After it’s brewing, an espresso cup can contain around 12% dissolved coffee solids from your grounds. When you compare it to the 2% of traditional coffee, it will have such a difference because it is more intense.
A lot of the essence of the coffee grounds goes into the final brew. So it’s highly important that the beans you use, go well with the entire process of brewing. Keep in mind that not every bean is the same when it comes to making espresso.
That’s we made this article to show you some of the best espresso beans out there that you can use depending on your taste. Read all about espresso and the best coffee beans used to make it.
What makes an “Espresso Bean”?
It is not the actual beans that make your espresso, but the brewing process that the beans go through. The roasting, their origin, and notes have nothing to do with it. The grind size, pressure, and temperature have a lot, if not everything to do with it.
For making espresso, you will need an excellent grind. All of the grounds are tamped into a puck. Water is heated to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit and a machine uses at least 9 bars, even often to 15 bars of pressure for pushing the steam through the grounds.
The extraction process takes between 25 and 30 seconds. You get an intense coffee concentrate known as espresso due to the high heat, high pressure, and increased surface area.
Therefore, a good espresso bean is any type of bean that complements this style of drink, so flavorful, Arabica beans, often with medium to dark roast.
Best Espresso Beans
1. Death Wish Coffee
If you desire something that’ll offer you a serious kick, these are the beans you should get. This dark roast will give you an instant boost that you very much need in the morning or during an all-nighter, with double the caffeine of most beans.
Kicking Horse’s beans are organic and fair trade, plus it’s also Kosher, like Death Wish. Their source is from Indonesia, Central American and South America. The brew you get from these will surely please you with their earthy flavors and notes of chocolate and nutmeg.
Additionally, 454 is well-balanced for a dark-roast and has a velvet feel to it, plus it’s low in acid. Even though it is not as powerful as Death Wish, it will make you wide awake and bushy-tailed when you finish drinking it.
If you’re in for a robust dark roast but are then again, you are leaning towards a different flavor profile, and we recommend Kicking Horse’s (Kick Ass Dark) blend. It has a sweeter taste with a bit of smokiness.
2. Koffee Kult ThunderBolt
Some people want a more subtle coffee taste while still having a noticeable caffeine potency. If that’s the same for you, Koffee Kult’s Thunder Bolt might be right for you.
Even though their packaging does not have any official documentation, Koffee Kult’s product descriptions are beyond sustainable. The beans are sourced from Columbia and Brazil.
The end brew is not as intense as the other two on this list because it’s a French roast, which is more on the medium than the dark side. But then again, Koffee Kult states that it is one of the most robust caffeinated blends available.
These beans are the best option for people who have finicky super-automatic machines that tend to clog using extra oily dark roasts such as Death Wish. You’ll still be able to get quality caffeination with a powerful and even a subtle sweet flavor.
Their Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans – Highest Quality Gourmet – Whole Bean Coffee – Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans, 32oz are also very recommended, and it even has kind of a stronger flavor if that’s what you’re into.
3. CoffeeBean Direct Italian Roast Espresso
If you’re searching to buy in more bulk to save on your coffee without ruining its quality, look into CoffeeBean Direct. This Italian Roast Espresso is a powerful, bold brew that stands out, especially with its price point.
These whole beans are sold in 5lb bags, and they are sourced from South America and India. The company has a unique roasting process, which they proudly show off.
Their beans are roasted slowly right before they’re packed, so that gives the consumer an ability to enjoy their unique flavor and freshness. You will even get some cocoa powder and smoky molasses taste with this full-bodied brew.
Even though these beans are not as intense and impressive as some higher-end brands we have suggested, their price range makes them a go-to, and they are even paying it off for being so cheap.
4. Intelligentsia Black Cat Analog Espresso
Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Analog beans might be a perfect option for you if you tend to get bored quickly and don’t enjoy in the jitters high-intensity beans give you.
This blend has a mission to revolutionize people’s opinions about espresso, so they certainly do not disappoint with its unique brightness. Also, their flavor profile has a slight change from season to season because it is a blend.
It even feels syrupy and sweeter than most espresso blends out there. You can also taste some chocolate notes that ground the beans with a specific, classic feel.
5. Stumptown Hair Bender
Another exciting option is Stumptown’s Hair Bender. Their beans are a favorite of many and possess one of the most complex flavor profiles we have on this list.
Being sourced from Indonesia, Latin America, and Africa, they have a sweet, well-balanced blend. Its cherry notes complement the noticeable toffee and fudge flavors.
Due to its unique profile, it works well as a morning coffee and an evening dessert. Also, it is not too oily, which is rare for a dark roast, and that makes it the right choice for people with machines that have built-in grinders.
Medium Roast Beans
6. Lavazza Super Crema
Being one of the most popular espresso beans on the market, Lavazza’s Super Crema shows that they did not opt to sacrifice quality even though they’re a more massive corporation.
Their beans are blended and roasted in Italy, sourced from Brazil, India, Columbia, and Indonesia. As espresso is a crucial thing in Italy and it is a matter of pride, it is not a surprise that these beans are an excellent brew.
This medium roast is definitely mild and creamy, and it has notes of almonds and honey and even a subtle fruity feel to it. It is more acidic because it consists of Robusta beans and a lower caffeine content than some of the other beans we’ve shown you. It is made with 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta beans.
Lavazza beans have a longer pre-opening life because they are packed with nitrogen. The Robusta beans also give off an excellent crema to the brew.
7. Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee
If you are willing to invest a bit of money in treating yourself to an exceptional espresso experience, this Kona coffee is the right choice.
These single-origin, hand-picked Kona beans are sourced from a family farm in the Kona region of Hawaii. They are grown herbicide and pesticide-free even though they are not certified as organic.
These beans are highly-priced, however, they aren’t as expensive as other Kona options, which go up to $90. Then again, you’ll still get that sweetness with slight notes of almond and vanilla plus some spicy aftertaste, which is Kona coffee’s specialty.
Their medium roast helps the beans maintain their flavors, but you can also get it as a dark roast. This medium roast will definitely give off less impact on the brew both in boldness and caffeine, which some people like and others don’t. So, before investing, consider your personal preferences.
8. Klatch Coffee World’s Best Espresso
This blend will surely please your taste buds as it’s ordained with the impressive WBE title at the 2007 World Barista Championships.
This three-bean blend includes Brazil Yellow Bourbon, Sumatra Lake Tawar, and Ethiopian Natural. This is a powerful combination used to create a bright mix of chocolate and orange hints. The flavor leaves you with a syrupy sweet taste along with berry and spice, and it develops as you sip.
Klatch also has the Belle Espresso, which has a slightly different flavor profile: brandy, chocolate, and caramel.
Origin Of The Best Espresso Beans
The flavor of your beans mostly depends on factors surrounding its place of origin. Such certain things like rainfall, soil chemistry, altitude, or shade give to have a significant impact on the taste of your espresso.
So, to give off a little background on the coffee bean industry, most of the coffee available to this world comes from coffee trees growing along the “Bean Belt.” This region spans about 25° north and 30° south of the equator, hugging it.
Within this region, there are 50 countries, and more, that produce coffee. However, some options are more popular than others for numerous reasons. As every market out there, In this case, it’s mostly the flavor profile.
Colombian beans are mild and well-balanced with potent caramel flavors and certain nutty feel to it. Most of the industry has the support of small family farms. Brazilian beans have a wider variety in flavor profiles than Colombian types due to the changes in altitude. However, the classic “Brazilian” flavor is generally slightly nutty or sometimes spiced with a substantial body.
Ethiopian beans also have a lot of options. So you can find everything — heady, wine-like palates and lighter, floral brews.
Kenyan beans are grown to have more sunlight exposure than most of the other regional coffees. The result is a bit savory with a slight tart sweetness.
Indonesian beans are very often recognized as their specific variety of names, like Java and Sumatran. You’ll find those in addition to some aged coffees, which feature a deeper body.
Hawaiian, or Kona beans to be more specific, are highly prized for their exceptional flavor. Plenty of sunlight and heavy rainfall create the richness this coffee has combined with a slight sweetness and floral notes with the biting aftertaste.
So, when you think about espresso blends, most of them are Brazilian or Indonesian beans and sometimes both. A few of them also include Colombian beans.
Whole vs. Pre-ground Best Espresso Beans
You have probably noticed that all of the beans listed here are sold as whole beans. However, a lot of these products also have pre-ground options, so you might ask yourself what the difference is.
The most significant difference is freshness. Even though you’ll be checking the roast date on your beans, if they are pre-ground, they will not have the same freshness.
With any type of coffee, espresso and otherwise, we suggest you buy whole beans and invest in a quality grinder to grind the beans right before you use them. Most of the super-automatic machines and even a few fully/semi-automatic espresso machines have built-in grinders, so you do not have to worry about investing more money.
In addition to this, grinding your beans gives you the ability to get the most out of their flavor. Fresh grounds can help compensate to make sure you still get a nice cup of espresso, especially if your machine isn’t the top one of the line.
You can grind in smaller batches if you do it by yourself but don’t want to do so every time you make espresso. However, make sure that you keep the grounds in an airtight container, so they maintain fresh as long as possible.
The roast time and method have a significant role in your brews, such as the origin and grind. It is crucial to know what you’re looking for when you’re looking for beans.
Dark roasts are definitely a favorite for espresso brewing because they have a full body and contain less acidity. Their dark oily surfaces are what makes them recognizable. Plus, they have the most natural oils, which have an effect on the formation of crema.
On the other hand, medium roasts will give you a slightly more powerful flavor note of the bean and they have less acidity. If your machine tends to gets clogged easily by the oils of dark roasts, these beans will be your lifesaver.
So that is it. You might prefer intense, caffeine-packed brews or even easier, more complex medium roasts, perhaps something in between. Whatever you like, you should be able to find a bean that suits your preferences.
Remember that if you want to get the most out of your beans, you should buy whole beans and grind them yourself. Also, keep in mind that machinery, roast and origin of the product. All of them contribute to the process of finding the best bean for you.