Here is our review of the 7 best espresso beans.
There is nothing worse than using the wrong type of coffee bean when making espresso.
Espresso beans are exactly the same as regular coffee beans. They just tend to have a darker roast and are grounded to a finer size. But what’s great about the beans listed below is they work well with other coffee makers too.
Today I will be listing the 7 espresso beans that are suited for different people as it all really does come down to personal preference.
I find that Coffee Bros Espresso Roast is the best espresso bean overall. If you enjoy a flavorful, unique-tasting coffee that’s ideally roasted for espresso, then this one’s for you.
But if this choice isn’t what you’re looking for then we have other espresso beans that are best for decaf or even best for peaberry.
Our 7 Best Espresso Beans
- Coffee Bros Espresso Roast (Best Overall)
- Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Beans (Best Organic)
- Volcanica Espresso Decaf (Best Decaf)
- Volcanica Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (Best Ethiopian)
- Biohazard Coffee (Best Robust)
- Koffee Kult Coffee (Best Arabica)
- Tanzanian Peaberry (Best Peaberry)
7 Best Espresso Beans Reviewed
What it tastes like:
- Vanilla aroma
- Smooth mild fruity flavor
- Notes of sugarcane and strawberry
Coffee Bros Espresso Roast is one of the most unique and best espresso beans overall. These espresso beans come from the regions of both Columbia and Ethiopia and are also 100% Arabica.
These espresso beans have a smooth mild fruity flavor with little to no bitterness. It is a vibrant round body with vanilla essence and notes of both sugarcane and strawberry. If you like this specific type of taste then you will love these beans.
What’s great about these beans is that they are specifically tested and produced specifically for espresso. If you love vanilla, fruity notes, and bold flavor then these espresso beans are most definitely for you.
What it tastes like:
- Rich full body taste
- Bold slightly sweet flavor
- Notes of chocolate, caramel and fruit
Lifeboost’s organic espresso beans are the healthiest espresso beans you can buy. Espresso beans can be unhealthier considering that espresso beans are ‘dark roasted’. These beans are found in the region of Central America in Nicaragua and are 100% Arabica.
Lifeboost’s espresso beans are of high quality with a rich full body and have bold, sweet flavors with notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit. These beans are sun-dried, hand-washed in spring water, and are mycotoxin free.
What’s also great about these beans is that they are really low in acidity compared to other dark roast beans. If you’re someone who wants an all-round healthy coffee then Lifeboost is for you.
What it tastes like:
- Rich earthy taste
- Sweet signature flavor
- Notes of caramel and light acidity
Volcanica Espresso Decaf espresso beans are by far the best espresso beans for decaf coffee. These beans are one of Volcanica’s darkest roasts and are one of the rarest Indonesian coffees out there.
Volcanica Espresso Decaf is full of richness and has an earthy flavor. It has an intense smooth sweet aftertaste with notes of caramel and has a light acidity to it.
What’s great about these espresso beans is that it uses the Swiss Water Decaffeination Process. This means that it’s 100% free of unwanted chemicals and is able to hold most of its origin flavor. If you’re someone who is completely against caffeine but still wants the taste of espresso then this one’s for you.
What it tastes like:
- Thick and earthy aroma
- Exotic fruity flavors
- Notes of lemon, blueberry and blackberry
Volcanica’s most popular coffee beans are its Ethiopian Yigracheffe. These coffee beans are grown from the wild trees of Yigracheffe in southern Ethiopia. It has a medium roast which will go well with espresso drinks, especially if you love Ethiopian coffee.
These beans are 100% pure Ethiopian with a thick and earthy taste to it. It has a variety of fruity flavors also including winy undertones. With its flavor, it also has notes of lemon, blueberry, and blackberry.
If you’re looking for a fruity, flavorful shot of espresso then you’ll need to use Ethiopian coffee. Volcanica’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is going to be one of the best Ethiopian espresso beans when making your espresso.
What it tastes like:
- Clean body, nutty flavor
- Somewhat bitterness taste
- Notes of popcorn, nuts, chocolate, tobacco
One of the world’s strongest coffees is the Biohazard Whole Bean Coffee which is ideal for a strong espresso. These espresso beans are best for getting through all nighters, writing tests, or even attending boring meetings.
Biohazard coffee beans have a robust yet somewhat bitter taste to it and have notes of popcorn, nuts, chocolates, and tobacco. They are 100% Robusta and are one of the only few coffee beans that are pure robusta.
This coffee will truly give you a caffeine kick of note and is not for the faint of heart. If you are looking for an extremely dark roast that has higher caffeine content than Deathwish’s Robusta coffee beans then this one’s for you.
What it tastes like:
- Not bitter
- Bold but smooth flavor
- Notes of caramel and chocolate
Koffee Kult Dark Roasted coffee beans are one of the best Arabica espresso beans you can buy. These exotic beans are extracted from all parts of the world including Columbia, Guatemala, and Sumatra.
Koffee Kult beans have a rich, organic, and smooth flavor that is not bitter with notes of caramel and chocolate. These coffee beans are quite strong but are 100% Arabica meaning you will taste some fruitiness in it.
What’s great about these coffee beans is that they are eco-friendly and are also packaged immediately, then shipped. Many people have recommended combining this coffee with steam milk if you’re into that.
What it tastes like:
- Chocolaty aroma
- Rich dense flavor
- Notes of chocolate and oats
Volcanica Tanzanian Peaberry coffee beans are one of the best and most unique peaberry coffee beans you can buy. These peaberry coffee beans are pretty much sourced from all around the world including Brazil, Costa Rica, Sumatra, and Kenya.
These peaberry beans have a chocolaty aroma that is rich and dense in flavor with notes of chocolate and oats. They are light roasted with a winy body and also go well with French Press, and ice brewed coffee.
Peaberry coffee is typically sweeter than your usual coffee beans. It is roasted more evenly which ensures smoother, non-bitter tasting coffee. If you’re a fan of peaberry coffee then Volcanica Tanzanian Peaberry is a great brand to use as espresso beans.
Here is our buyer’s guide on what an ideal espresso bean should be like. Espresso beans are the same as regular beans but are have a different grind size and roast type as well as a different coffee making method:
Grind Size For Espresso
Your espresso grind should be fine, it should almost feel like soft sand rubbing between your fingers. If the grind size is too coarse, the coffee may brew too quickly which will end up tasting watery and just… not good.
Roast Type For Espresso
When it comes to your roast type for express, you will want to use a medium to dark or dark roast. This will give you that very strong taste which is great for both lattes and cappuccinos. Many people think that cappuccinos have a lot of coffee in them and some milk froth but it is in fact quite the opposite.
Single Origin or Blended Coffee?
When it comes to single origin and blended coffee, it’s pretty much what you think both of these terms mean.
Single origin coffee is coffee that’s been harvested and batched in a single region meaning that it is the same batch of beans. These beans tend to have stronger exotic flavors whether it being fruity and sweet or nutty and spicy. Experienced coffee drinkers usually prefer single origin coffee as they know which types of flavors they love.
Blended coffee however is a mix between different types of coffee. You will know if you are having blended coffee when you can’t pick up any flavors that really stand out. This coffee is best for newbies to coffee or if you want the best of everything.
Whole Bean vs Pre-Ground Coffee
Whole bean coffee and pre-ground coffee are both excellent choices for different reasons:
With pre-ground coffee, you don’t need to grind the beans yourself nor making sure you have the right grind size. Secondly, whole bean coffee is much fresher and is relatively cheaper compared to pre-ground coffee.
So if you were wondering which type of coffee to buy then it all depends on your preference. I prefer whole bean coffee as it usually produces better quality coffee.
Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, Leberica: What’s The Difference?
There is quite a distinct difference between Arabica, Robusta, Excelsa, and Liberica espresso beans. In short, Arabica and Robusta espresso beans are the most common and also happen to have the best tasting flavors out of the bunch.
Arabica espresso beans tend to be sweeter, fruitier, and much smoother compared to espresso beans like Robusta. Arabica espresso beans are the most common as they are found mainly in trees that are at high altitudes. Did you know that about 60% of espresso beans use either 100% Arabica or have Arabica in its blend?
Robusta espresso beans are known to be the complete opposite of Arabica beans. They tend to be more acidic, bitter, and very strong. These beans are the second most common beans in the world. They are grown in hot climates and have almost double the amount of caffeine in them compared to Arabica beans. Robusta beans are ideal for milk-based drinks such as a cappuccino or latte.
Liberica espresso beans are one of the most difficult beans to find. They are known for their large irregular-sized shape and are grown in the regions of Malaysia and West Africa. These beans have a smokey/spicy flavor with hints of fruity and floral notes. Although they are very rare, coffee drinkers say that they much prefer Arabica and Robusta beans.
Excelsa espresso beans are known to have both light and dark roasts. Although they are part of the Liberica family, these beans don’t taste anything like Liberica beans. Excelsa beans have a fruity and sweet flavor compared to Liberica beans.
Best Espresso Machines
Espresso machines play a huge role in determining how good the shot of espresso actually is. The 4 main types of espresso machines are:
- Single Serve Espresso Machines
- Manual Lever Espresso Machines
- Prosumer Espresso Machines
- Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
- Super Automatic Espresso Machines
- Commercial Espresso Machines
For more information on espresso machines, have a look at the following articles:
- Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines
- Best Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
Tips and Tricks
Learn To Tamp Grounds Properly
Learning to tamp grounds properly plays a big role in making a great espresso. Tamping grounds with the right pressure will ensure more even extraction. This even distribution will allow for better saturation with the water.
Pre-Infusing Your Espresso
Pre-infusing your espresso works by soaking the coffee grounds in the portafilter to help better the saturation. By soaking the coffee grounds with a bit of water, the extraction process will be able to extract flavors from all around the portafilter.
Understanding Your Crema
The look of your crema (the “foamy” part) will determine whether you are brewing quality espresso or not. If your crema has bubbles and is thin, then you may want to use a finer grind. You should be able to adjust the grind size with both semi and automatic espresso machines.
Can I brew espresso beans in a coffee maker?
No, if you’re going to grind for espresso then you’ll need to grind to a fine ground size. Coffee makers such as Pour Overs, Aeropress, and French Presses use coarser grounds than espresso grounds. These coffee makers are also not able to compress and circulate water through these fine grounds as an espresso machine can.
Are espresso beans the same as regular coffee beans?
Yes, espresso beans are the same as regular coffee beans although, coffee beans that are best suited for espresso tend to have more of a darker roast. This explains why the best espresso beans tend to be dark roasts and not light roasts.
Why are espresso beans so oily?
Coffee beans naturally release oil which is why they may look and feel greasy. Espresso beans are usually much more oily because espresso beans are a darker roast. Darker roasts produce more oil compared to a light roast hence why they are so oily.
Do espresso beans have more caffeine?
It obviously determines how large your serving is when comparing it to methods like dripped coffee. Dripped coffee has “more” caffeine in it because it’s a larger serving while espressos have a larger concentration of caffeine per cup.
Espresso beans are just regular coffee beans but with more of a darker roast and using finer grind size. There are some variations such as its origins and actual bean type that may change up its flavor but it all comes down to preference.
Coffee Bros Espresso Roast is the best espresso beans overall on this list for me at least. A lot of reviews say that Lifeboost Coffee is the best of the best but there are definitely coffee beans that taste better than Lifeboost.
(Between you and me… Lifeboost Coffee pays higher referral rates which is why it’s usually rated no. 1.)
After buying your preferred espresso beans make sure to see our guide on 5 ways to makes espresso without an espresso machine.