Royal New York

RNY Trader Picks: Q1’s Best Coffee Beans & Teas

Out of all the specialty coffee & tea cupped over the past couple months, our traders rounded up their favorites. From washed and organic coffee to black teas and more! Check out their picks for the best coffee beans and teas of Q1 2024.

Best Coffee Beans from Africa

best coffee beans from rwanda

This is a great coffee. It is yet another example of how Rwanda has carved its own specialty niche in East Africa while competing with the sharp, acidic coffees primarily associated with Kenya. Coming from a group of just under 1,000 specialty coffee farmers in the Kamonyi district, this delivery possesses a nice snap with orange, brown sugar, and apricot notes. Enjoy!

Shop James’ Pick: RNY # 54773 Rwanda A Mugina Washing Station

best coffee beans in africa

An organic natural offering from the Women’s Coffee Extension (WCE), this is a stellar coffee processed at the Mbizi Washing Station in Rwanda. WCE is a women’s coffee cooperative focused on creating a space for female specialty coffee producers to have a stronger voice in Rwandan coffee production.

This natural processed micro lot is balanced by a well-rounded acidity fused with layered fruit and floral tones. I was impressed with the balance of acidity and overall cleanliness in the cup, likely attributed to how well this coffee was processed. The flavor profile has highlighted notes of blackberry, grape, peach, jam, and jasmine. You can find this micro lot available on the Royal NY Line Up.

Shop Mike’s Pick: RNY # 56163 Organic Rwanda Women’s Coffee Group Natural Process Micro Lot

best coffee beans from tanzania

Traveling to Tanzania has been one of the highlights of my career. I’ll never forget the sight of the amazing landscape while flying over Mount Kilimanjaro. Before traveling to Tanzania, I had very little knowledge of the country’s coffee industry. This itself was exciting as I knew I would be able to gain much more knowledge by being on the ground.

When I first met the people from Africa Plantation Kilimanjaro (APK), I was immediately impressed. From the coffee farms within APK to their wet mill, I was floored by how well-organized and cared for everything was. At the time, they were primarily experimenting with natural and anaerobic processes. However, the true gem was most certainly their washed coffees.

While the Peaberries range in availability every year depending on yields, the cup quality is consistent and unique. You can expect a sugary and citrusy sweetness, followed by well-rounded caramel and brown sugar flavors on the back end. Although many don’t correlate great coffee with Tanzania, this unique origin has provided an offering that is certain to be a crowd pleaser.

Preview Joe’s Pick: RNY # 55645 Tanzania PB Lyamungo APK Estate

Best Coffee Beans from North & Central America

best coffee beans in north america

We introduced our first Nayarit in the 2023/2024 season. From the moment I cupped this coffee in Mexico, it took my senses away with bright citrus notes, sweet pear, and caramel. The arrival proved me right again (and don’t you love to be right?), and I can’t stop drinking it and talking about it! Nothing is more exciting as a coffee person than discovering a new coffee or region and contributing to pouring in as many cups as you can. Be part of this journey and add Nayarit to your menu and lexicon.

Shop Camilo’s Pick: RNY # 54522 Mexico HG San Basilio Nayarit

best coffee beans in central america

Located in Coto Brus near the Panama border, Hacienda La Amistad produces one of my favorite coffees from Costa Rica. These 300 hectares of coffee-growing land are owned and operated by Roberto Montero, a third-generation coffee farmer. Approximately 4,000 hectares of rain forest and more than 400 species of local and migratory birds surround the farm.

In the early 1900s, Roberto’s grandfather came to the area as part of a team surveying the border between Costa Rica and the newly ratified country of Panama. Later on, his grandfather purchased over 10,000 hectares of land to cultivate coffee. Since then, Roberto’s family has returned over 6,000 hectares of land to the Costa Rican government for the preservation of La Amistad International Park, the largest national reserve in Central America.

Roberto takes pride in his ability to provide more than 100 full-time jobs to his neighbors from Las Mellizas. These jobs are not only in coffee cultivation, but also in Roberto’s year-round dried fruit operation at La Amistad. Furthermore, Roberto hosts an annual employee celebration to recognize their hard work. He also distributes school supplies to his employees’ children before the start of every school year.

We have partnered with Roberto for over 25 years, and Hacienda La Amistad’s coffee has been consistently sweet and chocolatey. A perfect cup of coffee for any time of day, give it a try and let me know your thoughts on this offering.

Shop Rick’s Pick: RNY # 55458 Organic Costa Rica La Amistad

Best Coffee Beans from South America

best coffee beans in bolivia

Stemming from the APROCAFE association, this coffee comes to us from a group of 35 specialty producers. Founded in 1999, APROCAFE has been primarily dedicated to producing ecological and Fair Trade certified coffees. They began a project in 2018 that would allow visitors to explore their farms. In fact, visitors can even take part in some of the work, such as harvesting and pulping the coffee cherries!

The sweetness and body of this coffee really make it stand out to me. It presents this silky and smooth chocolatey mouthfeel with a brown sugar-like sweetness. You’ll also find it to have an underlying black cherry note, enhancing the complexity. It can take heat very well and is an easy drinker throughout the day.

Shop TJ’s Pick: RNY # 55573 Organic Bolivian Fair Trade-APROCAFE

best coffee beans from brazil

I love this coffee. It’s not the brightest or sweetest coffee in the world, but it’s not trying to be. This elevated utility coffee is the perfect solution for those looking for the affordability of a Brazilian coffee that can be enjoyed on its own or used in any traditional Brazil application. They have the round body, creamy sweetness, and subtle dried fruit notes without the harsh, nut-shell profile found in some lower grader Brazilian coffees. Plus, these coffees come from a great family-owned exporter doing amazing work for quality and traceability in their local coffee communities.

Shop Andrew’s Pick: RNY # 54721 Brazil Natural Legender Especial 17/18

best coffee beans from colombia

This coffee comes to us from the farthest southwest corner of Colombia in the department of Nariño. Here, a small coffee-producing town called La Union is located at more than 1800masl. Smallholder farmers from La Union grow coffee on small plots of land, each farm averaging about one hectare. After farmers deliver their cherries to a nearby wet mill, the coffee undergoes extended fermentation (upwards of 16 hours) before being milled, fully washed, and dried.

I think this lot exemplifies why a farmer will implement a practice like extended fermentation to their processing. While this coffee has all the cup clarity, balance, and uniformity you’d expect of a high-altitude Colombian, the extra step of allowing the cherries to ferment before washing imparts a sweet and juicy, stone fruit-forwardness that truly makes this a standout offering.

Shop Evan’s Pick: RNY # 55360 Colombia Nariño Excelso-La Union

best coffee beans from peru

Brought to us by the women of COOPAFSI, this offering is filled with sugary notes that make it a true crowd pleaser. It has plenty of body, which helps make it a great s/o espresso, and it also offers a nice, subtle acidity, which helps make it a great s/o filter option or perfect blend component for anything that needs additional complexity. I personally like this best when it’s roasted a little on the lighter end and brewed with a v60.

Shop Mike’s Pick: RNY # 54476 Organic Peru COOPAFSI “Las Damas de San Ignacio” Fair Trade

Best Black Teas

This tea consists of wiry, twisted leaves, along with golden buds throughout. It’s considered to be a step above Yunnan Black, as well as being at a great price point! You’ll find this tends more toward the savory side with subtle notes of sweet potato. It’ll also have notes of chocolate and caramel, giving it a nice sweetness. Golden Yunnan is a great tea to elevate your menu without breaking the bank!

Shop TJ’s Pick: Golden Yunnan

I really like Masala Chai, especially in February when it’s almost constantly dark and cold. However, while I like our Organic Masala Chai Sachets for the same reasons as its aforementioned conventional counterpart, this offering has the added bonus of convenience and ALL organic ingredients, making it an even better choice for chai drinkers. Layers of baking and warming spices make our chai stand out above most. The flavors are complex, yet discernable, speaking to the quality of our ingredients.

Shop Andrew’s Pick: Organic Masala Chai Sachets

New York Breakfast is a black tea sourced from India and Sri Lanka, blended together for an elevated experience. Medium-bodied and well-balanced, this tea is great with milk and sugar but tastes even better on its own.

Shop Mike’s Pick: New York Breakfast

Best Green Teas

Traditionally, this tea hails from Fujian Province, China. Fresh jasmine flowers are laid out during processing, infusing the leaves with their aroma and flavor. This results in a green tea with a clean, floral finish. While I am not typically a fan of teas with strong floral notes, Jasmine Pearls feels balanced and almost sweet. It’s quite approachable for all coffee and tea drinkers alike! It makes for a soothing cup, especially when I need a little something extra midday.

Shop Caitlin’s Pick: Jasmine Pearls

To me, Matcha is the perfect afternoon drink. It lifts me up and helps me focus on the things I need to get done, giving me a totally different drinking experience from coffee. This offering from the Isagawa Cooperative is silky and sweet with notes of vanilla, cream, and jasmine.

Shop Mike’s Pick: Organic Matcha Kakitsubata

Best White & Herbal Teas

I am choosing my go-to tea this quarter: White Peach! Caitlin & our staff have nailed this one. The peach and lemon come right at you from the start. If you are looking for a tea that satisfies the floral tones you love in an Ethiopian coffee, you will love this offering!

Shop James’ Pick: White Peach

My wife is the real tea drinker, but I can always make time for a cup of chamomile tea! The quintessential herbal brew, our Organic Chamomile is soothing and calming. It has hints of fruit and floral tones with notes of honey. Since it doesn’t have any caffeine, it’s my go-to for relaxing after a day spent cupping coffee.

Shop Rick’s Pick: Organic Chamomile

This is an organic herbal blend made of chamomile, lemon myrtle, and ginger. The base of this blend is the chamomile, carrying notes of honey and plenty of florals, while the lemon myrtle adds sweet citrus notes, and the ginger adds a warm spice to the finish.

I grew up with a “health food store” mom, so I’ve always viewed tea as more of a holistic remedy than something to drink for taste. While I’m not particularly into wellness culture as an adult, I do find myself gravitating toward teas and tisanes that have additional health benefits. Our Organic Chamomile Ginger has a warm, approachable flavor profile with a sweet, citrusy finish. Since it just so happens to be a great way to soothe an upset stomach, it’s always my go-to after cupping a table of acidic coffees!

Shop Evan’s Pick: Organic Chamomile Ginger