The Small-Batch Coffee Trader Joe's Customers Keep Begging For

Coffee at Trader Joe's works in a couple of different ways: The grocery chain offers normal, year-round blends like its Medium Roast, which comes ground or as whole beans. But Trader Joe's also offers a number of "Small Lot" coffee roasts per year, in which it orders a smaller, limited amount of green coffee beans from a specific farm (in the coffee world, "green beans" are those that have been harvested but not yet roasted). Because of these beans' unique nature — and the exclusivity of a Small Lot coffee blend — certain roasts become popular with Trader Joe's devoted fanbase.


According to the company's official podcast, which has been running since 2018, a particular Small Lot roast from a farm in Chiapas, Mexico has become especially popular. In the podcast's 63rd episode, "Trader Joe's Knacks for Hacks," the hosts specifically mention Small Lot coffee as a good place to start if you're confused about how to approach Trader Joe's sizable coffee aisle. In particular, they shout out the brand's Chiapas roast for being sold in both 2020 and 2023, returning explicitly because of its popularity.

The Chiapas Small Lot is a fan-favorite roast

While it's hardly unique for a company-produced podcast to hype up its own products, Trader Joe's customers supposedly requested that this specific caramel-flavored roast return to shelves. The podcast episode discussing the Chiapas roast brought on Rashinda Harris, Trader Joe's category manager for coffee, tea, and beverages, to explain its return: "By far, since I have been in this role, it's been the most sought out, after, uh, a lotta customers coming in to say, 'Hey, can we get this one back?'"


So, what's so special about this roast? Beyond the colorful floral designs on the packaging, the Chiapas Small Lot is a light roast featuring notes of caramel, dark chocolate, and dried fruits. The bag's description says the green beans are mountain-grown in a fertile patch of farmland known as "The Gold Fringe" on the Mexico-Guatemala border. The beans are wet-processed, meaning they're washed and dried with lots of water right after they're harvested. Wet-processed coffee beans often have a clean, bright taste, even if the process sacrifices some of the coffee's body.

What is Trader Joe's Small Lot coffee?

The most popular product at Trader Joe's, at least according to the store's 15th annual Customer Choice Awards, is its Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips, but its coffee aisle is no slouch, either. Staying up to date with the chain's Small Lot options is tough simply because items frequently rotate off the shelves, but Trader Joe's has sourced green coffee beans from several countries around the world. In the past, these have included the Brazil Cachoeira da Grama light roast, the Uganda Rwenzori Mountains of the Moon Small Lot medium roast, and the Kintamani Small Lot from Bali, Indonesia.


While Trader Joe's does offer its fair share of ground coffee, the Small Lot options are nearly always whole beans, and its Chiapas Small Lot was no exception. It's not the brand's only coffee from the region, either. On occasion, Trader Joe's has sold the Summer Camp medium-dark roast from Campfire, which uses fair-trade Chiapas beans. If you're a fan of Trader Joe's Chiapas Small Lot, it's entirely possible that the fan favorite will hit shelves again — after all, the chain has already brought it back once.