When you get it right, an espresso coffee can be a near-magical experience. A dark and rich taste with a buzz that helps invigorate you and feel great from head to toe.
Whether it’s first thing in the morning when you are trying to get rid of the sleepy dust from your eyes or during your afternoon slump when you’re trying to kickstart your engines to complete your busy day.
However, when you get an espresso wrong, it can be a bitter and unpleasant experience, with an aftertaste that stays with you for some time afterwards.
Obviously, it is important to choose the right method and tools for making your espresso.
However, even if you have a reliable machine, or are just using a Moka pot if you don’t have good quality espresso beans (we should point out here, as we have in another post on this site, that espresso beans are not actually a type of coffee bean, but rather those that have been identified as being great for use in making this form of coffee), the resulting drink you make will not be all you hoped and be closer to the latter than the former described above.
To help you get that glorious thing of wonder that is a perfect cup of espresso every single time, we have highlighted what we believe are the best coffee beans for espresso below.
Our Top 5 Espresso Coffee Beans
Lavazza Cafe Espresso Beans, 1Kg
You know you are getting a high-quality coffee bean when you purchase any product with the Lavazza branding. With over 120 years’ worth of experience in the industry, the company was established in 1895 in Turin by Luigi Lavazza. It is still based in Turin and is now run by third and fourth generation Lavazza family members.
There is a reason Lavazza is favoured over other brands throughout the world. Even within the home country, it is considered the favourite coffee. Lavazza was compelled to give their products that tagline as there has been studies that show around 16 million of the 20 million families who purchase coffee in Italy pick Lavazza.
If you are looking for a tasty and distinctly Italian espresso with a rich and intense aroma and flavour, then look no further than the company’s Cafe Espresso whole beans. Rated with an intensity level of 5, these medium roast beans are 100% Arabica and sourced from Central and South America and Africa, but the processing is all completed in Settimo Torinese in Italy.
- Intensity level 5
- Full body and rich
- Compatible with all coffee makers and machines
- Suitable for all types of coffee (not just Espresso)
Cafe Royal Espresso Beans, 1Kg
The next great espresso beans we have to discuss come courtesy of the renowned and popular Cafe Royal. With more than 65 years of experience producing coffee, the Swiss company know a thing or two about their craft. Despite their longevity in the industry, they haven’t become complacent and are always looking to tweak and enhance their already delicious products. As a brand, they are committed to producing the finest coffee they can to help customers enjoy the best. And that’s what you get with the Espresso coffee beans from the company.
Made in Switzerland, using only the finest blend of Arabica and Robusta beans sourced from UTZ-certified farms. Although it definitely has some strong initial notes of roasting, it has a slightly less intense flavour compared to the Lavazza beans above, scoring 4 out of 5. That being said, it makes an exquisite flavoured coffee with pointed roasted beans notes and a very spicy and intense taste with only the slight hint of acidity. We would recommend these coffee beans for anyone who is looking for an espresso that has a lightness to it.
- Swiss coffee from the masters
- Arabica and Robusta beans sourced from UTZ-certified farms
- Low acidity level
- Roasted notes with a spicy flavour
Coffee Masters Super Crema Espresso Coffee Beans, 1Kg
Coffee Masters is an independent coffee wholesaler based in Worcestershire. As well as selling their extremely high-quality coffee beans and blends to customers, the company also supplies offices, bars, hotels, cafes, coffee shops, bistros and restaurants throughout the country with ingredients and machines all at reasonably affordable wholesale prices. Although this particular blend is not solely made from Arabica beans and instead is a mixture of 40% Arabica beans with 30% washed Robusta beans and 30% Robusta beans, it still has a delicious flavour.
They are very dark roast beans that produce bold and deep flavours that will allow you to reminisce about Italian coffee shops. You should also be able to detect notes of hazelnut, cream and milk chocolate with a decidedly subtle level of acidity, bitter cocoa and nutty sweetness. As the name suggests, the espresso you make should have a perfect Crema topping. Even if you are looking to have something other than espresso, this will work just as well, and milk can be added to make a softer drink.
- Perfect for other types of coffee as well as Espresso
- A richly dark roast mix of Arabica and Robusta beans
- High-quality beans sourced from India, Brazil and Central America
- Full-body flavour
Spiller & Tait Signature Blend Coffee Beans, 1kg
Spiller & Tait were set up in January 2014 by David Tait and Simon Spiller. In a relatively short time, it has been in operation since then, Spiller & Tait has grown to become one of the biggest and best-loved brands of fresh coffee in the country. This product is the Signature Blend of coffee beans from the company that comprises five different varieties of Arabica beans from India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Brazil and Columbia. The resulting blend is perfect for a full-body, rich and very rounded flavoured espresso blend.
The Signature Blend has been devised to appeal to a wide array of palates and is favoured for those looking for a complex flavour without any bitter aftertaste. Although picked out as being great for espresso, these coffee beans will work well to make just about any coffee using any type of coffee machine or espresso maker. It doesn’t matter whether you have it at the start of the day, at the halfway point or towards the end, the Spiller & Tait Signature Blend will never disappoint.
- A unique blend of Arabica beans from 5 fine regions
- Full-bodied and rich flavour, without bitterness
- Can be used in all coffee machines and makers
- Intensity level 4
Taylors of Harrogate Espresso Beans, 1kg (Pack of 3)
The final product in our choice of the best espresso beans comes from Taylors of Harrogate. Taylors is another great family-run, independent company that specialises in tea and coffee. The brand was first established back in 1886, the company remains in Harrogate and remains directed by members of the Taylors family. One thing that really hasn’t changed since its formative days is its commitment to exquisite and memorable flavour.
Blend from 100% Arabica beans from Ethiopia, Kenya, Indonesia and Brazil to exquisitely smooth coffee with a strong and bittersweet chocolate tone to it all. You know you are getting good value for money if you are looking for the strength of the roast and it’s rated a 5. The big flavours and robust coffee beans may be sourced from outside this country, but all of the roasting action takes place in the company’s very traditional and reliable drum roaster from their base in Harrogate.
- Blended from 5 distinct varieties of Arabica
- Traditionally roasted in Harrogate
- Powerful and dark roast
- Intensity level 5
Espresso Beans Buying Guide
Now that you’ve had a chance to look at our choices for the best espresso coffee beans, you may still be a little unsure which is right for you. With that in mind, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you choose the right espresso coffee beans.
Origin of Beans
Although many, except the Swiss and Italian brands, of the coffees we picked out above are made right here in Blighty, the beans are obviously sourced from various places. The origin of the beans can actually play a hugely influential role in the flavour, texture and consistency, thanks to several factors such as the growing conditions, climate and temperature.
For example, for brews of espresso that are very bright, clean and sweet, look to South and Central American coffee beans, whereas if you want something little more complicated, but ultimately very fruity, look to African coffee beans. And Asian coffee is known for its deliciously rich and earthy flavour.
Blend or Single Origin Coffee Beans
There is a lot of debate about whether it is best to make espresso with a blend or single-origin coffee beans. However, given that coffee flavour is a highly subjective matter, it is more about your personal preference than anything else. Single-origin coffee beans, when used for espresso, will often produce the most powerful, rich and lingering coffee, whereas blends can often be a lot subtler. The truth is, they are both good, in their own way. Consider the flavour profile you are looking for and how strong you need it to be and go from there.
Type of Roast
The kind of roast that, has been used to get the beans to the stage they are now is crucial to finding the right espresso for your palate. Are you looking for something subtle and delicate? opt for a much lighter roast. Whereas if you are looking for something a little on the strong and bitter side, choose a dark roast.
Consider the Packaging
Without being too fastidious, it is a good idea to be aware of the packaging used for any coffee beans you are interested in. Has the best technology and material been used to ensure the beans are kept as fresh as possible between when they were packaged and arriving at your home? Packaging with leakproof features helps prevent oxidation from occurring which obviously reduces the lifespan and freshness of the beans.
It is recommended that you check the packaging also for details related to the coffee beans. We have found that there are inaccuracies when looking at the Amazon listing (for example) and the actual packaging. Check that everything matches up, including the flavour profile, source of the beans, roasting date and the brand.
Ultimately, although we’ve left it to last, freshness is one of the most crucial points to consider when choosing any beans, not just those for those espressos you crave. Always look to get coffee with a roasting date as close to the time when you intend on buying it. Avoid any coffee beans and brands that do not share clear details of the roasting date.
Whether you are looking to enjoy an espresso in shot-form as a pick-you-up start to the day, refuelling at lunchtime or need it for those fancy cappuccinos you like to make on your afternoons off, choosing the right coffee beans is imperative. Think about the kind of flavour of coffee you enjoy, or that you are looking to explore (if you are feeling brave and adventurous) and pick the coffee beans from our guide that match up.
If you are still not sure which is best for you, our guide will hopefully help to join any dots and fill in any blanks you have on the path to tasty, dark and decadent coffee. Coffee is very subjective and really the right coffee for you, may not be quite the right coffee for someone else. We’ve tried to keep that in mind by selecting fine coffee beans for espressos that will appeal to a wide selection of people.
Even if you have to try them all, we are sure you Weill find the right for you. If you need any further help, please take the time to look at some of the other great information we have right here at Best Coffee Beans!