For all the coffee lovers out there (or even if you’re not), it’s common knowledge that the beans are what makes a quality cup of joe. Espresso coffee is a dark roast that is much stronger in flavor than regular coffee beans or grounds. It doesn’t matter if you have already ground coffee for espresso or choose to purchase the whole beans; you will be able to taste every unique note in this purest form of coffee. Espresso coffee can be used to give you that much needed morning boost, or you can savor throughout the day. Whether you get a taste of tantalizing flavor between your lips or one of lesser caliber, it all depends on your beans.
If you are not a coffee connoisseur, it can be hard to know what the best espresso bean is. It takes a long time – and sometimes even years of coffee drinking experience – to identify the uniqueness of each coffee bean. If you don’t know where to start, our top 10 list is a good place to begin.
View The Best Espresso Beans Below
1. (Best Overall) Death Wish Organic Whole Bean Coffee
You may do a double-take when you look at the packaging or read the title of this product. However, we can only assume the manufacturer came up with this name because these beans are incredibly strong. Be prepared to stay awake for hours, which makes this a great choice for those who need to pull an all-nighter.
This dark roast is a combination of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans and is USDA certified to be organic and fair trade. If you aren’t a fan of bitter espresso coffee, then you’re in luck because Death Wish whole bean coffee has hints of chocolate and cherry! Not only that, but the product is 100% natural, with nothing artificial added.
+ Strong coffee
+ USDA certified organic and fair trade
+ Hints of chocolate and cherry
+ 100% natural
Why We Like It – The name might be misleading since the product surpasses safety standards by being 100% and USDA certified.
2. (Premium Choice) Blue Horse Kona Coffee, Dark Roast Whole Beans
100% Kona coffee is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. These beans originate from the Big Island of Hawaii. If you purchase from Blue Horse, you can be sure you are getting 100% certified Kona beans. Each bean has been grown in the shade, sun-dried, then handpicked before it made its way directly from the farm to your home. Their products are sustainably grown without the addition of any herbicides or pesticides. You will only be tasting the richest and most natural flavor in each cup.
+ 100% certified Kona coffee
+ Straight from the farm to your home
+ Sustainably grown
+ Natural flavors
Why We Like It – Kona coffee is top of the line in quality, yet it’s accessible to you from sustainable farms right to your home.
3. (Great Value) Starbucks Espresso Blend Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Starbucks is synonymous with popular coffee taste. Now you can bring their signature flavors home to you in their dark roast espresso blend coffee beans. It’s quite an intense flavor with sweet caramel notes that makes this dark roast enjoyable with or without milk. You can expect a more robust flavor with the darker beans without losing any of the taste if it’s put through an espresso machine. It doesn’t matter where you live; you no longer need to leave the house to get magnificent roasted dark coffee.
+ Flavorful espresso beans
+ With caramel notes
+ Can be enjoyed with or without milk
+ Intense flavor
Why We Like It – If you love Starbucks and you love a good dark roasted cup of expresso, these beans are the answer to your morning blues.
4. Lavazza Caffe Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend (Pack of 2)
Get two for the price of one from Lavazza Caffe, another reputable coffee shop brand. If dark roast proves to be much too strong in the early morning, try these medium roast espresso beans instead. Even the medium roast beans have delectable and aromatic notes that can’t be replicated by regular coffee beans.
Each package contains 100% Arabica beans that are blended and roasted in Italy. The taste is best preserved with an espresso machine but works just as well with any coffee maker. The beans are non-GMO and will deliver the most fragrant cup of coffee.
+ 100% Arabica
+ Blended and roasted in Italy
+ Aromatic medium roast
Why We Like It – We love an authentic cup of coffee. These beans from Italy are great for those that cannot handle a darker blend.
5. Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee
Just in case you are confused, this coffee is “real good.” It’s an organic dark roast that accentuates the roasted notes with a light hint of spice. The 100% Arabica beans used in each package originate from South America then roasted expertly in Seattle. These roast coffee beans bring together the surprising flavors of bell pepper, lemon, and cedar. What seems to be completely unrelated flavors mix quite well together into an invigorating cup of morning coffee.
+ 100% Arabica beans
+ Roasted in Seattle
+ Unique flavors
+ Works with any coffee machine
Why We Like It – You don’t need to set out and purchase an automatic espresso machine since this coffee bean option works well with any coffee making device.
6. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend
The Lavazza Super Crema coffee bean blend is a medium roast with hints of brown sugar for a rich and sweet taste and flavorful hazelnut tones. The beans are produced in a nut-free facility (so no worries if you are allergic) and then blended and roasted in Italy. While an espresso machine will bring out the flavor of these espresso beans in the best way, they do work with any other machine as well. The Super Crema gives you a coveted creamy taste with also added hints of honey and even some dried fruits.
+ A creamy and rich taste
+ Produced in a nut-free facility
+ Blended and roasted in Italy
+ Works with all machines
Why We Like It – If you like a creamy taste with a nutty but sweet taste, then you are in for a real treat with this espresso bean.
7. Eight O’Clock Whole Bean Coffee
This full-bodied dark espresso whole bean coffee brings you chocolate and sweet caramel flavors to liven up your mornings. This is a Seattle roast made from one hundred percent Arabica coffee beans that deliver a very distinct taste. The packaging securely seals the espresso beans inside to preserve the tantalizing flavors. Eight O’clock coffee is America’s best-selling coffee beans and is kosher certified as well.
+ Full Arabica beans
+ A sweet blend of chocolate and caramel
+ Tight packaging
+ Kosher certified
Why We Like It – Avid coffee fans all love to make the perfect cup of coffee, and the dark and full-bodied espresso beans in each package, it will keep you wanting more.
8. Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso
The Italian roast espresso coffee blends coffee beans from Africa, India, Central, and South America to bring you coveted flavors from every region. This artisan roast coffee option is rich and dark but not bitter. You can taste the subtle honeyed tones in every sip that touches your lips. What you will be getting in each cup of Coffee Bean Direct would be hints of molasses, cocoa, and smokey flavor. Everything you taste is 100% natural without added flavors.
+ Natural flavors
+ Rich and dark
+ Italian roast espresso
+ Without added flavors
Why We Like It – We love the Coffee Bean Direct artisan choice because you know you are tasting real and natural earthy flavors that are pure, without any additives.
9. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans
The flavors of Koffee Kult beans are renowned due to them being roasted just 24 hours before shipping. The beans blended in this dark espresso coffee package are from Sumatra, Colombia, and Guatemala. Savor the smooth taste that is accented with sugar plums and cinnamon. The beans are perfect for any coffee machine and grinder. Best espresso beans offset the bitter notes with either fruity or rich tastes that make each cup and each bean from different manufacturers unique.
+ A blend from South America and Asia
+ Koffee Kult coffee is packaged 24 hours before shipping
+ Works well with different espresso machines and grinders
+ Bold but smooth flavors
Why We Like It – The best beans for espresso can be a combination of beans from different regions for a unique taste, just like this one from Koffee Kult.
10. Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso
Whole bean medium roasts are the preferred option for a milder coffee taste. Kicking Horse Coffee espresso is smooth, silky, and enhanced with cocoa. It’s also fruity and bright. Kicking Horse coffee beans can be created in several ways, including using drip machines, espresso machines, pour overs, French presses, and more. All the beans from the regions of South and Central America, Africa, and Indonesia are all sustainably grown, making them organic, fair trade, and kosher. Kicking Horse Coffee is 100% certified Arabica coffee.
+ 100% certified
+ Sustainably grown
+ Can be used with different machines including espresso machines
+ Organic, fair trade and kosher
Why We Like It – We like how Kicking Horse cares about the environment and follows regulations but can still make the best espresso blend coffee.
Espresso Beans Buyer’s Guide
After reading through our top 10 list, you might have noticed that there are multiple blend options with beans originating from regions all over the world. It can be tough, even for seasoned coffee drinkers, to identify the best espresso coffee beans without putting the beverage to their lips. However, don’t be discouraged because we will guide you through some important factors to look for when choosing the best espresso beans for your coffee.
The origin matters because the conditions in the location where the beans are grown have a large impact on the flavor of your espresso. Factors such as shade, soil, precipitation, and even altitude all contribute to the final product. The best espresso beans usually originate from countries that are at the longitude and latitude of 25 degrees north and 30 degrees south.
Places like this will provide the best conditions to make the best espresso bean. As you can imagine, there are a ton of countries that fall under this jurisdiction, but only a few of them are recognized for producing well-loved espresso.
In general, Asian coffee from Indonesia and surrounding areas tend to have an earthier taste. African beans have a fruity flavor but are not too sweet, while Central and South American espresso are sweeter. To give you a better idea of what kind of coffee you will be getting, we will delve deeper into the more renowned espresso-producing countries.
Hawaii – Hawaii is met with plenty of rainfall throughout the year, and this contributes to sweet floral notes that have a hint of spice.
Indonesia – You may have seen Java and Sumatran espresso packages, and these are islands in Indonesia. Coffee from here are earthier and might possess a more bitter taste.
Colombia – If you like creamy and rich flavors, then Colombian espresso is a perfect choice. They excel at producing caramel and nutty tastes.
Brazil – Brazilian espresso will make for a rich cup of coffee. They are fuller-bodied and have hints of nuts and spice.
Ethiopia – Ethiopian espresso can vary in range. You can get something quite rich and dark to something lighter with floral tones.
Kenya – Kenya sees a lot of sunlight, which contributes to their espresso having a sunnier sweet taste that may also be a bit tart.
Next, you need to decide if you want to purchase pure espresso beans from one location or have a blend that includes beans from a variety of countries and regions in the world. You will have the purest taste if you opt for single-origin espresso. A blend is great; if you plan on adding some milk, different blends can bring eclectic tastes to the table.
The roast is also paramount to the flavor of your espresso. In general, the darker the roast, the more robust the flavor. Dark roasts are the best for espresso lovers, and they are also the ones with low acidity and can also offer a creamier taste. You know it’s a dark roast due to the color of the bean and its slightly glossy exterior due to natural oils.
The medium roasts are less intense and really allow you to enjoy the flavor of the beans.
Whole or Ground?
You also have the option to purchase whole beans or ones that are pre-ground. The main difference is that whole beans make for a much fresher cup of espresso. If you have a grinder, you can purchase whole beans and make yourself the freshest cup of espresso. If you aren’t a very picky coffee drinker, or if you don’t plan on investing in a quality grinder, pre-ground beans are a good way to save time and effort.
Top of the line machines may even have a grinder built-in. Quality beans can make up for a lower-end machine and can still make an excellent cup of espresso. If you want to grind more than just a cup’s worth to save on time in the future, a great way to store the beans is in an airtight container.
Airtight and leakproof packaging works well to preserve the flavor of your espresso. You know what to expect from espresso packed in an airtight vacuum sealed package compared to a glass jar.
Natural and Safe?
A lot of our top 10 options are organic, non-GMO, 100% natural, kosher, and free of all artificial additives. This is important to look for, especially in a substance you will be consuming every day.
This section ties in with the origin of the beans. Do you want your espresso to knock your socks off with its earthy and rich taste? Or would you like to get a sample of fresh floral tones? Ones with a creamy and nutty flavor are quite satisfying for colder weather. Decide on the type of flavor you want and figure out which region produces your type of espresso.
Is there a Difference Between Coffee Beans and Espresso Beans?
Why learn so much about identifying espresso coffee beans when you can get regular ones? Is there a difference between the two? Espresso coffee is better prepared in an espresso machine. That sounds quite obvious. Some of the options on our top list can work with regular machines, but may compromise the freshness and flavor.
Fundamentally, the difference is in the brew. Whether coffee is labeled as espresso or not is dependent on how the brewer thinks it’s best to bring out the flavor of the coffee. You have Arabica and Robusta beans with the former usually resulting in higher acidity, lighter taste, and floral and sweet notes. The Robusta, as the name hints at, is the one with deeper, richer tones with a much stronger taste.
Which Coffee Beans are Best for Espresso?
This depends on the flavor you want and the region you choose. As mentioned, the coffees produced from different areas of the world can provide a vastly diverse array of tastes. We personally love a good rich, creamy, and nutty coffee flavor, so beans from South America always satisfy our cravings.
Refer to our tips on which type of coffee beans to choose depending on your personal preference. Dark roasts are also amazing for those who like to savor pure coffee and know how to appreciate the tastes and tones. Medium roasts are a good choice for those who like higher acidity and lighter flavors.
The best beans for espressos will deliver your favorite flavors without the bitterness (unless that’s what you like).
What Makes a Good Espresso Bean?
Aside from the flavors of the bean, the freshness is also a culpable factor when deciding on a good espresso. The freshest beans will bring out the strongest flavors and also preserve and store well. To make sure your beans remain fresh, look at the packaging. A vacuum-sealed and airtight container or packaging will ensure freshness. Grind your beans within an hour before you make your coffee will also guarantee the full impact of the espresso.
How Do You Choose Espresso Beans?
You need first to identify what flavors you like. Then you can refer to our buying guide and slowly sort through, eliminating options until you are left with the perfect one.
If you are new to the coffee scene, a dark roasted espresso can be intense. If you are adamant about trying an espresso, you can start with a medium roast. If you are a regular coffee drinker, make sure you have the proper equipment to bring you delicious coffee every day.
It’s not only the equipment, but it’s how you make it. Espressos are the top of the line beverages for coffee lovers, as not many people know how to savor and appreciate the unique blends. You should set out to purchase the best of the best beans for the top result.
Low-quality beans just won’t produce the same silky and rich tastes that will bring a smile to your lips. Take a look at our top 10 list if you don’t know where to start or refer to our buying guide to help you narrow down the choices.
Always make sure the filter is clean and preheat the equipment. Even the water temperature and quality matter. You should choose bottled or distilled water if possible for an untarnished taste. If softening the water is possible, you can try that too.
As said before, if you opted for whole beans, don’t grind them until right before you brew unless you can manage to store it in airtight, leakproof, and vacuum-sealed containers or packaging.
Did You Know?
Coffee beans are actually considered seeds, and they are said to date back to 800 A.D! Goat herders first noticed the effect coffee plants could have on their goats. Later, a monk managed to make the first coffee drink to help with staying awake at night. Fast forward a few centuries later, and we have the coffee drinks we have grown to know and love.