The 16 Best Espresso Beans Reviewed

The best espresso beans on a wooden table in the sxhape of an espresso cup

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Does your coffee still lack that cafe quality, even after buying a quality Espresso Machine and grinder?

Sometimes, it’s not your coffee machine that’s at fault or the grind size. Instead, your coffee’s flavor and texture can highly depend on the quality of the beans you are using. 

It’s not hard to choose the right beans; in this article, we’ll tell you exactly what to ask yourself to be able to pick the best espresso beans and what to consider before choosing them.

In A Hurry. Here are our top picks

16 Best Espresso Beans

Every brewing technique needs a different roast. To get the perfect espresso shot, a darker, stronger, double cracked bean will do best.

1. Life Boost Coffee 

Grown on Nicaragua’s high mountains (Central America), life Boost Organic coffee is a healthy choice for a bold espresso. 

If you are choosing between health issues and your love of coffee, think no more. Life boost coffee supports health, along with caffeine. 

It is low acid, supporting teeth issues, sensitive stomach, ulcer, gastritis. This coffee is grown under shade to offer you a robust, bold taste without pesticides, chemicals, or additives.

Another impressive feature of ‘Life Boost Organic’ coffee is third-party testing. It tests negative for mycotoxins, pesticides, and 400 other toxins that shouldn’t be in your coffee, assuring you toxin-free beans.

The continuous studying and research that the coffee manufacturers go through to make this product an A-list healthy coffee is commendable!

Pros

  • The coffee beans are sun-dried, and spring-water washed. 
  • Hand-picked and hand-dried on the hills of Nicaragua. The agriculture itself conducts safety measures and is NFC certified. A fair share of sales also goes to the environment. 
  • Even without high acidity content, the coffee has a bold texture and punches you with a strong caffeine taste. 
  • Life Boost is certified all-organic. It has filled a niche for hundreds of happy customers who couldn’t drink coffee because of stomach issues.
  •  If you deal with acid reflux or an upset stomach, these coffee beans are especially for you. 
  • ‘Life Boost Organic’ gives excellent services and detailed descriptions of their product to explain their coffee beans and production.
  • They have an easy return policy that allows you to return the product if you are not satisfied. 

Cons

  • The product is a bit more money but is worth every cent in my opinion.
  • Not as dark as some people would like but I love a dark cup of coffee and this is still my favorite bean to brew with.

2. Death Wish Coffee Beans

As the name suggests, Death Wish Coffee is the darkest in the market, produced with Arabica and Robusta beans’ espresso blend. It comes with a subtle taste of cherry, chocolate, and a double caffeine punch.

Death Wish’s strong caffeine content gives you a robust, dark morning coffee to accelerate the day. 

You don’t just start your day with Death Wish Coffee; you revolutionize it with a smooth, dark cup. 

Pros

  • For their organic quality, these beans are available at a low price. 
  • A single order that you place is packed in two different packages to protect the beans’ quality from oxidation. You can easily store the second sealed bag until you finish using the first one.
  • It’s organic and natural. Death Wish Coffee doesn’t add artificial caffeine or other additives to the blend. 
  • It has a bold flavor and a dark roast. The manufacturer roasts the beans slowly so as not to lose the flavors and oils. Slow roast also doesn’t burn your beans. 
  • Death Wish Beans guarantees an easy return without any questions asked if you are not satisfied with the beans.

Cons

  • People who are new to drinking dark coffee might confuse it with over-roasted beans. 
  • The beans are oily and will need evaporation if you have a super-automatic espresso machine.
  • Some people don’t like Robusta Beans for their caffeine content. 

3. Lavazza Super Crema

Lavazza Super Crema hit the list with its golden Crema top. Its origin, South America, is one of the leading countries that produces Arabica beans. 

Lavazza is immensely loved for its 100% Arabica content. In addition, it has a smoother, sweeter taste compared to Robusta and is comparatively more expensive as well. 

Despite the chocolate, cherry tones, Lavazza Arabica gives a bold coffee with a robust golden-brown texture. The crema extracted by Arabica beans has many essential oils and bold sweetness. 

Lavazza gives a slow, medium-flame roast to its beans for darker tones and an unburned taste. 

Pros 

  • Lavazza gets its beans from South America and processes them in Italy, keeping the freshness intact. 
  • It comes in two packets as well to protect the beans from oxidation or from getting stale. 
  • Lavazza is 100% Arabica, making every cup an expensive delight. 
  • Without Robusta in its content, Lavazza doesn’t have a bitter taste but still tops the boldness. 
  • The beans extract a creamy, silky rich crema.

Cons

  • Some people might find the taste very ordinary or trace more chocolate flavors than real coffee.
  • The product doesn’t have a return policy. So, you might have to live with 2 pounds of it.
  • You may find different colored beans in the package. But, unfortunately, it can affect your coffee’s taste. 

4. Intelligentsia Black Cat Coffee

‘Black Cat’ is your whole bean coffee with organic espresso flavors. Don’t let its dryer colors and shades fool you; it produces one of the creamiest crema.

Unlike other coffee beans, Intelligentsia doesn’t roast its beans dark. Instead, they provide a medium-roast not to burn down the taste and extract enriching dark chocolate flavors. 

Black Cat sources its beans from Chicago roots with flavor tones of caramel, honeydew, and grapes. 

It also has hints of dark chocolate and roasted almonds. This coffee would sit perfectly with people who do not enjoy dark coffee. 

Pros

  • Intelligentsia’s direct trade policy ensures direct communication between the grower and the company allowing constant growth in flavors and quality. 
  • The beans are organic, and the package weight is 12 oz.
  • ‘Black Cat’ sources its beans from Brazil and Columbia for the roast.
  • After you make the order, the company roasts your beans. Fresh roasting keeps the beans’ condition high quality and fit for espresso shots. 

Cons

  • These beans aren’t for you if you prefer a darker roast and an even darker coffee. Also, it won’t be as strong as your average inorganic coffee that’s caffeinated artificially.
  • The freshness can highly depend on your distributor/seller. Intelligentsia’s freshness is debatable. In comparison, some true BLACK CAT’s lovers defend their ‘roast after order’ policy. Others complain about its stale taste. 
  • The coffee can get sour.

5. Cafe Don Pablo

Cafe Don Pablo is hand-picked coffee prepared in small batches to serve fresh beans.

Unlike other coffee bean brands who prepare their coffee in mass, Cafe Don Pablo invests quality time roasting the beans. 

Pablo sources the beans from Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil. These locations provide you three distinctive coffee characteristics.

Cafe Don Pablo also gives you health benefits by optimizing the bean’s acidity. 

The roast is medium-dark, layered beautifully with natural oils. Also, these beans are 100% Arabica if you prefer less bitter, caramelized coffee.

Cafe Don Pablo has a bold taste of coffee, caramel, and chocolate. They cultivate their coffee beans and manage one million coffee trees in South America under a shared certified program. 

Pros

  • Every batch is handled with care, removing low-quality, damaged beans in the process.
  • If you have a sweet tooth, this coffee has a distinct caramelized sweetness. Normally I’m not too fond of sweet coffee beans, but this was really good.
  • The beans are cost-friendly and have a smooth cocoa tone.
  • All organic. 

Cons

  • The coffee isn’t the strongest in the market. As a result, people who prefer bold, darker coffee might not enjoy the taste of these beans.
  • The oils stick to the grinder, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s harder to clean it afterward. Oily beans are not for super-automatic espresso machines.

6. Koffee Kult Coffee

Another dark coffee hitting this list of best espresso beans is Koffee Kult Coffee. It is a family-owned business established in 2010, making one of the best, darkest coffee available. 

Koffee Kult collects some of the finest beans from Columbia, Brazil, and Sumatra and roasts the most beautiful arabica beans in HOLLYWOOD, Florida. 

The beans are a hundred percent Arabica but still manage to surprise coffee lovers with a bold and darker taste. Like Cafe Don Pablo, Koffee Kult also roasts its bean in small batches to ensure fresh beans show up at your doorstep. 

Koffee Kult Coffee doesn’t believe in artificial caffeine content. Thus, they make sure to keep the raw attributes intact with every roast. 

Another complimenting feature of KKC is its fresh aroma. Given their delivery benefits, you can smell real coffee quickly. So open the bag and enjoy the intoxicating aroma. 

Pros 

  • Unlike other brands, Koffee Kult Coffee doesn’t pack oily beans. They evaporate the surface oil optimally to protect your grinder. The natural oil always resides inside the beans. 
  • Despite the dark coffee characteristics, you can still smell and taste chocolate, cinnamon.
  • Koffee Cafe Coffee takes your beans seriously. They not only roast some of the best arabica beans; they also give you detailed recipes to brew the perfect espresso shots. 
  • The packaging is sweet and comes with a zipper to protect the beans further. (little details)

Cons

  • The dark texture and flavor can sour the coffee. This coffee isn’t for people who usually enjoy a sweet mug. 
  • The lack of oils on the surface might not give a thicker Crema.

7. Stumptown Coffee Roaster Hair 

A blend of three major arabica regions, Central and South America, East Africa, and Indonesia, produces the best dark chocolate coffee with a citrus hint. 

Stumptown is one of the oldest coffee roasters, known for its various tastes and flavors in every cup! 

Roaster Hair offers six different flavors; jam and toffee (for french Press), caramel and creamy, bitter-sweet chocolate and clove, candied and milk chocolate, vanilla, and cocoa powder.

Of all six flavors, espresso has completely different tones, citrus and dark chocolates. Stumptown’s Espresso tastes rich, flavored with a sweet smell and taste.

Under B corporation, this brand handles the trees and the land without harming the environment. 

Stumptown also puts great efforts to maintain loyal relationships with their cultivators, continually growing and bringing better changes.

Pros

  • The texture is smooth, and the coffee it prepares is creamy. 
  • The coffee beans produce lighter tones of espresso. So, if you enjoy a more golden shot, this one’s for you. The beans are not burnt; they’re strong yet smooth!
  • The roast is medium; they roast slowly to accentuate the best flavors in the beans. 
  • The product supports international deliveries with different vendors. 

Cons

  • You need to check with your best vendor. A wrong vendor can sell expired products, which can be hard to refund. 
  • It’s not bitter-dark, and people might not enjoy this coffee if they prefer the darker variety. 
  • Unfortunately, they don’t have a return policy. 

8. Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso

Another medium-roast hitting this list with whole beans, organic blend, and 100% arabica content gives the sweetest yet boldest cup of coffee every morning. 

The tones that follow your cliffhanger espresso cup are smooth chocolate, cherry berry, and a textured cocoa finish. 

The beans are hand-picked from three beautiful Arabica locations; south and central America, Africa, and Indonesia. 

Together these blends create the perfect brew. Cliff hanger espresso supports five brewing methods; French Press, drip, pour-over, and cold brew, along with espressos.

The product is 100% organic, kosher, and grown under Canadian rocky mountain hills. Kicking Horse coffee also comes in many rich and flavoring tones. 

These tones range from sweet fruits to smoky vanilla hot chocolate. (You can find the flavors on their website and Amazon as well)

Pros 

  • Kicking Horse is a farmer-friendly organization and makes sure its beans benefit the customers, farmers, and the environment.
  • The organic beans give you the most textured, natural brew without any additives or artificial caffeine. 
  • Bright and smooth tones of fruits and cocoa enrich your cup with the best-textured coffee. 
  • Kicking Horse bags provide low acidic variety.

Cons

  • Kicking Horse’s packaging can be a little disappointing because they don’t come with a zipper. Instead, you will need to arrange a storage container to protect the coffee.
  • Comparatively more expensive than other products but the quality is good. 
  • Its decaf lacks complexity.

9. Jo Espresso

Producing one of the darkest cups, Jo Espresso provides a morning kick to accelerate and start your day. Its all-organic focus gives you a natural coffee with undertones of sweet flavors. 

Unlike other sweetening brands that add additives to flavor their coffee, Jo delivers natural coffee beans.

Jo Espresso works in small batches, roasting their arabica beans in a small roastery that results in quality beans delivered fresh at your doorstep. 

Pros

  • Jo Espresso offers rich crema and a darker taste for dark coffee lovers. It’s also USDA, Kosher, fair trade certified. 
  • Low acidic content
  • The winning team in the 2016 roaster challenge

Cons

  • The packaging sometimes results in added rocks (not a random mistake because many reviewers complained about this, including us). So if you enjoy Jo’s flavor, make sure to check the beans before putting them in your grinder. 
  • The small stones can ruin your expensive grinder.

10. Coffee Bean Italian Roast Espresso

A delicious, gourmet coffee with a toasty, honeyed taste. These Italian Roast Beans are sourced from many different countries to get a diverse blend than your average coffee. 

These origins are Sumatra, Brazil, Costa Rica, Kenya, Kona, some of the leading countries to produce high-quality Arabica beans. Its aromatic tones are smooth cocoa and smoky molasses for a vibrant punch. 

If you prefer a balanced body and low acidic coffee, then this one fits perfectly for you! You can even try different brews with these coffee beans; the ranges are pour-over, iced, cold coffee, Aeropress, and French Press. 

Pros

  • The flavors are dark, how you like it! You can dilute it down with milk, cream, and water. ‘Italian Roast’ also produces one of the best crema in the market.
  • It’s full-bodied but not too bold. It is robust but not too bitter; you can notice the honey and mellow tones evident in the coffee.
  • It smells earthy and has a complex aroma. 
  • Italian Coffee Beans give you consistency with every batch that you brew. 

Cons

  • The prices have increased over the past few years. 
  • The coffee is dark and acidic. If you have a sensitive stomach or prefer light coffee, this roast is not for you. (Fortunately, if you like the flavors of these coffee beans, there are light and medium roasts as well.)

11. Blue Horse 100%

If you enjoy traditional farms, Blue Horse brings you a hundred Kona beans (Arabica beans) grown and cultivated on the slopes of Kona district, Hawaii. 

Blue Horse grows their beans, hand-picks them, and sun-dries them to deliver the best quality and the freshest beans. Their motto is ‘More work for us, more flavors for you.’ However, they do invest quality time roasting their coffee.

The coffee is grown naturally far away from additives, pesticides, and herbicides to keep its chemical quantity as low as possible. 

Pros

  • The bag comes with a zipper to protect your coffee from oxidation. It also has a one-way gassing valve to maintain its natural aroma.
  • Blue Horse is 100% organic without any extra artificial caffeine or coffee sweeteners.
  • Strong yet smooth without a bitter aftertaste. 
  • Beans of Blue Horse are glossy and have a luxury dark-brown color with great aromas presenting a balanced body. 
  • Low acidic. 
  • Another key feature is their customer service and modesty; you won’t be disappointed with any exchange issue because they understand, replace, and listen to their customers. 

Cons

  • The coffee can be a little too dark if you have a sweet tooth.

12. Pete’s Espresso Forte

Pete’s blends many different beans to extract the real taste of espresso when coming in a classy brown package. 

Its pursuit for perfection brings together many different coffees; each one of them standing out with their distinctive flavors.

Pete’s Espresso coffee doesn’t believe in the computerized roasting of beans, and thus they hand-roast and hand-pick the best beans extracting complex coffee flavors and textures. 

Pete’s Coffee products are all labeled with the roast date for you to reference coffee bean’s freshness.

Pros

  • Whole beans with bright tang, smooth crema, and hazelnut tones. A dark roast for your dark morning coffee. 
  • A 100% Arabica Coffee. 
  • They give you the perfect adjustment to brew your perfect Espresso Forte Cup.

Cons

  • The coffee is strong with real caffeine and darkness, no artificial sweetener included. Not for people who enjoy diluted coffee or a medium roast. 
  • You might need to choose the vendor correctly. For example, the right vendor will always supply you with fresh Pete’s Beans, but the wrong vendor will provide expired products or close-to-expiry beans.

13. Verena Streets Espresso Beans

Another family business that produces quality blends that supports farmers’ well-being, healthy environment, wildlife, soil, and waterways under Rainforest Alliance Certification is Verena Coffee Co. 

Verena offers a robust, non-bitter cup of espresso, which is rare for a darker roast. The crema is rich in oils. The beans are full-bodied and of different origins extracting flavor-rich espresso. 

Verena Coffee Co. also doesn’t believe in big coffee roast batches. Instead, it produces small coffee batches to meet your high-end demands for freshness. 

Pros

  • Verena beans are 100% Arabica with low acidic content. 
  • The crema has a beautiful velvet texture. The coffee has unique blends, every origin standing out with its own flavor.
  • Artisan roast in Dubuque, the coffee has a strong aroma filling your kitchen with tones of vanilla, chocolate, and cocoa.  

Cons

  • The roast can be too dark for some people.
  • The beans are oily, which is not bad for the coffee and its complexity but might harm your quality grinder. 

14. Volcanica Espresso Coffee

If you desire something darker, Volcanica has a wide range of it. 

These are Costa Rica, Sumatra, Guatemala, French Press/french press decaf, Espresso/Espresso decaf dark roasts, and many others. 

The Volcanica Espresso coffee comes in rich caramel tones with a twist of spicy aroma for your espresso love. The aroma lasts longer in your kitchen, intoxicating you with the freshness. 

The beans also have low acidity and provide a beautiful blend of whole beans. 

Pros

  • The Espresso Bean Bag comes with a zipper to keep your beans fresh.
  • Volcanica Coffee Co. is a one-stop-shop providing over 120 ranges of different coffees from Hawaii, Jamaica, Kenya, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Ethiopia. 
  • The brand slowly roasts its beans in small batches to supply you with freshly roasted beans every time you place an order.
  • The small company offers excellent services and great coffee discounts if you buy coffee directly from their website! 
  • There are multiple discount offers on bag sizes. For example, a big bag (5 pounds) offers a discount of 10%.

Cons

  • It isn’t easily available

15. Illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee

Unlike any other coffee brand, Illy takes coffee’s freshness to the top. While almost all the brands pack their beans in paper bags or plastic bags, Illy’s packaging is safely done in a metal steel container, vacuumed and sealed packed. 

Illy sources its 100% arabica beans from 9 different origins to create exclusive, exceptional flavors, every root standing out for its own in the blend. It gives you robust, strong coffee with smooth, dark cocoa textures and flavors. 

Pros 

  • The beans are named on Ethisphere’s list for seven consecutive years for their services and quality. 
  • High caffeine content, one cup will get you to the finish line of any task that needs to be done. It’s that strong.
  • Illy has six different boxes of intense blends, flavors, and aromas to satisfy your varied coffee desires. The flavors include caramel, cocoa, chocolate, fruits, and sometimes, even jasmine. 

Cons

  • The aroma is undetectable. The lack of scent might turn off many people who look forward to smelling their coffee brew.
  • Chocolate and caramel are hard to detect, as well. You might not even notice the traces in the initial cups but will find slight hints of it. 
  • It’s not sweet and not flavored.

16. Klatch

A small coffee brand that offers you some of the best beans with a roast-on-order policy. They will roast your beans right after you place the order and won’t send pre-packed goods.

Every Klatch packet is labeled with the roast date for you to reference with the freshness. 

They medium-roast their beans. Klatch has distinctive notes of blueberry, chocolate, and brandy. If brandy is your savor taste, try Klatch!

Pros

  • It has a smooth, balanced body providing you a sweet finish.
  • Along with brandy notes, Klatch also has hints of orange juice and spices. 
A pile of good espresso beans on a wooden serving tray with a filtered coffee bag

What Makes An Espresso Bean Different From Other Coffee Beans?

Unlike other coffee methods that involve five to six minutes of soaking, espresso is prepared under pump pressure.

It is only given a couple of seconds to extract the flavors from the finely ground coffee. Thus, an espresso demands a superior bean. 

Espresso beans are roasted for an extended period of time to extract the oils and darken the beans’ color.

These dark-roasted beans give you the best espresso shots.

Why?

A darker roast or a medium-dark roast will have less acidity and more oils to produce dense, rich crema. The caffeine content is also high, and flavors start to bloom in this roast. 

So, when you read a label that says ‘espresso beans,’ you are getting dark to medium-roast beans.

Gone are the times when people had to spend hours finding the right roast for their perfect espressos. Instead, it’s now a specialized category of its own. 

What Are Normal Coffee Beans?

These beans are light-colored and are either light or medium-roasted. A light roast is dry, pale, bitter, and acidic. 

You can notice floral and fruit notes in this light roast. The bean is also light-bodied and has little aroma. Nonetheless, the coffee content and flavors are still present inside this bean. 

A medium-roast has a nutty texture, but it still looks dry and pale. The color is comparatively denser and pigmented.

The body is fuller, and it starts to extract more flavors and aromas. It tastes slightly bitter, but hey, some people prefer that! 

Coming to our darkest, most decadent roast, the espresso beans, have many oils inside and on the surface. The surface oil makes the bean look glossier and chocolatey. 

Dark beans are obtained by slow roasting; this method results in lower acidic content and starts to release more flavor notes evident in every espresso bean’s description. 

Arabica espresso beans in hopper belonging to a Breville fully automatic espresso machine

What Makes Espresso Beans So Unique?

There is so much effort that goes into the process of extracting one shot of espresso. 

Arabica Espresso Beans need an optimal temperature and weather to grow properly. After ripening, these seeds are taken out and dried.

Your cultivator then hand-picks the best seeds and proceeds to roast them. 

Roasting, in itself, has a cultural, manual background. Although we are now equipped with big industries and machines, some coffee brands still believe in hand-roasting. 

After roasting, these beans are again hand-picked to select the darkest, glossiest of them all to meet your espresso demands.

Espresso beans especially need a more in-depth, slower, and lengthier roast to extract the right amount of flavors, oils. 

This highness, selective choices, and high maintenance make these espresso beans unique and different from the rest of the category. 

Tradition

Undoubtedly, culture and tradition play a large role in the coffee world. Espresso beans root back to historic villages.

These villages still hand-roast their beans on a stove or perhaps a wood fire pit. It’s artistic; a hand-roast on fire will create many earthy flavors. 

If you’d ask a coffee lover, drinking coffee isn’t a casual deed of the day, it’s a ritual, a tradition that follows up right after waking up.

Every step that goes in and around brewing the perfect cup of espresso is calming and worth every cent. 

A professional barista using frothed milk to make a cappuccino with death Blow coffee

Better With Milk

An espresso shot is a delight in itself, but when mixed with milk, it brews some of the best milk-based beverages. The variety is grand!

With options like cappuccino, latte, cortado, white flat, macchiato, Galao, or an americano.

Every espresso-milk-beverage has a different milk combination.

You get steamed milk, foamed milk, frothed milk, sweeteners like caramel, cocoa, chocolate syrup, etc. the variations and flavors an espresso can give you is grand.

Espresso Beans Are Cheaper

Compared to other beans, espresso beans are cheaper because they are mostly a blend of different origins.

Blended coffee varieties have a mix of different countries, i.e., coming from different origins and farming to produce espresso beans. 

On that note, have you ever heard of single-origin coffee?

Opposite to what blend coffee beans provide, single-origin has quality beans cultivated from a single geographic area.

They are more expensive, high-quality, and have a heightened taste and aroma. 

There is no comparison between blended coffee beans and single-origin beans but just a matter of preference.

While some people will enjoy a different mix, some will enjoy single-origin exclusiveness. 

Single-origin will heighten a consistent taste, but blended coffee beans will have different tastes, aroma, and tones.

Both of them are equally intoxicating. Single-origin beans are a little more expensive and harder to get.

espresso beans with scoopers with a an espresso cup and a saucer

Lower Acidity Level

The continuous, deep, and slow roast decreases the beans’ acidity, thus making your espresso health-friendly, cost-effective, and gives it a unique flavor.  

If you are dealing with constant stomach aches, acid reflux, and you long for a cup of coffee, espresso beans are the best choice for you.

A lighter roast will always have high acidity; if you don’t prefer a sour mug, go for dark beans instead of a medium/light roast.

Higher Caffeine Level

Another characteristic feature of espresso beans is their caffeine content. For example, Arabica Coffee Beans have 1.5-1.8%, and Robusta Beans have double caffeine, 2.8 percent. 

Despite the caffeine quantity in the beans (arabica and robusta), Espresso coffees don’t have a high amount of caffeine because a single espresso shot is usually smaller than other brewing methods that use bigger cups.  

Suppose you are health concerned and wish to avoid caffeine or are strictly prohibited from caffeine; there are many Espresso Decaf options available in the market, too. 

A decaf coffee usually has 2-3mg of caffeine. So please, consult with your doctor before consuming decaf coffees to be on the safe side. 

Does Espresso Need Special Beans?

Yes, espresso needs a particular bean to extract the right flavors, oils, and tones.

It is only possible with dark or medium-dark roasted beans. Additionally, espresso beans are either a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans or purely arabica beans.  

Although Robusta’s caffeine content allows you to extract the best espresso shots, nowadays, brands highly focus on a hundred percent arabica espresso blend without Robusta’s hint because it is strong, highly caffeinated, and very bitter. 

Compared to Robusta beans, Arabica is sweeter with many tones and hints of flavors like caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, fruits, cocoa, nuts, etc.

Arabica also has 60 percent more lipids and sugar than Robusta. 

Despite the sweetness, if your morning caffeine punch is a must, then nothing can beat robusta beans.

Europeans mostly prefer a highly caffeinated coffee, thus preferring Robusta over Arabica. (We’ll discuss the difference between Arabica and Robusta more in detail ahead!) 

A blackboard with 3D question marks laying on it with black and orange types, referring to

Questions To Ask To Figure Out The Best Espresso Beans

There are hundreds of coffee bean varieties; three very prominent are: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica (Philippines beans and are rarely exported). 

There are four main roast styles– light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Multiple origins produce the best coffee beans, either blended or single-origin. 

And when all of these categories are done, there are thousands of brands, everyone selling the best espresso beans. So, which one is for you?

How to figure out your favorite beans? Is it a lot of caffeine that you want or the sweet coffee aroma? 

This list of Q&As will help you decide your best coffee beans without any doubt excluded! 

Arabica Or Robusta

It’s relatively easy to choose between Arabica and Robusta.

If you are looking for the high caffeine content, there is no argument to this; pure robusta beans will send you jolts of energy in the morning with their hefty caffeine punch. 

The truth is, Robusta tastes bitter given its high caffeine content, and it is hard to swallow when it’s that bitter unless you are artificially sweetening your espresso shots with sugar, caramel, milk, etc. 

For a person who likes caffeinated coffees, a blend of 50-60 percent of Arabica and 50-40 percent of Robusta will give you both the caffeine your morning deserves, no bitterness, and the sweet coffee aroma. 

Some people hate the taste of Robusta, and it ranges from bitter and muddy to dark chocolate. If you don’t prefer a darker, denser taste, go with an all-arabica coffee. 

picture of 2 espresso portafilters sitting on a wooden table with arabica coffee beans strewn about.

Arabica Beans

Arabica beans are grown at high altitudes in harsh climates. This harsh climate further slows down the arabica tree’s growth resulting in enriched flavors in the beans.

The slower the roasting process, the sweeter the beans will be. 

They also differ in size when compared to robusta beans. Arabica beans are bigger and have an oval shape. Arabica’s trees are also taller than Robusta trees. 

These beans have many characterizing features making Arabica the most expensive coffee out there.

Suppose you like your coffee sweet with natural flavors and tones of chocolate, cocoa, nuts, and fruits. The best choice for you would be all-arabica beans. 

Unlike Robusta, Arabica gives you calmer colors and shades of golden-brown with oil-rich crema while brewing your espresso. 

It’s neither too bold nor too light. You can say it’s strong yet smooth to the taste. 

Arabica beans are expensive because they are harder to cultivate, take a longer time to ripen, and are prone to insects that can ruin the crops.

Its price is indicative of supply and demand. 

a pile of robusta espresso beans

Robusta Beans

With 2.8 percent caffeine content, Its flavors range from darker shades and taste like chocolate, dark chocolate, darkest chocolate. You cannot find any other sweet hints in there

Robusta beans are easy to cultivate and do not need extra care as Arabica does. They don’t need high elevations to grow either.

Caffeine is a natural pest controller. Thus, Robusta comes at a low price for you, not because it’s an inferior bean to Arabica but because it’s more resilient.

Critical features of Robusta include:

  • High-caffeine content, 2.8 percent. 
  • Dark coffee finish. If you are a black coffee lover, Robusta will give you dense, pigmented colors. 
  • Some people do not prefer the sweet taste because it hides the original coffee flavor, and an all-arabica might get a little too sweet for your likings. Robusta provides natural coffee flavors. 

So, which one do you prefer?

A bitter Robusta espresso or an extra sweet Arabica espresso shot?

I personally would want a bitter-sweet arabica-robusta blend with the perfect combination of caffeine-oils-rich coffee.

When Were They Roasted?

You can order the best coffee beans, but the taste would be worse than Starbuck’s coffee if it’s delivered late to you.

A genuinely fresh coffee bean would be the one that’s delivered to you within a few weeks of roasting. 

If it’s being delivered to you months later, you are merely wasting your money because that coffee won’t be of any good.

It will be stale; the aroma will be lost, and flavors will be affected by oxidation. 

close up of an oxidized espresso bean that is discolored next to fresh beans

What Is Degassing And Oxidation?

There is a carbon dioxide formation when coffee beans are roasted; the beans release this CO2 once they are completely roasted.

The process of releasing CO2 is called degassing. 

Degassing is a necessary event while roasting your coffee. For example, if you brew espresso with CO2 still inside, it will start to get mixed in with the boiling water resulting in an uneven extraction of flavors. 

Thus, it’s highly recommended to wait for 3-15 days (may vary) after the whole roasting process so that your beans do not have any residual CO2 to ruin the coffee. 

Oxidation is the introduction of oxygen to your coffee beans; it replaces carbon dioxide with oxygen.

The longer your coffee beans sit in the air, the staler they will get. 

Oxidation ruins your coffee’s taste by wiping out essential oils and insoluble components of the coffee beans.

Thus, it is recommended to brew your coffee after 3-5 days of roasting (most of the degassing is finished by that period). Don’t wait longer than three weeks after the roasting date.

How Have They Been Stored?

Along with the fresh roasting date, storing them also plays a vital role in protecting your coffee beans.

It should either be seal-packed in a steel container or a package with a one-way valve to eliminate CO2 and not allow oxygen to enter. 

Beans should be stored in cool, non-moisturized areas, away from the sunlight.

What to keep in mind while storing your coffee beans at home?

  • The place should be dry. 
  • The container should be air-tight.
  • It should be away from sunlight.
  • If you don’t switch them to air-tight containers, make sure the zipper is tightly sealed. 
three coffee drinks lined up as a latte, cappuccino and americano

What Types Of Drinks Do You Prefer?

If you wish to try different brews, dark roast and medium-dark roast provide a wide range of coffee brew methods.

These include Aeropress, French Press, Espresso, Espresso-based beverages. 

While some coffee beans exclusively provide espressos, some Arabica-based coffee beans brew tasty aero press, french Press, and many other beverages. 

If you are using a robust blend for your drip coffees, try diluting it down with water, or you’ll end up with a very sour and bitter coffee. 

Nevertheless, Arabica is organically sweet, so if you use a hundred percent Arabica coffee beans to brew drip coffees, you wouldn’t need to dilute it down. 

Arabica beans have less caffeine content making them suitable for drip coffees as well. If you’d like to taste different brews occasionally, go with arabica coffee beans.

But you can stick to a robust blend if dark espresso is your only bias. 

The origin Of Your Coffee

The story of your coffee’s journey is no less important than the drink itself. So, what is the origin of your coffee? 

If you read the description or the coffee beans brochure, there are many countries mentioned at the back as their origin.

Some of the leading producers or cultivators of coffee beans are Africa, Central America, South America, India, Indonesia. 

Going a little deeper in the roots, the famous countries/cities/states/locales for coffee beans are Ethiopia, Kona, Guatemala, Kenya, Sumatra, Costa Rica, Columbia, South India.

Your espresso cup is either a blend of coffees from all these origins or is an expensive single-origin mug. 

Both the coffee beans, blend, and single-origin extract a rich espresso; its superiority can depend on personal perception. 

A single-origin isn’t a blend of many countries’ coffee beans but is sourced from a single land to give high texture, consistency, and flavors to the coffee.

If you usually enjoy single flavors and a distinct aroma, single-origin coffee is for you. 

But if you enjoy different blends, different undertones, overtones, and different flavors, blend coffee beans are for you!

They are full of surprises, and their taste can vary from earthy aromas to nuts to fruits, cocoa, cacao, caramel, hazelnut, the list goes on!

a grey plate with espresso beans grounded and whole sitting next to each other

Whole VS Ground Coffee Beans

Hands Down, ground coffee can never compete with whole beans in terms of freshness, taste, flavors, and aroma.

Pre-packed ground coffee will start to lose its freshness more readily than whole beans. 

In their dry-seed state, whole beans preserve coffee’s content for a much longer time than pre-ground beans.

Pre-ground beans can easily react with oxygen to disturb your coffee’s flavors and aroma. 

In ground coffee, oxidation is introduced on the surface, and the integrity of the coffee is questioned.

Plus, your coffee will lose oils and flavors every time you unzip the ground bag or open the lid of the container. 

Some people cannot afford to buy a grinder or don’t have the time to grind their beans every time they want a cup of coffee.

So, if you are short on time or can not have a grinder, pre-ground marketed coffee is the answer for you.  

A substitute for your stale ground coffee is coffee capsules. They are highly preserved with a seal-packed packaging and only open up when in the capsule machine.

So, you can invest in a good coffee capsule machine; it will be fresher than pre-packed coffee grounds. 

On the other hand, if you do have the time to embrace the brewing ritual invest in a good grinder and grind your beans to taste and smell the real flavors, aromas, and tones. 

Coffee Bean’s Roast

Before we decide which roast is for you, let’s learn a little more about the different types and how manufacturers roast their coffee. 

In any cookbook, roasting means to dry heat something in an oven or open fire until they crack, becomes crunchy, and starts to brown on the surface.

Our coffee bean manufacturers do exactly this’ roast the creamy-green seed in hefty machinery. 

Fortunately, some brands still hand-roast their coffee beans because manual cooking always extracts better flavors than what a machine can. 

Which roast would you prefer, hand-roasted or machine-roasted?

It can highly depend on personal opinion. Some people enjoy tradition; some enjoy technology. Nevertheless, both the roasts enhance your coffee’s taste, and there is no debate about it.  

Hand-roasted beans will be a little more expensive because they consume more time, need manual work, and close attention. 

Four Types Of Roasts

There are light, medium, dark-medium, and dark roasts. Espresso coffee beans usually use the darker series, i.e., medium-dark and dark roasts. 

A professional barista will advise medium-dark roast for your espresso coffee if you enjoy sweetened flavors.

But If you like darker tones for your coffee, the darkest roast will give you the best caffeine punch.

Light roast, the first crack beans are light-weighted and lack many flavors and aromas. They have high acidity content, no oil, and low caffeine.

Meanwhile, your dark roasts are full of oily seeds shining like seals. They have a rich brown color and many flavors, tones, and aroma.

a package of espresso beans in a filter bag to keep them fresh and away from air.

What Type Of Packaging Are They In?

Packaging, as discussed above, is very crucial to keep your beans fresh as a daisy.

Manufacturers usually pack their beans in plastic/paper bags, vacuuming them to remove any extra air in the baggage. 

It has a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide to move out without letting oxygen move in.

Steel containers protect coffee beans’ freshness even further. It’s better to check for air valves before buying your coffee! 

What is an Omni roast?

Most of the coffee bean brands we mentioned in the categories are Omni roast; they extract excellent cups of espressos and also give you filter/drip coffees. 

Traditionally, espressos are roasted darker than other coffees to extract great flavors in a couple of seconds.

These dark roasts cannot support drip coffees/filtered, French Press, Aeropress, etc., because of their dark tone. 

Other brewing methods allow boiling water to sit with the coffee for minutes. For example, if a dark ground coffee sits in the boiling water for 5 minutes, you won’t taste coffee; you will taste dense, bitter water and nothing else. 

But thanks to technology, with multiple brewing methods, and different roasts, you can taste espressos and many other coffees with the same beans. 

For an Omni roast to work in all brewing methods, roasters slowly roast their coffee beans until the high acidic content burns away.

They don’t darken the beans and usually use Arabica to let it work with all brewing methods. 

Omni roast gives you a bold yet smooth cup of espresso with Arabica, slow-roasted coffee beans. But it takes a real barista to adjust different brewing methods to extract different tasting coffees with the same bean. 

What is Single-Origin?

Single-origin coffee is not a blend of different beans from different locations; and it’s a single type of bean from one location in the world.

Single-origin coffee gives you the same coffee, consistency from the same geographical area of your choice.

Why do some people prefer single-origin coffee beans?

Different farming locales will produce beans in different types of soil, climates, and methods changing the way the coffee tastes.

Good, fertile soil will result in high-quality coffee beans with added natural flavors.

Many people enjoy single-origin coffee because it gives coffee-lovers the consistency in every batch that we need to create the same flavor profile. 

Sumatra Coffee Beans

Sumatra is an Indonesian coffee grown on Sumatra’s lands, Indonesia giving you the perfect earthy undertones and sweet Arabica coffee aroma.

Indonesia produces some of the finest gourmet coffee beans; growing coffee beans is a widespread trade over there. 

Sumatra coffee beans are famous for Mandheling, Ankola, and Lingtong.

Among these, Sumatra Mandheling stands topmost with high-quality, earthy beans. The beans are full-bodied, low acidic but still provide dense, complex, and chocolatey coffee.

It is said, ‘every cup of Sumatra’s espresso takes you deep in the jungle; its aroma is intoxicating and smells like the rainforest.’

a map unrolled like a scroll with a picture of south America referring to single origin espresso beans

South America Coffee Beans

South America is the heart of coffee bean production. Many countries in South America grow the finest of arabica beans.

These countries are Peru, Columbia, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Hawaii, etc. 

Every country has its distinctive flavors and aromas. Brazilian coffee beans offer you meadow flavors with bitter-sweet undertones.

On the other hand, Columbian coffee beans will give you cocoa, fruity tones with citric acidity. 

Hawaiian coffee beans are popularly known as Kona Coffee beans.

Some of the finest Columbian beans are Sierra coffee beans from Magdalena and Kona from the Kona district.

Bolivian coffee gives you a slightly herbal taste, and Peruvian gives you hints of vanilla. 

picture of the globe pointing to Africa as a single origin coffee

Africa

Africa, especially Ethiopia, is considered the birth land of coffee.

Many countries in Africa produce a wide range of coffees, and the most famous of them are Ethiopian coffee and Kenya coffee. 

Africa has many rich tones, from citrus fruits to nuts, caramel, wine, cinnamon, etc. Other countries rich with Arabica coffee beans in Africa are Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda. 

Indonesia

Along with Sumatra, Indonesia is also famous for Bali’s, Sulawesi’s, Jawa’s beans. Almost every coffee bean has an undertone of earthy flavors.

You wouldn’t find these earthy tones in any other region or geographical land. 

Indonesia also has citrus, nutty, fruity, chocolate flavors to the side, and rainforest aroma along with earthy tones.

Indonesian coffee beans are less-acidic, full-bodied, and extract bold cups of espressos. 

What Should You Look For In A Blend?

Blended coffee has multiple origins. They are sourced from many countries and brought together for a good roast. The right coffee blend would rely on a couple of factors:

  • Countries where the beans were grown. 
  • Small farmers or large scale farming
  • The location where the coffee beans were grown. 

Blended coffees are easily accessible; you can find them every season because one country bean supports the other in terms of quality, texture, aroma, and flavors. 

Blended coffee can never fail you because, despite its commerciality, a good roast will produce many flavors and tones together for a single bag, which is rare in single-origin. 

Surprisingly, small, local farms produce better coffee beans because of lesser land, better farming practices. Small farms will also give extra attention to the trees.

It’s best to check all the origins mentioned on your coffee; if these vary from Indonesian, Indian, American, or African roots, you are probably getting the best blend!

picture of a coffee cup with the crema making a smiling face

Biggest Factors That Affect The taste

A perfect bean with aromatizing flavors and sweet undertones will brew you some robust and bold espresso shots, but a lousy bean will ruin the flavors with either too much bitterness or dark coffee tones. 

A perfect bean roast is balanced with flavors. It’s neither too sweet to lose the essence of coffee nor too bitter to mud the taste with bitter water.

A couple of factors that decide the taste of your coffee:

  • The coffee beans should be roasted slowly and longer to reduce acidity and extract oils and flavors.
  • Coffee beans should neither be too dark nor too light. A darker coffee bean will ruin your coffee’s taste with a bitter taste. A lighter coffee bean will lack flavors, oils, and aroma. 
  • Where were the beans sown? Study the geographical location. Arabica beans should be grown at high elevations in harsher conditions and a favorable coffee climate. 
  • Good soil produces aromatic, flavored beans. 
  • Machine roast or hand roast

Is Espresso Stronger Than Coffee

Espressos are extracted from high-pressure pumps. This pump pressures water in the finely ground coffee resulting in a dark, dense espresso cup. 

Espresso’s dark texture and dark taste is unlike any other brewing method.

Unlike coffees that sit in the boiled water with a filter, espresso doesn’t leave a single strand of ground coffee behind, making itself an intense, dense brew. 

Another reason why espressos are more robust than the rest is its finely ground coffee requirement.

Other coffees like french Press require a coarser grind; this grind size doesn’t darken the coffee and is also plunged out of the coffee after 5 minutes. 

Yet another reason why espresso is richer is its dark bean with high caffeine content. A dark roast and higher caffeine content will produce a darker coffee. 

a female barista holding a portafilter under a grinder filling it with fine grinds for an espresso
Woman’s hand holding coffee grind in group with vintage style, stock photo

How To Properly Grind Your Beans

A precise grind will need an accurate, well-designed grinder. A high-grade grinder will provide you consistency and varied grind size settings. 

Every different brew requires a different grind size. For your espresso cup, the grinder settings should allow you to adjust to the finest size. 

What is a consistent grind?

A grind that is consistent throughout the batch. For example, if you choose French press coarse grind size, every coffee particle should be of the same size and should not have giant or small clumps. 

Similarly, an espresso coffee needs the finest grind size; your grinder should be able to grind it entirely without leaving coffee chunks behind. 

It’s easy to operate a grinder, pour in your best espresso beans in the hopper, select the grind size setting, and push the start button. There are specially customized grinders for different brews. 

A french press grinder might not produce finer ground, and an espresso grinder might not produce coarser ground.

Look for a grinder that comes with multiple settings and sub-setting to adjust from finest espresso to coarsest AeroPress. 

Types of Grinders

There are two types of grinders on a broader spectrum- An electric grinder and a manual grinder.

As the names suggest, an electric grinder will come with cords and will run on electricity, while manual grinders wouldn’t need anything but manual force to operate. 

Both the grinders will have adequate settings to switch from espresso to french press and back to espresso. 

A manual grinder, despite its image, grinds the finest and coarsest grind sizes.

The quality difference; while electric grinders can grind a lot and for many people, a manual grinder will only ever grind one shot of espresso at a time. 

Manual Grinders 

  • These manual grinders come with a max of fifteen grind size settings from espresso fine-ground to coarsest levels. 
  • A manual grinder doesn’t require electricity and isn’t held down to a single place with a cord. So you can travel with it anywhere, anytime. 
  • It gives you small batches of ground coffee. 
  • They are incredibly efficient, and an excellent manual grinder won’t need extra effort. 
  • Manual grinders have a pleasing sound and won’t wake the house up. 

Electric Grinders

  • Electric grinders operate in seconds and have a max of 40 grind sizes set. 
  • They work on electricity and usually start to function with a single touch.
  • So you can ground a lot of beans in one go. 
  • Electric grinders do make loud noises while operating. (I have been yelled at many times for waking my wife up at 4 AM)

Grind Size

Every different brewing method requires a different grind size to extract different coffee flavors. There are four popular grind sizes: coarse, medium-coarse, fine, extra fine. 

Coarse grind: A coarser grind has medium size coffee bits similar to bread crumbs. This grind’s size usually favors brewing techniques that brew for an extended time. 

French Press/Aeropress brewing techniques go with a coarser grind to not overdose on the coffee too much. A coarser grind slowly releases flavors in the water. 

Medium-Coarse: A little finer than average coarse grind size, this size is usually used to brew drip coffees with filters.

Fine grind size: This grind size has the texture of grit. It’s not too fine like talcum powder. Fine grind size is used in espresso machines and drip coffee machines with a conical filter. 

Finely ground grind size: Its texture replicates that of talcum powder. This grind size is used to prepare fine espressos and espresso-based beverages. 

How Can I Find The Best Espresso flavors?

There is a lot that goes down while brewing a single cup of coffee. A good quality grinder cannot give you the best results if your beans are stale.

Your flavor-rich beans cannot give you rich flavors if your machine is average. 

All in all, to find the best espresso flavors, you will need to go to the depths of finding the perfect bean, a quality grinder, and an excellent espresso machine to brew your cup. 

Even with the most expensive machines, you won’t get the perfect shot if you don’t perfect the grind size or the machine’s adjustments. 

  • So, find the best espresso beans that match the flavors you want. 
  • Next, store it correctly so that you don’t lose its freshness. 
  • Finally, find the perfect grinder for your beans.
  • To brew your cup, ground fresh beans, and don’t use pre-ground options. 

The espresso adjustment: Boil your water at 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit and apply pressure of 7-9 bars.

Espresso needs approximately 25-26 seconds to extract rich deep flavors into your cup. 

Please note: Every machine will have different functions and might need different adjustments. Mostly, these machines come with directions and stepped (manufacturer’s recommendation) settings. 

What Is The Best Roast For Espresso

An exotic dark brown bean coated with oil, roasted slowly in the machine to extract the best flavor profile.

Espressos prefer a medium-dark or dark roast of Arabica beans. If you prefer a blend of Robusta, choose medium-dark, and avoid the darkest shades. 

Too dark of a bean will make it bitter and have burnt tones. Similarly, too light of a bean will sweeten your coffee and lose its natural coffee flavors. 

A medium-dark bean is full-bodied, low in acidic content. A dark, continuous, and slow roast also extracts many undertones like chocolate, cocoa, fruits, wine. 

Why Are They Oily

When you slow roast the beans, oils present inside them start to come out slowly.

With continuous heat applied to the beans, it’s natural for them to release oils. An oily surface is a good indication of a better roast. 

There is a big debate that argues and opposes two big statements. The first, ‘Oily beans are fresh and have more flavors.’ The second, ‘oily beans are stale and tasteless.’

Both statements can be factual, but both of these apply to different roasts. For example, if you notice oil sheen on a lighter roast, it will taste stale. 

Light-beans are not heated for an extended period, and thus there’s never enough heat to extract oil sheen, but if it’s somehow on the surface, the roast and the bean are of lousy quality. 

On the other hand, if you notice glossy oils on the surface of dark-roasted beans, it’s an indication of a fresh roast. Since dark roast is subject to prolonged heating, it’s natural for the oils to break out and sit majestically as the shining top. 

Please note: Oily beans are more at risk of oxidation because the oils are present at the surface and vulnerable to oxygen. When oxygen meets coffee beans, it affects the oils and insoluble substances adversely. 

The freshness of oily espresso beans stays up to 7-10 days max. So please store them as mentioned above to keep them fresh for a longer period.

Can You Use Any Bean In An Espresso Machine 

Yes and no!

Any bean that’s ground well and finely will extract espresso shots. You can use all sorts of beans in an espresso machine, but the right, perfectly roasted espresso bean will extract you a great espresso shot. 

If you ask a barista, the answer will always lead you to the espresso beans because any other average roast won’t give you the desired taste, flavors, oils, crema, density. 

Can You Use Espresso Beans In A Drip Coffee Machine

Espressos and drip coffees both need finely ground coffee beans. Drip coffee can also brew medium-coarse ground, depending on an individual’s personal choice.

The difference lies in their brewing methods. 

Espresso is extracted by applying high bar pressure. On the other hand, drip coffees do not need the pressure to brew a filtered cup.

In drip coffee machines, the water is boiled, and then it proceeds to the filter basket where the finely ground coffee is put. 

The finely ground coffee soaks water and filters it out in the carafe sitting right under the filter basket. 

The espresso machine boils the water and then pressures this boiled water in the portafilter where the finely ground coffee beans are resting.

The pressure creates a collision between water and finely tamped ground resulting in a denser coffee.

Drip coffees filter out the ground and only extract the flavors; espressos don’t leave a single particle of ground coffee behind.

Long story short, yes, you can use finely ground espresso beans in the drip coffee if you like it dark. 

Tips To Make The Best Espresso. 

Every small detail while brewing will better your results.

Apart from getting the best beans, a perfect grinder, espresso machine, look out for these small details, and you’ll discover tremendous changes in your brew. 

  • Keep your portafilter, sieves, water reservoir clean so that no residue coffee disturbs your coffee’s taste. 
  • Preheat the equipment, the machine, cups, portafilter to maintain a temperature. 
  • Some machines might not boil your water enough. If your machine is one of them, pre-boil your water and milk. 
  • Ground your beans fresh and right before brewing your cup.
  • Let the extraction time be 20-25 seconds. If you let your coffee sit longer than that, it will get bitter and more infused. If it takes less time, your coffee might taste weak. Fortunately, an affordable espresso machine can give you the freedom to turn off the extraction whenever you want.
  • The importance of correct tamping. The right tamping technique will evenly pressure the water through the whole puck. A wrong tamp will leave your ground coffee with cracks resulting in an uneven distribution of water and subpar coffee. 

(Automatic, super-automatic machines don’t provide you the manual option to turn off the extraction. So, if you enjoy manual settings, go with a semi-automatic espresso machine.) 

The Crema Will Tell You About Your Grind

A fine grind will provide extra surface area for the water to seep in and infuse appropriately with the coffee ground to extract a rich crema.

Baristas suggest that the perfect crema ratio to espresso is 1:10. Therefore, there should be 1g crema to 10g of espresso. 

A freshly and finely ground coffee won’t over-extract or under-extract crema.

Neither will it create too much crema or too little. Instead, freshly ground, oily dark-roasted beans will have more oil to produce flavors-rich crema. 

What is Crema?

The top-frothy layer of thick oily cream on your espresso is called crema. It’s rich in flavors, aromas and has a red-brown oily texture.

Crema is formed when air bubbles get infused with the insoluble oils present in the ground. 

Freshly roasted beans will produce more crema because they are degassing and have a shiny coat of oils on the surface.

If you don’t enjoy too much crema in your coffee, evaporate the oils present on the surface before brewing. 

  • Learn To Tamp

The art of tamping will ensure you an evenly distributed coffee. Tamping is not rocket science but requires consistency.

Your average espresso machine comes with a plastic tamper that might not provide you a desirable tamp. 

You can buy stainless steel tamp. Use the handle to hold it gently and adequately dab the coffee inside your portafilter. 

While tamping, you don’t need to apply too much pressure; let it be gentle and let it gently even out the coffee’s top surface.

The general rule of thumb is to use 30pounds of pressure when tamping. This may sound like a lot, but it’s not.

To get a better feel for how much 30 pounds of pressure is, get your bathroom scale, put it on top of a table or counter, and then push down with your hand until you reach 30 pounds.

If you do this repeatedly, you’ll get a feel for how hard you push, and you’ll build up your muscle memory. Now put your scale back in the bathroom because it would be weird to leave it on the counter.

Look out for cracks or holes in the ground coffee; if you see any, shake your portafilter lightly and then tamp again to smoothen the surface. 

Pre-Infusion

As the name suggests, pre-infusion allows you to distribute water in the ground coffee evenly without pressure. 

Direct pressure may result in uneven water distribution, but a pre-infusion allows water to even out with the coffee before actual extraction begins. 

The optimal timing for pre-infusion is 8-10 seconds, and then the real pressure extraction starts.

If you have a manual espresso machine equipped with a piston, pre-infusion can be done manually. 

Lift the piston at 2-3 bars of pressure; you can see it on display. Then, wait for a couple of seconds (8-10 seconds) and lift the piston completely for the highest pressure. 

As for the semi-automatic machine, there’s a manual switch to control the bar pressure; turn on the switch, allow the pressure to set up at 2-3 bars, and then turn off the switch. Then, after 8-10 seconds, start it again at full pressure. 

Many super-automatic espresso machines come with an automatic pre-infuser.

Which Espresso Beans Does Starbucks Use?

A report suggested Starbucks’ coffee has double the amount of caffeine compared to other shots.

This caffeine quantity suggests a high amount of Robusta beans being used, but a single coffee cannot determine what types of beans Starbucks uses. 

Before we begin to qualify the quality of Starbucks beans, a little addressing to robusta beans seems necessary. 

There’s a wild misconception that robusta beans are of low quality,  but that’s not true. Many dark coffee drinkers still prefer robusta beans.

Moving ahead, Starbucks claims to use Arabica beans in a fair-trade purchase to deliver you a dark, bold, caramel-rich coffee. 

What’s The Best Home Espresso machine

An entry-level, semi-automatic espresso machine will work great for your household.

It is cheaper than fully-automatic machines, and they allow you to manually brew your cup while also automatically supporting you throughout the brewing process. 

If you enjoy brewing coffee and trying different settings for espresso (adjusting pressure and temperature), semi-automatic is the one for you.

But if you are short on time, budget, and a grinder, go with capsule coffees. 

Capsule coffees don’t need pre-ground coffee, put the sealed capsules in the outlet, and you are done. You can easily find Nespresso capsules in kiosks or online. 

There are multiple espresso coffee machines in the market for you to choose from.

These designs categorize into semi-automatic, automatic, super-automatic, piston manual machines, capsule machines. 

If you have a larger budget and short on time, a super-automatic machine will do everything for you except filling the water reservoir and the hopper with beans.

Yes, super-automatic espresso machines come with a built-in grinder. 

They grind the beans, measure the coffee, tamp the coffee, pressurize the coffee, and brew it all for you in a couple of seconds; that’s technology for you!

Conclusion

Would you still find it challenging to choose the best espresso beans for you?

If you ever get a chance to check out a farm that grows coffee, make sure you do; you’ll walk away with a healthier appreciation for your favorite drink.

Spend a night with the farmers, learn their techniques, roam around the coffee fields, smell the most refreshing aroma of coffee with its fruits, smell the soil, and breathe the air. 

Of course, enjoy all that if they allow you to do it, don’t invade their property without permission, haha. With the sunset and your fellow farmers, drink a cup of coffee, freshly hand-roasted; it is a cup of coffee you will never forget. 

If you have more questions about espresso beans, let’s address them in the comment section below or email me.