Choosing the right bean for your shot of espresso is a daunting task. Every one of us has an individual taste and the roast or flavor profile of espresso will appeal to each of us differently. And here’s a list of the Best coffee beans for espresso we really love!
Coffee beans are useless to us coffee drinkers until they are roasted. It is in fact the level of roast that gives the beans the qualities that make not only a great cup of coffee but also a great cup of espresso. Roasting changes the green coffee ‘cherries’ that were plucked from the tree into the dark aromatic wonders we grind and brew into our morning routines. The roasting process actually changes the chemical and physical makeup of the bean itself is altered.
Espresso beans should have a darker roast and an oily sheen to them, the dark roast leaves the beans with a fuller body and reduced acidity, while the natural oils lend themselves to creating that lovely crema that a shot of espresso is known for. Even though it is possible to use any coffee bean in an espresso machine, to get the best tasting and most barista quality results, it is important to select the beans carefully and be sure to get that very fine grind that your espresso maker is longing for.
Ideally 100% Single origin Arabica beans, medium to dark roasted are a good way to go, and when looking through Amazon, the local supermarket or your local coffee shop the vast array of choices can be a bit daunting. Luckily there are a lot of beans specifically formulated and roasted specifically for your shot of espresso so be sure to look for espresso specific beans especially when first jumping into the world of being your own barista.
Lavazza has been crafting coffee beans for over 120 years so you know that every cup has a history of innovation and perfection inside it. They have made a business of perfecting the art of blending coffee beans from around the globe to bring the best of each region to your cup. This blend of Arabica and Robusta has been carefully selected from Brazil, Columbia, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam to deliver a mild aromatic espresso with notes of honey, almonds, and dried fruit. This blend was crafted to deliver a crema that is pure silk and espresso without bitterness. Great alone or in milk-based drinks Lavazza is often a go-to brand for a large number of people who know fine coffee.
Nicoletti roasts their beans in the same Brooklyn location since 1972. Every bag is made to order and shipped out within 24 hours of roasting directly to the consumer. A lightly roasted blend of Arabica and Robusta that delivers an outstanding crema and a smooth texture with no bitterness and nothing more than a hint of acidity. Flavor notes are chocolate and roasted almonds and perfect for any applications. If you live in the eastern United States the coffee doesn’t get much fresher than this and as we all know coffee is always best when it is freshly roasted.
This family-owned and operated Miami based company has been crafting Cuban style espressos since 1996. Cuban style espresso is all they do so if that is the experience you’re seeking then this is the company that will deliver the shot that you want. Full-bodied blend that with a natural sweetness, captivating aroma and smooth bold flavors. Cuban style espresso may not be to everyone’s taste but if you are tempted to try one out Tu Cafe should be your go-to roaster. Like others on this list, the beans are roasted inside the continental United States so freshness is definitely assured.
Java Planet was founded in 2009 and is a family roaster located in Tampa Florida. Their coffees are certified Organic and Fair Trade and they are dedicated to providing the consumer with a high-quality product that contributes to not only a healthier body but a healthier planet as well. This rich silky dark roast with a gorgeous crema is ideal for a good shot of espresso. They not only roast in small batches but every bag has the roasting date on it ensuring you get the freshest beans possible. Organic and Fair Trade may just be silly labels to some people but to the farmers that toil over you beans, it means a lot. Companies like Java Planet are paving the road for equality in every step of the supply chain. In today’s world labels like fair trade are undoubtedly on consumer’s minds but in order to see in that translates to a better product means you need to brew up a cup and try fro yourself.
This organic and fair trade Peruvian coffee is grown in the shade and handpicked and uses sustainable farming practices. Each coffee farm is less than three acres in size and the farmers work diligently to give us the highest quality products. Each bag is roasted in the morning and shipped out in the afternoon giving the freshest possible product. This blend delivers milk chocolate, almond, and coconut flavor profile with a natural sweetness and smooth taste. Another environmentally conscious choice and in today’s day and age isn’t that what we should all strive for?
Klatch coffee started out as a lowly retail store but has morphed into a global force in the coffee industry with its products enjoyed on three continents. Their roastmaster travels the globe in search of the best beans shaking the hands of the farmers. Another coffee that is roasted to order so freshness is absolutely on the menu. With a flavor profile including chocolate blackberry and brandy, there is a lot going on in each cup and this particular blend is excellent in drinks requiring milk.
Lovingly made in Houston Texas this 100% Arabia coffee is small-batch roasted at their specialty shop. The name Barbarossa is inspired by the sea pirate not surprising since the companies founder is a Navy Veteran. The smooth flavor has notes of chocolate, caramel and nuts and an aroma that can only be described as complex. They are so sure that you will love their coffee that if you don’t they refund your purchase with no questions asked. Also, another North American roaster so when freshness is one of your priorities (as it should always be) you can’t go wrong with buying American.
Coming out of Southern Columbia the diversity of flavors and aromas is directly related to a wide variety of climate and soils. One of the most awarded specialty coffee brands in the world they have been obsessed with selecting the beans directly from the best farms in the region. This coffee has a lot going on between the citrus and sweet flavors, the fruity, chocolaty aroma or the caramel chocolate aftertaste this creamy coffee has something for everyone. Just the fact that it’s an award-winning brand should be enough to get you to see what all the fuss is about.
A coffee roaster out of North Atlanta Georgia they try and deliver a coffee that is the southern lifestyle in a cup. The owners are certified graders who know what it takes to make a perfect coffee. The silky-smooth blend is a blend of both Colombian and Indonesian coffee that is fair trade and sustainable. Sweet and chocolaty with a taste of hazelnuts this is a classic choice for your espresso shot. When you think coffee you probably don’t think about Georgia so when someone manages to create a successful coffee company out of there its more than worth a taste.
Mastermind Coffee the makers of this blend lay the claim that this coffee will give you mental clarity and feeling noticeable smarter. Claiming nootropic benefits and that their coffee has a low acidity suited for those with acid reflux or who frequently get stomach upset from coffee this company established in 2015 has the health benefits of these beans first and foremost. The only way to find out if the benefits they claim are factual is to brew a cup for yourself one thing is for sure it definitely can’t hurt you.
Fresh roasted and packaged in Chicago this coffee was inspired by the coffee culture in New Zealand by being strong, and fresh roasted. This 100% Arabica coffee is a perfect blend for espressos being low in acidity while having a bold flavor. The toffee and raisin aroma and the chocolaty aftertaste is the perfect medicine to clear the morning cobwebs and get your head in the game. Most of us like a good strong cup of coffee and Dr. Mojo seems to think that they can deliver on that. With locations in both the United States and New Zealand, I’d say they are delivering on that promise more than enough to be quite successful.
Founded in 1985 Cafe Britt is one of the first gourmet roasters to actually roast inside a coffee-producing country. This blend of espresso is a favorite of the restaurants within Costa Rica and this particular company, since they are inside the borders of the country the beans are in can select and roast the best beans. Delivering a rich crema and fruit and caramel aroma these beans are a good choice for any application you wish. They guarantee freshness by vacuum sealing in triple-layered bags so their product might not be quite as fresh as the others on this list but still worth a try to see if their guarantee stacks up.
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC roasts all their coffee within the United States in an environmentally friendly way with the intention of reducing their carbon footprint. All their coffee is sustainably sourced. This blend is perfect for espresso but also a fantastic choice for any other application a well. These beans are a traditional Italian roast and deliver a dark, bold and full-bodied coffee. With a tangy flavor and some bittersweet tastes of fruits, this is an interesting blend that delivers on the promise of a dark and rich traditional espresso. Being another roaster that is environmentally conscious as well, it is good to know that the people you purchase your beans from care as much about the future of our planet that we all do.
Espresso is a cup of deliciousness that is made through a fast and high pressure brewing method. The coffee is very finely ground and packed tightly then has hot water forced through it giving us that dark smooth brew in about half a minute with the smooth golden crema floating atop. The method of brewing makes the drink an espresso but it is the beans, roast and grind that give the drink its flavor profile. A regular cup of brewed coffee has around 2% of the coffee solids dissolved in it as opposed to the 12% found in a shot of espresso. This extra 10% means that more of the bean is inside that cup and the quality of that bean is more important. Enjoyed on its own or as a base for other drinks the choice of beans is a critical decision to maximize your enjoyment.
You may be wondering by now what is it about the roast of these beans that lends it to be appropriate for your cup of espresso goodness? The answer is all in the way roasting changes the chemical and physical makeup of the bean itself. A green coffee bean is useless for brewed coffee, they would be bland and flavorless even though the green version of the beans contain all the same proteins, acids, sugars, and even caffeine as their roasted compatriots. The roasting process is what gives the coffee beans its flavor, with a lighter roast holding on to the flavors derived from the altitude, soil, weather, and climate of the location they were grown and processed. As the roasting process is extended to darken the beans the flavors of the bean’s origins are eclipsed by flavors brought about by the roasting processes changing of the chemical makeup of the bean. By the time the bean has reached a dark roast very little origin flavors remain but the flavors of the roast are now front and center. The acidity of the bean also decreases as the roast progresses with a lighter roast being more acidic than its darker counterparts.
One indicator of how the roast temperature is progressing is sound. The beans will make an audible pop at two key stages, the first ‘crack’ is at 385 degrees Farenheight which indicates a light roast, and a second ‘crack’ at 435 degrees Fahrenheit which indicates the coffee bean structure is breaking down, and if allowed to continue to roast the beans themselves will combust.
The Caffeine content of a coffee bean will fall slightly as the bean is roasted but this is made up easily in the methods of brewing and the grind chosen.
The variety of coffee beans available, for the connoisseur of fine espresso, is as vast and varied as the countries these beans hail from. Part of the enjoyment of brewing your own shots of espresso at home is experimenting with different blends and roasts to find that perfect bean. With so many coffee producing countries and even more roasters, each company has a near-infinite combination of beans to select from, meaning that there will never be a shortage of different blends to experiment with and taste. I think we all are looking for that perfect cup and this list of the best coffee beans for espresso is a good place to start your journey to espresso bliss.