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Searching for the Best Coffee Beans for Espresso? These are the 8 Best Espresso Beans in 2023

Long story short: I tested 21 espresso blends and found Lavazza Super Crema to be the best overall.

best espresso beans

I’m a bit of an espresso junkie, I’ll admit it. Ever since I first tried it. When I started working as a professional barista, I had the chance to experiment with all kinds of different coffee beans, too. From pulling ristretto and lungo shots to making doppios and milk-based coffee drinks, it’s incredible how your choice of coffee impacts the end results.

And in my expert opinion, Lavazza Super Crema is some kinda dreamy. It’s my pick for best espresso beans overall not just because Lavazza is the most popular coffee supplier in Italy (although they are!), but because of one little word: Crema.

That’s right. The Super Crema really does make super crema, and when I am trying to find the best of something to recommend to you, my dear readers, I always look at what matters most to me. And for me, what I love the most about espresso is crema. 

But, espresso is integral to all kinds of coffee, which is why I chose 7 others on my list of the best espresso beans of 2023.

Keep reading to discover what they are.


Quick Overview of the Best Coffee Beans for Espresso

BEST OVERALL
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

  • Bean Type: 60%Arabica and 40% Robusta
  • Origin: Blended
  • Flavor Notes: Hazelnut, brown sugar, and cocoa
  • Roast: Light-medium

BEST SPECIALTY
Intelligentsia Coffee, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Black Cat Espresso

Intelligentsia Coffee, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Black Cat Espresso

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Blended
  • Flavor Notes: Stone fruit, dark chocolate, marshmallow, and raw sugars
  • Roast: Medium

BEST ORGANIC
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic

Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Africa, Central, and South America
  • Flavor Notes: Wild berries and cocoa
  • Roast: Medium

BEST FOR AMERICANO
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia
  • Flavor Notes: Citrus and dark chocolate
  • Roast: Medium

BEST MELLOW BLEND
Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag

Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Central & South American blend
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and floral
  • Roast: Medium

BEST STRAIGHT ESPRESSO
DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine - Organic, Fair Trade

DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine - Organic, Fair Trade

  • Bean Type: Arabica and Robusta
  • Origin: India, Peru, and Sumatra
  • Flavor Notes: Caramelized sugar
  • Roast: Medium

BEST MEDIUM ROAST
Black Rifle Coffee Company, AK-47 Espresso

Black Rifle Coffee Company, AK-47 Espresso

  • Bean Type: Robusta and Arabica
  • Origin: Colombia and Brazil
  • Flavor Notes: Citrus, nut, and chocolate
  • Roast: Medium




Let’s Take a Closer Look at Each Espresso Coffee

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

  • Bean Type: 60%Arabica and 40% Robusta
  • Origin: Blended
  • Flavor Notes: Hazelnut, brown sugar, and cocoa
  • Roast: Light-medium

The Lavazza Super Crema espresso beans stand out for their quality and taste, earning them the title of best overall espresso beans. Rich in flavor and finely ground, these beans produce a creamy espresso shot with a long-lasting aromatic finish.

Known for its combination of Arabica and Robusta beans from Brazil, India, and Columbia, this blend is a classic in the espresso community. A rarer light-medium roast whole bean coffee from Lavazza, the Super Crema is just how it sounds: Sweet, sharp, and creamy.

Pros

  • Consistently rich flavor.
  • Easy-to-brew crema.
  • Makes strong coffee that's naturally sweet and creamy.

Cons
  • It's a blend rather than single-origin, which some coffee drinkers may not prefer.

While it brews decadent, quality espresso no matter what type of coffee you prefer, the Super Crema is a popular espresso blend because it creates a luscious crema on top of the shot.

Crema is naturally sweet and foamy – often the hook that reels new espresso fanatics in! If that’s you, then this light medium roast coffee from Lavazza will light up your world.




Intelligentsia Coffee, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Black Cat Espresso
Intelligentsia Coffee, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Black Cat Espresso
Intelligentsia Coffee, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Black Cat Espresso

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Blended
  • Flavor Notes: Stone fruit, dark chocolate, marshmallow, and raw sugars
  • Roast: Medium

Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso is a standout among specialty espresso beans, setting the standard high in the connoisseur world. Actually, Black Cat Espresso is almost synonymous with espresso on the American specialty coffee scene.

Why? Because it brings an unrivaled depth of flavor, pleasantly balancing sweet and creamy notes, which makes it a true specialty coffee.

This espresso roast is crafted by Intelligentsia Coffee, a reputed Chicago-based company known for sourcing and roasting some of the finest and most sustainable beans from around the world. The Black Cat Classic boasts meticulously selected beans from numerous coffee-growing regions such as Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. 

Each batch of Black Cat Classic Espresso is artfully roasted to bring out the unique profiles of the beans, creating a vibrant blend marked by its consistency, full-bodied texture, and smooth finish. This remarkably versatile espresso produces a stunning flavor range from the brightness of ripe fruit to the rich, inviting sweetness of caramel.

Moreover, it is known for its velvety texture that gives way to a lingering, satisfying aftertaste, making it a divine treat for the palate that goes beautifully with a baked good or treats. 

Pros

  • Beloved blend in the specialty coffee world.
  • Great with advanced coffee brewing techniques, too, like V60 pour-over.
Cons

  • Not easy to find in-store.
  • Not strong enough for some expecting espresso roast coffee.

It’s not just the taste that stands out, but also the intrinsic values of Intelligentsia. The company emphasizes innovative direct trade with farmers, ensuring the traceability of their beans and validating their commitment to superior quality and sustainability.

Each package of Black Cat Classic leaves the roaster, bound to a café, kitchen, or office only when it is at its peak flavor. These exceptional attributes are what make the Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso beans the best in their category; adding up to a genuinely memorable coffee-drinking experience that reaffirms why it is touted as the best specialty espresso.

For both coffee novices and seasoned espresso lovers, this blend invites a broader appreciation of the intricate complexities of truly great espresso. 




Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 2.2 Pound - Certified Organic

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Africa, Central, and South America
  • Flavor Notes: Wild berries and cocoa
  • Roast: Medium

Kicking Horse Coffee’s Cliff Hanger Espresso is a high-quality blend that features a combination of Arabica beans from Africa, Central, and South America, providing a smooth and complex taste with hints of wild berries and cocoa.

Made from 100% Arabica beans, these organic espresso beans serve coffee lovers with a spectacular mix of cocoa and brown sugar flavors. The arabica beans are grown in high-altitude regions, a pivotal factor contributing towards their enriched aromatic essence.

They’re also ethically sourced, showcasing Kicking Horse’s commitment to fair trade practices. 

One of the standout features of Cliff Hanger Espresso is its smooth taste. It has a sweet, smooth, and fruity appeal, compared to the bitter taste of conventional espresso shots.

Additionally, the company’s roasting process, which takes place in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, gives the beans a distinctive flavor that sets it apart from other brands. 

Pros

  • Certified organic.
  • Richly flavorful, silky, and complex
  • Works with multiple brewing methods.
  • Company's ethical sustainability commitment.
  • Unique roasting process.
Cons
  • Not the perfect espresso if you're looking for something less complex.

While the Cliff Hanger Espresso mainly offers a rewarding coffee experience, it does have its cons. Although it is marketed as an espresso roast, some coffee purists argue that the roast is lighter than a typical espresso roast. Additionally, its fruity and chocolaty profile might not be for you if you’re looking for a sharper kind of coffee.

Still, the multitude of pros comfortably outweighs the cons. It’s a charming blend.




Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender, Whole Bean
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender, Whole Bean
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender, Whole Bean

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia
  • Flavor Notes: Citrus and dark chocolate
  • Roast: Medium

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender offers a truly unique and pleasing coffee experience that is hard to match. This one is a shining example of the high-quality, carefully curated coffee that Stumptown Coffee Roasters is known for.

It combines beans from the world’s three major coffee regions—Africa, Latin America, and Indonesia. The result is a distinct and complex flavor profile made up of a mouthwatering mix of sweet and fruity with a slight hint of chocolate—the perfect coffee beans for espresso.

Specifically designed for espresso brewing, the Hair Bender blend impresses with its consistency and versatility, perfectly suiting a classic Americano.

Pros

  • Amazing packaging.
  • Great deal for regular drinking when you use Amazon subscribe 'n save or Stumptown's subscription.
Cons

  • Not always shipped fresh roasted when buying online.
  • Mild profile that's too subdued for some.

The key benefits are its unprecedentedly rich and nuanced flavor, the meticulous attention paid to the sourcing and processing of the beans, and the remarkable smoothness of the espresso it creates. Regardless of how you like your coffee, having a bag of Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender in your kitchen will bring joy to your everyday coffee ritual. 




Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Oz Bag (Packagin
Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Oz Bag (Packagin
Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Oz Bag (Packagin

The Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast is a specialty coffee blend that promises to transform your coffee at home experience, especially for those who fancy preparing espresso-style coffee with the unique method of making coffee with an Aeropress.

Using freshly ground beans at about 18-20 grams of coffee and the right amount of water, you can produce a concentrated espresso-style coffee enjoyable as a straight shot of espresso, or as the base for other coffee drinks like a latte, cappuccino, or even a cold brew coffee.

Engineered meticulously to produce an espresso shot that embodies the essence of Italian espresso, these beans are perfect for your espresso maker, especially for enthusiasts chasing after that specialty coffee experience.

Being a medium espresso roast, it balances on the fine line between too light and dark roast coffee, harvesting a taste that is rich yet not overwhelmingly bitter.

Whether you're making coffee in a traditional espresso style machine or experimenting with a coffee brewer like the AeroPress, you'll find the Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend versatile enough to produce a great cup of coffee. 

Who Should Buy This Best Espresso for AeroPress?

The Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend is a favorite among those who cherish a rich, flavorful shot of espresso, cappuccino, or latte right from the comfort of their home. 

If you’re looking for a magical espresso roast to make milk-based drinks with, Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee will fast become your favorite espresso blend. 

The beans mix Arabica varieties from Brazil and Honduras, slow-roasted with African Robusta coffees to create a rich, intense dark espresso roast.

Pros

  • Rich, balanced flavor suitable for a variety of brewing methods
  • Large 2.2 lb bag offers good value for money
  • Suitable for both traditional espresso machines and AeroPress coffee maker

Cons

  • May not produce the traditional espresso crema as effectively in lower-pressure brewers like AeroPress
  • Some purists may find the flavor varies slightly from traditional espresso shot expectations

While some may find this blend too strong, I found it perfect for making cappuccinos and lattes, producing an incredibly velvety crema. It’s also suitable for various brewing methods if you buy it whole bean—including espresso machines, moka pots, drip coffee makers, and French presses.

Overall, if you’re looking for a luxe espresso experience where every small moment can be savored, Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend is definitely worth trying.




Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag
Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag
Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Roast, 2.2 Pound Bag

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Origin: Central & South American blend
  • Flavor Notes: Fruity and floral
  • Roast: Medium

I love the Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend, which is crafted with a mix of Central and South American beans. This delicious espresso roast’s highly aromatic notes add to every rich-bodied sip.

We found that the Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend is a great choice for anyone who wants a high-quality espresso roast with its edges softened. The fruity and floral aroma is highly aromatic and pleasant, while the coffee has a rich-bodied flavor that is smooth, not bitter.

Pros

  • Smells incredible.
  • Rich-bodied flavor that is smooth and not bitter.
Cons
  • The flavor may not be as strong as some people prefer.

The flavor may not be as strong as some people prefer, so it may not be the best choice for people who’d think Italian espresso is generally weaker tasting. This blend is even more subtle than traditional espresso.




DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine - Organic, Fair Trade
DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine - Organic, Fair Trade
DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine - Organic, Fair Trade

  • Bean Type: Arabica and Robusta
  • Origin: India, Peru, and Sumatra
  • Flavor Notes: Caramelized sugar
  • Roast: Medium

If you’re looking for a rich, intense, and smooth brew, Death Wish Coffee Co. Espresso Roast is the way to go. If you enjoy a super bold double shot of espresso in the mornings, this is a great espresso for you.

Death Wish Coffee Co. Espresso Roast is made for rich cups of coffee and espresso-based drinks so you can get out of your skull and into the daily grind. The dark roast blend has notes of caramelized sugar, cocoa, and cherries, making it perfect for those who like their coffee strong.

The coffee beans are sourced from the highest quality beans in the world, and the Arabica and Robusta beans are roasted to bold, never-bitter perfection. One of the best things about this dark roast espresso is that you can get it whole bean online for fresh ground coffee. It also means that it can be ground for any coffee brewer, not just your espresso machine.

Pros

  • Strong, thoroughly full-bodied espresso.
  • Fair Trade Certified and Organic.
  • Extra caffeinated.
Cons

  • More acidic than other brands.
  • Steep price for daily drinking.
  • May need to grind it just a bit finer than it comes if you are buying pre-ground.

Another great thing about Death Wish Coffee Co. Espresso Roast is that it is Fair Trade Certified. Each 14-ounce bag is packed with the highest quality Fair Trade Certified beans sourced from India, Peru, and Sumatra, ensuring that the farmers who grew these beans were paid fairly.

However, it’s worth noting that this coffee may be more acidic than other brands, and the strong taste may not be for everyone. Additionally, the price may be steep for daily drinking.

But overall, if you’re looking for a strong and delicious coffee for your espresso-based drinks, Death Wish Coffee Co. Espresso Roast is a great choice.




Black Rifle Coffee Company, AK-47 Espresso
Black Rifle Coffee Company, AK-47 Espresso
Black Rifle Coffee Company, AK-47 Espresso

  • Bean Type: Robusta and Arabica
  • Origin: Colombia and Brazil
  • Flavor Notes: Citrus, nut, and chocolate
  • Roast: Medium

If you’re looking for bangin’ medium roast beans for your espresso from an American coffee label, the Black Rifle Coffee Company AK-47 Espresso is top of its class.

I only recently tried the Black Rifle Coffee Company AK-47 Espresso and the blend of Colombian and Brazilian beans creates a unique taste that is both bold and smooth, with a nice balance of acidity and bitterness.

The blend of light Colombian and dark Brazilian coffees creates a full-bodied flavor with complex citrus and dark chocolate notes.

One thing I appreciated about this coffee is that it is available in both whole bean and ground options, so you can choose the best option for your preferred brewing method. We found that the beans ground easily and brewed up nicely in our espresso machine, producing a rich and flavorful shot.

Pros

  • A beautifully balanced blend with nuances that come through in espresso.
  • A veteran-owned company, so you can feel good about supporting a good cause while enjoying your morning cup of coffee.
Cons
  • The packaging may not be as airtight as some other coffee brands, so BYOC (Bring Your Own Container).

Another thing I like about this coffee is that it is owned by American veterans. The company is committed to giving back to the community and supporting those who have served our country, which is always a plus in my book. Black Rifle Coffee also offers an amazing deal on their coffee subscription, so if you try it and want more, it’s a good deal.

Overall, we would definitely recommend the Black Rifle Coffee Company AK-47 Espresso to anyone who enjoys a strong and flavorful espresso blend. While it may be a bit pricey for some, we think the quality and taste of the coffee make it worth the investment.




Your Buying Guide to the Best Beans for Espresso

best espresso beans

Coffee lovers around the world understand the importance of starting their day with a good cup of coffee. But how exactly do you pick the best coffee beans for making espresso? Let’s explore your options.

What are the best coffee beans for making espresso?

best espresso beans

Robusta vs Arabica

When it comes to coffee, Arabica beans are often hailed as the best choice for espresso. Known for their rich flavor and aromatic profile, Arabica beans are typically grown at higher altitudes, which enhances their complexity and acidity. These beans are often considered more premium compared to other varieties.

Robusta beans bring a stronger, more bitter taste to the table, which is an advantage to those who prefer their espresso on the bolder, sharper side. Additionally, they contain almost double the amount of caffeine as compared to Arabica beans. However, they generally lack in flavor and have been described as tasting more like peanuts than coffee.

Using a blend of the two can be a good option as it offers a more balanced taste. A popular choice for many espresso blends is a ratio of 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta. This offers a full-bodied coffee with a stronger caffeine hit from the Robusta but also gives the aromatic and rich flavors from the Arabica bean.

Ultimately, as is often the case with coffee, the preference is subjective. Different beans, blends, and roast levels produce different tasting experiences. A lighter roast might bring forth more acidic and fruity flavors, while a darker roast will yield more robust, bitter notes.

Roast date (Freshness)

Also, regardless of bean type, do not underestimate the importance of freshness. Coffee beans should be as fresh as possible to ensure the best taste for your espresso. Once a package of coffee beans is opened, aim to finish it within two weeks for peak flavor.

Single-origin espresso beans

best espresso beans

Another option to consider when choosing espresso beans is single-origin coffee. This means that the coffee beans come from a specific region or even a single farm, allowing for a unique flavor profile. Single origin espresso beans add depth and character to your espresso, providing a one-of-a-kind experience.

These coffees are highly sought after for their distinct flavors, which can range from fruity and sweet to earthy and spicy, depending on the region they’re grown in. For a coffee lover, it’s like having a chance to travel the world one cup at a time.

Beans from Colombia and Ethiopia might taste wildly different compared to beans from Africa and Arabia. Appreciating these nuances is part of the joy of the espresso-making experience.

A few popular origins for espresso beans include:

1. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

These beans are known for their wine-like quality, fruity taste, and bright acidity. 

2. Colombian Medellin

Known for their smooth, nutty flavor and medium body, these beans are often used in premium espresso blends. 

3. Sumatra Mandheling

With a full-bodied, complex, and earthy flavor, these beans are distinctly Indonesian and offer a unique experience.

4. Guatemalan Antigua

Known for their rich body, spiciness, and smoky chocolate notes, these beans are considered among the best in the world for espresso.

While single-origin beans can be more expensive, the unique flavors and characteristics they provide are often worth the extra cost. Ultimately, the best espresso beans for you all come down to your personal preferences. Experiment with different types and flavors to find the combination that suits your palate best. 

Dark roast coffee

best espresso beans

Dark roast coffee beans are also highly favored for making espresso. The extended roasting process gives these beans a rich, bold flavor that pairs perfectly with the intensity of espresso. Dark roast coffee beans are often characterized by their smoky notes and low acidity, making them ideal for creating a strong and robust espresso shot.

While there are many types of dark roasts, some of the most common for espresso are French roast and Italian roast. These types are nearly black in color and have a shiny surface due to the oils of the beans being brought to the surface during roasting.

French Roast

This type of roast is often used for espresso due to its intense flavor profile. French roast coffee is characterized by its exceptionally dark color and smoky-sweet flavor. The beans are roasted until they start to smoke and the sugars caramelized to the point of forming a thin sheen of oil on the surface.

Italian Roast

This is typically the darkest roast level available. Italian roast beans are roasted until they take on a dark, shiny appearance. The flavor is more robust, with toasty and bitter notes, and a less distinct origin-characteristic than lighter roasts.

Choosing a dark roast for espresso isn’t just about the intensity of flavor. A good espresso roast should also be balanced, with a depth of flavor that retains some sweetness and complexity, despite the high level of roast. Each coffee’s unique flavor profile will contribute to the end result, making each shot of espresso a unique experience. 


What’s an Espresso Roast Coffee?

Espresso Roast Coffee refers to a specific degree of roasting the coffee beans, where the beans are subjected to high temperatures until they reach a dark brown color and the oils on the beans start to emerge. This process enhances their flavor and creates a fuller body, making them perfect for brewing espresso.

Contrary to popular belief, Espresso Roast Coffee does not refer to a special kind of bean or coffee plant. It is all about the roast profile which imparts a bold, rich taste, often with chocolaty undertones. Its intense flavor makes it a favorite amongst coffee connoisseurs the world over. 

How to Choose the Best Espresso Blend

best espresso beans

With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best espresso beans for your needs. Here are some factors to consider:

Consider the roast

The roast level of the coffee beans is an important aspect to consider. If you prefer a stronger and bolder flavor, opt for a dark roast. On the other hand, if you enjoy a more balanced and nuanced taste, a medium roast would be a better choice.

Look for specialty coffee

When purchasing espresso beans, it’s worth investing in specialty coffee. Specialty coffee beans are grown under specific conditions and are carefully sourced, ensuring a high-quality end product. These beans often offer unique flavor profiles and are favored by coffee connoisseurs.

Sustainability and fair trade matter

It always helps to know where your beans come from. Now, more than ever, coffee producers are working hard to create sustainable and ethical coffee, so supporting these initiatives can not only provide a great-tasting espresso but also contribute to the well-being of the coffee farming communities. 

Check for crema

Crema is the creamy layer that forms on top of a properly brewed espresso shot. It is a sign of a well-extracted espresso and indicates freshness. When choosing espresso beans, look for those that produce a thick and rich crema, as it is a mark of quality.




How the Espresso Brewing Method Influences Which Espresso Beans to Pick

best espresso beans

1. Automatic Machines

Automatic espresso machines are designed to do most of the brewing process automatically. They grind the beans, measure them, tamp them, and even dispose of the spent grounds. They often work best with medium to dark roast beans for a typical, balanced espresso flavor.

2. Superautomatic Machines

Superautomatic machines are highly advanced machines that make espresso brewing extremely easy. They grind, tamp, and extract the espresso automatically. These machines usually work best with medium to dark roast beans as they are usually more oil-rich, providing a richer flavor.

3. Manual Machines

Manual machines offer the most control over the brewing process but also require the most skill. They are largely dependent on the skill and experience of the individual to produce a good shot of espresso. Light to medium roasts are often used to bring out specific flavor notes in these machines, but any type of bean can be used depending on personal preference.

4. Stovetop Machines

Stovetop espresso makers, also known as Moka pots, have been a staple in Italian homes since the 1930s and are the method of choice for those who like strong, full-bodied coffee. Since the process doesn’t generate as much pressure as machines do, a dark roast is often preferred as it can produce a more robust flavor that helps mask any accidental over-extraction caused by boiling.

Remember, the choice of beans also depends on personal taste. Some might prefer the sour, fruity notes that light roasts provide, while others prefer the classic bitter, chocolatey tones of a dark roast espresso. 

Difference Between Espresso Beans and Regular Coffee Beans

While both espresso beans and regular coffee beans may come from the same plant, there are several key differences:

Size and grind

Espresso beans are typically smaller and denser compared to regular coffee beans. This allows for a finer grind, which is necessary for the pressure and extraction process in an espresso machine. Regular coffee beans, on the other hand, are larger and require a coarser grind for methods like drip coffee.

Roasting process

The roasting process for espresso beans is usually darker and longer compared to regular coffee beans. This results in a more intense flavor and a darker color for espresso coffee. Regular coffee beans, on the other hand, can be roasted to various degrees to achieve different flavor profiles.

Flavor profile

The flavor profile of espresso beans is tailored explicitly for the concentrated and intense nature of espresso shots. It often exhibits notes of chocolate, caramel, and even fruitiness. Regular coffee beans, on the other hand, offer a wider range of flavors, which can be enjoyed in a larger volume of coffee.

Where to Buy the Best Espresso Beans

When it comes to purchasing the best espresso beans, you can buy them online (when you use our links, we earn a small commission to keep the site going). But there are several options to consider of course:

Coffee roasters

Local coffee roasters are a great place to start your search for high-quality espresso beans. They often have a wide selection of beans, and you can even discuss your preferences with the experts.

Local gourmet stores

Gourmet stores are another option when looking for the best espresso beans. They often carry a curated selection of premium coffee brands and can provide helpful recommendations based on your preferences.

How to Store Espresso Beans for Freshness

best espresso beans

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the freshness and flavor of your espresso beans. Here are some tips:

Keep them in an airtight container

Transfer your espresso beans to an airtight container or a sealed bag to prevent exposure to moisture and air.

Avoid exposure to light and heat

Store your espresso beans in a cool and dark place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can degrade the quality of the beans.

Grind them just before brewing

Grinding your own beans right before brewing is arguably the best way to preserve the freshness of your espresso. This ensures maximum aroma and flavor extraction.

By following these storage tips, you can enjoy the full potential of your espresso beans for longer.

Final Verdict: Lavazza’s Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee is the Best

Overall, Lavazza Super Crema is my expert choice for the best espresso coffee beans. It really comes down to the crema for me.

It’s so hard to achieve with other methods outside of a good espresso machine, that if I am brewing with an automatic or superautomatic, I want that crema. And with this blend, I’ll get lots of it!

You can buy some on Amazon.

But anyway, choosing the best espresso beans requires some experimentation and personal preference. Whether you prefer a strong and intense shot of espresso or a more delicate and nuanced flavor, there are coffee beans out there to suit your taste.

Explore different origins, roasts, and varieties to find the perfect beans for your espresso machine. Happy brewing!


Perfect Espresso Beans FAQs 

Why are espresso roasts usually made with dark coffee?

Espresso roasts are typically dark because the process of roasting the beans for a longer period helps to bring out the natural oils of the coffee. These oils contribute to a robust, intense flavor that can stand up to the high-pressure method of brewing espresso. The dark roasting process also helps to reduce acidity, aiming for a smoother, fuller-bodied shot.

What is the difference between coffee and espresso beans?

The key difference between espresso and coffee lies in the brewing process, not necessarily the beans. Espresso is made by forcing hot water through a compressed bed of finely ground coffee. However, any type of coffee bean can be used to make espresso, as long as it’s ground finely enough.

How do dark roast beans enhance the taste of espresso?

Dark roast beans are usually used to make espresso because they undergo a longer roasting process, which allows the oils in the beans to surface, creating a bolder, fuller-bodied flavor. The dark roast is what provides the espresso with its unique strong taste and aroma.

How can one find the best espresso coffee beans?

Finding the best coffee beans for espresso largely depends on personal preference. However, it helps to look for beans that are specifically labeled as espresso beans because they are roasted to perfection for espresso brewing. It’s also worth trying reputable brands like Coffee Bros for reliable quality.

How do medium roast beans contribute to a great espresso?

Medium roast beans typically have a balanced flavor, acidity, and aroma, making them a popular choice for espresso. While dark roasts are traditional for espresso, some may find the medium roasts’ less intense, smoother flavor more to their liking.

What is the role of ground coffee in making espresso?

Ground coffee is essential for making espresso. The coffee needs to be finely ground to ensure that the water is adequately and proportionally exposed to the coffee grounds, resulting in a perfect shot of espresso. The quality and freshness of the ground coffee can significantly influence the taste.

How does one make a great espresso?

Securing a great espresso comes down to four key elements: the coffee beans, the grind, the water, and the brewing process. High-quality, fresh beans are the starting point. Pair this with a precise grind, good-quality water, and the right brewing process, and you’re on your way to a great espresso.

Are single origin espresso beans a better option?

Single origin espresso beans are derived from one specific geographic region, like the Arabica beans from Colombia. Some coffee enthusiasts prefer them for their unique, distinct flavors. However, whether they are ‘better’ or not largely depends on individual taste preferences. They offer a different experience compared to blends that mix beans from various origins.

What’s unique about espresso made with Arabica beans from Colombia?

Arabica beans from Colombia are known for their sweet and mild flavor profile, with hints of nuts and fruits. When used for espresso, they can provide a smooth and balanced cup with low acidity. They’re a popular choice for those who prefer mild, aromatic espresso.

Can the beans used to make espresso be used for other coffee types?

Yes, the beans used to make espresso can be used for other coffee types. The significant factor here is how the beans are ground. For example, a coarser grind would be suitable for French press coffee, while a fine grind is ideal for espresso.

Does Coffee Bros use some of the best coffee beans for espresso?

Coffee Bros is a well-respected brand in the coffee industry. They source high-quality beans and their commitment to freshness means you’re likely to get a top-notch espresso from their beans. However, whether they offer the ‘best’ beans is ultimately down to personal taste.

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