The 7 Best Espresso Beans (With Buying Guide)

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Poulami Ganguly

Best Espresso Beans

Are you looking for world-class espresso beans to turn your espresso experience outstanding? Check out this handpicked list of the best espresso beans in 2022 and earn the key to excellence.

Did you know that a brewed cup of espresso may hold approximately 12% dissolved coffee solids? If you compare this ratio to traditional coffee, the amount of dissolved coffee solids is only 2%. This is what makes espresso distinctive in terms of intensity. So, when it’s about fetching the best essence from your cuppa espresso, you should essentially pay attention to the selection of beans. 

After all, the process starts with grinding the right espresso beans freshly before heading with the brew. To help you ensure that the beans you use pair perfectly with your espresso brewing, we have come up with a handpicked list of the best espresso beans available in today’s market. Roll your eyes through this detailed guide and pave the way to an excellent espresso experience at home.

What’s Special in Espresso Beans?

Before delivering deeper into the bean selection rally, it’s worth knowing that it’s not only the beans that differentiate espresso and coffee. Instead, it’s all about the preparation method that those beans undergo. While the tasting notes and the origin have nothing to do with the matter, the grind size, pressure, and temperature play crucial roles. 

For good espressos, you need to grind your coffee beans finely. This helps your beans to survive the hot water and high pressure while brewing. Think well – your beans will first get tamped into a puck in ground form. After that, they will withstand at least 9 bars of pressure of hot water, that too of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Don’t you think this extensive extraction process requires specially prepared beans? So, to enjoy your intense and concentrated espressos, you should be very particular about the basics, and selecting the right beans is part of the process. 

The dedicated espresso beans are typically roasted longer, which gives them a darker color than regular coffee beans. This guarantees stronger flavors. Besides, this selection of beans contains more prominent natural oils, ensuring a fuller tasting brew. Therefore, while the espresso and coffee beans aren’t actually different, the preparation methodology sets the two apart.

You can surely use regular coffee beans for espresso brewing if they are finely ground; however, if you don’t want to take any chance, we recommend you proceed with the dedicated espresso beans suggested below.

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso – Our 7 Favorite Picks

Lavazza Super Crema

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Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, light-Medium Espresso...
  • One bag of 2.2 lb Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
  • Roast: Light/ Medium
  • Taste: Mild and creamy
  • Aromatic Notes: Hazelnut and brown sugar

Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Origin: Indonesia, Central America, Brazil

Roast: Medium

Tasting Notes: Honey, Almond, Mild, Sweet, Velvety Crema

Lavazza Super Crema justifies its namesake finely. These beans are highly appreciated for their outstanding ability to produce rich and thick crema. The espresso you make with Lavazza is delicate and chocolaty. The beans are a balanced blend of 80% high-quality robusta beans and 20% premium Arabica beans. Being nitrogen packed, the Lavazza beans ensure longer shelf life. 

The Lavazza Super Crema is available in 2.2lb whole bean bags, and the best part is that you can use it as a fine alternative to espresso for your drip coffee maker. The brand has been known as Italy’s favorite coffee and has been operating for over a century. Lavazza takes pride in being one of the first producers of blended beans, which allows them to bring the flavor and aroma of various coffee varieties together. 

Roasted and blended in Italy, these high-quality beans are supplied across the globe. Apart from making well-rounded espressos, Lavazza Super Crema espresso beans also hit the perfect note for percolated coffee, cappuccino, and lattes.  

Unlike a few other medium roast beans, Lavazza espresso beans contain little to no oil on the bean surface, ensuring that they won’t clog your superautomatic espresso machine anyway. In a one-liner, these full-bodied, fragranced beans can perfectly cater to your espresso needs even if you don’t own a prosumer-level superautomatic espresso machine. 

Who is this for?

The perfect pick for those who want their espressos to be robust. However, they don’t need that typical bitter aftertaste.

LifeBoost Organic Espresso beans

Lifeboost Espresso Roast

Origin: Nicaragua

Roast: Dark 

Tasting Notes: Chocolaty, Caramel, Fruity

LifeBoost is a gourmet coffee brand that is known for its classic and flavored product line. The brand sources the beans from the high elevated mountain ranges of Nicaragua. It markets handpicked, high-quality Arabica beans which are grown 100% organically, ensuring zero use of harmful chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides. 

LifeBoost deals with bird-friendly and Fair Trade rules, In addition, the roaster pays extensive attention to the health factor. The founder of the organization is a chiropractor; hence, the goal of LifeBoost always revolves around healthy living, and due to this reason, LifeBoost coffee is always low acidic and gentle on the stomach. 

Now talking about the espresso beans from LifeBoost, these tiny beans can render a robust punch. Perfectly over-toned by chocolate and caramel notes blended with slight fruity flavors, it ensures that these dark roast beans will always fuel your coffee addiction. After being picked from the farms, these beans are rinsed in spring water, and then they are sun-dried. LifeBoost ensures that they have roasted to perfection, guaranteeing the quality of each cup you brew. 

Who is this for?

If you are looking for premium quality, organic, and Fair Trade coffee beans for marvelous home espresso experiences, counting on LifeBoost Organic espresso beans will be worth it.

Tanzania Peaberry Coffee from Volcanica

Volcanica Tanzanian Peaberry

Origin: Northern Tanzania

Roast: Medium-light

Tasting Notes: Sweet, Pungent, Fruity, Floral, Oak, and Baking chocolate

Peaberrys are a kind of bean that grows when the coffee fruit develops an oval, single bean instead of the typical flat-sided beans. Peaberry beans are known for their tendency to produce somewhat different cups than normal beans. Volcanica, the roaster of Volcanica Tanzania Peaberry beans, is a traditional family-owned business whose origin lies in two generations-old coffee farming in Costa Rica. 

Volcanica is all about authenticity, great taste, balanced flavors, and mind-blowing aromas. Needless to say, the Tanzania peaberry version is not an exception. These espresso-oriented beans produce sweetly pungent fruit and floral-toned cups that carry the essence of pink grapefruit, oak, black currant, and honeysuckle. Light-footed acidity and resonant complexity make Volcanica Tanzania Peaberry coffee stand out in miles.

Who is this for?

It’s the ideal choice for those who are looking for a Kenya-like Tanzania cup that blends complexity, savoriness, and pungency. The beans are even penetrating, bright, sweet, and intense.

Estate Dark Roast from Koa Coffee

Kona Estate Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Origin: Hawaii (Mauna Loa, Hualalai)

Roast: Dark

Tasting Notes: Sweet, Fruity, Mellow, Smooth, Nutty, Chocolaty

Established in 1997, Koa coffee started as a small family business. With time, it gained popularity, and today, it’s one of the most known brands that produce award-winning high-quality coffee beans. Forbes has acknowledged Koa coffee as the best coffee in America. The Estate Dark Roast from Koa Coffee is all about high-quality, single-origin beans that are grown at high elevations.  

The dark roast version has often been nicknamed the champagne of Kona due to its fruity delectability. The roaster is pretty careful about their customer’s coffee experience. Due to this reason, Koa Coffee always roasts the beans with the utmost attention ensuring a rich, delicate, and out-of-the-box aroma. 

The 100% Kona beans from Koa Coffee guarantee that you won’t compromise ever when you brew your espresso with this smooth, mellow-tasting coffee. The cup produced with these nuanced beans renders a hint of roast bittersweetness. When you finely grind these premium beans for producing your espresso shots, you simply pave the way to wow coffee moments. 

Who is this for?

This versatile coffee exhibits adequate acidity that ensures bright cups, making it the ideal choice for traditionalists. Even the most extremist of dark roast lovers will be blown away by the out-of-the-box bittersweetness of the product.

Hair Bender from Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Medium Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Hair...
  • Contains one (1) 12 Ounce Bag of Stumptown Hair Bender Whole Bean Coffee
  • Hair Bender: The sweet and balanced coffee that started it all. Hair Bender is our most celebrated blend with a flavor...
  • Flavor: Hair Bender relies on coffees from Latin America, Indonesia, and Africa to achieve a complex flavor profile with...
  • Direct Trade: Our Direct Trade program is built on three principles: pay higher prices tied to quality; work with...

Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Origin: Latin America, Indonesia, and East Africa

Roast: Medium 

Tasting Notes: Citrus, Dark chocolate, Toffee, Creamy, Cherry, Smooth, Rich 

When it comes to naming the best espresso beans, Hair Bender definitely deserves mention. This unique coffee variant from Stumptown features a robust fudge and coffee profile, which is perfectly complemented by slight hints of dark fruit. These delectably complex espresso roast beans can make your mornings brighter with marvelous shots of espressos or turn or nights sweeter with fantastic after-dinner desserts. 

The roast is not very oily, making it the right alternative for superautomatic espresso machines. The packaging is sensational, ensuring precise locking to keep the beans’ freshness intact. Stumptown’s Hair bender is fizzy, naturally caffeinated, and a little strange. It can infuse your espresso experience with its magical earthy and floral notes, bringing a different degree of freshness to your day. 

Who is this for?

Those who are looking for absolute espresso which can produce unique tasting earthy and floral cups can blindly rely on Stumptown’s Hair Bender range. Simply a quick espresso fix for global aficionados. 

Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast

Death Wish Coffee Co., Organic and Fair Trade Dark Roast Whole Bean...
  • EXTRA KICK OF CAFFEINE: Our whole roasted coffee beans will utterly transform your basic cup of joe into a delicious,...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY BREW: This ain't your normal cup of coffee - our whole bean roasted coffee is hands down the best this...
  • EMBRACE THE BOLD: Immerse yourself in a smooth, subtle cherry and chocolate flavor profile that is never bitter. We've...
  • FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC: Every single 80 oz. Death Wish Coffee whole bean bag is filled to the top with organic whole...

Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Origin: Peru, India, Ethiopia

Roast: Dark

Tasting Notes: Chestnut, Browned Butter, Sweet, Nutty, Pecan

Death Wish Coffee has remained the center of hype in the last decade, and the buzz is justified. The brand has been serving the market since 2012, and they promote its products as the world’s strongest coffee. The roaster uses an out-of-the-box combination of robusta beans and a distinctive roasting process. This allows the roaster to turn the beans majorly caffeinated. Here it’s worth remembering that Death Wish is not meant for the faint-hearted. 

This surprisingly delicious variety renders a dark, smooth, yet less bitter mouthfeel, making it outrageously drinkable. The roaster ensures that the beans are 100% organic and Fair Trade Certified. The only problem is, for a few grinders, the beans seem too oily. When you use Death Wish dark roast for making espressos, you ensure a satisfactory and well-caffeinated coffee experience every time. 

Who is this for?

If you are pretty confident that you can handle the caffeine kick, Death Wish dark roast beans are for you. They are delicious, sustainable, organic, and robust.

Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema

Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium...
  • One bag of 2.2lb Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
  • Roast: Dark
  • Intensity: 7/10
  • Taste: Full-bodied

Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Origin: Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Uganda, Brazil, and the United States

Roast: Medium-Dark

Tasting Notes: Coffee, Bittersweet, Dark chocolate

These Canstar Blue award-winning coffee beans are marketed by Lavazza, a brand that produces old-school Italian espresso beans. In fact, the name itself revokes the legacy of Vespa scooters, the elegance of Meditarian people, and the warmth of sidewalk cafes. As the brand uses robust beans, there are a lot of prejudices around it. Lavazza was recognized as the most ethical brand in Europe in the 2018 European Coffee Awards (Milan)

However, those who consider giving Lavazza a try now hold a healthy dose of respect for the brand. This ancient roaster started its operations in 1895. The founder, Luigi Lavazza, used to own a grocery store in Turin (North Italy), and one day, he realized that he could do better in the coffee business. His enthusiasm was so intense that 100 years ago when communication was not that facilitated, he allegedly visited numerous coffee firms in Brazil. 

If you look at the old blend recipes on the company’s website, you can even find beans from Haiti – indeed, it may be a historical curiosity as the Haitian coffee industry is virtually nonexistent today. The fourth generation of Luigi is now operating the industry. 

Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema features the ideal blend of euphoric arabica and robust robusta, making it the ideal bean for a cup of espresso. It finely justifies its namesake by creating crema-enriched, full-bodied, and refreshing espressos that can keep you up for long. 

Lavazza sources these beans from the high-elevation volcanic regions of Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Uganda, Brazil, and the United States. Slowly grown in the mineral-rich volcanic soil, these beans guarantee avant-garde aroma and mindblowing nuances. 

Who is this for?

For those who are looking for a harmonious fusion of spiced arabica and strong robusta, Lavazza’s Gran Crema is their ideal pick. These beans produce cups that define crema and aroma.

How to buy the Best Espresso Beans?

When it comes to picking up the best beans for espressos, there are a few factors to consider before proceeding with the purchase. If you are not aware of them, it’s time to clear up the fog. Roll your eyes through the following section of this guide and find out what makes great espresso beans. 

Espresso Beans vs Regular Coffee Beans – Know the difference 

It’s worth remembering that the roasting process is definite for any coffee beans – either the alpha or the omega. This is what brings the distinctiveness in nuances, flavors, and tasting notes. The general rule of roasting says that lighter roast works well for slow extraction methods like drip-brew. On the other hand, darker roasts go perfectly with quick extraction methods like espressos. 

In a nutshell, light roast beans that lack the oily sheen are not ideal for espresso brewing. So, when looking for espresso beans, you should essentially pick up medium-dark to dark-roast category beans. Dark roasted beans are rich in natural coffee oil, and emulsification of these oils with other coffee compounds contributes to that signature espresso crema. 

Therefore, remember this evergreen factor – the perfect shot of espresso = medium-dark to dark roast coffee beans. 

Essence 

Granted, making mind-blowing espressos is not rocket science; it’s not about dumping your espresso machine with ground coffee and water, though. You should be careful about the beans you are using for making your shot. The best way to choose the right espresso beans is to check on their essence, body, consistency, and flavor. 

Espresso beans should always be full-bodied, medium to less acidic. Besides, as you are picking up medium-dark to dark roast beans, the nutty bittersweet and chocolaty tones will be prominent in your cup – after all, that’s what makes an ideal espresso. 

Origin 

While for regular brewing, we recommend sticking to single-origin beans strictly, with espressos, you are free to try out the fun of blending. Fearlessly pickup blended (Robusta and Arabica) beans and pull your shots with them – your espresso experience will surely be delectable. 

*Note: You can also use blended beans of different origins to make marvelous espressos.

Whole Beans vs Ground Coffee

When buying espresso beans, it’s worth keeping in mind that roasted coffee starts to oxidize as soon as you grind it. Oxidation makes coffee sour and watery, creating a way to a ruined espresso experience. Thus, make sure that you always use freshly ground beans for making espressos. In case your espresso machine doesn’t boast an in-built grinder, feel free to invest in a modest quality burr grinder. 

Roast date

While buying your beans, make sure that the roast date is not older than 1-4 weeks. Many roasters roast beans in small batches after receiving the order. You can check for this while buying your beans. 

Certifications

If you want to buy only organic and Fair Trade beans, you should check for the certifications while making the purchase. You can find this information on the bag itself.

Wrapping up

That’s all, folks! Hope this post helps you choose the best espresso beans for an avant-garde brewing experience. Implement the must-checks we mentioned in the buying guide and make a smart purchase. Good brewing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use regular coffee beans in my espresso machine?

Of course, you can! However, make sure to grind your beans finely to extract the aromas and flavors of the beans precisely.

Is espresso beans the same as coffee beans?

Practically, there’s no difference in the growing process of espresso beans. It’s just the roasting methodology that makes espresso beans different from regular ones. Typically, espresso beans are darkly roasted, which ensures the richness and robustness of the cup.

What is the best coffee to use in an espresso machine?

Put simply, medium-dark, dark, or french roast beans are ideal for espresso brewing. 

Why does my espresso taste weak?

When you keep the grind size of your beans too coarse, you end up having watery espressos in hand. Only fine grind works well with espresso brewing as it ensures an even and balanced extraction of the flavors. 

How to get better crema on my espresso?

The wrong coffee grinding size leads to poor crema. Make sure that your coffee grind is just a tad finer than table salt. Besides, make sure that the water pressure is precise and that you are not using stale coffee beans. 
 

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