The Kicking Horse Coffee Review That You’ll Love

Ready to branch out from your regular morning coffee and try something fresh and exciting amazing coffee? Kicking Horse may have you covered, thanks to such a wide variety of beans to choose from.

It’s a good coffee brand that offers organic certified coffee which comes in different flavors (from light-medium roast to dark roast, so today I am going to discuss them and let you know my favorite that you can find on Amazon.com or on the official site of the Kicking horse.

Choosing the Right Kicking Horse Blend

kicking horse coffee

It’s worth noting that I contacted the company to see if samples were available. They weren’t, but they were willing to help me choose the right coffee for me and find the best place to order from, based on my preferences and zip code. I imagine if anyone is really stumped once they read the descriptions, a quick email exchange initiated through their contact page could help them decide which one to buy.

I thanked them for their offer to help and but chose to order a bag of the medium roast, whole bean Smart Ass through Amazon.com on my own since I have Prime and it was available for fast shipping that way. I got my package in one day, which is even faster than standard Prime shipping.

With tax, the 10 oz. the bag ended up costing $11.45. If I had wanted to commit to a subscription, it would’ve been slightly less than that per bag.

First Impression

This one seemed like a hit right away, from the appearance to the smell that hit my nose as soon as the bag was opened. The beans were shiny but not especially oily. The freshness of the beans could be immediately noticed and I couldn’t wait to grind them and make a pour over.

Speaking of the bag, I do wish this came in something other than a standard bag. It’s glossy and eye-catching, but not air-tight once it’s been opened. A canister might be better, but that’s just a minor criticism. If you go through a bag of coffee per week, you may never notice the difference.

I did notice that some blends are available in larger sizes than the Smart Ass blend I purchased. Those are available in canisters. There’s a 30-ounce 454 Horse Power, for example, as well as a 12.3-oz Anniversary canister. So there’s some flexibility if you do really want your coffee to come in a can as opposed to a bag, but you may have to order a different blend or size than you hoped to.

Making the First Cup

I used an electric blade grinder to create a medium-coarse grind (what I usually use) and set up the Chemex. I probably used more grounds than the average person but didn’t measure. I tend to estimate when I make a pour-over.

Filtered water right off the boil was then poured over the grounds and the bloom was beautiful and big, suggesting fresher beans. There was no roast date, but the “best buy” date was September 2018 (it is February 2018 at the time of this writing), so it was nice to see confirmation that the beans were, most likely, not that old.

The Second Cup

kicking horse brand

This time, the beans were ground finer, as the Kicking Horse website recommends, using the same electric blade grinder. Using the measurements on the bag and the directions on the website for a pour-over, I made a delicious coffee exactly as they intended it to be made, just for comparison’s sake.

Even with the different grind size and amount—and the fact that it was a couple of days later–there was still a nice bloom. The aroma was still fresh and the flavor was still only slightly less than fresh. Again that is to be expected from a coffee that has been roasted far away, packaged, and shipped, so I’m not really holding it against it.

The coffee was strong—stronger than it was in the first cup–and with a smooth finish. It still seemed darker than I would’ve preferred for a medium roast, but I was still able to happily drink it black. If I purchase Kicking Horse Coffee again, I’ll probably try the light roast. That’s just personal preference.

I still didn’t pick up on the notes the website describes much with this cup. They were even less detectable, perhaps because of the few days between cups (even though the coffee was freshly ground before each pour-over).

The Aroma and Body

The beans smelled absolutely amazing and I couldn’t wait to make a cup. There was only the tiniest hint of staleness, which is to be expected when you aren’t going to a local roaster and buying them directly. This is minimal and completely impressive.

This great coffee is roasted in Canada and I live in Georgia, so quite a bit of time passed before they got to me. The amount of time spent packaging and shipping beans will usually cause at least a little dulling of the flavor notes.

Did the coffee smell like sweet syrup, vanilla bean, and stone fruit, in bean form or brewed form? Not so much that I would’ve picked up on those notes on my own. However, there is a sweet, syrupy edge that I normally associate with dark roast coffee beans.

I think this roast is on the darker side of medium, but doesn’t have the heavy, syrupy mouthfeel or even smell that darker roasts tend to have. I’d still say it has a medium body.

Beyond My Cup: All the Coffee

There are several options for Kicking Horse Coffee, so choosing one could prove to be a challenge. I ended up going with a medium roast because that’s what I usually buy, but quite a few of the dark roasts were calling my name.

The Kicking Horse website gives detailed descriptions of each coffee’s aroma, tasting notes, origin, and recommended brewing methods. There’s also a quick general description of each one to help you home in on the ones that will most appeal to your personal preferences.

Kicking Horse Coffee
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07/23/2021 06:24 pm GMT

The Options

Take a look at how the different coffee beans taste, smell, and perform best, according to the Kicking Horse site. See which one stands out most to you:

Name  Roast  Origin  Aroma  Tasting Notes  Recommended Brew Methods 
Hola Light  Central and South America  Brown sugar, nougat, cocoa powder  Red currant, honey  French press, drip machine, pour over, espresso 
Smart Ass® Medium  Africa, Central America, and South America  Syrup, vanilla, stone fruit  Red currant, sugar cane, milk chocolate, and a “honeyed berry body”  French press, drip machine, pour over, espresso 
Ass®  Dark  Indonesia and South America  Smoky, sweet vanilla and dark chocolate  Chocolate malt, molasses, licorice, earthy finish  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
Grizzly Claw Dark  Central and South America  Sugar cane and cocoa powder  Dark chocolate, cacao nibs, brown sugar, hazelnut  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
Three Sisters® Medium  Indonesia, Central America, South America  Dried fruit, toasted coconut, and chocolate malt  Sweet tobacco, stone fruit, cocoa  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
HooDoo Jo® Medium  Africa, Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Wine, berries, and almonds  Blackcurrants, semi-sweet chocolate, nutty, earthy  French press, drip machine, pour-over, espresso 
454 Horse Power® Dark  Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Cacao nibs, peat, and nutmeg  Sweet tobacco, earthy, black licorice  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
Hanger Espresso  Medium  Africa, Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Blackcurrant, milk chocolate, and brown sugar  Sweet wild berries, cocoa  French press, drip machine, pour-over, espresso 
Pipeline  Medium  Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Earthy, anise, and  molasses  Tropical dried fruit, cola, walnut  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
Z-Wrangler Medium  Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Cocoa powder and sweet pastries  Maple syrup, baking spice, sweet golden raisins  French press, drip machine, pour-over, espresso 
Ass (half the caffeine content) Dark  Indonesia, Central America, and South America  Earthy and cacao  Chocolate malt, toasted pecans  French press, drip machine, pour-over 
Decaf  Dark  Central America and South America  Deep chocolate, complex nuttiness  Hazelnuts and chocolate  French press, drip machine, pour-over, espresso 

Keep in mind that the recommended brew methods will depend on your ability to grind your own beans because you’ll need a finer grind for espresso, a coarser grind for French press, etc. If you cannot grind your own, there are bags of pre-ground coffees available, as well. Ground coffee is available at:

  • Hola
  • Smart Ass®
  • Kick Ass®
  • 454 Horse Power®
  • Three Sisters®
  • Grizzly Claw

Unfortunately, there’s not quite the selection of ground coffees that there is in the whole bean, but if you really do not want to buy or worry about storing a coffee grinder, there’s enough variety to suit any palette. If you need half-caff or decaf, you’re out of luck, though. If you already had your heart set on one blend and it’s not available in ground form, this could be a negative.

Overall Thoughts on Kicking Horse Coffee

I haven’t tried all of the brands of coffee on the market that are sold in the grocery store, but I’ve probably tried most of them at one point or another. I would choose Kicking Horse over anything on the shelf at this point. There may be one out there that could beat this one that I just haven’t had the pleasure of trying yet, but I’m impressed by this one.

Sadly, Kicking Horse isn’t sold anywhere near me. Hopefully, that will change soon. In the meantime, I hope to order several of the blends in the future. So many of them sound intriguing, I think there’s something (probably several somethings) there for any coffee lover.

I love that they’re fair trade, organic, and sustainable and that the company supports The Nature Conservancy of Canada, The Banff Mountain Film & Book Festival, Idle Free BC, Jumbo Wild, and more. It’s clear that this is a company with heart and a concern for the planet.

FAQs About Kicking Horse Coffee

Is Kicking Horse USDA Certified?

Yes, they are. Kicking Horse is a company that is delivering organic coffee in many different flavors and as they say, they do not settle for less than the best.

Where is Kicking Horse coffee coming from?

The Kicking Horse coffee is coming from Rocky Mountains in Canada and is carefully grown and picked by coffee farmers since 1991.

Which Kicking Horse Coffee is best for espresso?

Cliff Hanger is a special blend made for espresso, and while you might have tried some bitter blends before, with Kicking Horse’s espresso blend you will feel its smoothness and cocoa finish.

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