Love espresso? Take a look at this review for best coffee beans for espresso (plus some useful tips on how to make a cup).
There is this unfortunate misconception about what espresso is, especially among casual coffee drinkers. They believe espresso is just a fancy word for coffee brewed with expensive machines. That said, putting the expensive machine jibe aside, the coffee beans for espresso is the most crucial factor when it comes to making excellent espresso.
Of course, you need your machine to get an excellent blend and all. Here is the thing though, no matter how sophisticated your espressos maker is, you’d never drink good espresso if you get it wrong with the beans.
On the other hand, if you know what you are doing, you can easily make an excellent espresso with just a basic espresso machine if you took your time to purchase the best coffee beans for espresso.
What differentiates espresso from regular coffee is the brewing process involved
Naturally, you need to have the best beans you can get your hands on before you start the brewing process.
These are the specific conditions/brewing process to make a good espresso: you need to extract the coffee from the beans in 200°F of water at nine times the pressure at sea level (9 bars of pressure) for 30 seconds tops.
Getting that amount of pressure is the primary reason it is preferable to get a dedicated espresso machine if you want a perfect drink.
What makes an espresso good?
The brewing process and coffee beans aside, what determines you have an espresso to die for? It is all in how it feels when you close your eyes to take that first sip of your drink and savor it on your tongue.
A good espresso should have a hint of several flavors from the different blended beans. In that respect, blended beans are better than single origin beans for making espressos.
Again, it is preferable to buy whole bean coffee. This ensures the flavor and aroma of your espresso are preserved very well.
Another critical variable to making great espresso is the coffee grind. To get the most from the coffee beans, it is best to use an excellent grinder.
Best Coffee Beans for Espresso
1. Kicking Horse Medium Roast Cliff Hanger Espresso
This is a medium roast, Arabica whole beans coffee made by blending coffee sourced from some of the best growing regions around the world.
The product is a blend of coffee sourced from Africa, Indonesia, South America, and Central America. It combines just the right flavors making it one of the best coffee beans for espresso.
You get a silky smooth coffee with the light touch of wild berry and cocoa for each cup of espressos made with it.
If you like fruity, chocolatey-flavored, low-acid, dark espresso, grab this product as soon as you lay eyes on it.
However, the coffee beans are oily. This doesn’t make the beans bad, but they could get stuck in your grinders giving you extra work to do. Also, if you are used to very strong coffee, the Cliff Hanger Espresso might not give you the expected kick in the mornings.
That said, it has enough good reviews to rank high as one of the best in the world. And the price tag puts it in the range of something you can afford.
2. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans
these coffee beans, like the best coffee beans for espresso, are 100% Arabica beans. It is a blend of coffee beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Sumatra. Collectively, these are among the best coffee-growing regions of the world.
The dark roast blend by a family-owned company in Florida, produce strong, smooth cups of espressos with sweet fruity flavors of cocoa, and cinnamon that lingers on the palate long after you finished your espresso.
Koffee Kult is especially proud of their pedigree for roasting coffee beans for espresso. With the benefit of over 25 years’ experience, the traditionally blended espresso beans extract the best from each region to ensure an excellent cup of espresso.
Unlike some poorly-made beans that are dry and brittle when you open the bag, these are richly dark, glossy beans.
Though this is one of the best products, there are a couple of downsides.
Veteran espresso lovers would find it a little bit light for a dark roast blend.
And because of that, the belief is that it is a bit over-priced for espresso beans that give an ‘ok’ beverage. For the records though, it is cheaper than the Kicking Horse espresso beans above
However, that should not detract from the fact it is a low-acid espresso and therefore perfect for people who have problems dealing with stomach acids.
3. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee
With over century of making coffee beans, you’d expect espresso beans from Lavazza to be among the best coffee beans for espresso. That is spot on.
The Lavazza Super Crema whole bean coffee takes espresso blend to a new level. It is a blend of about 80% Arabica beans and 20% Robusta beans obtained from Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India
Blended in Italy, the beans are a mix between medium and dark brown roast. The combination of two types of beans and multiple origins produces mild and creamy espresso with hints of honey, almonds, and dried fruits.
To get the best from this Italian espresso beans, an espresso machine is recommended for use always.
Lavazza’s espresso beans are nitrogen-packed. In effect, it can be stored for a long time before opening. So you can buy as many packs as you need and store them. The flavor would still be pristine when you decide to open them.
These espresso beans work well with most grinders. They are not oily so would not clog up the mechanism. The most complaint about Lavazza concerns the bland, ordinary taste and the fact that newly manufactured products are hard to get.
This is sad considering that it is the most expensive of the three products reviewed so far. However, if you can lay your hands on the fresh beans, you are guaranteed several cups of fantastic espresso.
Two good coffee beans for espresso worth considering
You might also want to try Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso and Blue Horse Kona Coffee if for any reason you can’t get hold of the three above or merely want to expand your options.
Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso
Sourced from South America, Central America, Africa, and India.
The slowly-roasted beans produce a full espresso with hints of molasses, cocoa and honey flavor.
It is a bit pricier than the rest, but that is a reflection of the quality.
Blue Horse Kona Coffee
It prides itself as being a family-owned business. Your order comes directly from the company based in Hawaii where the coffee also comes from.
The sun-dried medium roast gives espresso that is rich with chocolate, almond and vanilla flavors.
Kona must have faith in the quality of their product because it is more expensive than all the products reviewed here.
So these are the five coffee beans for espresso you’d never go wrong with. They are varied enough to cater to your preferences.
Of course, the final choice ultimately depends on you. But it is likely you would have to give more than a couple of them a shot mailing a final decision.
Go ahead and explore the delightful world of coffee beans for espresso.