.
About the Company
Volcanica Coffee, LLC was founded in 2004 by the Contreras family who had a mission to bring the appreciation for quality coffee that they found in Costa Rica to the United States. Upon further investigation they found that high quality coffee wasn’t limited to their homeland, but was a common theme in mountainous regions with volcanic soil.
Once the company got its start, their mission was to elevate the exceptions for coffee in America by creating a brand that sells accessible, ethical, gourmet coffee. Now they carry over 120 coffees all of which are roasted in their specialty roasting facility in Atlanta, GA.
What to Expect
Aside from their array of available certifications, there are a few things you can expect across the board with Volcanica Coffee. First off, all beans are freshly roasted in Volcanica’s roasting facility in Atlanta, Georgia.
If you are buying from Amazon, you can count on the roast date being within the last 3 to 30 days, which is a pretty nice turnaround for a third party seller. If you order directly from the site, they roast the beans after you order, then ship them to you. How’s that for freshness?
In addition to their freshness guarantee, all Volcanic beans are grown in –you guessed it–volcanic soil. They also prioritize direct contact and relationships with coffee farms and local cooperatives. This helps build rapport, ensure sustainability, and cut the cost associated with other gourmet coffee.
Let’s start with Volcanica’s Latin American coffee selection. This is probably their largest regional collection. You can find anything from the rich, nutty chocolate notes of Brazilian coffees to the clean, light cocoa and grapefruit of a Costa Rican.
Here’s what they offer:
- Peru Coffee
- Mexican Coffee
- Nicaragua Matagalpa
- Brazil Bourbon Peaberry, Brazil Bracosta estate, Brazil Bracosta Decaf, Santana Estate Peaberry
- Columbian peaberry, Colombian supremo, Colombian supremo decaf
- Costa Rica original, Costa Rica Decaf Tarrazu, Costa Rica Peaberry, Costa Rica Reserve
- Dominican Jarabacoa
- El Salvador, El Salvador peaberry
- Guatemala Geisha Antigua, Guatemala Geisha Antigua Decaf, Guatemala Antigua Reserve, Guatemala Geisha Single Origin, Guatemala Huehuetenango
Jamaican Blue Mountain
Admired for its smooth, clean profile and mild flavor, Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the premiere origins for gourmet coffee. These brews tend to have a vibrant acidity and little to no bitterness.
The Estates and blends offered:
- Clydesdale Estate
- Wallenford Peaberry
- Clifton Mountain Estate
- Half-caf blend
- JBM blend
Volcanica’s third largest selection is their African Coffee. The classic Kenya AA are flavorsome and acidic with sweet notes or berry. Tanzania beans are known for their juicy citrus flavors. Or maybe you prefer a bright, complex and fruity Ethiopian Coffee. No matter what coffee you’re sipping from this continent, they’ve got you covered.
Here’s what they’ve got:
- Cameroon coffee, Cameroon peaberry
- Kenya AA, Kenya AA Peaberry
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe decaf, Ethiopian Sidamo
- Malawi Peaberry
- Tanzania AA, Tanzania AA Peaberry
- African Safari Blend
Check it out:
- Mocha Java blend
- Sumatra Mandheling, Sumatra Mandheling decaf, Sumatra Mandheling reserve, Gayo, Gayo Peaberry
- Kopi Luwak
- Sulawesi celebes kalossi, white eagle
- Papua New Guinea, Peaberry
- Komodo dragon Coffee
Now for a couple of our odd beans out, Volcanica also has a great example of the smooth, mild taste of Indias coffee with their Indian Monsoon Malabar AA 16.
Last but certainly not least, we have Volcanica’s intermittently offered Kona coffee. When they have it in stock it’s. exciting for coffee lovers everywhere. The brew tends to be floral with notes of fruit and jasmine and a nutty undertone.
In addition to their regional options Volcanica also offers a number or blends called Blue Gold Coffee Blend, Espresso Dark Roast, French Roast, Half-Caff Blend, Low acid blend, toastmaster’s blend, House blend, and Volcanic Coffee.
For a full explanation of what the “USDA Certified Organic” label means, check out this article. The short version is that organic means no chemical or synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used to grow the coffee.
The Volcanica brand specifically states that the farms they work with “believe that not only this is best method of growing coffee but it is also less expensive” and go on to explain that “They rely on birds and other wildlife to take care of any pests or bugs. For fertilizer they use natural compost and the volcanic soil which is already rich in nutrients.”
So as far as the sustainability behind this certification (which isn’t always the best), this brand seems to check out.
Coffees with This Certification:
Bolivia Peaberry, Cameroon Coffee, Domincian Jarabacoa Coffee, El Salvador Coffee, El Salvador Peaberry, Guatemala Huehuetenango, Nicaragua Matagalpa, Ethiopian Sidamo, Sumatra Mandheling, and Peru.
The Fair Trade certification comes from a company called FairTrade International. It sets and enforces regulations from producers through importers and exporters. According to Volcanica, this certification “empowers farmers…to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and villages, developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace, and protecting the environment.”
Coffees with This Certification:
Bolivia peaberry, Colombia peaberry, Colombian supremo (decaf), Costa Rican original, Costa Rica Reserve, El Salvador, El Salvador Peaberry, Guatemala Huehuetenango, Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea Peaberry, Sumatra Mandheling, Sumatra Mandheling Reserve, Sumatran Gayo Coffee, and Toraja Sulawesi White Eagle.
Our third certification comes from the Rainforest Alliance. It is an international organization intended to help conserve biodiversity in coffee producing regions. They work on a number of levels from farmers to businesses and consumers to shift practices towards more environmentally sustainable systems.
Coffees with This Certification:
Bolivia Peaberry, Brazil Santana Estate Peaberry, Colombian Supremo, Costa Rica Original, Costa Rica Peaberry, Costa Rica Tarrazu Dark Roast Reserve, El Salvador, El Salvador Peaberry, Guatemala Geisha, Jamaica Blue Mountain Clifton Mountain Estate, Nicaragua Matagalpa Coffee, Sumatra Mandheling, Sumatra Mandheling Reserve, and Sumatran Gayo.
If you’re into gourmet coffee, chances are you’ve heard some vague praises for coffee being shade grown. This certification ensures that your beans are not only being grown under natural canopy, but also that the trees providing it continue to provide a habitat for the local wildlife.
This certification tends to come with some of the same expectations as an organic cert. This kind of preservation allows ecosystems to provide natural pest control, fertilization, and soil conservation.
Coffees with This Certification:
Colombian Supremo, Colombian Supremo Decaf, Costa Rica Original, Costa Rica Peaberry, Costa Rica Reserve, Nicaragua Matagalpa, Sumatra Mandheling, Sumatra Mandheling Reserve, Toraja Sulawesi.
Moving on from certifications, let’s look at how this company has chosen to give back more directly. Volcanica has partnered with an organization called charity: water. 1% of their sales from every product gets donated and directly contributes to sustainable, locally owned and run projects in developing countries.
We actually got the opportunity to try some of Volcanica’s most popular coffees. They sent us the Coffee Lover Gift Box (includes the Costa Rica Original, Guatemala Antigua, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Colombian Supremo) along with their Sulawesi Toraja White Eagle coffee for us to try out ourselves. So here is a more in depth look at each of those.
Coffee Lover Gift Box
The Coffee Lover Gift Box arrived in a sleek black box with a red ribbon wrapped around it. The presentation is simple but effective, and their recognizable Volcano logo is pasted right on top.
Inside were three bags of 100% Arabica Coffee beans, each with medium roasted whole beans. The bags are placed on top of crinkle cut paper, which struck us aside for a company concerned with sustainability. However, it is paper instead of plastic, so while you won’t be able to recycle it, you can compost it*.
*The crinkle paper we received was uncolored, but if yours is dyed, you may not be able to compost properly.
Costa Rica Original Coffee
Now, let’s crack into the actual coffee, shall we. The first one we tried was the Costa Rica Original. As promised, we got a well-balanced, smooth cup with a noticeable brightness. Also, there were some pleasant chocolate and toasted apple notes that really rounded out the cup.
There was a medium body to the brew, which appeals to a pretty large audience of coffee drinkers. So if you are unsure of your giftee’s coffee preferences, this is probably a safe bet.
The beans are wet processed and are mechanically/patio dried. This particular bag is Fair Trade Certified, Rain Forest Alliance Certified, and Shade Grown.
Guatemala Antigua Coffee
Next up is the single-origin, Guatemalan Antigua coffee from the Santa Barbara Estate. The brew give the classic, richly full-bodied brew that fans of the region have come to expect. We really appreciated the nice, strong aroma of nuts and cocoa.
Overall, it makes a smokey-spicey, heavy-bodied brew with a sweet finish. Another thing we loved is that the medium roast combined with the intense aroma makes for a great morning brew. It works as a pick me up while not being too much.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Coffee
The next piece of the Coffee Lover’s Box is the delightful Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. These beans are also labelled as a medium roast, but the beans looked a little lighter than the other ones we received. However, this variation is likely due to regional differences in bean coloration more than any significant differences in roast.
Either way, this medium-bodied brew is definitely a contender for one of our new favorites. It has a brilliant acidity and a delightfully complex flavor. It has rough fruit and winey flavors complemented by a luxuriously thick body and finished by hints of lavender and cocoa. The aroma has an overall cedar-like earthiness but softened by undertones of cinnamon and strawberry.
Colombian Supremo Coffee
The final part of the Coffee Lover Box quartet is the Colombian Supremo Coffee form the Andeano Estate in the Colombian Andes. And, honestly, these beans make a nice, balanced brew. The mid-level fruit and floral toned sweetness and acidity pairs well with the smooth, medium body and nutty aroma. It’s not too intense, so this brew is best suited for people who like to keep things subtle and pleasant.
The Colombian Supremo is Fair Trade Certified, Rainforest Alliance Certified and Shade Grown. IT’s fully washed/Swiss water processed and Patio dried.
Toraja Sulawesi White Eagle Coffee
Last but not least, we have the Toraja Sulawesi White Eagle Coffee. If you are looking to really treat yourself with something a bit more exotic and “rare” from Volcanica’s lineup, these are the beans for you. Only about 500 bags are produced each year!
This brew is smooth with a notable chocolate flavors and a fruit-toned acidity. The finish and aftertaste are pleasantly sweet. The body has a very classic feel to it and is thick and syrupy, so we’d recommend going for an espresso with this one.
Lastly, it is sustainably sourced, as well as Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Overall, we were pretty impressed. This brand has a huge selection of gourmet beans for you to browse and they are pretty competitively priced! On top of that, their beans are fresh and sustainably sourced.
But all that wouldn’t mean much if there wasn’t some great tasting coffee backing it. All the coffees we tasted lived up to our (rather high) expectations, so we definitely don’t think that you’ll be disappointed either. There is a reason that this is one of the top recommended coffee brands you’ll find for pretty much any taste preferences.
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