Best Coffee Beans for Espresso
Choosing the best coffee beans for espresso isn’t as hard as you may think and as I covered in my previous article there really isn’t a special espresso bean solely made for the purpose of espresso shots. What makes an espresso basically depends on the grind used and the roast. Most of the best coffee beans for espresso are a dark to medium roast, but lighter roasts can also be used (also known as a city roast), and these dark and medium roasts are generally the preferred among coffee drinkers. Dark to medium roasts are also the commonly used espresso bean of choice in most of the high street coffee shops.
So when you see bags of coffee labeled as espresso beans, those aren’t special beans that have bean grown for your espresso machine but they have simply been roasted to the particular brands espresso roast albeit dark, medium or a light roast.
Personally I prefer medium or dark roasted coffee beans for my espresso, however I do find that the dark coffee roasts struggle to produce a good crema if the beans aren’t up to scratch. That being said, I’m not saying you cannot get a crema from a dark roast but if the beans are shiny, very dark and look wet due to being over-roasted and the oils have been forced through the outer shell, you will definitely struggle with getting a good crema.
The get the best crema on your espresso as well as a decent overall shot of espresso you’ll want coffee beans that look almost dry on the surface, glossy like they have been sweating (you want the oils to be locked inside and not lost due to over roasting). Obviously the best coffee beans for espresso are going to be purchased locally from an independent coffee roaster with a roast date so you know just how fresh your beans are. But for many of us (including me) this can be a challenge. If you are lucky you can get in contact with a roaster and they will mail order you fresh coffee beans but from my experience this can be costly and all of the roasters I have used in the past have been pricey.
Best Coffee for Espresso a few of my Favorites
So for coffee drinkers like you and me, places like Amazon are a great option. The trick to buying coffee beans for espresso from Amazon is to choose the beans that are popular, why I hear you ask?
Well, if you buy coffee beans from a brand that isn’t popular there is a good chance, you’ll end up with some old espresso beans that have been sat on a shelf gathering dust and quite possibly roasted months or even years before they reach your espresso maker due to the low turnover. You want the freshest coffee beans you can get your hands on.
So below I have picked out some of my best coffee beans for espresso that I have purchased before and still do. Currently I have the Kicking Horse set up as a subscription so I get a regular delivery straight to my door from Amazon.
Koffee Kult Coffee Beans (Dark Roast)
If you are looking for a dark roast for your espresso that hasn’t been over roasted leading to an oily bean, the Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans have been excellent so far for me. They haven’t been over oily and I manage to get an excellent crema with the Koffee Kult Dark Roast every time.
When you open the bag for the first time you’ll notice that the coffee beans have just enough of a glossy shine, not wet or over oily but they simply look like they’ve been sweating. This is exactly what you are looking for in coffee beans for an espresso.
The Koffee Kult dark roast beans are ethically sourced blend of beans from Guatemala, Columbia, and Sumatra all of which are well-known for producing some of the best coffee beans for espresso. Try a bag of Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso (Medium Roast)
One of my best coffee beans for espresso in recent months, I can’t seem to get enough of this, it tastes great. Any coffee lover who enjoy a regular espresso will be able to pick out the richness and subtleties of flavor found in the Kicking Horse espresso beans.
At the time of writing the Kicking Horse Coffee brand was one of the number one Fair Trade coffee producers in Canada. Fair Trade in the world of coffee simply means that a small percentage of each bag of coffee sold get donated to the coffee harvesters from third-world countries.
The Kicking Horse coffee beans are also roasted in Canada and are a mix of beans from Indonesia, Africa, and Central & South America which produces a great tasting cup with a chocolaty smooth mouthfeel.
Lavazza Super Crema Espresso (Espresso Roast)
If you love a good sized crema on your espresso shot the Lavazza Super Crema Espresso coffee beans might just be what you’re searching for. Lavazza uses a blend of 20% Robusta beans and 80% of Arabica beans with a blend of sweet Indonesian, smooth Brazilian, and Central American varieties. Not sure what Robusta and Arabica beans are read this article.
The beans are some of the best coffee beans for espresso and have been roasted to a dark to slightly medium shade giving a dry yet slightly oily bean which is perfect for home espresso machines. So don’t worry you can use these without worrying that your espresso machine is going to get clogged due to over oily beans.
The Lavazza Super Crema Espresso coffee beans are a favorite in Europe they have a slight fruity taste with a chocolatey hint and like I said are one of the best for producing a thick, velvety crema.