Top 8 Best Coffee Beans For Espresso In 2022


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A lot of people are asking what is the right, or rather say, the best coffee bean to use for making espresso. In my point of view, it depends on what flavor profile you’re looking for in your cup of coffee.

There are no special beans, roasts, blends or brands that are only for espresso. Ideally, espresso can be made from any coffee. It can be regular coffee beans from your favorite local roaster, or a blend from other coffee brands.

However, on the contrary, not all beans are equal. Depending on your personal taste preference, you might do need a particular roast and grind size to get an authentic shot of espresso. It’s also essential to consider these parameters as this will help you define what you like in your coffee. Read on to find out!

In this guide, I’ve listed some of the best coffee beans to use for espresso. Give it a try and see if one of them satisfies your taste bud.

At Glance!

BrandCoffee NamePriceShop
VolcanicaEspresso Dark Roast$16.99Visit Here
Cooper’s CaskEthiopian Bold Roast $17.95Visit Here
Spirit AnimalCATUAI & LEMPIRA$24Visit Here
EquatorDecaf Espresso $16.50Visit Here
Black InkEspresso Blend$$Visit Here
LifeboostEspresso Ground$24.60Visit Here
IllyEspresso Classico$$Visit on Amazon
LavazzaSuper Crema$$Visit on Amazon
updated price as of 29/04/22

A Brief Introduction to Espresso

Expresso is a strong and full-flavored, concentrated form of coffee served in “shots.” It is made with a small amount of nearly boiling water forced under bars of atmospheric pressure through finely-ground coffee. 

Espresso tends to have a potent, strong, rich, and delicious flavor. It is also known for its thicker texture. Likewise, this coffee is usually served in a small espresso cup. You can make one using an espresso machine.

A lot of people consider it as the most complicated form of coffee. That is because of how it is made. But the careful extraction using freshly roasted beans creates a unique offering that many people have grown to love.

When it comes to specialty cafes and coffee drinks, baristas also use espresso as base for different signature coffee beverages, like mochas, flat whites and lattes.

The 8 Best Coffee Beans for Espresso

1.     Volcanica Coffee – Espresso Dark Roast Coffee

To start with, Volcanica Coffee Company is known to offer different coffees including single origin, estate, peaberry, decaf and flavored coffees from all around the world. They also have coffee that works perfectly for espresso.

Their Espresso Dark Roast Coffee is one of the best coffees to use for espresso. It is bold but full of flavors. You can taste the notes of a sweet caramel, with light acidity and a complex spicy aroma. And if you’re into drinking lattes or cappuccinos, this coffee might compliment the cream and milk in them.

Unfortunately, the only down side of it is that it’s not recommended for use in super-automatic espresso machines. Even though this coffee is not roasted very dark, the beans are still oily and it may clog up the unit including its built-in grinder over time.

I recommend using an independent burr grinder, like the Baratza Sette 270, to grind the beans separately. Also, you shouldn’t use oily beans in your espresso machine frequently. Else, be prepared to give your machine a deep cleaning and overhaul every time.

But over all, this coffee still has great flavors. It is a perfectly balanced coffee, with less nuanced flavor, that will surely engage all your senses.

2.     Cooper’s Cask Coffee – Ethiopian Bold Roast – Light Roast

Cooper’s Cask Coffee is a small batch coffee roaster that specializes in barrel aged coffees and single origins. You can also use their single origin coffees for making espresso.

Their Ethiopian Bold Roast is a lightly roasted coffee that offers an intensely bright and clean taste. Also, it works ok for espresso. It has a vibrant taste profile of lemon tart, raw honey, and floral nectar. While Ethiopian flavor may not for everyone, I recommend to try this coffee and feel the characteristic taste of this region.

If you enjoy a complex cup of coffee, I think using a light roast coffee is the best for you. I know espresso is often made from medium to dark roast coffees. However, it doesn’t always have to be strong, bitter or dark. Espresso can be fruity and floral, and it can be made from basically any roast of coffee.

On the other side, since this coffee is roasted to a light roast level, it tends to maximize the flavor intensity and caffeine. Also, it has more acidity than a dark roasted one.

3.     Spirit Animal Coffee – CATUAI & LEMPIRA

Spirit Animal Coffee sources all its beans from independent farmers in Honduras, whose coffee-growing experience goes back generations. Their coffees are certified USDA & Fairtrade, giving you peace of mind that you’re buying responsibly-sourced coffee.

Their single origin coffee, CATUAI & LEMPIRA is grown by Yuliana Hernandez in Marcala, Honduras. The beans are roasted to perfection, highlighting notes of citrus honey, sweet fruit, and floral flavors.

This coffee is recommended for drip brewing, such as V60 or Chemex. But you can also use it for espresso. In fact, pressure-brewing brings out all the intense, darker notes of this coffee. It will also give you more crema compared to other brewing methods.

This coffee scores 87/100 on the coffee cupping scale. While it seems not important to other people, at least you still know this Honduran coffee is good. This coffee is a cultivar mix of Catuai and Lempira. A high- quality varieties of coffee that you can’t just find anywhere.

4.     Equator Coffees – Decaf Espresso

Equator Coffees crafts the purest expression of nuance, flavor and preparation that makes coffee extraordinary. And that reflects in their espresso beans.

Their Decaf Espresso is a blend of beans from Brazil and Colombia. This coffee is medium roast and has tasting notes of dark chocolate, dried cherry, and roasted nuts with a moderate acidity.

Decafs contain very little caffeine. And if you’re intolerant of caffeine, then going with decaffeinated beans, like this Decaf Espresso from Equator Coffees, is the right thing to do.

You can also use it for making lattes, cappuccinos or macchiatos because it has versatile flavors. This coffee was sourced and roasted intended to creating a rich and balanced espresso that pairs well with milk.

In the end, decaf espresso might not be a bad idea. Even though this coffee is decaffeinated, its original flavor intensity is still retained throughout the process. Espresso can be decaf and it even adds brightness and complexity to the coffee.

5.     Black Ink Coffee – Espresso Blend

To begin with, Blank Ink Coffee is subscription service and specialty coffee business that offers quality beans. You can get excellent coffees for drip and espresso.

Blank Ink Coffee Company gives you their Espresso Blend that is their take on a traditional Italian style espresso beverage. As opposed to being fruity and floral, this blend is dark and smoky. It will perform well with milk and cream if you want a rich and creamy espresso beverage. 

This blend delivers a delicious and strong coffee flavor. Aside from that, the beans are aged and dark roasted to help provide maximum crema in your shot of espresso.

However, it seems you can’t use it for drip. This coffee is only recommended for those with an espresso machine as it is quite strong. You should also use a separate grinder to grind the beans as they are darker and oily.

In the end, if you’ve gone through a lot of espresso beans and didn’t find the right one, then this blend might be the one you’re looking for. I recommend trying a blend of coffees for espresso if you’re looking for optimal flavor.

6.     Lifeboost Coffee – Espresso

Lifeboost Coffee is known to offer 100% pure USDA organic, single-origin, mycotoxin-free, GMO-free, Pesticide-free, low acid and shade grown coffees. And if you’re looking for the healthiest coffee to use for your espresso, then you’re in the right place.

Their Espresso Roast is an excellent coffee that delivers a smooth, bold, well-rounded and balanced cup every time. It’s one of the many afficionados favorites.

This coffee is the darkest roast you can have, and seems the perfect beans for creating lattes, cappuccinos or macchiatos as they can be paired with milk and cream. You can taste a rich and bold flavor, having notes of chocolate and caramel, with medium to low acidity.

What makes this coffee different from other brands is that this coffee comes from premium beans that have been individually hand selected and roasted. Not to mention that organic and fair trade are some of the factors that make a coffee taste delicious.

If you want to make your coffee less acidic and get the cleanest coffee available directly from the highest quality farms, then start with this Lifeboost Coffee.

7.     Illy Espresso Classico – Fine Grind Medium Roast

Illy is known for creating unique blends that delight millions of people every day at home, anywhere. They offer the best coffee, and that includes coffee for making espresso.

Their Illy Espresso coffee is one the favorites. The classic, fine grind, and medium roasted coffee beans are I think what makes a great espresso. This coffee is a single blend of the best 100% Arabica beans carefully selected from all around the world.

What makes it even unique is that the beans are carefully roasted and air-cooled. And to ensure freshness, the espresso beans are then packaged in an oxygen-free pressurized environment.

If you want a perfectly roasted coffee with full flavors in your latte, macchiato or any coffee beverages, then you might want to try this excellent blend.

8.     Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend – Medium Espresso Roast

Of course, don’t forget about Lavazza Super Crema when it comes to espresso. This coffee is also popular and taste great when mixed with milk, sugar, or cream.

What makes Lavazza Super Crema special is it came from careful selection of beans and innovative roasting techniques, creating tasting notes of brown sugar and hazelnut. This coffee blend is a mix of Arabica and Robusta varieties from different origins.

This mild and creamy medium espresso roast is blended and roasted in Italy. It’s perfect for those who want to experience an authentic Italian coffee scene. And by having the right combination, it creates a well-balanced taste that many people love.

What Makes Espresso an Espresso?

I hope you have read and saw the differences between these coffee beans. It’s clear that espresso can be made from different aspects.

Only a few coffee beans that are labeled espresso share the same traits when it comes to taste, roast, and even origin. A lot of them are difficult to identify even a single quality that they all share.

There are more beans that are roasted dark, while only few are light. Some are special blends, while others are single origins. Some coffee beans are 100% Arabica, while others are not. Not to mention those decaf espresso beans.

So, what makes a particular coffee bean an espresso?  

Unfortunately, there is no difference between espresso and regular coffee beans. Coffee shops and roasters roast their beans differently to best fit their own espresso preparations.

What Does “Espresso Roast” and “Espresso Blend” Mean?

To further answer the question above, it’s important to learn that espresso isn’t a type of roast nor a variety of coffee bean. It is a brewing method or as well as a coffee drink. 

You may see some bags are labeled as espresso beans or espresso roast. Some of them are dark roasts, special blends, etc. However, these labels are only an indication or recommendation by the roaster on how you brew the coffee, and not a roast technique.

You can also view this label “espresso roast” as a clever, effective marketing ploy, much like the well-known French and Italian roasts. I’m not against on the people who coined these terms. But in reality, there are no such things.

What I understand is that espresso roast is just regular beans that are roasted to a certain level. And the label is just an indication that the coffee has been roasted to best fit the espresso brew method. The same goes with espresso blend. The beans are curated, blend and labeled as espresso to inform consumers on how to prepare it best.

However, it doesn’t mean that there’s a standard profile for espresso. That’s because everyone can source and roast coffee differently and have them as their own versions of “espresso roast.” I mean I can roast my own coffee differently from Starbucks’ espresso roast and label it as espresso.

What Type of Roast is the Best for Espresso?

Espresso can be made from any roast. The beans often have several roasts, a blend of different types to form the preferred flavor.

I mentioned earlier that you may do need a particular roast for espresso. However, that doesn’t mean it’s also the best for other people.

Again, the best type of roast may depend on your personal taste. Some people want to use dark roasted beans to get the taste, aroma, and crema of a full espresso shot. Others want light roast coffees for an optimal, fruity and floral flavor.

Sure, espresso is often made from medium to dark roast coffees. And there are a lot of reasons for that. One of it is probably because people making coffee at home would simply enjoy a dark roast.

Before it even became very popular to use for espresso or any espresso-based drinks, many people are already using dark roasted coffees. I think the reason for that is because they’re used to coffee that taste smoky and sweet. Dark roasts tend to have a nice, bold and bitter flavor that people are looking for in their cup of coffee.

With that said, this made businesses market their espresso beans as dark roasts to increase sales. Also, with the increasing popularity of specialty cafes and beverages, dark roasts are now common on espresso. That is because dark roast balances and compliments the milk and cream in lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, flat whites, etc.

While espresso is always recognized as strong and bitter coffee, you can still find some specialty coffee shops that use light roast coffees for making it. After all, espresso doesn’t always have to be dark or medium roast. If you want a complex cup of coffee with fruity and floral flavor, then light roast is your best bet.

Wrapping it Up!

In today’s industry, there are so many terms and labels are forming when it comes to coffee. And sometimes it can be quite confusing what beans to buy and how to use them accordingly.

In the end, what you need to do is to pick a roast. Experiment with single-origin coffee or blends. Try different origins and different types of processed coffees.

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