Best Coffee Beans for Espresso
If you are like me and you’ve recently found the joy of espresso, then you are in search for the best coffee beans for espresso.
Or, maybe you’ve loved espresso for a while now, but had a recent cup at a restaurant, and realize that you can do better!
In this article, we discuss the best coffee beans for espresso that can be found anywhere.
Do You Want the BEST Coffee Beans for Espresso?
The X Factor
Of course, even if you pick the perfect coffee bean for espresso, there are a number of factors that can come into play that can still screw things up!
For an espresso to be perfect, you have to have all of these thing right:
- Coffee beans ground to the proper density
- Equipment that can properly press the grinds into a dense “puck” or “cake”
- Proper water temperature
- Equipment that can apply the proper pressure when pushing the water through the pressed coffee grinds
- Last but not least, a great barista (that’s you!)
The Proper Grind
You don’t want the grind to be too fine.
If you grind too fine, the espresso machine typically just gums up in the resulting water/ground coffee mix.
While the coarseness of the grind is one of the more subjective parts of this process, most typically prefer a grind that is not too fine. But, you will likely want to stay on the coarser side of a pretty fine grind.
The Proper Press
For an espresso to come out correctly, the espresso equipment needs to be able to press the coffee grinds into a very dense “puck”.
When I say “puck”, I mean a grouping of coffee grinds that are pressed hard together and pressed evenly. The purpose of this is to have the water be able to be pushed through the grinds and experience the grinds in an even fashion.
A perfect press means that when every drop of water gets pushed through the coffee grinds, that each drop experience approximately the same amount of grinds.
The Proper Water Temperature
A good espresso uses hot water to pump through the hard pressed coffee grains.
The following information I found at Sweet Maria’s, estimates that a great cup of espresso should use water heated up to 90 C ± 5 C 194 F ± 9 F.
The Proper Water Pressure
Again looking at Sweet Maria’s, the proper water pressure for a good espresso machine is 9 ± 2 Bar
130.5 PSI ± 29 PSI.
The pressure has to be just right so as to be able to push through the dense coffee grind cake that was made. But, not too high pressure such that the water isn’t able to properly “soak up” those coffee bean flavors.
The Proper Barista
Now that you’ve read this, you are the proper barista.
Ok, maybe after a couple of tries.
But really, for the perfect espresso, the proper barista needs to make sure all of these variables are within range.
Once all the variables are practiced and perfected, then, the only remaining variable is choosing the best coffee beans for espresso.
Is Crema Important?
What might not be obvious to the lay espresso drinker, is that crema isn’t something that is added to the espresso.
Crema is a direct result of getting all of these variables right. Pressure, temperature, and grind coarseness together when performed correctly produce the perfect crema.
If you are the perfect composer waving your wand in all the right ways during the creation steps, the resulting crema will be “not to thin” nor “not too thick”.
It will be just right…
Now that we know what it takes to remove all the variable that go into a great cup of coffee, that only leaves the biggest variable: the best coffee bean for espresso.
Each of these candidates for the best espresso bean are exceptional.
They each have their own strengths that make it stand out from the rest.
Perhaps you can spot our favorite. Because we think you really can’t go wrong with it.
But, just because we have a favorite, doesn’t mean one of these other espresso beans wouldn’t be the best for you.
Cafe Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso Gourmet Coffee
We’ve talked about Don Pablo as a quality coffee been provider before in our article about the best Colombian coffee beans.
Don Pablo hits the mark again with this well received Classic Italian Espresso Gourmet Coffee beans.
These beans are medium to dark roast. The beans are 100% Arabica.
The taste is strong but smooth. And, without an acidic characteristic that you find makes other beans bitter.
This coffee bean is not bitter at all.
One reviewer stated “I have tried many brands and have finally found coffee beans that are economical and of high quality“.
Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast EspressoCoffee Bean Direct is very popular in the online world of coffee beans.
This Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso coffee bean is receiving rave reviews from the espresso drinkers out there.
Many also state they like this coffee bean brewed as a regular cup of joe.
The packaging of this coffee states “Flavored Coffee contains Natural and Artificial Flavors”. However, it appears that this is “generic” labeling that applies to only those beans that are truly flavored.
It appears from many reviewers that this is just a general dark roast where the only flavoring comes from the roasting process.
For the price, this coffee bean exceeds expectations.
Also, don’t be afraid of the 5lb bag. Many individual reviewers found if you just store the beans in a dry air tight container at room temperature (in the pantry), that these beans last for years without a noticeable loss of freshness. Just make sure the container is air tight, room temperature, and out of the light.
Gourmet Espresso Beans from the Jo Coffee CollectionJo Coffee offers Gourmet Espresso Beans from Jo Coffee Collection as their medium to dark roast that provides cupping notes of dark chocolate that produces rich crema.
If you require organic coffee, these espresso beans are USDA certified organic and are also certified Fair Trade.
Reviewers of Jo Coffee are over the top for this bean. As an example, one reviewer stated “Great espresso, not bitter, with a pleasant hint of chocolate“.
Another bragged “Great coffee! Tastes amazing and I will be reordering“.
Review after review goes on and on about how great this coffee bean is. So, don’t miss out and give this one a try!
Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Espresso Medium RoastWe have featured coffee beans from Kicking Horse in other categories of coffee beans.
This Canadian company is very committed to things like Fair Trade and using organic products to grow their beans that are safe for the environment, and also safe for you.
Kicking Horse Cliff Hanger Espresso Medium Roast is an offering that we consider to be another Kicking Horse offering that live up to those standards.
And, live up to them well enough that we have included them in our top five list of espresso beans.
These Cliff Hanger beans provide a bright, clean acidic finish that is not bitter.
The beans provide a slight hint of dark chocolate. Some have notices roasted pecan cupping notes.
The brew creates a full bodied cup. And, from an espresso standpoint, when done properly these beans create a smooth rich crema.
Lavazza Super Crema EspressoLavazza is an Italian company that creates great coffee beans. We’ve found several varieties that we’ve featured before.
These Lavazza Super Crema Espresso coffee beans just simply could not be passed up for inclusion in our list.
These coffee beans are a blend of Brazilian beans with other Central American coffee beans.
The crema produced by these beans has a velvety consistency that is delicious.
Of course the hero of these beans is in the name. And, that is the crema. These beans produce a super rich crema. And, they produce lots of it.
These espresso beans are not oily and are a medium roast. Some complain that the roast is too dark. But, too many say the beans are not oily. So, if they were being roasted too much, they would likely be oily.
Best Coffee Beans for Espresso Conclusions
We hope you can benefit from our research into how to create a great espresso.
And, what to look for when shopping for the best coffee beans for espresso.
Do You Want the BEST Coffee Beans for Espresso?
We’ve enjoyed putting this article together while learning along the way. And, we feel that we’ve provided several options for the Best Coffee Beans for Espresso.