Best Espresso Beans | Flavors and Qualities Compared!

Nothing is more satisfying than perfectly pulled espresso shots in the morning breakfast. The intense flavor of Espresso, the pungency, and the light brown colored layer of crema make the day for coffee lovers. Whether you like Americano or Latte or Cappuccino, you will always find Espresso at its back.

Selecting the right coffee beans for brewing Espresso is necessary because, without the right beans, even the best coffee machine in the World wouldn’t pull the perfect Espresso Shots. I have discussed and reviewed the ten best coffee beans for Espresso in this article.

Best Espresso Beans | Our Verdict

Lavazza Super Crema (Best Choice)

  • Medium Roast
  • Unique Arabica and Robusta blend specially prepared for Espresso
  • Hazelnut and brown sugar notes
  • Best Crema

Death Wish (Strongest Espresso Beans)

  • Dark Roast
  • Notes of caramel, peanuts, apricot & milk chocolate
  • World’s strongest coffee with high amount of caffeine

illy Classico (Best For Smooth Taste)

  • Medium Roast
  • 100% Arabica Coffee
  • The smooth taste and delicate notes of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine.
  • Unique Pressurized Coffee Packaging for ultimate Freshness

Is there a difference between Espresso and regular Coffee beans?

You’re wrong if you think Espresso beans and regular coffee beans come from different origins. It’s actually, the roasting and processing method that makes the difference.

Espresso shots are usually pulled from dark-roasted or medium-roasted beans. This is due to the fact that the pressurized brewing of espresso can cause the drink to be sour. To combat this, Dark Roast is used instead of light roast. In addition, espresso shots are usually mixed with milk or creamers to prepare fancy espresso drinks, and dark roast is preferred to cut through the creaminess of the milk.

It is also important to grind the beans finely in order to pull the perfect shot of espresso. The reason for this is that Espresso is a rapid brewing process in which hot pressurized water is passed through the grounds of coffee, so if we use a larger grind size, most of the coffee will remain unextracted.

What are the qualities of the Best Espresso Beans?

While the taste is a completely subjective matter different coffee lovers like different qualities of coffee; some likes a bitter and intense taste while some prefer the smooth and sweet flavor, some likes the citrus nature of coffee, and some prefer chocolate or caramel notes in the taste.


These qualities mainly depend on the roast and the origin of the coffee; some companies offer blends from different regions of the World, while some companies sell beans from only one region.

Also, the washing, drying, and roasting techniques of beans vary among the different companies.

Single Origin or blend

Different climates and soil characteristics affect the flavors and aromas of coffee beans. Depending on the region, some beans are more acidic, while others are more bitter due to differences in the environment.

There are mainly three coffee-growing regions in the World: Central and Southern America, Eastern Africa, and the Middle East and Southeast Asia. You might notice that all of these regions are present in the tropical zone. The climate of the tropical zone and the elevation of 1000-2000 meters are ideal for growing Coffee beans.

Coffee grown in these three regions varies greatly in texture, taste, and aroma. These variations are mainly due to the difference in the soil’s nutrients, weather conditions, rainfall, and altitude.

Ethiopian Yigarcheffe and Colombian Supremo coffee beans are considered to have well-balanced flavors and wonderful aromas. These regions are known to produce the best coffee in the World.

Some brands only use single-origin coffee while other brands test different kinds of blends for years to reach perfection in the taste and the aroma of the Espresso.

Generally, companies blend only Arabica beans from different regions of the world since Arabica beans are known for their sweetness and smoothness, ideal for brewing espresso.

Some companies also use a small amount of highly caffeinated Robusta beans in their blends to make the flavor of Espresso more intense and stronger.

For the perfect blend of Arabica beans from all three coffee growing regions Central and South America, East Africa, and Indonesia try Stumptown Coffee.

Arabica Vs Robusta

Arabica beans are liked around the World for their sweet and well-balanced taste and flavorful aroma.

On the other hand, Robusta beans have higher caffeine content and can produce more crema than Arabica beans. But the flavors of the Robusta beans are less sweet and acidic, and they are dominated by bitter notes.

Mostly 100% Arabica beans are used for brewing Espresso but some brands prepare a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans for a unique taste and experience. Try Lavazza Coffee if you want to try the blend of Arabica and Robusta.

Medium Vs Dark Roast

Initially, coffee beans look and smell alike – they’re green and moist, with earthy notes – but once they’ve been roasted, their appearance, aroma, and taste change.

Roasting Coffee beans is an art; it takes years for coffee brands to reach the perfect roasting level, and they are still improving.

For Espresso, usually, medium-dark or dark roasted beans are used as they have low acidity and rich and intense flavor notes.

Dark roast coffee is generally preferred for milk-based drinks such as Cappuccino and Latte. A unique and mesmerizing blend is created when the creaminess of milk is combined with strong and bitter flavors.

Straight espresso shots are best served with medium or medium dark roast to enjoy the acidity and fruity notes.

Coffee Grounds Vs Whole Beans | Freshness

Buying whole-bean coffee in small batches is the best way to keep it fresh because roasted beans start to stale if left for long periods of time.

It’s always best to use Espresso beans within a month of roasting. You should always purchase coffee beans from brands that print their roasting dates on their products.

Buying whole coffee beans is always preferable. Since grinding increases the surface area of the beans and thus increases their chances of getting oxidized. Whole beans also last longer than pre-ground beans.

There is a simple rule for coffee snobs – Grind within fifteen days of roasting and brew within fifteen minutes of grinding.

What’s the best coffee for espresso? – An overview

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
Our Choice Our Choice Lavazza Super Crema
  • 60% Arabica 40% Robusta
  • Medium Roast
  • Notes of Hazelnuts and brown sugar
View on Amazon
Excellent blend Excellent blend Stumptown Coffee Roasters
  • Blend of Coffee beans from around the world
  • Medium Roast
  • Dark chocolate and Caramel flavor notes
View on Amazon
Low acidity Low acidity Lifeboost Coffee
  • Purely Organic
  • Dark roast
  • Low in acidity
View on Amazon
Classic balanced taste Classic balanced taste Intelligentsia Coffee
  • Medium Roast Coffee beans
  • Dark Chocolate and sugar flavor notes
View on Amazon
100% Arabica beans 100% Arabica beans Koffee Kult Eye Cracker
  • Purely Organic
  • Rich and intense flavor
  • Medium roast
View on Amazon
For strong coffee lovers For strong coffee lovers Death Wish Coffee Company
  • Maximum amount of Caffeine
  • Claims to World’s strongest Coffee
  • Dark roasted Espresso Beans
View on Amazon
Smooth taste Smooth taste Kicking Horse Coffee
  • 100% Arabica Beans
  • Smooth taste
  • Medium roast
View on Amazon
Fresh Packing Fresh Packing illy Classico
  • Purely Organic Arabica Beans
  • Medium Roast
  • Special pressurized packaging system
View on Amazon
African coffee African coffee VOLCANICA ESPRESSO COFFEE
  • Dark roasted Beans from Africa
  • Sweet Caramel flavor notes
View on Amazon
Colombian coffee Colombian coffee Cafe Don Pablo
  • Medium-dark roast
  • Dark Chocolate flavor notes
  • Rich and intense flavor
View on Amazon

If you are a traveler and looking for potable Espresso makers then you must check our article:

Best portable Espresso makers for camping and traveling

Best Brands of Espresso Beans in 2022

You might don’t like someone’s other favorite Coffee brand. The reason is your taste buds. Coffee brands differ from origin to origin; they also differ in the quality of their taste and the type of their blend.
Here is the complete description of the best Espresso Beans brand. You can easily pick your brand from the list according to your taste.

1. Lavazza Super Crema Espresso (Best Espresso Beans)

Lavazza is 60% Arabica and 40% Robusta, giving a well-balanced taste. It is blended and roasted in Italy, THE LAND OF ESPRESSO.

If you are a fan of a caramel-colored layer of crema, then Lavazza will be your favorite brand as these beans give the best crema layer.

The medium roasted Espresso blend of Lavazza has the nodes of hazelnuts, brown sugar, and dried fruits in its taste.

Lavazza espresso beans did very well with Barista Style Espresso Machine. If you have it, these beans are surely for you.

2. STUMPTOWN HAIRBENDER ESPRESSO Coffee Beans

Stumptown Hairbrender is well known for its diverse blends from major Coffee-growing regions of the World, i-e Central and South America, Indonesia, and Eastern Africa.

The rich texture of the Indonesian region blended with the fruity taste of the American and African regions to give perfect espresso beans.

These beans result in a smooth and creamy drink with citrus, dark chocolate, and caramel taste.

Roasts of Hairbender is available for every taste from medium to dark suitable for making any type of coffee you like.

3. LIFEBOOST ESPRESSO COFFEE BEANS

Lifeboost Espresso beans are the most delicious and rich in flavor. These beans are purely organic and tested by a third party for pesticides, heavy metals, and other 400 harmful agents. 

They have a wide variety, from dark roasted beans to medium roasted beans to decaffeinated medium roasted beans.

The beans of Lifeboost Coffee are grown in the high-elevation mountains of Central America, and to ensure purity and quality every bean is manually selected by the farmers. The beans are washed in spring water and then dried in sunlight to remain very close to nature.

The prime quality of these beans is that they are low in acidity. So, they will never harm your stomach and never cause teeth-related issues.

4. Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Coffee for Espresso

Intelligentsia is one of the best players in the business of Coffee Bean Blends. The Black cat Espresso blend is a medium-roasted blend perfect for making Espresso. The beans came straight from the South American Region.

The prime quality of Intelligentsia is that they change the ingredients of their blends over the year and maintain freshness with changing seasons.

These Medium Roasted and perfectly blended beans result in a supreme balance and wonderful taste of dark chocolate and dark sugar with delicious sweetness.

5. Koffee Cult Espresso Bean

Koffee Cult – located in Hollywood, provides one of the most desirable coffee tastes. It uses rich and organic beans mainly from the South American region; these espresso beans are blended and roasted precisely and packaged immediately to maintain freshness.

Koffe Cult markets dark roasted beans for Espresso which are concentrated, rich and intense in flavor. Along with its strong taste, Koffe Cult still manages to be smooth and sweet and free of any kind of bitterness.

These dark-roasted beans have a delicious note of Caramel, Tangerine, Mild Lemon, and Cherry in a shot of Espresso.

6.  Death Wish Espresso Beans (Strongest Coffee)

Death Wish market dark roasted purely organic beans for Espresso having the maximum amount of caffeine from around the World.

Death wish claims to be providing the World’s Strongest Coffee. If you are a fan of intense and dark coffee, Death wish is for you. One cup of Espresso of Death Wish will blow up your caffeine level and make your day marvelous.

Dark roasted beans usually come with a bitter taste. But the roasting process of Death Wish is unique. They roast the beans slowly to eliminate all the bitterness. The taste has notes of dark chocolate and cherry.

7. Kicking Horse, Cliffhanger Whole Bean Espresso

Kicking Horse is a diverse brand of coffee beans with different blends and roasts available in the market. Cliffhanger is the sub-brand of Kicking Horse which prepares medium roasted purely organic Arabica beans specially prepared for Espresso.

The Cliffhanger Espresso beans are surely capable of making your morning more delightful with a sweet scent of Blackcurrant and Milk Chocolate. This bright blend of Espresso Beans gives a silky and smooth complex of berry syrup with a cocoa finish.

8. ILLY Classico Espresso (Smoothest Coffee)

Illy is the medium roasted and caffeinated Arabica Coffee bean from 9 of the best sources of Arabica beans around the World. The taste of Illy Espresso has a delicate and sweet note of chocolate and caramel with a smooth and balanced chocolate aroma.

Illy has been roasting coffee in the land of Espresso – Italy, for the last 8 decades. Integrity and Ethical business are distinctions of Illy. In 2019, it was named one of the world’s most ethical companies.

Illy has also been working on sustainable methods for the growth and processing of Coffee Beans, which will surely help the environment socially and economically.

Illy has a unique pressurized packaging system that preserves the quality and the taste of the Coffee beans.

9. Volcanica Whole Espresso Beans

Volcanica markets dark roasted Arabica beans for Espresso from the Yirgacheffe town in Ethiopia. Yirgacheffe is well known for its uniquely tasted coffee beans and is considered one of the best farms of Coffee in Africa.

Volcanica produces a perfect blend of Espresso with intense flavor and a sweet caramel taste and has a spicy and complex aroma that will make your senses delightful.

Valencia is very dedicated to its customer satisfaction. They pack and seal freshly roasted espresso beans to assure elegance and freshness.

10. Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Italian Espresso Whole Beans

Don Pablo gives a smooth and non-bitter taste with the intense and strong flavor of medium-dark roasted beans.

100% Arabica beans are used, which came straight from Colombia’s volcanic and nutrient-rich soil.

Classic Italian Espresso is a unique blend of Sumatra Mandheling and smooth Colombian beans, giving dark chocolate a special taste and aroma.

Tips for brewing a perfect Espresso Shot

You can buy the best perfect beans present in the World, but they are useless if you don’t know how to brew them properly. Here are a few tips for brewing a perfect shot of Espresso.

Read an interesting guide on brewing coffee with whole beans

Grind size

The size of your ground Coffee beans matters a lot. If the grind size is not perfect, the Espresso shot becomes too sour or weak.

Usually, fine or extra-fine coffee particles are used for brewing Espresso. Typically burr grinder is used for grinding beans for the Espresso.

To achieve the perfect grind size, you have to do some experiments. You cannot achieve that perfection in one day. Try different grinds at different times, and you will surely find the perfect taste.

Remember the perfect timing for pulling Espresso shots is 25-30 seconds. If it takes longer, then the grounds might be too fine, whereas if it takes shorter, then it might be too coarse.

Here’s a complete guide on different coffee grind sizes.

Tamping

Tamping is flattening the bed of ground coffee on your portafilter. Ensure that the bed Coffee is perfectly flat and there are no spaces between it. If there are spaces between them, water will pass through them easily without touching all the coffee particles. And you will end up with an under-extracted shot with unbalanced flavors.

It is best to fill your portafilter with coffee and apply some pressure with a metal tamper to make the bed flat and homogeneous.

Final thoughts on The Best Espresso Beans

You’ll find all the best coffee beans for Espresso on that list. Whether you are a fan of dark roast or medium roast, dark chocolate, or citrus flavors, you can pick a brand of your choice according to your taste.

I have thoroughly listed all the qualities of the top Espresso brands to make things easier.

I am a fan of Lavazza Espresso beans because of their low acidity and super thick layer of crema.

Faqs

Do you need special beans for espresso?

No, technically you don’t need special beans for Espresso. All types of coffee beans can work perfectly in an Espresso machine.
The only thing special about Espresso beans is their roasting process. Medium Dark or Dark roasted beans are generally preferred for pulling Espresso shots.

What grind is best for espresso?

Fine Grind is considered best for Espresso. As Espresso is a fast brewing technique with only a short contact time between coffee grounds and water.
In order to extract most of the flavors in that little time, it is necessary to use a fine grind.

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.