In today’s review, I’m checking out the CCZ Coffee Bean. The Coffee Bean is a budget IEM with a single 10mm dynamic driver. At the time of writing, it retails for $16.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KeepHifi for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
CCZ Coffee Bean
Interface/Connector：2PIN 0.78MMPlug type: 3.5MM
Driver unit: 10mm Dual Magnetic Circuit DD
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging is similar to what we’re familiar with seeing from brands like KZ and CCA; it’s a small white box with an image of the IEMs on the front and a list of specifications on the back. Inside the box, we find the CCZ Coffee Bean IEMs, a detachable 2-pin cable and 3x pairs of silicone eartips.
As the name suggests, the Coffee Bean comes with either black or brown shells. I received a brown set. The shells are made from transparent acrylic but there’s also a rubber ‘earfin’ (patented) on the uppermost part of the inner shell.
According to the marketing material, these earfins provide “a more comfortable, stable and lighter experience”. Do they work? Well, I can say that, at least for me, the Coffee Bean is exceptionally comfortable and feels very stable in my ears. What’s more, I can actually use the included patented eartips, because they’re large enough to fit my oversized ear canals.
That’s right, I said “patented eartips”. The included eartips have a short bore that moves the drivers closer to the eardrums, reducing noise loss. Furthermore, the eartip nozzle design supposedly “brings a more stereo sound in ears, enhancing details and soundstage”. Is it hyperbole or fact? I can’t say for sure but I will state that the Coffee Bean has both good details and soundstage.
Included with the Bean is a 4-core, 4N OFC cable. It’s very similar to the standard KZ and CCA cables but has a chin slider. It has a right-angled plug, Y-split and plastic 2-pin connector housings. The cable feels strong, drapes well and has minimal microphonics, but it is prone to get tangled.
Gear used for testing includes:
The CCZ Coffee Bean is an IEM with a warm tonality and elevated bass response. It’s more than that, however, because it’s also detailed and resolving. The Bean has a V-shaped signature but is still engaging, rich and smooth to listen to. It’s the kind of IEM that you can turn up loud without fear of any harshness.
There’s no need to worry if you’re running straight out of a phone or low-powered dongle DAC; the Coffee Bean is easy to drive and doesn’t require additional amplification. However, it sounds even better with a good DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) or DAP (Digital Audio Player) as a source.
The bass is elevated and powerful: enough that it could satisfy even a lot of the bassheads out there. It’s not crazy big but if you’re looking for neutral bass, you’ll need to look elsewhere. There is some bass bleeding into the mids but it’s not destructive or distracting.
Coffee Bean has got a pretty wicked sub-bass rumble too, which is a lot of fun. Listening to “The Optimist” by Anathema, both the male and female vocals and instruments have good clarity, even after the spirited drums kick in (2:05).
When playing Iamthemorning’s “Lighthouse”, the tone is on the warmer side of neutral but the piano and vocals are clear with a full-bodied presentation. When the heavy kick drum comes in (3:56) there’s significant bass bleeding into the mids but the overall experience is still a pleasant one.
On tracks with heavier bass, the mids are somewhat recessed but vocals still have good presence and a rich, inviting presentation. Despite being pushed back behind the bass, the mids don’t sound veiled or muddied. This is thanks largely to the treble tuning which provides clarity and air.
The Bean’s treble is like a good cappuccino; it’s inherently rich but has a small dose of acidity or zest with some creamy light foam goodness on top. It’s a relatively forward treble but it’s the kind you can turn up loud without feeling any harshness.
Despite being so smooth and non-fatiguing, the treble is airy and delivers a good level of detail. It’s even comparable to some more expensive IEMs that mute the bass and lift the lower treble for perceived clarity/detail.
The soundstage is larger than it ought to be for an IEM with so much bass. It creates a rounded space with near-equal width and depth. The instrument separation and resolution are pretty good, although they take a hit on heavy bass tracks. Imaging and positioning are nice too, adding technical points to this fun-tuned IEM.
KBEAR KS1 ($13)
The KBEAR KS1 has a very similar tuning to the Bean. In fact, they’re almost identical when it comes to frequency response. The KS1 is a tad lighter in the bass; it doesn’t hit quite as hard as the Bean. Its midrange is slightly more recessed too, making vocals and instruments just a bit thinner.
KS1’s treble is more forward which brings its detail retrieval on PAR with the Coffee Bean but I feel the latter has slightly better resolution. Either way, these are both killer IEMs for the price.
CVJ CSA ($19)
The CVJ CSA is a hybrid dual driver with 1DD+1BA. CSA’s sound signature is slightly more linear than the Bean’s; it has less emphasis on the bass and a more forward midrange. As a result, the midrange on the CSA is more intimate and upfront.
The CSA has a bit of extra treble too which maintains clarity in the midrange and provides detail retrieval. Bassheads will appreciate the extra bump in the Coffee Bean’s low frequencies but those looking for intimate and forward vocals would likely prefer the CSA.
The CCZ Coffee Bean is a basshead on a budget’s dream IEM. It’s got thumping lows, yet the midrange is clear and the treble is airy. For such a warm and bass-heavy IEM, the Bean has an excellent soundstage and impressive detail retrieval. So if you’re on a budget and want something that’s fun but also scores points in technicalities, the Coffee Bean is a must-have.