There is always something good about a great shot of espresso. You need to have the best espresso beans to achieve great taste.
The Difference Between Espresso Beans and Regular Coffee Beans
Regular Coffee Beans
They are any beans that you roast, and they’re ready to brew. You can decide between light roasted, medium-roasted, or dark-roasted.
- Light roasted– in this case, beans lack the oily sheen. It is best for white coffee and non-pressure brew styles like cold brew coffee.
- Medium-roasted– they depend on the origin and flavor profile. You can use them to brew in different styles.
- Dark-roasted– they are dark brown and have a shiny, oily surface. They are mostly used for espresso brewing.
Espresso coffee beans belong to the dark roast category. At the dark roast stage, the beans offer less acidity. The best thing is that you will still get to taste some bean flavor. The dark roast is good since it has natural oils that help in the production of the espresso crema.
Regular coffee beans may not be the right choice for making espresso. Some tend to be too light, while others may be too dark. So, it’s good to have the best espresso bean at your disposal.
There are several espresso beans that you can choose from. The one we prefer is the Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee. We like it because it has an awesome flavor. They are not too bitter, and they are also smooth.
The Best Espresso Beans as Rated by The Proud Italian
11 Best Espresso Beans of 2021
Amazon’s Choice in Instant Coffee by Starbucks
Best for Espresso-based Coffees
- Roast– The roast level is dark-roast. It is roasted with caramelized sugar notes and molasses until dark and deep.
- Aroma– Chocolaty.
- Whole or ground– It is a whole bean.
- Tasting notes– Rich and caramelly sweet.
- Origin- Multi-Region (Asia-Pacific and America).
Since Starbucks loves quality coffee, they source beans from over 30 countries. The countries are located within the coffee belt. It is for this reason that the coffee they buy is ethically grown and traded responsibly.
The Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean is made from 100% Arabica beans. Each coffee bean undergoes different temperature levels. They then reach different levels of aroma and flavor.
Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast is one of the best espresso beans in the world. It comes in different labels:
- Starbucks Blonde Roast is lighter in body with great flavors. It only undergoes a light roast.
- Medium roast consists of rich and smooth flavors.
- Dark Roast is a fuller body of robust and bold flavors.
- Flavored Coffees. There is flavored coffee that you can take for any season or mood.
- Decaf Coffees. This type does not contain any caffeine.
We rate Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean 4.7 stars out of 5.
Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Oz Bag (Packaging May Vary) Barista Gran Crema-2.2 LB, 35.2 Ounce
Amazon’s Choice in Roasted Coffee Beans by Lavazza
Best for Use in Any Coffee Maker
- Roast- Medium-roast.
- Aroma- Spicy.
- Whole or Ground- Whole bean.
- Tasting notes- Honey and roasted coffee
- Origin– Turin, Italy
The Lavazza Espresso Barista Gran Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend has been in existence for over 120 years. High-quality coffee beans are used to provide the best Italian coffee experience. The Lavazza family owns the Lavazza brand. The fact that it is a premium coffee roaster makes it an authentic Italian brand.
It is one of the best medium roast espresso beans that is made from Arabica and Robusta beans. Here are the different varieties:
- Super Crema undergoes medium-light roasting with notes of hazelnut and brown sugar.
- Espresso Italiano. This type undergoes medium roasting, and it is 100% Arabica. Its flavors are flowers and fruit.
- Crema E Aroma roasting undergoes medium temperatures. It consists of Robusta and Arabica beans with flavors of cocoa and black pepper.
- Qualita Rossa goes through medium roasting. Its flavor is chocolate, and it is made from Robusta and Arabica beans.
We at The Proud Italian rate Lavazza Espresso Barista GRAN Crema Whole Bean 4.6 out of 5.
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Oz
Best for Espresso Machine or Manual Brewing
- Roast- It undergoes roasting up to a medium level.
- Aroma- The aroma is that of blackcurrant, brown sugar, and milk chocolate.
- Whole or Ground– It is a whole bean.
- Tasting notes/Flavor- Has a complex and silky flavor. The other flavors are wild berry syrup with a smooth cocoa finish.
- Origins- This whole bean is grown in Africa, Indonesia, South and Central America.
The Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean is a certified organic coffee bean. It was certified by EcoCert in 2020-CA-91402-Z-154575-2020. The best thing is that it is 100% organic.
The coffee bean is made from Arabica beans. Something else you need to know is that the coffee bean is considered a fair trade coffee. You can use it with grinds like French press, pour-over, and cold brew. We rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Amazon’s Choice in Roasted Coffee Beans by Lavazza
Best for Commercial Espresso
- Roast- It only undergoes a medium-roast level.
- Aroma- Sweet.
- Whole or Ground- It is a whole bean.
- Origin-Turin, Italy
- Tasting notes- The flavors are those of almond, dried fruit, and honey.
This whole bean comes from different parts of the world. It is made of 40% Robusta and 60% Arabica beans. If you want to enjoy a great traditional espresso coffee, try the Lavazza Super Crema. It has a natural sweetness that will make you not use sugar on it.
You need not worry since you can get a thick crema from your espresso machine when using this bean. The persistent aroma will make you want an espresso shot all the time! It is for this reason that we rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Eight O’Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso, Dark Roast, Whole Bean Coffee, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1), 100% Arabica, Kosher Certified
Amazon’s Choice in Ground Coffee by Eight O’Clock Coffee
Best for Italian Roast
- Roast- It is roasted up to the dark-roast level.
- Aroma- Strong aroma of chocolate and caramel.
- Whole or ground- It is a whole bean.
- Tasting notes– Chocolate and caramel.
- Origin- East Africa, Latin America.
The Eight O’Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso, Dark Roast, Whole Bean Coffee is a single-origin coffee. It comprises 100% Arabica beans that give it the perfect quality and taste.
Since the bean is roasted dark, it tends to be bitter for some people. If you don’t like bitterness, you can choose from one of the other products in their series. We give it a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Best for Espresso Drinks
- Roast- Dark-roast level.
- Aroma- Sweet chocolate.
- Whole or ground- Whole bean.
- Tasting notes- Chocolate and vanilla bean flavors.
- Origin- Central America
The SF Bay Coffee Pete’s Espresso Blend Whole Bean results from 100% Arabica beans that are kosher-certified. Something else to note is that the roasted coffee is ground and packaged while still fresh. This makes it taste great. We rate it a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted-Highest Quality Delicious Organically Sourced Fair Trade-Whole Bean Coffee-Fresh Gourmet Aromatic Artisan Blend (32oz)
Amazon’s Choice in Roasted Coffee Beans by Koffee Kult
Best for Espresso-Loving Hipsters
- Roast- Dark.
- Aroma- Cocoa.
- Whole or ground- Whole bean.
- Tasting notes- Cinnamon, cocoa.
- Origin- Colombia, Brazil, and Sumatra
It is a blend of many coffee beans from different parts of the world. The coffee beans are 100% Arabica and roasted in Hollywood, Florida. The most important thing about the Kult coffee bean is that it is organic fair trade.
The unique thing about Koffee Kult is that it is strong and not bitter compared to other dark roasts. Immediately after roasting, it is packaged. This makes it still fresh when you buy it. We rate it 4.6 stars out of 5.
Chock Full O’Nuts French Roast Ground Coffee, Medium-Dark Roast-Premium Coffee Beans-Full Bodied, Rich, Bold Medium-Dark Blend with Distinct Parisian Flavor (26 Oz. Can)
Best for all Coffee Makers
- Roast- Medium
- Aroma- faintly sweet
- Whole or Ground- Ground
- Tasting notes– fruity flavor
- Origin– New York City
The Chock Full O’Nuts French Roast Ground Coffee is a blend of different premium coffee beans. It is convenient since you only need one grind, and you will be good to go.
It is also kosher and gluten-free and comes in a classic stainless steel, taxicab-yellow, and black can. If you want to enjoy “heavenly coffee,” why not try Chock Full o’Nuts? We rate it at 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Amazon’s Choice for Lavazza Espresso Beans
Best for Drinkers of Lattes and Cappuccinos
- Roast- Medium.
- Aroma- Italian coffee aroma.
- Whole or ground- Whole beans.
- Tasting notes- fruit and flowers.
- Origin-Turin, Italy.
The Lavazza Espresso Italiano Whole Bean Coffee Blend is made from coffee beans that are 100% Arabica. It is a blend of South and Central American varieties that result in a tasty espresso!
Verena Street 2 Pound Espresso Beans, Shot Tower Espresso Whole Bean, Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica Coffee
Best for Budget-Oriented Persons
- Roast– Dark.
- Aroma– Sweet
- Whole or ground- Whole beans.
- Tasting notes- creamy
- Origin- Iowa, America
They are 100% Arabica Beans. They are mixed and roasted in a unique way that results in great taste and aroma. The roasting takes place in small batches to get fresh coffee beans once you place an order.
It is kosher-certified by the Orthodox Union. So, you don’t have to worry about its quality. We give it a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Best for Drip Coffee Makers
- Roast- Dark.
- Aroma- Honeyed.
- Whole or ground– Whole bean.
- Tasting notes– Cocoa powder and smoky molasses
- Origin– America, India,
This whole bean coffee is made from a blend of coffee beans from areas like Brazil, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Sumatra. The result is a great honeyed, toasty taste and aroma. Other flavors are cocoa and molasses. You can enjoy your coffee as iced, French Press, aero press, pour-over, or cold brew.
It is also one of the best espresso beans for latte, mocha, or drip. We rate it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Your 2021 Espresso Bean Buying Guide
Before you decide on which espresso bean to choose, there are some things you need to take into consideration. If you want fresh beans, get them directly from the roaster. Your preferences will be a great determining factor of the espresso bean you will buy.
For your perfect espresso, consider the following:
Whole Bean vs. Pre-ground
There are whole beans and those that are pre-ground. Pre-ground coffee is great when it comes to time. It also saves money because it is relatively cheaper compared to the whole bean variant. With a whole bean, you will need to have an espresso machine.
With whole espresso beans, you will have to roast them until they begin to undergo a process called degassing. Carbon dioxide gets rids of water from the beans and also prevents extraction of your beans. Don’t degas your beans for a long time as they might rot.
One would ask, is whole espresso bean better than pre-ground beans? The answer depends on whether you bought the beans directly from the roaster. Espresso beans from the roaster are fresh and of good quality.
Another factor to consider is the balance of your espresso machine. Good quality espresso happens when you grind your beans evenly. Uneven extraction happens when you have a poor-quality grinder.
On the other hand, pre-ground coffee is a better choice than having coffee that is unevenly ground. You can choose to buy ground coffee in small amounts and store it in a tightly closed container–this ensures freshness lasts for a long time. But if you prefer a whole espresso bean, get a good grinder for better results.
Which flavor do you like? Each bag of beans has its flavor profile, whether they are regular or specialty coffee beans. Flavors come in different types; fruity, floral, spiced, roasted, or vegetative. Not all flavors will be good for you. Your taste preferences matter a lot when selecting whole espresso beans.
The best thing is that the flavor profiles are indicated on the bag of beans. Ensure you check out the flavors on the bag so that you don’t end up buying what you don’t like. On the other hand, espresso beans in dark or medium roasts produce nuttier, caramel, and chocolatey flavors. When you pair the flavors with milk, a perfect espresso is made!
Consider the coffee roasts. Many people prefer medium and dark roasted beans to lightly roasted ones. Espresso beans that are lightly roasted have acidic and fruity flavors. It is also challenging to get out sweeter and bitter flavors when it comes to light roasting.
Light roasting makes the espresso unpleasant; it ends up tasting sour. To get a fruity flavor, roast the beans for a long time without increasing the temperature. As a result, you will get a light-roasted bean that you can extract good flavors from.
Single-origin vs. Espresso Blend
One thing with blending is that it raises an opportunity to balance the flavor of the espresso. In this case, espresso blends are good since they bring out a variety of coffees. On the other hand, single-origin coffee will give you the flavors that you like.
Single-origin espresso comes from Arabica beans. The Arabica beans have a more complex flavor compared to Robusta. They also grow in different parts of the world. Robusta beans have more caffeine and are also very bitter. Espresso blends are made with a small ratio of Robusta beans and a higher content of Arabica beans.
Different coffee-growing areas have different characteristics. The result is different flavors and aromas. For instance, Sumatra is suitable for dark roasts. The hulling process is wet, and it produces a mushroomy flavor that can carry through in the French roast, which is also dark. If you like the smoky tang of a Portobello mushroom, why not try coffee from Sumatra?
Medium roasts are common with South and Central American coffees. The coffees have a brighter acidity, fruit, and floral notes. You can make a good shot of espresso with coffee beans from Guatemala and Colombia. The Brazilian coffee has a lighter and sweet flavor which is the best to use with stronger beans for espresso.
If you like chocolate and fruit flavors, try coffee beans from Africa. In Africa, the dry process occurs when the coffee beans are left to dry in the sun. The results are darker flavors.
Coffee beans from Indonesia are rich in bold flavors, and the acidity level is balanced. This is because of the volcanic soil. The Indonesian beans can make great espresso shots from medium-roast beans.
What Makes a Good Espresso Bean?
A good espresso bean will depend on whether it is a blend or a single origin. Most single-origin coffee beans are not good choices for an espresso. Dark roast beans and darker-medium beans are both good for making classic espresso.
Also, consider the temperatures. Lower temperatures when extracting an espresso will make your coffee more sour. To avoid it being sour, roast the beans until they are darker.
Observe the crema to know whether you got the best. If your crema looks thin or has many bubbles, then use a finer grind. You can also adjust your automatic espresso machine with a built-in grinder.
Our Verdict-Espresso Yourself!
From the review above, it’s clear that you can get one or more espresso beans for yourself. Our choice is the Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee. We like it because of the following reasons:
- It is oily and not bitter.
- It is also pocket-friendly and highly convenient.
- It undergoes an intense roast.
- It has some crushed chocolate that makes it taste heavenly.
You can choose it, but if you don’t like it, there are more to choose from above. Get the above espresso beans and enjoy as you espresso yourself!
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