our top 3 picks for the perfect brew
If you are here, then you are probably asking the question:
Which coffee beans are best for espresso?
Espresso is a complex drink, and choosing the right espresso beans greatly affects its taste. But choosing from the huge variety of coffee beans is even more challenging than choosing a great espresso machine.
But don’t worry, we have compiled a list of the top 10 types of espresso bean with a variety of flavor profiles that will allow you to achieve the best crema and density.
We also explain why these coffee beans are ideal for espresso.
Espresso Beans Vs Coffee Beans
Is there a difference between espresso beans and regular coffee beans?
The same beans are used to make both espresso and other coffee, but espresso roast beans are roasted longer and/or at a higher temperature than beans for other types of coffee. However, espresso roast can also be used with any other brewing method.
Espresso roasts are blends that are carefully selected by experts for a specific, unique taste profile. Espresso blends can contain coffee beans of various varieties, from various countries of origin, and that have been roasted to various degrees.
Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans With An Espresso Machine?
Yes, you can use any coffee beans to make espresso. You don’t always have to use a specific espresso roast. Espresso is all about taste, and espresso experts usually choose either a medium or a dark roast. But many coffee aficionados do prefer to use specially selected espresso blends that provide a unique taste.
If you are just starting to learn about espresso, then we suggest you start with a dark roast. Here is our top choice:
What Affects The Taste Profile of an Espresso?
Espresso is a highly concentrated drink and its main feature is its taste. In fact, the taste of espresso is so important that it’s often taste-tested just like wine. Its taste is influenced by many factors, one of which is coffee beans:
Country of origin
The environment and the special characteristics of the area in which the beans are grown affect the espresso’s taste. In other words, the taste of coffee depends on the soil, humidity, terrain, nearby forests or bodies of water, average temperature, altitude, etc. These factors are unique to specific regions in specific countries.
It is not necessary to use only espresso roast beans. Espresso blends can contain beans with different degrees of roasting: the beans can be the color of milk chocolate, dark chocolate with a slight oily sheen, or be black and very oily in appearance.
As a rule, espresso is made using premium Arabica coffee. The basic rules for creating an espresso blend are as follows: the coffee should have a muffled acidity, be full-bodied, and be sweet enough to balance bitterness and acidity in the finished drink.
As with any coffee, it is always best to use espresso blends within two weeks of when they’re roasted. However, the carbon dioxide stored in the beans for the first day or two after roasting can interfere with the extraction of espresso. Therefore, many baristas give the beans a “rest” for 48 hours before making espresso with them.
The vast majority of coffee machine manufacturers do not recommend buying ready-made ground coffee. You need to grind the coffee yourself. Only fresh, freshly ground coffee beans from a properly formulated blend give espresso its distinctive crema and unforgettable taste.
If you want guaranteed fresh espresso beans, then here is our top choice:
How To Choose The Best Taste Profile For Espresso?
You can only choose a great espresso taste profile through trial and experimentation. Coffee, like wine and chocolate, offers countless variations in taste. The best way to explore these variations is to travel the world. But if you don’t yet have the opportunity to travel around the world in search of the perfect mix for your espresso, you can use our recommendations for the best espresso beans.
Lifeboost CoffeeI know you’re going to love this coffee. After one try, you’ll never go back to mass-produced toxin-loaded “generic” coffee. Key Features
|View Latest PriceSee Customer Reviews|
Coffee Bros.I couldn’t sleep one night and stumbled across Coffee Bros. Coffee, decided why not give it a try. I am blown away at the flavor! Coffee Bros. is going to be the new name brand in this house! Key Features
|View Latest Price →See Customer Reviews|
Ethiopia Yirgacheffe It is unusual in that the bulk of the crop is gathered from wild coffee trees giving this coffee a truly exotic flavor with pleasant acidity. Key Features
|View Latest Price →See Customer Reviews|
PeaberryKoa Coffee produces premium Hawaiian Coffee - Hand picked, expertly roasted. Key Features
|View Latest Price →See Customer Reviews|
Lion CoffeeThe roast is dark and sweet but not burnt. There’s a fine line between dark enough and too dark and this roast hits it consistently. Key Features
|View Latest PriceSee Customer Reviews|
The Best Espresso Coffee Beans
Therefore, it’s hard to choose only the best product from the market. Everyone has different reasons for buying coffee beans for espresso. To help make your choice easier, we have organized coffee by value for money. Here are the MyFriendsCoffee’s top 10 best espresso beans 2020:
1. Lifeboost Coffee The Healthiest Espresso Beans
The healthiest coffee I have ever seen
Looking for the best organic espresso beans? Look no further than Lifeboost coffee.
Their coffee beans are shade-grown without chemical additives. These standards are beneficial to both the quality of the coffee beans and the environment.
The fact is that coffee trees grow between other plants or trees that soften the effects of sunlight. The shade slows down the processes that take place during the maturation of the coffee fruit, and thus the coffee matures more dimensionally and absorbs all the necessary nutrients.
In addition, the trees contribute to air purification, strengthen the soil, and increase the bird population.
But to get the best espresso beans, you need to prepare them properly. Lifeboost uses special technology to collect, dry, and rest the beans. All beans are picked by hand to get the best quality espresso mixture.
The beans are then roasted, and it is a good dark roast for espresso. Make one shot and you will get a drink with smooth and delicious taste. In this product, you can find notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit.
2. Coffee Bros. The Freshest Espresso Beans
If you want always fresh beans, here is your choice
The peculiarity of these espresso beans is their sweet notes. The taste profile of this coffee is exactly as described by Coffee Bros.—very balanced with a light, fruity flavor.
Coffee Bros. pays great attention to the roasting process, and for espresso, this is one of the main factors affecting taste. Coffee Bros. roasts the beans perfectly so that you can taste strawberries, sugar cane, and vanilla.
The taste is also influenced by the country of origin. This blend uses a sophisticated 100% Arabica blend using beans from Colombia and Ethiopia.
Colombia is the largest producer of washed Arabica in the world. Columbia coffee has an acidic potential which is transformed into softness when roasted. Meanwhile, Ethiopia grows an extraordinary genetic diversity of coffee plants. Ethiopian coffee is sweeter and more fruity and floral.
Coffee Bros. has combined these two different varieties and created an excellent blend that gives a balanced and smooth taste in your cup of espresso.
3. Kicking Horse Best Espresso Beans
My favorite brand of espresso beans
Strong espresso with hints of brown sugar, black currant, and milk chocolate. For this unique taste, Horse Coffee received the first place on our list.
Selected beans come from a wide variety of locations — from Indonesia, South and Central America, and also from Africa. As a result of the special technology of preparation, which has been developed for many years, this coffee includes only the best properties that can only be included.
This best product, which produces beans, seeks, above all, to make the highest quality and useful product. They ensure that the most useful and selective substances for the consumer are carefully collected in coffee. Therefore, we can safely recommend this product to anyone who seeks to get a full range of taste sensations, and at the same time receive health benefits.
These beans are medium roasted; They are perfect for fine grind.
4. Lavazza Super Crema Best Overall Espresso Beans
Having tried many types of medium roast beans, this is by far my favorite
I must say that the company Lavazza is currently the best espresso coffee brand in the coffee market. There are several reasons for this.
First, the experience of making the best coffee for espresso in the market for this company – more than 120 years. The tradition of making a drink is passed down from generation to generation. I think this is a very important indicator. You will receive the most professional product that is made of really high quality.
Secondly, the technology of combining beans of different varieties is the main one in the production of this drink. But that is not all. Before the product is packaged, it will go through many stages of selection and sorting.
Thirdly, the technologies that are used in the preparation of this stuff, retain the starting quality in the best way.
Summing up these 3 factors, you get a real miracle.
Let’s talk about the details. Lavazza espresso for crema is harvested from 2 varieties: Arabica (India, Colombia, Brazil) and Robusta (Vietnam, Indonesia).
The taste of these beans has already become a favorite of most people: it has a soft character with a taste of almonds, dried fruit, and honey.
Roasting this coffee is average. Therefore, beans are suitable for most drinks.
5. Koffee Kult Best Dark Roast Espresso Beans
Koffee Kult makes one of the best dark roast coffee beans on the market
Do you need the best strong coffee in the world that will give you vigor for a whole day? In this case, I can recommend you Koffee Kult Dark Roast. Because of its unique recipe, it can be safely called one of the best products among all.
Please note that the location of this company in Hollywood. Sounds good, isn’t it? As you need a good product, the recipe of the drink is kept secret and is not disclosed. But the most important thing is not this fact. The factory has grown from scratch, and the masters in it work only on 3 machines. The whole product is harvested by hand, and also prepared by hand – the finished drink has minimal loss of smell, valuable properties, and taste.
These beans are sampled in Colombia, Guatemala, and Sumatra. These countries have a humid and hot climate. With this growth, the most useful substances and elements are absorbed into the finished bean. Only the largest copies get to the factory – the whole product is very carefully selected. With a fairly low intensity of the coffee is roasted, while the loss of valuable substances is reduced to zero. Beans are fried in small groups – this is the most effective method for preserving antioxidants and taste properties. All the useful qualities of the beans are saved precisely because of the minimum volume.
I also want to tell you that the Robusta variety is not included at all in the finished product. All beans are entirely made of Arabica. This coffee, with good taste, will be the strongest that you can make.
Separately, about the taste properties of this product. The drink contains notes of cinnamon, fruit and cocoa. Saturation and roasting, combined with the length of the finish, make this variety just perfect for consumption. Therefore, this product successfully consumes and buys so many people around the world.
These beans are suitable as a complementary ingredient for many drinks such as latte or cappuccino, as well as pure espresso.
6. Coffee Bean Direct Best Italian Espresso Beans
Coffee Bean Direct makes some of the best Italian roast beans out there
In Italy, there are other, less well-known manufacturers. One of them is Coffee Espresso Bean.
The coffee beans for espresso, which are available on the market, has a unique taste, as well as a high content of antioxidants. This he received a high rating from many buyers. We can say that you get really balanced and thoughtful Italian espresso.
Beans for the future of the drink are collected from 4 continents and mixed in special proportions. Roasting is done by hand, and flavor ingredients are added using a special formula. As a result, you get a drink with a pleasant shade of honey, while you can trace the aroma, reminiscent of a mixture of smoky molasses and cocoa powder. And I think that this combination is remembered for a long time. Such taste really stands out among competitors, it is very non-standard. The manufacturer tried very hard.
The beans itself are packed in special foil bags with flaps. This is done to ensure that nutrients are kept as cool as possible, and the taste is well revealed when used. For this, you can put a separate plus to the manufacturer.
7. Cafe Don Pablo Best Unique Espresso Beans
Anyways, Cafe Don Pablo is one of the best organic espresso beans
This company has its own family recipe for the preparation of the best products. The product is prepared much longer than usual, while a special method makes the taste more concentrated, thanks to the caramelization of sugar.
In this coffee, you can note the fact that all beans are grown in volcanic soil, and at high altitude. The combination of these two factors makes the drink special – the taste has a very rich shade. If we talk about the flavor, it resembles dark chocolate with a salty flavor. If this seems repulsive to you, then, in fact, everything is very good. The hue of volcanic land gives just unreal sensations. This, perhaps, the main feature of this product.
These beans are not only suitable for espresso, but it can also be used for a variety of methods of preparation, for example, Traditional Drip Espresso Machines or Hand Drip Method. It all depends on what kind of drink you want to get in the end.
8. Lavazza Gran Crema Best Tasting Espresso Beans
Another Lavazza in our list, only because it tastes so good
The Italian company Lavazza produces several types of best espresso coffee. One of them is the Gran Crema Espresso. A characteristic feature of this coffee is the taste of fruit with notes of long cookies. Otherwise, it is not very different from other types of Lavazza Espresso.
The company has many years of experience, special manufacturing techniques, as well as a well-balanced palette of additives. Before getting into the bags, all the beans are picked manually. These features make the product so popular in the market.
It is worth noting that the beans for Gran Crema Espresso is collected only in the countries of Southeast Asia. Since the flavor of a product depends on the country in which it is grown, this coffee has a unique flavor. As they say, there will be a buyer for each coffee. And I think that these coffee beans for espresso will appeal to lovers of exquisite combinations.
9. Peet’s Coffee Best Mixed Espresso Beans
Everyone loves good crema, this blend makes it perfect
The best product from the best regions are selected for this drink. It is worth saying that beans are roasted by a team of 9 professionals, manually – while the beans retain their taste qualities most effectively due to a special technology. This is due to the fact that over the 50 years of the brand’s existence, unique techniques and recipes have been developed that make this product very interesting.
This best espresso coffee is mixed in a special way during preparation, giving a salty, and at the same time spicy aroma at the exit. This combination will really like gourmets. Saturated, with a balanced taste hook many lovers of quality drink every day.
Also, this coffee has a pronounced creamy shade, and roasting is done by a method that gives greater oiliness to the prepared beans. All this allows you to get a good foam – cappuccino, made from these beans, will have a special, cool flavor.
10. Direct CO2 Best Decaf Espresso Beans
Only for those, who looking for decaffeinated coffee
A characteristic feature of this best espresso coffee is the almost complete absence of caffeine. You can get the same cool aroma, while you will not much invigorate the whole day. Not everyone likes the effect of caffeine in their lives, but many people like coffee for its taste sensations. Therefore, this option is ideal for such people.
If we talk about the taste itself, then it includes a lot of different factors. This and dried figs, and sugar cane, and even semi-dark chocolate. Cool, is not it?
It is worth adding the fact that the manufacturing technology makes the taste palette even more saturated than it is in other best coffee. It seems to me that this stuff fully justifies its rather big price – everything is done really at the highest level. Using only the most select beans that go through many stages of selection, as well as unique roasting methods make this best product a premium choice, you will not waste a dime.
Best Espresso Beans Buying Guide
Country of Origin
There are quite a few countries where the best beans are grown. However, not all of them are used by most global manufacturers for exporting their products – mainly about 50 places from 4 continents. Consider some of them in more detail.
At the moment, South American countries contribute to half of the entire world coffee market. Brazilian Arabica is the most popular and cheap, so countries are focused on the production of this particular type of coffee.
If we consider Asia, then Indonesia and Vietnam now account for about 23% of the world market. Robusta, which is much cheaper than Arabica, and therefore more popular among exporters, make up the majority of the cultivated coffee beans in these places.
African countries do not occupy a leading position in the export of coffee even though Africa is the birthplace of this drink. This is mainly due to the poverty and conditions of the continent. Here you can select only one country – Ethiopia. It accounts for 4% of all beans in the world. If we talk about varieties that are grown in Africa, we can note a huge percentage of Arabica. Robusta on this continent is hardly found.
To be honest, the real leaders in the production of coffee are no more than 7 countries. This can be explained by the fact that their share in the world market is the largest, it is significantly more than other countries. Examples: Colombia, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia, Brazil, Vietnam.
We advise you to focus on these countries when choosing your drink.
Whole vs pre-ground
It is believed that coffee lives 15 minutes after grinding. After that, the interaction of ground coffee with oxygen destroys the taste and aroma of coffee.
After a couple of days, the ground coffee is dead.
This is reflected in the fact that you cannot determine the coffee or the smell or taste. It becomes dull, earthy and frankly rancid. No pack, even vacuum will not save the ground beans. You do not drink the whole pack in 15 minutes!
If you have the opportunity, buy beans only and grind it at home. Buy a coffee grinder. Even the worst $ 10 coffee grinder will give a much better result than buying ground coffee.
It’s simple, the fresher the better. Over time, coffee loses its taste and aroma, and caffeine content decreases. In this guide, brands are selected that differ in that they deliver only fresh beans to their customers.
The roast type
Generally, roasting beans is one of the most important processes on the long haul to a cup of coffee. Roasting is a skill that is responsible for the full manifestation of the taste and aroma of the drink.
One of the most important stages on the way to the cup of coffee is roasting the best product. This process is responsible for the full manifestation of aromatic and taste qualities.
First, when making beans, moisture evaporates, and then the size of the product becomes larger. The brown color of coffee gives a substance called “caramelin“. It is obtained by heating sucrose. For the coffee beans aroma meets the substance “Caffeol”, it is obtained in the process of roasting. In the process of making drinks, essential oils rise to the surface, as the structure of the bean changes with high temperature. Because of this, each time the taste of the finished product will be special.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of roasts.
It is impossible to make a single scale on which it will be possible to measure the degree of preparation of beans. If the roasting method was the same, but the beans were taken different, the final taste would still not be the same. In addition, the product can be roasted in different ways, the taste will not be the same. In addition, you should understand that the “weak taste” and “strong taste” of each one are very different terms. Tasters are also people, and no two people have the exact same preferences or perceptions.
Italian, Spanish, Cuban and French roasts are dark roasts and amber, matte brown or chocolate shades of the product are weak and medium roast.
We turn to the classification.
Coffee with this roasting goes well with milk, and its taste has a sour shade. The finished espresso bean is light brown. This roasting technology allows you to fully enjoy the multifaceted taste and delicate aroma. Light roast is suitable for soft raw materials.
Examples of lightly roasted beans: New England, Urban, American and Scandinavian.
Let’s get acquainted with the most popular and traditional type of roasting. The output is a dark bean, the surface of which is oily, but dry. Sweet and sour taste and aroma is typical for this type of roasting. And the taste is more saturated than in the previous type.
Examples of coffee with medium roast: Viennese, full city roast.
Note that this type of drink is used for espresso machines.
Dark roast espresso beans
Strongly roasted coffee – dark brown beans with weak traces of oiliness. The taste is less sour than the previous versions. With this method, essential oils are actively released, which contributes to the appearance of a brighter and more saturated aroma, which is most fully revealed. Brewed drink turns dark.
Low oiliness and brown beans are what characterizes this type of roasting. Here you should pay attention to the fact that the taste of coffee is less sour than usual. I will also note that the aroma is brighter and more saturated than in the previous two types – beans emit more essential oils more actively. If we talk about the color of coffee, then it will be dark.
Example of coffee with strong roasting: French.
For most European coffee styles, the highest degree of roasting is suitable. The color of the beans is dark, almost black. The beans are oily, and the taste shade is “singed” and bitter. This coffee is popular in its pure form, it also goes well with cream.
Examples of coffee with the highest degree of roasting: Spanish, dark French.
Ways to brew espresso from beans
To make espresso at home, you will need an espresso machine, an espresso coffee grinder, scales, and coffee. Beans must be roasted specifically for espresso. This is important, because, with such roasting, manufacturers delay the caramelization stage, thereby reducing acidity and increasing sweetness. Espresso is a fairly concentrated drink to taste, so excessive acidity will damage it. There is still omni-roasting when coffee is prepared immediately under the filter and under the espresso. But this is always a risk: you can get a normal filter coffee and not very tasty espresso. Or vice versa.
Classic espresso recipe
- ground coffee – 0.2 oz
- water – 1 oz
- sugar to taste.
- Turn on the coffee machine and wait for the ready indicator to turn on.
- If the coffee machine has a built-in coffee grinder, put a tablespoon of beans in it. For a carob coffee maker – pour 1 measured capacity in the horn or 2 teaspoons with a small mound of ground coffee.
- Temper coffee in the holder (for a carob coffee maker).
- Install the holder in the coffee machine.
- Place a clean, heated cup in the drip tray. Cooking time – 25-30 seconds.
- Add sugar to taste.
How to make espresso in a Cezve
Making espresso at home is a complex and painstaking process. To make a really tasty drink, you need the basic skills of a barista: you need to understand how to set up the grind, how much coffee to take, what the taste should be like in the end. If desired, the basics can be learned.
- 2-3 tablespoons of coffee beans;
- 7oz of filtered water;
- sugar to taste;
- 1/5 teaspoon of salt.
- Making espresso begins by grinding the beans. When choosing coffee, it is advisable to pay attention to the particular composition of coffee.
- Take a small Cezve. Pour 2-3 teaspoons of the ground mixture, a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a little coarse salt. All this is thoroughly mixed and put on fire for warming. It is advisable to keep the Turk about an inch above the fire and stir regularly so that the dry mixture does not burn.
- After the mixture is completely warmed up (you can determine by the heat emanating from it), add water preheated in a pan to 85-105 degrees.
- Bring the contents of the Turks to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. After this, the mixture is thoroughly mixed and you should bring it to the boil again.
- After the second boiling, remove the Turk from the heat and cover with a saucer for 5-7 minutes to allow the mixture to settle.
- Home-made espresso is ready. It remains to pour it into a coffee cup and you can start using it.
Best Espresso Beans FAQ
If you use dark roasted espresso beans in a drip coffee maker, you will taste a chocolatey bitterness. Lighter roasts, in which the roaster works to unleash the full potential of the beans and their natural acidity, are more suitable for a drip coffee maker. In theory, light roasts can also be used for espresso, but the drink will be incomplete with a predominantly acidic flavor.
The beans are the same, but the difference is that espresso beans take longer to roast and/or are roasted at a higher temperature than beans for other types of coffee. You can still use other types of roasts with an espresso machine.
Only by tasting and experimenting. Try different blends that vary by region, roast, acidity, and Arabica/Robusta content. Buy small quantities of freshly roasted coffee from Central America, Africa, South America, and Indonesia to see the differences. Also, try asking roasters about the composition of their blends.
The roast of coffee beans for espresso varies, but a dark or medium roast is preferred. The darker the coffee is roasted, the higher its extractiveness—its ability to release soluble substances into water—and the easier it gives up its aromas. Since less water interacts with beans in an espresso machine than during other brewing methods, darker beans are imported. If you prefer a medium roast, you should increase the water temperature and adjust the grind. Using a lighter roast for an espresso machine will in most cases result in an incomplete espresso.
This is because espresso beans are dark roasted. Roasting is the main cause of oils. There is almost always oil on dark roasted beans. This is because with a darker roast, the grain structure becomes more porous, and caramelization processes are active.
The aroma and flavor of an espresso bean depend on several factors: the degree of roasting, how the beans are processed, date of roasting, origin, and whether the coffee is single-origin or a blend. As a rule, the manufacturer or roaster indicates this information on the packaging. Some manufacturers list flavor profiles, too.
- Espresso Beans Vs Coffee Beans
- Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans With An Espresso Machine?
- What Affects The Taste Profile of an Espresso?
- How To Choose The Best Taste Profile For Espresso?
- The Best Espresso Coffee Beans
- 1. Lifeboost Coffee The Healthiest Espresso Beans
- 2. Coffee Bros. The Freshest Espresso Beans
- 3. Kicking Horse Best Espresso Beans
- 4. Lavazza Super Crema Best Overall Espresso Beans
- 5. Koffee Kult Best Dark Roast Espresso Beans
- 6. Coffee Bean Direct Best Italian Espresso Beans
- 7. Cafe Don Pablo Best Unique Espresso Beans
- 8. Lavazza Gran Crema Best Tasting Espresso Beans
- 9. Peet’s Coffee Best Mixed Espresso Beans
- 10. Direct CO2 Best Decaf Espresso Beans
- Best Espresso Beans Buying Guide
- Best Espresso Beans FAQ
Coffee is part of the lives of everyone on the MyFriendsCoffee team. We are a group of professional baristas, coffee bean roasters, and coffee machine repairers. Coffee has connected us, and together we strive to provide the best information to our readers.
Our responsibility is to provide advice on any and all coffee-related issues. And we know that to do this we must be experts in this field.
Coffee consumption culture has changed dramatically over several centuries. New brewing methods, bean quality control methods, roasting methods, and much more have appeared. We are sure that coffee will change further, and we want to be involved in changing it for the better.