Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Pinpoint 250
The smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee can do wonders for our senses. If you want the best espresso shot, follow our reviews of the best beans for espresso.
Even if you use an expensive espresso machine, the taste and aroma will always depend on your beans.
Since there is an abundance of espresso beans in the market, we are here to help you find the one that will satisfy your taste buds.
Best Beans for Espresso 2023: Complete Reviews With Comparisons
1. Starbucks Espresso Dark Roast
Starbucks is synonymous with excellent coffee, and this espresso roast is no exemption. You can enjoy espresso’s distinct and rich taste at home.
The dark roast beans in this espresso blend came from Asia and Latin America. It has an intense flavor combined with a caramel sweetness.
It also tastes perfect even when mixed with steamed milk or used as a base for your cappuccino or latte.
These dark roast beans are not exclusive to an espresso machine. You can also use them with a drip machine, a French press, or a pour-over.
They roast this blend to keep a small amount of oil crucial in producing the crema and added flavor vital for an excellent espresso shot.
The Espresso Roast is Starbucks’ darkest variety, with a concentrated flavor perfect for perking you up in the morning.
A bit of caramel sweetness and a hint of spiciness to its taste will complement any sweet pastry.
Starbucks has been using this blend since 1975 only shows how excellent this product is.
What We Like
The strong taste and aroma of the Espresso Roast, with a touch of caramel sweetness and spice, is perfect for people who love the strong caffeine flavor.
This blend at home lets you have your espresso shot anytime you feel like it—no need to go out and line up to get your daily dose of espresso.
As Starbucks promotes it, this blend is not exclusive to espresso shots alone; you can also use it for other coffee drink variations.
What We Don’t Like
The oil covering the beans can clog the filters on the espresso machine. The coffee grounds may solidify and fail to produce coffee when this happens.
The complex taste of espresso is not as defined in this blend and may be too dark for some coffee lovers.
- Reasonably priced
- Great espresso base
- It has a rich Don’tcaramel flavor
- Perfect pastry partner
- Great perk-up coffee
- slightly oily
- It doesn’t taste very pleasant for some
2. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Espresso
This family-owned and operated company originated in Hollywood, Florida, USA. The company has been roasting different bean varieties since 2011.
If you are looking for something new in your coffee, Koffee Kult ensures to increase your coffee cravings.
This exceptional dark roast blend from Koffee Kult is dark brown and has no visible oil on its beans. It has a bold and robust flavor but a clean and smooth profile.
All coffee blends from Koffee Kult use 100% Arabica organic beans from different parts of the world, like Columbia, Sumatra, and Guatemala.
These perfectly roasted imported beans ensure you get unique and fresh-tasting coffee every time with a well-balanced acidity.
You can also smell the whole beans’ incredible aroma when you open the package while grinding, especially while brewing.
Every cup of Koffee Kult’s dark roast blend offers a hint of cocoa and cinnamon with its heavy body and bright, long finish.
Koffee Kult Dark Roast offers the perfect espresso shot for that morning kick. You can combine it with steamed milk for a great-tasting cappuccino, macchiato, or latte.
What We Like
With unique and witty branding, you can easily differentiate the various coffee blends from Koffee Kult.
This Dark Roast blend is the perfect choice for people who love dark and robust coffee with an incredible aroma.
These whole aromatic beans come in a resealable bag with an easy-to-open pull tab. A valve at the back removes the excess air inside the bag and keeps it fresh.
What We Don’t Like
Some consumers claim that there’s a rock among the beans that causes damage to their coffee machines.
Others say it tastes more like a medium roast than dark (as it claims to be) and lacks the kick usually found in espresso shots.
- No burnt taste
- Smells good
- Resealable packaging
- No bitter taste
- Dry beans
- It tastes like medium roast
3. Verena Street Shot Tower Dark Espresso
Verena Street is a family-owned and operated company founded in 2010. The brand is the namesake of the founders’ childhood neighborhood in Iowa, USA.
This dark roast from Shot Tower Espresso at Verena Street came from high-quality coffee beans from farms recognized by the Rainforest Alliance.
These whole espresso beans originated from farms in Indonesia and Central and South America.
Buying the beans from these farms is the company’s supporting sustainable farming to protect the farmers, the environment, and wildlife.
Verena Street’s whole coffee beans have a Kosher certification from the Orthodox Union. This product does not contain chemicals, dairy, or other flavorings.
The company roasts its beans in small batches to ensure that they can release their maximum flavor and aroma while maintaining their freshness.
These coffee beans made from 100% Arabica offer a smooth texture and intense aftertaste. Its full body flavor and aroma provide a sweet and creamy mixture.
Each cup of this Shot Tower Espresso hints at chocolate, nuts, and velvety notes that will make you long for more.
What We Like
What’s impressive about the Shot Tower Espresso is its Kosher certification as proof that you will only drink pure coffee without added chemicals or flavorings.
The dark-roasted coffee beans provide a smooth and full body profile low on acid but have an intense taste and aroma.
The Shot Tower Espresso’s strong coffee flavor is a perfect hot drink and tastes like iced coffee.
What We Don’t Like
Some consumers complain of inconsistent levels of bean roasting, as some look darker than others.
When made into espresso, it also has a bitter taste and is better suited as a drip coffee for some users.
- Smells great
- It has a bold flavor
- Reasonably priced
- Smooth profile
- Perfect for lattes
4. Lavazza Qualita Rossa Italian Expresso
Lavazza is Italy’s favorite coffee brand, and Qualita Rossa is its medium-roast coffee ground brew.
This family-owned company has been roasting for over 120 years using premium coffee beans blended to perfection.
Qualita Rossa is 70% Brazilian Arabica mixed with 30% African Robusta javas. It has a hint of chocolaty flavor, a sharp aroma, and a lingering aftertaste.c coffee’s body and chocolate flavor come from the African Robusta beans. The Brazilian Arabica coffee beans provide the aroma and more body to your drink.
The medium roast blend of Qualita Rossa is perfect with milk-based drinks paired with biscotti, croissants, and other bread.
It has a warm, golden cream color with notes of chocolate and dried fruit that will surely energize your day.
They import each Lavazza coffee bag from Italy, where the roasting process occurs.
Lavazza supports sustainability.
What We Like
You don’t need a particular brewing machine to use this Lavazza medium roast grounds; you can prepare it using various devices and methods, like:
- Espresso machine
- Drip coffee machine
- French press
- Moka pot
What We Don’t Like
Some consumers expect a more robust espresso flavor from this Lavazza blend. Other coffee lovers say it has a bitter taste and high acidity level.
- It has a rich flavor
- Smooth finish
- Fruity notes
- Great aftertaste
- Balanced medium-strong blend
- Lacks flavor
- Mild brew
5. Hair Bender Blend Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Stumptown Coffee focuses on sustainability, as proven by its B Corp status in 2018. It’s a recognition given to businesses with high-performance levels socially and economically.
The company’s headquarters are in Portland, and they have been in the roasting business for almost 20 years.
Hair Bender is Stumptown’s first and original blend. It is also the brand’s most popular coffee variety.
This complex blend features coffees from three regions known for growing high-quality beans—East Africa, Indonesia, Central, and South America.
This medium roast blend cup offers a bold and robust flavor with complex hints of caramel, milk chocolate, and sweet citrus.
You can taste the satisfying fudge and sweet cherry flavors with every sip of this caffeinated coffee.
Stumptown ensures experts roast its coffee beans. According to its blends, it brings out every bean’s maximum flavor.
They seal freshly roasted whole beans in a package that stays fresh for 90 days. However, opened bags must be consumed within two weeks to get the best results.
What We Like
The most noticeable feature of the Hair Bender is the various fruit hints you can taste, depending on the drink’s temperature.
It’s a versatile blend that is perfect for espresso and coffee with its thick body, rich crema, and chocolate aftertaste.
The smell of the beans may not be that overpowering out of the bag, but it offers a bold and robust taste that will pump your adrenaline.
What We Don’t Like
Some consumers are looking for more variations for its aftertaste. Others also noticed some occasional bitter notes with the drink.
- Smooth profile
- Caramel notes
- Rich crema
- Full body
- Low acid level
- Not organic
- Hints of sourness
The best espresso machine does not guarantee great-tasting coffee unless you have the best coffee to match.
We all know that espresso is the purest brew that can give you that morning boost. It is also one of the best ways to check the bean’s quality.
A good espresso also makes an excellent foundation for lattes and other creative brews by adding frothed milk.
However, searching for the best may confuse and overwhelm its vast selection.
Don’t fret; we are here to provide the factors you need to consider before buying espresso beans.
Freshly packed beans will always be the best option. Fresh coffee offers a distinct flavor that every coffee lover will surely love.
Stale food products affect their quality and flavor; the same principle goes with coffee beans.
The roasting process reduces the flavor in the coffee beans and continues to diminish as the days pass.
This is why checking the bean’s roasted date is vital to ensure its freshness.
The best-tasting coffee beans are roasted within the last seven to 14 days. Anything beyond that time frame will have a lesser flavor and aroma.
Every time you grind freshly roasted beans, you can be sure of having a rich and potent coffee flavor.
2. Roast Type
A good batch of espresso beans is usually under the medium or dark roast variety. Lightly roasted beans have a more distinct fruity flavor and a higher acidity.
Roasting breaks down the fruity compounds of the coffee beans. The bitter compounds increase as you roast the beans longer.
Here are the various coffee roast types and a brief description of each.
Light Roast or The First Crack
They nicknamed this bean variety “the first crack” because it’s the early stage where the beans expand and crack.
During this stage, the beans are dry and pale. It will also taste more acidic with no roasted hint to its flavor.
The medium roast bean variety may look dry but offers a sweeter character. Its exposure to longer roasting creates more flavors for the beans with less acid.
Medium roast beans offer a noticeable bitterness with the perfect balance of acidity, aroma, and flavors. It has no visible oil, but you can smell a more aromatic scent.
Medium-dark roast beans are dark brown with a noticeable oil on their surface. The longer roasting time destroys its acidity as it brings out the bean’s aroma.
Overall, it has a rich profile with deep flavors and a hint of a bittersweet aftertaste.
Dark Roast or The Second Crack
Dark roasted beans are easy to recognize; they have a black and shiny surface with an oily look and feel.
It has a distinct bitterness and thick, spicy notes on your tongue. These beans are not acidic, but you can feel their oiliness as it passes your throat.
Origin means the country or region where the coffee beans grew. Since bean is an agricultural product, coffee farmers from different areas have varied growing conditions.
The climate and temperature in each country significantly affect the flavor of the coffee beans.
Presently, Brazil has produced the most considerable amount of coffee beans worldwide, especially Arabica, for over 150 years.
Vietnam follows Brazil in coffee production. This Asian country produces and exports Robusta beans, which are cheaper than Arabica.
The third-largest coffee producer in the world is Colombia. It mainly produces Arabica beans, which are lighter and sweeter than Robusta.
Indonesia’s mountainous regions make it a perfect coffee plantation for Arabica and Robusta beans, known for their full-body and low acidity profiles.
Ethiopia makes it to the fifth spot with its rich coffee culture. The Arabica beans from this country are famous for their deep, spicy, and chocolate flavors with a distinct floral aroma.
4. Whole or Ground Beans
We are familiar with these coffee bean types and may wonder which is better.
Pre-ground beans allow you to prepare your coffee in less time. You’ll also save money by not buying a separate grinder.
However, coffee undergoes a degassing process after roasting. It releases different gases, especially carbon dioxide, from the bean while roasting.
Degassing is crucial, so you can efficiently bring out all the flavors from the beans when grinding.
The process continues as the days pass, which causes the beans to lose their flavor and aroma.
For pre-ground coffee, the degassing process is quicker when you have smaller coffee particles.
Freshly ground coffee beans still produce the best flavor and aroma, but you must use an excellent grinder.
You can buy small portions of pre-ground coffee and keep it inside a sealed container. Avoid light exposure and extreme hot or cold temperatures.
5. Coffee Bean Type
Coffee manufacturers only use two popular coffee bean types—Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica coffee beans are more popular around the world than Robusta beans.
Although it originated in Ethiopia, Arab scholars first brewed the beans, giving birth to coffee, hence the name Arabica.
Arabica beans have high fats and sugar content, giving them a sweet flavor, including hints of caramel, chocolate, and nuts. It has a smooth texture with an intense aroma.
Some drinkers also notice indications of fruits and berries to their taste, along with a slight bitterness and acidity.
Robusta coffee beans taste bitter and have a hard and grainy texture. Originating from Africa, this second most popular coffee bean specie makes up 40% of coffee production worldwide.
They mainly grew it in Asia, with Vietnam as the highest producer and Africa and Indonesia.
They mainly used robusta beans in instant coffees and added Arabica beans when creating espresso blends.
It has an earthy taste, a bitter and rubbery flavor, and a nutty aftertaste. It may taste like bitter dark chocolate when brewed.
Robusta beans have higher caffeine and less sugar content, giving them a more potent and harsher flavor.
Thus, they add a small percentage of these beans to Arabica beans to enhance the espresso blend.
Espresso Beans FAQs
1. Does espresso need unique beans?
It may get confusing if you see different labels between coffee beans and espresso beans.
In reality, espresso does not use different beans but varies in its brewing method.
Seeing the espresso label on a coffee bag is the manufacturer’s recommendation for bringing out the coffee beans’ maximum flavor.
2. Are espresso beans and coffee beans the same?
Yes. Espresso and coffee beans are the same but sometimes use different coffee bean species.
They either have Arabica or Robusta beans or a combination of both. Their preparation methods may also differ from the others.
They sometimes roast longer than an espresso bean, are finely ground, and are prepared using an espresso machine.
3. Which coffee beans are best for espresso?
The darker ones are better than regular beans when looking for the best beans for espresso.
We have discussed different coffee roast types and shown three dark coffee roast varieties.
The best option for espresso from these three choices is the medium-dark roast. It offers the perfect flavor and aroma for a single-shot espresso.
It is also a good foundation for making cappuccinos and lattes.
4. Can regular coffee beans be used for espresso?
As mentioned earlier, espresso is the preparation method. So, to answer the question, yes, you can use dark-roasted coffee beans to make espresso.
However, you must grind the coffee beans correctly and use the right gear or machine to create an espresso drink.
5. Why is espresso so strong?
Espresso is the preparation method.
An espresso shot may look more potent than a regular brewed coffee because it’s highly concentrated.
An espresso shot will also taste more bitter than brewed coffee, but its strength lies in the roasting of the beans.
Choosing the best espresso beans for your morning adrenaline kick is a matter of preference.
You can choose one blend we have mentioned above and experience the pleasure of quality beans to get the energy you need for your daily activities.
We recommend trying the organic Koffee Kult Dark Roast to get started. It has an exceptional full flavor and low acid content without the bitter taste.
Not only will you get premium quality coffee beans, but it will also help coffee farmers receive a reasonable wage.
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