There are many different brewing methods for coffee and espressos. But regardless of these methods, you all have to start with one thing and that’s perfectly roasted fresh coffee beans. It’s an arduous task to buy fresh whole beans and grind them accurately for your espresso. But what can we say, this is the best chance for getting the most potent taste and flavor out of your espresso or coffee every day. Hence, our article on the best espresso coffee beans will definitely help you to understand the espresso game for you like no other.
- Difference Between Regular And Espresso Coffee Beans
- Best Espresso Coffee Beans: Product Reviews
- Lavazza Espresso Barista Whole Bean Coffee Blend
- Eight O'Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso
- Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso
- Koffee Kult Dark Roast Whole Bean
- Illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee
- Peet's Coffee Espresso Forte Whole Bean
- Starbucks Dark Espresso Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
- Kicking Horse 454 Horse Power Dark Roasted Whole Bean
- Blue Horse 100% Medium Roast Arabica Kona Whole Beans
- Caffe Appassionato Organic Shade Grown Espresso Roast Whole Bean
- SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast Whole Bean
- Organic Coffee Co. Hurricane Espresso Whole Bean Coffee
- Olde Brooklyn Coffee Italian Dark Roasted Whole Bean
- Picking The Best Espresso Coffee Beans
- Things To Do Before Buying Whole Beans
- Factors Behind Making Good Espresso Coffee
Difference Between Regular And Espresso Coffee Beans
There are three crucial differences between them. Let’s explain them one by one.
Roast Level – Espresso beans are roasted longer. It gives them the trademark darker color. The roasting has 4 different modes – light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts. Light to medium-dark roast is typically used for drip coffees. Espresso beans are roasted longer, to give their toasted and deeper flavor. The longer roasting reduces the acidity and releases more oiliness.
Grind Level – Any good espresso beans are ground way finer than other kinds of coffee grinds. Because espresso-making requires hot water to push through tightly packed coffee grounds. For uniform pushing and extraction of flavors, the grounds need to be very fine.
Brewing – For your regular cup of black coffee, you can go for a French press, drip, and percolator methods. While espresso requires a specific brewing process. Authentic espresso brewing needs higher condensation (espresso makers and Aeropress). Non-espresso coffee makers simply do not have that high-pressure mechanism. Also, their filters are too liberal to contain the finer coffee grounds.
Best Espresso Coffee Beans: Product Reviews
Before the in-depth review of each product, let’s have a look-see at the list of products –
Lavazza Espresso Barista Whole Bean Coffee Blend
One of the most popular espresso beans around the world. Lavazza whole beans do not sacrifice quality regardless of their huge demands around the world.
These beans are sourced from Brazil, Columbia, India, and Indonesia. Espresso being an iconic drink in Italy, it’s unsurprising that Lavazza beans make a pretty excellent brew.
Their medium slow-roasted beans are mild and creamy. Aromatic and full-bodied notes of almonds and honey are present with a slight fruitiness. Since it’s an espresso blend, it has higher acidity (presence of Robusta) and low caffeine content. Lavazza uses 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta ratio for this espresso blend. The Robusta beans add featured lingering crema for the espresso. Lavazza beans are also nitrogen-packed to offer a longer pre-opening shelf life.
- Medium slow roast
- Has a longer pre-opening shelf life
- High-quality Arabica and Robusta mix
- This espresso blend has more than 15 flavor variations
- Honey and almond-based taste notes ensure a full-bodied mouthfeel
- The bean bag is quite big for home usage and storage
- The beans need checking as they might contain foreign objects such as wood chips, rocks, etc. which can jam coffee grinders
- Non-GMO product
- Rich-bodied medium roast
- Chocolatey and spicy aroma
- Roasted and blended in Italy
- Long-lasting round flavor and lingering crema
Eight O’Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso
All of their whole beans ensure maximum quality and taste as they are carefully crafted using 100% Arabica beans. The coffee beans are roasted at their own facility under the watchful supervision of expert roasters.
Whether you love whole beans, single-origin, or flavored, they have it all for you! The entire roasting is done at their own facility in Maryland, USA. Eight O’Clock has been roasting their hand-picked good espresso beans for over 100 years. Over the century they have been known to incorporate winey, rich, elegant aromas with a full-bodied finish.
The darkest roast blend grounds extra fine to achieve the “true espresso” experience. Strong aroma with subtle flavors of chocolate and caramel to complete the bold, full-bodied finish. Through partnerships with several coffee organizations, Eight O’Clock supports the coffee farming community with the goal of improving the quality of life for all people; especially those who are involved in this supply chain.
- 10+ flavor variations
- Made from 100% pure Arabica
- Suitable to drink any time of the day
- Made by following the Non-GMO produce
- One of the best beans for espresso machines, French presses, drip makers, and Moka pots
- Can be too acidic sometimes
- This dark roast can clog your grinder with bean oils
- Kosher certified
- 100% Arabica beans
- Chocolatey and caramel notes
- Strong aroma with subtle flavors
- 150 years of coffee roasting experience
Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso
Intelligentsia is a specialty coffee pioneer from Chicago driven by curiosity and empowerment. Their Black Cat Classic Espresso is a syrupy sweet blend that has been the staple feature of Intelligentsia since the beginning. Supremely balanced while holding a wonderful sweetness – making the Black Cat Espresso truly a classic.
The components of their blends have been altered carefully throughout the year to incorporate new arrivals. Intelligentsia ensures freshness and quality to create an impressive number of consistent profiles. It has the most syrupy and sweet mouthfeel than most other espresso blends. There are also subtle chocolaty notes to bring in a homey, classic feel. Intelligentsia also co-signed its commitment to direct trade to cut out unnecessary importers and exporters. This enables them to directly partner with authentic growers. All to bring the sweetest coffees in the world to your cups.
- Their coffee beans are organic
- Intelligentsia ardently follows the direct trade policy
- The company roasts your beans after you order one
- Each pack is stamped with its “roasted on” date tag
- Black Cat blend beans sourced from Brazil and Colombia
- Quite an expensive option
- The coffee taste can get sour
- If you prefer a darker roast with an even darker coffee, then it’s not a good option
- 100% pure Arabica beans
- Beans are from Brazil and Colombia
- Classic espresso with a syrupy sweet blend
- Stone fruit with dark sugars and dark chocolate flavors
Koffee Kult Dark Roast Whole Bean
Hailed from Hollywood, South Florida, Koffee Kult has been producing some of the world’s most desired coffees. The Koffee Kult has grown into the largest family-owned and operated coffee roasting brand in South Florida. They only craft quality artisan roasted gourmet coffee beans.
Strong in taste but also the smoothest, cleanest-tasting coffee you’ll ever drink. Bold Flavors are bold but smooth and non-bitter – the best profiles to look for in your choice of gourmet coffees. The beans are sourced from the farms of Columbia, Guatemala, and Sumatra. Koffee Kult uses rich, organically smooth, and full-bodied good espresso beans.
These exotic raw beans are blended into precisely roasted coffee after an order is placed. They’ve developed this organic rainforest-friendly blend to ensure unique quality and most importantly freshness. While grinding and brewing, it spreads great aromas of smooth cinnamon and makes a bright long cup of coffee.
- Perfect for all brew methods
- Always freshly roasted and hand-packaged
- Arabica beans are from Colombia, Guatemala, and Sumatra
- Sole ground choice
- One of the most expensive brands around
- Gluten-free and dark roasted
- Artisan-roasted Gourmet beans
- Caramel chocolaty and smooth cinnamon flavors
Illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee
Intenso dark roast is composed of the 9 finest Arabica beans sourced from around the world. Intenso is an intense dark roast that is robust and full-flavored with deep notes of cocoa. Illy caffè, for the 7th consecutive year, was named on Ethisphere’s list for practicing and implementing the most ethical coffee roasting standards in the industry.
Illy has spent 8 decades only refining a singular, and signature blend of ground coffee that is now celebrated as the pinnacle of what an espresso coffee blend can be. They deploy a unique pressurized coffee packaging method that preserves the flavor and complexity of their blend. It also enhances the coffee’s aroma and optimal freshness. Illy believes in sustainability and supports coffee harvesting that is socially, economically, and environmentally responsible.
- Gorgeous taste and aroma
- Deep Cocoa and robust profile
- The packaging preserves the coffee’s quality
- It’s also a perfect pick for the French press
- There is no unpleasant bitterness in their beans
- No light roasts available
- The coffee can come with dents
- A relatively small selection of the whole bean
- Dark roast and intense
- 100% Arabica coffee beans
- No preservatives are involved in the process
- Robust and full-flavored with notes of Deep Cocoa
Peet’s Coffee Espresso Forte Whole Bean
Many of Peet’s coffee makes excellent quality espresso. But this Espresso Forte is the 1st blend they’ve created specifically for that most demanding brewing preparation around the world.
With bold, rich flavors that signify strength, Peet’s Dark Espresso Roast Coffee strikes the perfect balance. A balance between the earthiness of the Indo-Pacific coffee and the lively bright spicy characteristics of the coffee Americas. This blend has a stout body, effusive aroma, and luscious crema. All of these notes envelop a tangy core of pure coffee flavor.
Espresso Forte is a calculated outcome of a rewarding method from selecting and roasting good espresso beans. With the flavor of hazelnut, the bright tang, and the smooth crema this 100% pure Dark roasted Arabica coffee bean will reinvigorate your coffee craving. To achieve their rich signature flavor, they source the world’s best coffee beans and hand-roast them in small batches with the strictest standards.
- Hand-roasted blend
- Affordably priced special blend
- Follows natural production cycle
- Bitter aftertaste is completely absent
- 100% Arabica coffee and dark roasted
- Comes with a rich flavor of citrusy sweet and nuttiness
- The beans are not desirably bold and dark like the French Roast
- Dark roasted 100% Arabica beans
- Hand-roasted beans that follow strict standards
- Brightly tuned hazelnut flavored with smooth crema
Starbucks Dark Espresso Roasted Whole Bean Coffee
Starbucks roasters coax the beans along the perfect heat to bake the beans deeper and darker. It’s a Starbucks method for adding caramelize sweetness.
Their quest for the perfect melding of beans and roast began in 1975. It’s a blend formulated from the beans of Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Starbucks delivers exceptional beans with their 18-ounce bag of Espresso Roast dark roast that’s suitably measured for the consumers. Starbucks abides by the classic and time-honored dark roasting methods that preserve the notes of molasses and caramelized sugar – perfect for classic espresso drinks.
Starbucks adheres to the highest quality measurements by offering carefully roasted 100% Arabica beans – just like they brew in all of the Starbucks cafés. Starbucks also committed to 100% ethical coffee sourcing.
- Rich in caffeine content
- Great for making milk-based espresso drinks
- Bold dark tasting beans for pumped-up mornings
- Carries an intense caramel flavor and has sweet taste notes
- Deep and dense textures linger in your taste buds for a long time
- Best only for espresso or espresso-based drinks
- Can be overpowering to folks who are used to a lighter, less demanding coffee
- Dark roasted
- Abide by ethical coffee sourcing
- Molasses and caramelized sugar flavor
- 100% Arabica beans from Asia-Pacific and Latin America
- Dark roasted beans have that adoring slightly burnt aftertaste
Kicking Horse 454 Horse Power Dark Roasted Whole Bean
Kicking Horse is one of the leading Canadian Coffee companies working under Lavazza. Kicking Horse has established itself as one of the best espresso coffee bean brands. Their 454 HP beans are velvety, earthy, and spirited. This smooth dark blend summons the power from the depths of the Rocky Mountain shadows.
Tasting rich, dark chocolatey notes with cacao nibs, when brewed, gives the brown sugar and roasted hazelnut flavors. The 454 HP is one of the best coffee beans for espresso machines. Also recommended for the French press, drip machine, pour-over, and cold brew methods. Kicking Horse always uses original Indonesian, Central, and South American Arabica beans. Always grown and collected from the farms in a socially and environmentally responsible way.
Kicking Horse ensures supreme quality coffee beans by supporting and following Fairtrade business ethics. Not only their coffee beans are organic but they also Kosher certified. Kicking Horse claims to incorporate the trademark deep, dark, and deliciously dark roast because they do the roasting right below the towering Canadian rocky mountain peaks.
- Well blended product
- Coffee makes rich crema
- No acidic aftertaste from the brewing
- Heavy body, earthy tone with a black licorice finish
- Also good for French presses, drip machines, cold brews, and pour-overs
- Its aroma isn’t as pleasant as some of the other blends
- Can be hard to find the product outside of the big retailers
- Cacao nibs, peat, and subtle nutmeg aromas
- Fairtrade International and USDA Organic product
- Indonesia, Central, and South American Arabica beans
- Dark roasted in the shades of the Canadian Rocky Mountains
Blue Horse 100% Medium Roast Arabica Kona Whole Beans
Kona, Hawaii has already a prestigious reputation for making exotic coffees. Monumental volcanoes with lush, verdant steep slopes full of mineral, nutrient-rich volcanic soil, and cooler temperatures enabled Kona to be such a special place to farm coffee.
It’s where the Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee is grown and then roasted right in the USA. Their coffee is shade-grown, sundried, handpicked, and rainwater washed. All this manual work helps to save the best flavor for the consumers. This medium roast slightly darker profile is their most popular classic roast. Best coffee beans for Espresso machine, French Press, Pour-Over, or Drip maker. Blue Horse beans have sophisticated floral notes with a lasting sweetness. These medium brown beans have spots of aromatic oils while aromatic with nut-like scents because of the Kona’s soil. Enjoy almonds hints with tropical vanilla in a light, velvety body. Sealed shut packs are premium vacuum-sealed, and come with a re-sealable zip-lock.
- Chemical additive-free
- Gentle yet bold mouthfeel
- Brews rich and low acidic coffee
- Great for espresso or drip coffee
- Hand-picked as well as sun-dried
- Ziploc bag packaging retains optimal freshness
- Pricey organic brand
- Requires a quality grinder for optimum flavor preservation
- Medium-roasted 100% Kona coffee
- 100% grown, handpicked, processed, and roasted in the USA
- Farming, roasting, and processing are approved by the USDA, FDA, and Hawaiian Govt. quality standards
Caffe Appassionato Organic Shade Grown Espresso Roast Whole Bean
The Caffe Appassionato is a well-tempered blend of coffee beans from Indonesia and Central America. Their organic espresso blends are composed to give a smooth yet strong finish to espresso.
This coffee is slow-roasted to the very perfection and made from 100% Arabica beans. Beans are roasted at lower temperatures to expose the full-bodied, aromatic nature of the beans. These characteristics are gentle on the human stomach, low in acidity, and less bitter. Caffe Appassionato beans are packaged in airtight, 1-way valve bags that retain maximum freshness. The coffee beans are purchased under fair trade standards and approved by the Smithsonian Institute’s standards for being the Shade Coffee Growers. They support organic and shade coffee farmers who toil to grow chemical-free beans while protecting migratory birds by keeping the shade trees intact.
- Medium acidity level
- 100% organic beans from Hawaii
- Specially blended for espresso lovers
- Supports the protection of migratory birds and organic shade-grow
- Burned taste and earthy grittiness can be tough to handle
- 100% Kona coffee from Hawaii
- It is a medium-dark roasted blend
- Full-bodied for low-temperature roasting
- The aroma of sweet pineapple roast is accompanied by earthy grittiness and medium acidity
SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast Whole Bean
SF Bay Coffee has developed a line of unique custom blends, based on exotic regional coffees, and single estate coffees – all are available in whole bean, ground, and unroasted green coffee forms.
Supports and follows socially responsible coffee trade rules. San Francisco Bay Coffee also stands for eco-sustainable, direct-trade coffee, and marketing at an affordable price. This espresso roast is a full-bodied medium-dark blend. Thus delivering notes of dark chocolate and smoky brown spice. Great on its own and immaculate for mochas, lattes, and cappuccinos. SF Bay espresso offers 100% Arabica whole beans that are sustainably grown and Kosher certified. Whether you love finely ground espresso, drip coffee, or even coarsely ground French Press these 100% Arabica coffee beans will deliver a robust cup every time.
- Shade-grown coffee beans
- Roasted locally in the USA
- Organic, eco-sustainable, and Kosher coffee beans
- It can be bitter to some consumers
- Medium-dark roast coffee beans
- 100% Arabica beans from Central America
- Milk chocolate, toffee, and mandarin notes
- One of the best whole-bean coffee for espresso
Organic Coffee Co. Hurricane Espresso Whole Bean Coffee
The Organic Coffee Co. has evolved its farming, roasting, and packaging methods to meet its highest bean standards. For utilizing these practices they sourced their beans from the farms in Kona, Panama, Mexico, and Rwanda they ensure the quality of the beans.
The Hurricane espresso blend is bold and made from a whirlwind of dark roasts. These dark roasts are blended to achieve a full-bodied, vibrant espresso mouthfeel with a calming aftertaste. Even though blended for espressos, this blend is suitable for drip machines, French press, Aeropress, pour-over, and Moka pots.
- USDA-approved organic and kosher
- The coffee beans are tested and tasted at each stage
- The water process of decaffeinating results in full-bodied coffee beans
- You can use coffee beans with most of the conventional brewing methods
- Tastes bitter if brewed longer
- The coffee beans come at a higher price
- 100% Arabica beans
- Medium-dark blend
- Natural organic flavor
- Water-processed decaf coffee beans
- Swiss water processed, USDA-certified organic, and eco-friendly farming
Olde Brooklyn Coffee Italian Dark Roasted Whole Bean
Olde Brooklyn beans are roasted in small batches inside their New York facility. Each pack is carefully roasted to yield the freshness and unique aromas of the blends. They ship in air-tight, sealed bags with valves.
Handpicked from the heights of Colombia, Brazil, and Guatemala, Olde whole beans offer the best coffee varieties for an array of absolutely unique taste profiles. Italian Dark Roast with breakfast flavor is just the thing for even the most demanding coffee connoisseurs. In fact, Olde covers everything from sweet, to strong flavors from their beans. You can also enjoy this coffee as straight black, drip brews, cold brews, or even the French press. Olde roasts their coffee beans on a weekly basis to ensure that their customers get the freshest experience, with each cup.
- Great value for money product
- Works with almost all brewing methods
- The full-bodied flavor does not have any bitterness
- Traditional breakfast coffee flavor with a hint of a chocolaty after-note
- No nutritional label on the package
- The beans would turn much black and oilier with time
- Air-tight and sealed bags with a valve
- Freshly roasted coffee on a weekly basis
- The aftertaste ranges from sweet to strong
- Rich taste, distinct fruity flavor, and mesmerizing aromas
Picking The Best Espresso Coffee Beans
If you’re used to drinking espresso with subtle terroir notes, use slightly lighter roasted espresso beans. Lightly roasted beans tend to emphasize the origin, with subtle acidity or floral notes (especially with some African-origin beans).
If you like your espresso to be naturally sweeter, shop for the darker roasted coffee beans. Not the too-dark roasted ones as they tend to taste ashy.
If you can’t make your mind up or totally unsure about your tastebud, then we recommend you begin with any “espresso roast” beans. These foolproof blends carry different flavors, fruity undertones, and textures – perfect for you to get used to and create a suitable flavor profile for yourself.
Things To Do Before Buying Whole Beans
- Understand how your bean roaster works before buying coffee beans
- Buy only the best espresso beans. Poor-quality beans will never give you good coffee
- Avoid coffee beans that are untraceable. If you don’t know the origin, then the quality is poor
- Avoid buying coffee that’s on the shelf for a year. Even if it’s flushed with nitrogen or vacuum-sealed
- Buy whole beans and use your own grinder to grind those beans for exceptional cups of coffee all around the year
- Arabica is the best bean for espresso. However, if you like more crema on your espresso then go for 5% to 15% Robusta blended beans
- Buy freshly roasted coffee beans. Buy in small batches if you’re shopping for yourself or your family. If you have to do more than that then, make sure that you buy well-packed beans with a far expiration date
Factors Behind Making Good Espresso Coffee
Espresso is one of the most demanding drinks but very difficult to make at the same time. Only the finer espresso grounds survive the high pressure and hot water during this brewing process. The entire process takes 25 to 30 seconds only. The high heat, high pressure, and increased surface area bring out the very intense flavors and textures of the top espresso beans.
There are five important factors behind pulling a perfect espresso shot. The goal is to strive for perfection in all of these factors.
- Water Pressure – It’s important that you apply 9 – 15 bars of water pressure. A quality espresso machine applies water pressure exactly in that range
- Grind Consistency – You should calibrate your grinder accurately. Only the best finely espresso grounds can extract the most flavors. Finer grounds slow down the water flow and allow the coffee to express its flavors and oils to sip out
- Tamping – For perfect espresso shots, you have to start with 5 lbs. of tamp pressure and end with 30 lbs. An even tamping dictates your brew time and brew flavor
- Extraction Time – Finely ground and well-tamped coffee beans only require a 25 – 30 second extraction period. This period only counts once you set the portafilter and press the brew button
- Water Temperature – Temperature should be around 94C or 200F. Note, 2 – 3 degrees of variance won’t affect the flavor. Just make sure to keep your machine’s temperature around that range also
What Roast Should I Use For Espresso?
Use medium-dark to dark roasted beans as they’re more soluble and extract quicker.
What Are The Strongest Espresso Coffee Beans?
Dark roasted Arabica and Colombian beans, including the French roasts, are the strongest beans for your espresso.
What Coffee Beans Does Starbucks Use For Espresso?
Starbucks uses 100% Arabica beans from various Latin American farms for its espresso.
Do You Need Special Beans For Espresso?
Espresso is a way of brewing coffee. So it doesn’t need any special beans. Rather it demands particular types of roasting.
What Grind Is Best For Espresso?
Anything on the finer side of your coffee grinder. Finer grounds trap the water well and sip out the oils and flavors from the coffee.
Is Dark Roast The Same As Espresso Roast?
Generally, yes. But do note that, medium and medium-dark roasts are also eligible.
Since espresso shots have more dissolved coffee, choosing the best beans is essential. The right beans will be able to save you from a bitter shot of espresso in the morning. Yes, grinding and brewing skills are also crucial but, choosing the right beans is the 1st step for a bold and flavorful shot of espresso regardless. In view of variations, we’ve included 14 recommendations in this best espresso coffee beans article. So browse, try, and find out!