CCZ Coffee Bean Review: Just Like a Warm Cup of Coffee

  • Unique earfin design
  • Smooth treble

  • Bloated midbass
  • Mids need a lot of improvement

CCZ is a newcomer in the portable audio industry, which seems to be from China. They don't have any website or social media page so I'm not entirely sure. They launched 3 IEMs so far; the Plume (which I will review next), Coffee Bean, and the Melody. The Coffee Bean currently retails for 20 USD, and was provided to me for free by Keephifi in exchange for this review.

Driver unit: 10 mm dynamic, dual magnetic
Impedance: 18 ± 2 ohms
Sensitivity: 111 ± 3 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Poco X3 paired with iBasso DC03 and Shanling UA1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Coffee Bean comes in a small white sleeve box. It is very similar to the typical Chi-Fi IEM packaging you see in KZ and other brands. The only difference is that the top portion is closed, so you have to pull from the bottom side. Upon removing the sleeve you will find the Coffee Bean inserted in a soft, foamlike material. Below it is a smaller box that contains the spare eartips and the cable. Inside the box you will also find an instruction manual.
The stock CCZ eartips are unique in design as well. The stems are short and there is a circular notch at the top portion.

The shells are made of plastic with a glossy finish, while the nozzles are made of metal. The faceplates have the CCZ logo on one side, and a curved slit on the other that acts as a vent. On the rear side of the shell there is another vent, and interestingly, CCZ decided to put rubber earfins on the shell, similar to what you will find in some true wireless IEMs.
It is supposed to improve the overall fit. Since rubber provides more friction than plastic, it kinda holds on to your ears. Unfortunately though, my ears are bigger than the average Joe, so I don't really feel the difference. Nonetheless, it's always nice to see companies exert some effort to innovate their design.

The cable is a twisted, 4N 4-core oxygen free copper. It is light, very soft and thin. The angled 2 pin connectors are made of plastic, while the chin slider, splitter, and the L-type 3.5mm plug are made of hard rubber.
Now let's get to the sound.

The lows are presented in a forward manner. Subbass has above average rumble, it reaches quite deep, with a well extended decay. Midbass has more focus, and sounds bloated more often than not, to a point where it interferes with the mids.

Overall, the Coffee Bean possess the subbass that is enough to satisfy bassheads. But the midbass give the mids a hard time to shine when it needs to, therefore lessens the listening enjoyment.

The mids are recessed sounding. Both male and female vocals sound thick and boxy. Articulation is below average. The transparency feels inadequate and the clarity is also below average. I have heard some IEMs that have a more recessed mids than this but had at least an average level of articulation.

Overall, the mids of the Coffee Bean sound lacking in every sense of the word. It falls behind in terms of the resolution that some other IEMs in the same price range can provide somehow.

The highs have a smooth presentation with a fair amount of crunch. It is neutrally placed, and there is a decent amount of air in it. Treble reach is on an average level accompanied by a moderate amount of decay. 

Overall, the Coffee Bean avoids that aggressive treble typicaly found in V-shaped sounding budget IEMs. Instead, it offers treble that is relaxed and does not induce fatigue in long periods of usage.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The soundstage is not that wide. There is more focus on the depth than the width. Imaging accuracy is slightly below average, as well as the layering. Instrument separation is good, with a fair amount of congestion in busy tracks.

CCZ Coffee Bean (1 DD, 20 USD) vs. KZ ZST (1 BA + 1 DD, 12 USD)
I was honestly surprised when I listened to them side by side, because they sound very similar. ZST has a more pronounced subbass, while the midbass in both of them are identical. The mids sound more natural on the ZST, but the difference is not that big. The ZST has definitely more sparkle up top and has greater reach. The soundstage is also more open and wider in the ZST, resulting in a more accurate imaging and separation of instruments.
CCZ Coffee Bean (1 DD, 20 USD) vs. KBEar KS1 (1 DD, 14 USD)
Again, these two sound very similar. Subbass are just the same, but the midbass is more forward with the Coffee Bean. Mids are slightly more forward in the Coffee Bean but the KS1 has slightly better transparency. KS1's treble is a tad more extended. The stage depth is a bit bit better on the KS1.

The CCZ Coffee Bean lives up to its name by providing a warm and smooth sound, just like a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. Putting something unique in the design of the shell and the eartips, CCZ is on the right path here. The mids, however, need a lot of improvement especially its clarity to make the Coffee Bean a true contender in this price range.

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