Healthy Drinks

7 Best Honey Coffees—The Type of Coffee Many of the Longest-Living People on Earth Brew—You Can Buy Online

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If coffee is a daily fixture in your routine, you might be surprised to learn that you and some of the longest living people in the world have that in common. “Most centenarians in Blue Zones regions drink up to two or three cups of black coffee per day,” says longevity expert, The National Geographic fellow, and author of The Blue Zones Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life Dan Buettner, “Sardinians, Ikarians, and Nicoyans start their days with a cup, lightly sweetened without cream.” But they aren’t just drinking any old coffee, they’re drinking honey coffee—which, contrary to the name, doesn’t contain any honey.

Best honey coffees at a glance:

Best overall: Bean & Bean Costa Rica Tarrazu Ditsö Honey ($27)
Best coffee that gives back: Greater Goods Take Me Home Coffee ($22)
Best fruity flavor: Alma Honey Process Coffee ($24)
Best shipping splurge: Cafe Monteverde Honey Process Coffee ($25)
Best for coffee connoisseurs: Devoción El Rubí Organic Coffee ($33)
Best espresso blend: Temple Dharma Espresso Blend ($21)
Best for espresso + drip coffee alike:Airship Sumatra Kerinci Honey Coffee ($23)

The “honey” in honey coffee actually refers to the processing of the coffee bean. When a coffee is honey-processed, the fruity outer layer of the coffee “cherry” is removed, and the naturally occurring mucilage that coats the coffee bean—made up of sugars—is left intact. While the coffee bean dries out, a natural fermentation process kicks off, causing the sugars and acids in the mucilage to make way for rich and nuanced flavors.

“An important thing to be aware of when buying honey-processed coffee is that they can vary a lot in terms of fruitiness and complexity,” says coffee expert and founder of the Coffee Chronicler, Asser Christensen, “Some coffee producers have started to label their beans as either yellow, red, or black honey to explain the differences.” While there aren’t any hard and fast rules, terms like “white” and “golden” honey, are commonly used to describe more mildly flavored varieties; “red honey” for more balanced yet complex coffees; and “black honey” for more robust flavors. Another key to buying honey coffee online? Check the region. Most honey processed coffees come from Costa Rica, but as the method gains popularity, producers all over the world are trying the technique.

On top of being just plain good for you, honey-processed coffees are also more sustainable, “In washed processing, the skin, pulp and mucilage of the coffee cherry is fully removed using a lot of water,” says Jiyoon Han, co-founder of Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters, “In honey processing, mucilage is left to dry on the coffee seeds, which conserves water and energy.” Looking to get in on the honey coffee craze at home? These wellness-boosting coffees are only a hop and a click away.

Best overall

Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters, Costa Rica Tarrazu Ditsö Honey
Bean & Bean Coffee Roasters, Costa Rica Tarrazu Ditsö Honey — $27.00

With its bright and fruity flavor profile, Bean & Bean’s Ditsö Honey Coffee is the perfect morning pick-me-up. Sweet red apple, chocolate, and orange notes are balanced with light acidity for an ultra-satisfying sip. This one’s considered a “red honey” coffee, in which “50 percent of the mucilage is left to dry, resulting in a red-hue to the coffee beans,” tells Jiyoon.

Region
San José, Costa Rica

Roast
Medium

Notes
Bright fruit, chocolate, molasses


Best coffee that gives back

greater goods coffee
Greater Goods Coffee Co., Take Me Home Coffee — $22.00

This Texas-based coffee roaster gets their honey-processed beans from San Marcos, Costa Rica, and supports local nonprofits with every sale. Described as pure comfort in a cup, this medium roasted coffee has a hazelnut flavor with notes of sweet vanilla and a hint of citrus.

Region
San Marcos, Costa Rica

Roast
Medium

Notes
Vanilla, citrus, nuts


Best fruity flavor

Alma Coffee, Honey Process Coffee — $24.00

Dubbed a “bright roast,” by the team at Alma Coffee Roasters, this small batch honey processed coffee is full of sweet and tart flavors that make it a great drink option for any time of day. Notes of rosewater, blackberry, and black tea give this coffee a light and refined flavor profile—think fruit punch meets coffee.

Region
Copan, Honduras

Roast
Light-Medium

Notes
Ripe fruit, rosewater, blackberry, and black tea


Best shipping splurge

monteverde honey processed coffee
Cafe Monteverde, Medium Roast Honey Process Coffee — $25.00

Before the internet, you’d have to hike your way up the rainforest trails in Monteverde, Costa Rica, to enjoy a cup of Cafe Monteverde’s local, honey processed coffee. And while you may have to splurge a bit on shipping now ($15 to be exact), this authentic Costa Rican coffee is worth every penny. Classified as a medium roast, Cafe Monteverde coffee has a sweet, complex flavor, with notes of honey, pear, and sugary cinnamon spice.

Region
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Roast
Medium

Notes
Honey, pear, cinnamon spice


Best for coffee connoisseurs

devocion honey processed coffee
Devoción, El Rubí Organic Coffee — $33.00

New York-based coffee roasters Devoción dub their certified organic El Rubí coffee a “yellow honey” coffee for its natural sweetness. Deep plum, black grape, and honey notes give this coffee a rich, full-bodied flavor that’s made lighter with a subtle touch of mint.

Region
Tolima, Colombia

Notes
Plum, black grape, honey, mint


Best espresso blend

dharma espresso blend
Temple, Dharma Espresso Blend — $21.00

If espresso is more your speed, this honey processed espresso blend calls on coffee beans sourced from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Peru for its complex, syrupy flavor. Rich notes of cocoa, almond, and subtle hints of berry make this velvety smooth espresso the perfect caffeinated sweet treat.

Region
Minas Gerais, Brazil; Sidamo, Ethiopia; Huila, Colombia

Roast
Medium

Notes
Milk chocolate, nuts, berries


Best for espresso + drip coffee alike

airship honey coffee
Airship, Sumatra Kerinci Honey Coffee — $23.00

Airship’s twist on Sumatran coffee, this honey processed coffee offers the same crisp and comforting sweetness, with added layers of fruity and floral flavors. Grapefruit, plum, and creamy cocoa notes are all on the docket, giving this coffee a sweet—but not cloying—flavor that both espresso enthusiasts and drip coffee lovers can enjoy.

Region
Sumatra, Indonesia

Roast
Light-Medium

Notes
Cocoa, citrus, spice

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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