Top 10 Best Espresso Beans For Coffee Aficionados – Buying Guide

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The best espresso beans can give you a perfect shot of Espresso. But the question is, “What are Espresso beans?”. Well, they are simply coffee beans ground finer, roasted more, and made in Espresso coffee makers or Aeropress. 

It is best to pick the suitable beans for your favorite Espresso coffee. We have compiled a list of great Espresso beans for your consideration, along with a helpful buying guide. On this list, we consider the Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast as our winner. 

It wins our hearts for the depth of flavor with no bitterness, along with chocolate and cherry notes and an aroma of cocoa. We believe you will get smooth, bold, and quite acidic Espresso coffee to enjoy with these beans. 

Moreover, you will not need to worry about their freshness as they are roasted in small batches only. We don’t want to waste your time anymore. So let’s get started with our informative buying guide first.

Top 10 Best Espresso Beans (Updated List)

#PreviewProduct 
1Death Wish Coffee Dark RoastCheck Price
2Kicking Horse Coffee Dark RoastCheck Price
3Lavazza Super Crema Coffee BlendCheck Price
4Stumptown Coffee RoastersCheck Price
5Verena Street Espresso BeansCheck Price
6Coffee Bros. Espresso RoastCheck Price
7Coffee Bean Direct Italian RoastCheck Price
8Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet CoffeeCheck Price
9Blue Horse 100% Kona CoffeeCheck Price
10Koffee Kult Dark Thunderbolt Whole Bean CoffeeCheck Price

Best Espresso Beans Buying Guide

Before making the final resort, you had better consider the following factors.

Types of Espresso Beans

You should know some of the different Espresso bean types to get the best coffee bean qualities. Of course, the type you favor depends on your taste, yet learn them all so that you can have the proper choice.

Predominantly, there are two types of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. Besides, there are also various sub kinds of coffee branching off each one.

Arabica Espresso

If you seek complete Espresso shots, the Arabica coffee beans are a better idea. They are sweeter and contain merely twice as much natural sugar as the Robusta type. Arabica beans come in lots of variations. 

The beans grown in the rainy climate will have higher oil concentrations. Thus, they can deliver a richer flavor and greater crema than the Robusta. These oils give different aftertastes for your Espresso coffee, like creamy, tart, or fruity flavor.

They also affect the coffee aroma when brewing. Robusta coffee beans release a typical coffee smell. Accordingly, using these coffee beans for your Espresso can give off a rich aroma with many sweet undertones.

Arabica coffee beans feature consistent flavor across all batches as they originate from self-pollinating plants. The consistency can help you get great shots as you will get accustomed to the beans in practice.

All factors above that boost the aroma and flavor of Arabica beans also accordingly elevate the price. As a result, these coffee beans are pricier than other types out there.

Robusta Espresso

If you use Espresso to make a Latte or Cappuccino, Robusta can give you an ideal flavor. A Robusta shot tastes bitter, yet it offers a great base to add flavors and milk. Robusta coffee beans come with higher caffeine levels than Arabica. 

It is worth considering the caffeine trade-off and the flavor. Besides, a Robusta coffee plant is much easier to cultivate than Arabica, so their prices are also more budget-friendly.

Anyway, you have to decide which type you want depending on what is critical to you. For example, if you want rich Espresso shots with great crema, choose Arabica. In contrast, if you want more from your Espresso, buy Robusta.

Single Origin Espresso

Single-origin beans derive from a certain area. In other words, the bean flavors benefit from the climate of this region and the quality of the soil. Most coffee plants are grown in the Equatorial zone or the Bean Belt. 

More than 50 countries worldwide grow coffees varying in quality and taste, relying on their growing conditions. Brewing this type of beans helps you pinpoint what you like. 

Coffee blends can muddy your taste as you cannot ensure you like one kind of coffee only. With these beans, you can get how the climate affects the beans, like their oil concentration. 

Purchasing single-origin coffee beans can allow you to contrast and compare different flavors from various areas.

Blend

Coffee blends mean there are two or more kinds of coffee to be mixed. They are probably blends of Robusta and Arabica beans or similar coffee strains coming from different areas. Choosing coffee blends is more affordable, especially for the mixture of Arabica and Robusta. 

With that being said, it is still a good way to balance coffee flavors. Coffee blends from different regions are probably as subtle as those from various altitudes on a similar farm. Generally, coffee blends are an ideal way to adjust your preference for coffee. 

You can mix coffee beans to get balanced acidity and coffee richness. Moreover, if you like various flavor profiles such as caramel and dark chocolate, a coffee blend is a perfect match for your hobby.

How To Choose The Best Espresso Beans?

Flavor

It is important to know the flavor you prefer. For example, if you like subtle Espresso, choose a bit lighter roast. On the other hand, we highly recommend you go for a medium roast or medium dark if you do not want to dominate the flavor.

Or you can roll with the dark roast beans if you want to tolerate a bit of bitterness for a greater taste sensation.

Roasting Date

Should you spot packaging with a coffee roasting date over 90 days ago, you had better off giving this product a swerve. Coffee can spoil faster than you imagine, so consider this factor carefully.

Storage

If you see coffee beans for sale from open, big containers, you had better avoid these beans. Air is also a factor that can degrade the beans. 

While it probably sounds petty, you can ignore this advice and end up with weaker and tainted Espresso coffee rather than the eye-opening shots you expected.

Drink Type

It is imperative to ask yourself how you want to take the Espresso coffee since it can determine the most suitable coffee beans to some extent. Do you prefer to dilute your drinks with creamer and milk? 

If so, it is better to go for more affordable and lower-quality coffee beans. But this advice does not mean you should purchase poor coffee beans; it is simply an opportunity to shave off some dollars with no discernible difference in your drink result.

Other Drinks

So now think about what else do you want to drink apart from Espresso? If you only stick to Espresso shots every morning, you only need to consider dedicated Espresso blends.

In contrast, if you are partial to a Cappuccino or a Latte, you can consider other options. Many beans we review today can both deliver great Espresso shots and work well with another brewing method, the Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso, for example.

Best Espresso Beans Reviews

This section will give you a deep insight into the top 10 best Espresso beans to help you choose the most suitable beans.

Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast – Best Overall

Specifications:

  • Item form: Ground
  • Bean type: Arabica and Robusta
  • Flavor notes: Cherry and Chocolate
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 16 oz

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The Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast deserves the title “Best Overall” for its excellent performance in many aspects. We are impressed with its depth of flavor without any bitterness. 

It is an important factor for rich-tasting Espressos since the bitterness damages the process of extraction. These coffee beans are slowly roasted in a meticulous process to ensure the dark roast and optimal caffeine content.

This organic coffee is completely natural and gets USDA certification for both fair and organic trade. A dark roast is what most consumers expect for a cup of delicious Espresso coffee, and the Death Wish Coffee grounds will not disappoint you. 

It is a rich and full-bodied organic coffee with chocolate and cherry notes and an aroma of cocoa. With these beans, the resulting Espresso coffee can provide smooth, quite acidic, and bold flavors. 

In addition, the small-batch roasted process will give you the freshest coffee cup to wake up your mind every morning. But as it comes with high caffeine content, you are more likely to drink too much.

Pros:

  • Intense flavor
  • Organic and fair trade coffee
  • Dark roast without bitterness
  • Small batch roasted
  • Chocolate and cherry notes
  • Cocoa aroma

Con:

  • Easy to overdrink 

Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast – Best For Taste

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica
  • Flavor notes: Heavy body, earthy with a black licorice finish
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs

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Our runner-up is the Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast. This Arabica smooth dark roast is a champion of taste as it can conjure up power from the depth of the shadow. 

It originated from Indonesia and Central & South America sustainably and is certified for organic and fair trade. We are also impressed to know it is all dark roasted right below the rocky mountain peaks. 

It is understandable why it can deliver such an attractive coffee flavor. These full-bodied and earthy coffee beans come with tasting notes of cacao nibs, roasted hazelnuts, brown sugar, and dark chocolate. 

You will love to enjoy a cup of coffee extracted from this complicated medium-roast blend every morning. Apart from being the best at Espresso, this Kicking Horse Coffee is also a great idea to use in V60 or French Press.

It is slightly expensive, but all the above features explain its high price tag.

Pros:

  • Smooth dark roast
  • Deliver the best taste
  • Grown in a sustainable way
  • Certified organic and fair trade
  • Complicated medium-roast

Con:

  • Slightly expensive

Lavazza Super Crema Coffee Blend – Best For Crema

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica and Robusta
  • Flavor notes: Brown sugar and hazelnut
  • Roast: Medium-light
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs

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We cannot forget to mention the Lavazza Super Crema Coffee Blend on our list. This strong blend performs well in a semi-automatic Espresso coffee maker. The excellent crema is the selling point of this coffee blend.

The Lavazza Super Crema Coffee Blend is 40% Robusta and 60% Arabica with beans from Vietnam, India, Brazil, and Colombia. This is an ideal ratio to make a perfect crema layer that’s not too thick or too thin. 

Too much Robusta leads to a thick crema and less espresso, while too much Arabica leaves a thin and unstable top layer. We highly recommend making espresso with automatic coffee makers that deliver enough pressure to optimize the crema.

You will love this medium roast, thanks to its sweet notes of brown sugar and hazelnut. This natural sweetness is quite easy to drink without sugar. It is a perfect option for those who seek a traditional Espresso coffee with rich-tasting and no bitterness. 

However, it might be considered as boring coffee by some as it only features the typical taste of Espresso.

Pros:

  • Rich tasting coffee 
  • Deliver excellent crema
  • 40% Robusta and 60% Arabia
  • Strong aroma with natural sweetness
  • No bitterness

Con:

  • Can be boring for some coffee enthusiasts

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Best For Arabica Fans

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole Bean, Ground
  • Bean type: Arabica
  • Flavor notes: Citrus and dark chocolate
  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 12 oz

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The next position belongs to the Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It is one of the best Arabica medium-dark roasts we have ever tried. It is a perfect choice for those who seek 100% Arabica coffee.

This suggestion originates from Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America and is roasted in Portland with no surface oil to affect the grinder. The resulting coffee is rich, well-balanced, and complex. 

We also see the smoothness and creaminess inside this coffee. On top of that, the coffee taste is undeniable, paired with dark chocolate or fudge. 

These medium-dark roasted beans are less intense and acidic than light roasts, thus more approachable for average coffee lovers. Besides, medium roasts deliver less caffeine than darker ones since there is less oil burnt. So, no need to worry about caffeine overdoses.

Moreover, you can also taste some citrus and sweet cherries in this coffee. Thanks to the innovative bags, the coffee can stay fresh for up to 90 days after opening the package. But for some, they might find it slightly fruity and light.

Pros:

  • Medium-dark
  • 100% Arabica coffee
  • Rich, well-balanced, sweet, and complex flavor
  • Notes of dark chocolate citrus
  • Innovative bags

Con:

  • Slightly fruity and light for some

Verena Street Espresso Beans – Runner-Up For Taste

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica 
  • Flavor notes: Sweetness
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 2 lbs

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Another great option for the irresistible taste and aroma is the Verena Street Espresso Beans. We cannot resist its full-bodied taste and aroma with a creamy and sweet complexity. If you have a sweet tooth yet still love to enjoy coffee, give this one a try.

Along with a velvety crema, the beans leave a rich aftertaste and have you craving for more. Moreover, we love the origin of this suggestion. The coffee beans are all sourced from the Rainforest Alliance Certified farms for sustainable development.

To keep the freshness of the coffee, the manufacturer roasts the beans in small batches and keeps a minimum inventory. As a result, you will not worry about the quality of the coffee at launch.

The Verena Street 2 Coffee is great for both fine-grind Espresso and coarse-grind drip coffee makers with the smooth but full roast. But like the Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast, this suggestion comes at a quite high price.

Pros:

  • Irresistible full-bodied taste and aroma
  • Creamy and sweet complexity
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Small batch roasted
  • Smooth but full roast

Con:

  • High price

Coffee Bros. Espresso Roast – Best For Freshness

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica 
  • Flavor notes: Red fruit, vanilla
  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 12 oz

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We highly appreciated the Coffee Bros. Espresso Roast for its optimal freshness. The manufacturer manually roasts the coffee beans in small batches. Then these medium roast coffee beans are treated with special care and packed on the same day to keep the coffee fresh. 

You can rest assured about the quality of this Espresso roast.

This coffee blend is vibrant but subtle with a round body and the notes of vanilla, strawberry, and sugar cane when it comes to the flavors.

This Espresso roast can drive most taste buds wild with natural sweetness and sugars. It is also an ideal option for a perfect cup of latte. 

As a light-medium roast, the Coffee Bros 100% Arabica coffee blend does not have the clear caramel and dark forward flavor that Espresso lovers expect. Instead, it is more complex and lighter with fruity flavors and no bitterness.

So once again, if you seek the beans to provide a bold Espresso shot, it might not be your answer.

Pros:

  • Optimal freshness
  • Small batch roasted
  • The vibrant but subtle flavor
  • Notes of vanilla, strawberry, and sugarcane
  • Also ideal for latte

Con:

  • Probably not strong enough for some

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast – Best For Multi Purposes

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica and Robusta
  • Flavor notes: Cocoa and smoky molasses
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 5 lbs

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If you seek an Espresso roast product that also works well with other drink types like latte, mocha, drip, the Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast might be your answer. The manufacturer offers various options from coarse, whole bean, and fine ground. 

Accordingly, you can enjoy peak aroma and taste in different types of drinks. Moreover, you can also try cold brew with this suggestion using a French press, pour-over, or AeroPress.

The Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast is a rich and full-bodied coffee with a big bite. It features a honeyed and toasty aroma. Moreover, you will love this dark roast blend’s notes of smoky molasses and cocoa, leaving a strong and vibrant aftertaste in your tongue. 

These Espresso coffee beans originate from famous coffee-growing areas like Brazil, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Sumatra and are selected carefully for the best quality. That said, the high caffeine might make you overdrink coffee in a day.

Pros:

  • Work well with other drink types
  • Able to use in the French press, pour-over, or AeroPress.
  • Rich and full-bodied
  • A honeyed and toasty aroma
  • Notes of smoky molasses and cocoa

Con:

  • High caffeine levels

Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee – Best For Budget

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica 
  • Flavor notes: Dark chocolate and mild earthy tones
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 2 lbs

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The Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee is an affordable option to start learning to brew coffee. Though it comes with a budget-friendly price, it doesn’t sacrifice essential features for a great-tasting coffee cup.

The gourmet coffee still goes down smoothly for Espresso as the brand combines smooth Colombian beans with punchy Sumatran beans. We evaluate this 100% Arabica coffee as toasty and dark with the notes of mild earthy tones and dark chocolate. 

Thanks to a special roasting process, the coffee roast can deliver a complex and deep flavor with no bitter taste and low acidity. Moreover, these coffee beans feature the full caramelization of natural sugars. 

This feature gives an optimal roastiness for these Espresso coffee beans while retaining the full body character with a pleasant aftertaste. On the downside, this Espresso blend might be slightly simple and can’t pop up in many kinds of drinks.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Notes of mild earthy tones and dark chocolate
  • Special roasting technique
  • No bitterness and low acidity
  • Full caramelization of natural sugars

Con:

  • Slightly simple

Blue Horse 100% Kona Coffee – Best Specialty Coffee

Specifications:

  • Item form: Ground
  • Bean type: Arabica
  • Flavor notes: Chocolate, hints of almond and vanilla
  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 1 lb

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A special product on our list of the best Espresso beans is Blue Horse Coffee. This suggestion is 100% Kona Coffee, which is ideal for pure Kona coffee lovers. This specialty coffee is exclusively grown on two volcanoes’ slopes on the Big Island for those who don’t know. 

It sets itself apart from regular coffee by a perfect growing condition and special techniques of processing the coffee beans from plant to cup. As Blue Horse roasts the beans in small batches, it keeps the freshness of the coffee. 

The resulting taste is sweet and has low acidity. And this dark roast is hearty enough to deliver the rich flavor of the coffee without adding any bitter touch. And with the notes of chocolate and hints of vanilla and almond, the coffee can leave a great aftertaste for any drinker.

On the downside, we found that these beans might not be strong enough for some drinkers.

Pros:

  • 100% Kona Coffee
  • Special techniques of processing
  • Small batch roasted
  • Sweet and low acidity taste
  • Notes of chocolate and hints of vanilla and almond

Con:

  • Not strong enough

Koffee Kult Dark Thunderbolt Whole Bean Coffee – Best For Flavor

Specifications:

  • Item form: Whole beans
  • Bean type: Arabica 
  • Flavor notes: Earthy, molasses, smoke, full body
  • Roast: French roast
  • Weight: 32 oz

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Our last pick is the Koffee Kult Thunderbolt Whole Bean Coffee. It might be a perfect choice for any Espresso coffee aficionado. The dark roast is deep and rich in flavor yet manages to be clean and smooth, making it perfect for Espresso. 

It does not produce any bitterness but a strong coffee taste. You will love its crisp and sweet finish with medium acidity. Besides, its aroma is also as pleasant as this gourmet coffee’s taste.

Koffee Kult also focuses on the freshness of coffee, so they always directly bag up their coffee beans after roasting. Any coffee roaster performs excellently in delivering brown French roast with a long finish and no oil on beans.

We also love the modern and print-forward packaging of this coffee. It looks quite eye-catching and fresh as the beans! 

That said, this coffee might be slightly simplistic for some coffee drinkers as they expect more flavor notes and aroma from espresso shots.

Pros:

  • Deep and rich flavor
  • Clean and smooth
  • No bitterness
  • High freshness
  • Modern and print-forward packaging

Con:

  • Slightly simplistic flavor

What Makes Good Espresso Beans? 

It is not the coffee beans that draw the line between the words Espresso and Coffee. Instead, it’s the way of preparation these beans undergo. The notes and origin have nothing to do with it. 

Yet how about the temperature, grind size and pressure? Well, they get everything to do with it. Your coffee beans need to be finely ground so that the coffee result can survive the hot water and high pressure during the Espresso brewing cycle. 

Here is a typical brewing process.

  • The coffee grounds are tamped into a puck.
  • Water is heated to around 200°F.
  • Espresso coffee makers often use 15 bars (or at least 9) of pressure to push the hot steam through the coffee grounds.
  • The extraction process takes about 25-30 seconds. The increased surface area, high pressure, and heat give intense coffee fondly concentrated called Espresso.

Meanwhile, the cup of Joe might be prepared with stronger coarse coffee as the brewing methods such as drip or French press coffee makers don’t have the intensity or pressure of an Espresso machine.

Regarding the bean roasting, Espresso beans are specially roasted longer to darker color than conventional beans. It is to make their taste stronger and natural oil more prominent for a full-tasting brew. The question is, “Are Espresso different from coffee beans?” 

Well, not really. The coffee beans are the same, yet it is the preparation method that sets them apart. So should you want to experiment with a daily cup of java or seek yourself in a bid, you can use beans for Espresso as long as they are fine coffee grounds. 

And if they’re coarser, your beans for Espresso can produce better-tasting coffee.

Tips For Enjoying Espresso Beans 

Whatever the Espresso beans you choose, there are several things to better enjoy them.

Think about the crema

A key point to know if your Espresso bean ground is fine is to consider the crema – the cup top’s caramel layer. If the crema has many big bubbles or is thin, it is advisable to try the finer grind. 

You had better be able to adjust automatic Espresso coffee makers with integrated grinders. Then, of course, you can order an Espresso pre-ground. Though it is not the best idea, it is much better than too coarse grind.

Properly Tamp

Besides getting the coffee grind fine enough, you have to ensure you properly tamp the filter basket. The tamping will affect how fast the water goes through the puck while you are pulling a shot. 

You might need about nine bars of pressure to guarantee your coffee grinds are all packed tightly enough to extract accurately.

Espresso Pre-infusion

If you have a great automatic Espresso coffee maker, it should have a cycle of pre-infusion. It performs a similar function to the bloom on the pour-over machine. It wets coffee grinds and releases all CO2 gas stored in these grinds from roasting. 

However, in Espresso, the pre-infusion might help control the flow speed through the coffee grinds as when getting wet, and they slow the water flow to ensure optimal extraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people often ask when buying Espresso beans.

Do You Have To Use Espresso Beans For Espresso?

It’s a No. You can utilize any type of coffee beans that can tickle your fancy. It is just that most Espresso lovers like a medium-dark roast. Yet, keep in mind, the best coffee is only subjective!

Are Coffee Beans And Espresso Beans The Same?

It depends. Espresso beans and coffee beans are basically the same. However, the way they are prepared makes them different. Espresso beans roast often have a darker color than the traditional coffee beans, and they are extracted with much pressure.

While Espresso grounds are very fine, regular coffee beans can be fine or coarse ground depending on the grinder you use.

How Fine Do You Need To Grind Espresso Beans?

You will need a fine coffee grind to increase the pressure needed to push the hot water through the filter basket and make great rich crema. However, if the coffee grind is over fine, the coffee probably blocks the filter. 

In general, the Espresso grind mimics the mixture of fine beach sand and powdered sugar.

Final Thoughts

So you have gone through our best espresso beans reviews. These beans can help you make a great cup of Espresso coffee. 

Of which, we highly appreciate the DEATH WISH COFFEE Dark Roast Coffee Grounds for its intense flavor without bitterness. And thanks to a careful small-batch roast process, the coffee grounds can keep the best freshness level.

Besides, we also love the Kicking Horse Coffee Dark Roast. These beans push the limit of regular Espresso with the heavy body and earthy bean blend and tasting notes of dark chocolate, cacao nibs, roasted hazelnuts, and brown sugar.

Anyway, we hope our article is helpful for you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Thank you for reading!

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley. And then, I finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA). ugvermont.com is a website that I dedicate my whole heart to sharing all knowledge related to coffee. Read more