In a hurry? Our top choice is the Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection!
Coffee is bitter. Everyone knows that.
But that’s not always true. Coffee can be sweet, too!
That was the biggest shock when I started working in coffee nearly five years ago. And since then, I’ve come to love sweet coffee beans.
But finding the sweetest coffee beans is tricky. That’s why I picked out some of my favorites to share with you.
I’ll even give you a short buying guide to help you make a decision.
Let’s get to it!
Sweetest Coffee Beans: Top 5 Picks
- Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection (Best Overall)
- Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee (Best Washed Process)
- Illy Arabica Selection Guatemala Whole Bean (Most Balanced Sweetness)
- Estate Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee (Best Kona Coffee)
- Volcanica Costa Rica Geisha Coffee (Best Geisha Coffee)
Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection
When I think of sweet coffees, there are a handful of natural Ethiopian coffees that I’ve had over the years.
This Lifeboost natural Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is one of those coffees that make it into my memory.
The truth is that this natural Ethiopian is my favorite sweet coffee on the market right now.
The natural process makes this coffee rounded and full-bodied. It has a huge sweetness and a big mouthfeel.
The notes of strawberries, peaches, and florals are a nice profile with mellow acidity. It also means this coffee tastes great with cream and sugar.
Plus, it’s a single origin coffee. That means it all comes from one crop from one farm. You get the specific profile from that one farm instead of a blend of farms and crops.
Finally, it’s USDA Organic certified. That means it was held to a high standard throughout the growing, roasting, and packaging processes.
The only thing is that this coffee is expensive. There’s no way around that. I’d recommend saving this for a special occasion.
- The natural process makes this coffee rounded and full-bodied, which means it has huge sweetness and a big mouthfeel
- Notes of strawberries, peaches, and florals make this a lighter Ethiopian and a good choice for drinking black
- It’s a single-estate coffee, so you get a specific profile from one farm instead of a blend of farms and crops
- It’s USDA Certified Organic, so you can be sure that it was held to high standards during the growing, roasting, and packaging processes
- The price is very high; it’s best saved for a special occasion
Volcanica Kenya AA Coffee
African coffees are known to have interesting characteristics and flavor profiles. They are often flavor bombs with higher acidity and sweeter notes.
This Kenyan AA Coffee is a perfect example. It has notes of raspberry, cranberry, and florals. That gives it a mellow sweetness with a medium-intense acidity.
And seriously, it’s a pretty smooth coffee. I tend to find that Kenyan coffees especially have a clean profile.
Kenyan AA coffees, which refers to the size and quality of the coffee beans, don’t have many bitter flavors.
Plus, the washed processing of most Kenyan coffees keeps them crisp and exact. Washed coffees are beans that are separated from the cherries before drying.
This Volcanica coffee is an excellent example of a clean, washed Kenyan coffee that has a nice sweetness and a smooth, winey aftertaste.
It’s Kosher, and Rainforest Alliance certified, so it was processed without chemicals and sourced ethically.
The higher acidity and crisp sweetness mean this coffee doesn’t do as well with cream and sugar.
- Kenyan AA beans don’t have many bitter flavors, so you get a coffee with bright acidity and a sweet body
- The washed process keeps this coffee’s flavor crisp and clean, without the roundness from a natural process
- It’s Kosher, and Rainforest Alliance certified, which means it was made without chemicals and sourced ethically
- You can choose between whole bean and ground coffee, so you can buy it even if you don’t have a coffee grinder
- Because of the bright acidity and crisp sweetness, it doesn’t do as well with cream and sugar
Illy Arabica Selection Guatemala Whole Bean
I’ve been a huge fan of the smooth sweetness of Guatemalan coffee ever since falling in love while on a trip there in high school.
Seriously, the chocolatey sweetness of Guatemalan coffee is unmatched.
This Illy Huehuetenango Guatemalan hits on all levels. The notes of chocolate, caramel, and honey give it a subtle sweetness, like eating a dark chocolate bar.
It’s balanced with a good mouthfeel and a medium-strong body. But the medium roast keeps it all nice and packaged. You won’t find too much acidity or too heavy an aftertaste. It is, after all, still a Guatemalan.
Plus, it’s 100% Arabica beans. Arabica beans are simply the gold standard of high-quality coffee. Especially when compared to Robusta beans.
Huehuetenango is world-famous for its coffee, and this Illy roast is one of my favorites from the region.
The only thing is that it’s a pretty balanced coffee. That means that if you’re looking for a purely sweet coffee, these aren’t the best coffee beans for you.
- The notes of chocolate, caramel, and honey give this coffee a subtle sweetness like a chocolate bar or caramel apple
- The medium roast keeps this coffee balanced without being too bright or too heavy
- It’s 100% Arabica beans, which are tastier and of higher quality than Robusta beans or an Arabica/Robusta blend
- Huehuetenango is world-famous for its smooth coffee, and this one hits the mark
- It’s pretty balanced, so if you’re looking for a purely sweet coffee, this isn’t the one
Estate Medium Roast Whole Bean 100% Kona Coffee
Hawaiian coffees are world-renown for their quality. Something about the delicious smooth coffee that comes from the island keeps the prices high and the quality unmatched.
This one is no different.
It’s a single-estate Kona. That means it comes from one crop from one farm. You get a specific flavor profile from one farm instead of a blend of farms and crops.
Plus, this is a medium roast coffee, which keeps everything balanced. You won’t find cups brewed with these beans to be too bright or too heavy.
And it’s 100% Arabica beans. Arabica beans are simply better and tastier than Robusta beans or any Arabica/Robusta blend.
The only thing is that this is a balanced coffee. It isn’t especially sweet on its own and needs to be brewed a little lighter than normal to bring out the sweetness.
- Hawaiian Coffees are some of the best in the world, and this one is up there on the scale
- This is a single-estate coffee, which means you get a specific profile from one farm instead of a blend of farms and crops
- The medium roast keeps everything balanced; it isn’t too bright and isn’t too heavy
- It’s 100% Arabica beans, which are simply better than Robusta beans or an Arabica/Robusta blend
- It’s a balanced coffee that only gets sweet when brewed carefully and with specific parameters
Volcanica Costa Rica Geisha Coffee
Geisha coffee beans are pretty special. They are a type of bean known for their huge flavor and massive sweetness.
Costa Rican Geishas are known for their big flavors and balance. And this Volcanica Costa Rica is a prime example.
The notes of citrus, apple, and florals are pretty spot on. You’ll find all those flavors in this coffee. But instead of dominating, they are subtle but strong, perfect for adding cream and sugar or drinking black.
The medium roast keeps this coffee from veering too sweet or too strong. Instead, you’ll find a balanced cup that’s palatable for any coffee drinker.
And it’s a natural process of coffee. That means the beans were allowed to dry in the cherry to soak in more flavor. It makes the sweetness big and filling.
I do wish I could try this coffee as a light roast. A lighter roast would bring out more interesting and unique flavors.
- Geisha beans are known for their huge flavors, and big sweetness, especially in Costa Rican coffees like this one
- The natural process keeps the flavors rounded, giving you more sweetness and balance
- The medium roast helps keep this coffee from veering too sweet or too strong
- Notes of citrus, apple, and florals make this coffee perfect for adding cream and sugar or drinking black
- I almost wish this was a light roast coffee, as it would have brought out more interesting and unique flavors that are lost with a medium roast
How To Buy Sweet Coffee Beans: Everything I Look For
There’s a lot that I look for when I buy coffee beans.
Sometimes I want a coffee that’s balanced, sometimes a coffee that’s bold, sometimes neither.
And sometimes I want a naturally sweet coffee. But how do you know which coffees will be sweet?
Here’s how I go about buying this kind of coffee.
Where does the coffee come from?
First things first: a coffee’s origin actually plays a huge role in determining just how sweet it’s going to be.
Each country and each region within each country has its own characteristics and profiles.
For example, African coffees are known for their bright acidity and blueberry-style sweetness.
Central American coffees are known for more citrusy and chocolatey flavors.
Everything about how coffee is grown changes how sweet it’s going to be in your cup. For example, the higher the elevation, the sweeter the coffee.
You should also look for single-origin coffees if you want the sweetest possible experience.
When coffees are blended, you lose specificity in the flavor profiles. You end up with a classic, diner-style cup of coffee that doesn’t have unique or special characteristics.
Look for high-elevation and single-origin coffees. Regions known for naturally sweet coffee are Africa and Central America.
Does roast play a part?
The roast is a pretty big indicator of just how sweet coffee is going to be.
You can take the sweetest coffee bean in the world, and if your roast it too dark, you won’t taste any sweetness at all.
If you ask me, that’s a real bummer. Coffee should be roasted to a level that brings out the natural sweetness while balancing out any unpleasant acidity.
Typically, that’s on the lighter side of medium.
I will say, though, that this is somewhat down to personal preference. If you want some sweetness but not too much, then a medium roast will probably suffice. But if you want as much sweetness as possible, then I would recommend looking for a lighter roast.
Since the coffee will be naturally sweet, I don’t recommend adding steamed milk, cream, or sugar. Plus, if it’s a light roast, it won’t pair well with cream and sugar anyway.
Your local specialty coffee shop might not even have different roast levels for their coffees and might instead roast for the best flavor.
If that’s the case, tell your barista what kind of sweetness you’re looking for and see if they have a recommendation for you.
IN A NUTSHELL
Roast plays a big part in how sweet coffee is in your cup. Lighter roasts will let the natural sweetness of coffee come through stronger. Don’t get a dark roast coffee.
Are Arabica beans sweeter than Robusta beans?
In short: yes, Arabica beans are sweeter than Robusta coffee beans.
It’s always best to buy 100% Arabica beans when looking for sweet flavors in your coffee.
Robusta beans are fine if you want a strong and bold espresso or want to add a little extra caffeine to your morning brew. But they are not tasty. That’s why they are almost always blended with Arabica beans when they are consumed.
Arabica beans have less caffeine and more flavor and are generally better than Robusta beans.
IN A NUTSHELL
If you want the sweetest possible cup, buying Arabica beans is the only logical move.
My Final Verdict
When buying sweet coffee beans, I still reach for the Lifeboost Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Limited Collection.
The natural process gives this coffee a rounded and full-bodied experience. It has huge sweetness and a big mouthfeel.
The notes of strawberries, peaches, and florals are interesting and great for black coffee.
It’s just a great coffee from a solid roaster.
Give it a shot if you haven’t yet!
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