when I started to write about the best espresso beans, I couldn't stop thinking about my Italian dad, who always says that true Italians have coffee running through their veins. Considering 64% of the US population consumes coffee as a daily ritual, I don't think we're any different.
People in the US drink an average of three cups of coffee every day. This makes 150 million Americans consume more than 400 million coffee cups daily. And when we realized the pandemic and quarantines were not going anywhere, many of us started drinking superb quality coffee at home.
In this post, let's discover the best coffee beans you can get for your espresso machine. I'll explain what espresso beans are, bust some espresso-beans myths, share tips on storing coffee beans, and answer your frequently asked questions.
Best espresso beans in a glance
All the information about espresso coffee beans is further below. If you are here only for the list of the best espresso beans for 2022, check out this list.
Moka pot model
What are espresso coffee beans?
Espresso beans are...umm...coffee beans. But then why are some bags labeled as 'Espresso beans,' you ask? Because these coffee beans are roasted to release the signature intense flavors and oils of an espresso.
Usually, espresso coffee beans are dark roasted and packaged as ground coffee that you can pop in your espresso machines. But if your espresso beans don't already come ground, you will need to use a grinder to turn them into their fine form.
Espresso Beans - Busting some myths!
I bet most of you used to consider espresso coffee beans as some unique beans without which you can't make the best espresso coffee. Well - I think it's time to bust some common myths about espresso coffee beans.
Espresso is a particular type of bean - or is it?
No, coffee beans for espresso are regular beans roasted in various ways to achieve an entire range of flavors.
As a marketing tactic, coffee shops and supermarkets started advertising espresso coffee beans as beans from different plants species.
'Espresso roasts' are specially processed to make espresso coffees - Really?
If you see a pack of coffee beans on the shelf labeled 'espresso roast,' don't pay an extra $5 thinking that you would deprive yourself of the best robust, dark, and deep espresso.
Espresso beans labeled 'espresso roasts' are merely dark roasted coffee. So yes, dark roasted beans are recommended for your espresso machine, but you can use these beans for just any type of coffee.
Do you need to roast espresso coffee beans to make genuine espresso coffee?
So you need dark-roast beans for your espresso but can't spend too much time roasting them. If only there was a way for the coffee beans to roast themselves. Oh wait, there is! Good coffee means a good day, and the day gets better when you drink your espresso without handling it too much. In other words: Don't waste your time roasting your beans - buy pre-roasted beans like the rest of us, and enjoy your coffee.
5 Best Espresso Coffee Beans
Verena Street Shot Tower Espresso Beans
The Verena Street Shot Tower Espresso Beans are one of the best dark roast whole coffee beans. Coffee enthusiasts acknowledge it as a premium brand because it offers multiple origins of freshly roasted Arabica in a single packaging.
If you want to add a new palette to your espresso coffees, the Verena Street Shot Tower Espresso Beans are a must-try!
- Roasted in small batches
- Fresh espresso beans
- 100% Arabica beans
- Versatile - can be used in multiple coffee brewing techniques
- Origins of the Arabica beans are unknown
- Beans are slightly oily, so you need to clean the grinder often
Verena earned a regular customer when I brewed my first cup of espresso using the Shot Tower beans. These multi-origin beans yield a unique flavor profile, unlike anything I have ever tasted before.
You know the three characteristics of a good espresso - smooth, versatile, and creamy. The Verena Street Shot Tower dark roasted espresso beans tick mark all three boxes.
Moreover, these dark-roasted espresso coffee beans are roasted in small batches. I could tell this before even reading the packaging because of the freshness each cup of coffee offered.
The most shocking part is that despite being a dark roast, these espresso coffee beans didn't have a bitter flavor - it was bold and sharp, but not bitter!
NEW YORK JO: Medium Dark Roast, Whole Bean Coffee, 100%
- Gourmet quality espresso beans
- A subtle, earthy flavor
- USDA Certified
- Organic, Fair Trade Certified
- Kosher Certified.
Of the many espresso coffee beans I tried during quarantine, Jo Coffee's Medium Dark Roast Espresso Beans are hands down one of the best.
The espresso I brewed using these coffee beans had heavy notes of dark chocolate, thick crema, and a velvety finish. Flavour-wise, the Medium Dark Roast Espresso Beans are exceptionally rich yet smooth and not bitter.
The Jo Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Espresso Coffee Beans released an earthy flavor and a fragrant aroma that got me sold at the first sip.
The list of characteristics doesn't end here. The Jo Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Espresso Beans are 100% natural and organic - no added flavors.
Coffee Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Beans
Those of you with a super-strong coffee palette will surely love the flavor of the Coffee Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Beans. This darkest roast of coffee beans offers and incorporates coffee beans from around the globe, resulting in a custom blend heavy body espresso.
- Bulk purchasing; lesser per pack cost
- Ideal for super-strong espresso enthusiasts
- Packaging optimized for freshness
- Beans are too oily; may clog coffee grinders
- Do not come in individual packaging
The Coffee Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Beans have a strong bitter flavor. I would term these beans as medium-high acidic. If you are a die-hard espresso fan with the stamina for experimenting with espresso, you will love the Coffee Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Beans.
These super dark espresso coffee beans have a nutty and bittersweet aroma and a rich, deep texture with chocolaty notes. The Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Coffee Beans are slow-roasted in batches to enhance their bold natural flavors.
To be honest, I was somewhat doubtful about the super dark roast. Still, the quality of the espresso beans and the next-level flavor made me crave another cup.
As for freshness - The packaging secures a ten out of ten. The beans were so fresh when I first opened it that I could feel a burst of aroma to my face. All in all, I would give the Coffee Bean Direct Super Dark Espresso Beans a second and even a third and fourth try.
Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Classic Italian Espresso Medium Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- Slow-roasted beans give an earthy flavor
- 100% Arabica coffee
- Affordable price range
- Grind easily
- Beans may taste a bit burnt sometimes
- though these beans are considered versatile, some say it was too oily for their grinders.
The Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Classic Italian Espresso Medium Dark Roast is versatile, so you can use it with every possible brewing technique. I used it with four, and it did perfectly well with each method.
These beans are sourced from local farms and are slow-roasted to bring out the natural flavors - the richness they add to the coffee is beyond words. It comes in a zip-lock bag you can reseal to maintain freshness, so freshness-wise, I would give this Don Pablo beans a nine.
These beans come with instructions on how to brew coffee with different brewing techniques. I found this the perfect addition to the product because I didn't have to scan through YouTube to look for instructions.
It gives the espresso a voluminous body and a rich flavor. Not to forget the thick crema on top was to die for. It had an intense roast with notes of dark chocolate and was incredibly smooth. Even though they are shiny beans, I didn't have any issues with my grinder as some customers claimed that the beans gummed up their grinders due to their oiliness.
Lavazza Gran Riserva Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Dark Espresso Roast
Unlike the rest on this list, the Lavazza Gran Riserva Dark Espresso Roast is a blend of Robusta and Arabica coffee beans. If you like a fruity kick to your espressos - the Lavazza Gran Riserva Dark Espresso Roast is your perfect choice.
- Reasonably priced
- Not bitter
- Blend of Arabica and Robusta - 80-20 ratio
Though the vast majority of reviews for this product are excellent, some complained they received a stale product
The Lavazza Gran Riserva Dark Espresso Roast has an intense texture and a rich flavor profile. It has a Southern Italian flavor because of the particular roasting methods of the Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.
I loved the dark and bold blend of the espresso, and the hints of maple syrup and walnut you get at each sip are divine. You can use the Lavazza Gran Riserva Dark Espresso Roast beans with any coffee machine, but it best complements an espresso machine.
Coming to the texture, I loved the rich, velvety, dark roast espresso - it had a uniform flavor throughout. I strongly felt the chocolaty flavor in my drink which was a delightful addition to the smoky flavor.
Other than that, the beans were super fresh, aromatic, and non-greasy.
Does our five best espresso beans list makes you feel overwhelmed? Go for the Verena Street Shot Tower Espresso Beans or the Jo Coffee Medium-Dark Roast Espresso Beans.
These coffee beans offer a rich flavor profile and a thick crema, are fresh and good quality, and aren't super bitter.
How to store your espresso coffee Beans?
Unless you're the type of person who enjoys roasting your beans yourself, you probably settled on store-bought pre-roasted espresso coffee beans.
Assuming you bought a big pack of good quality coffee beans, you need to know how to store it properly, unless you want your $30 pack of coffee to go waste.
Yep, espresso coffee beans demand a little more TLC than being kept in a cupboard shelf in the bag they originally came in. and I believe they deserve it!
Here are some of my tips for storing your espresso coffee beans to keep them fresh for as long as possible:
1- Beans are Better than Grounds
This is not particularly a storage tip, but you can consider it a bonus from me. Whole coffee beans for espresso stay fresh for longer than ground coffee.
The bean oils are responsible for the majority of the coffee flavor. When coffee beans are smashed, the oil quickly evaporates, so does most of its taste. If you're serious about your espresso, buy whole beans and grind them yourself at home, fresh, whenever you want to brew a cup.
This ensures you get outstanding espresso with all the flavors and delicate characteristics of the beans. Moreover, you can save the time to grind the coffee by investing in an automatic espresso machine that does the grinding for you!
2- Store it in An Airtight Container
As it turns out, the way our parents used to store leftovers in airtight containers had more science behind it than we thought!
Using an airtight container for keeping your food fresh is particularly important for coffee beans. If you are too lazy for that, choose a coffee that comes in a bag with a zip-lock, it's the least you can do. Just remember to press all the air out of the bag before zip-locking it.
3- Never Store Your Espresso Beans in a Transparent Container
You love coffee - I get it. But even if you feel like storing your espresso beans in a transparent container so that you can admire its beauty (or to show off), fight the temptation!
Sunlight is the archenemy of coffee beans' freshness. And transparent containers turn out to be sunlight's accomplice. So, if you care about the freshness of your espresso beans, store them in a stainless steel container.
4- Keep Away From Heat or Fire
If you thought storing your espresso coffee beans in a steel container is enough - well, it isn't! Storing coffee beans in the sun or near a heat source is a big no-no.
Just like with sunlight, when you store espresso beans near the stove or a heat-generating appliance, they get stale faster.
5- Should I freeze my coffee beans to keep them fresh for longer?
If you need to store your coffee beans for more extended periods, you can put them in an airtight container in the freezer for a few months. It will keep them fresh.
6- Use them Within the Specified Time
Coffee may smell and taste like an elixir, but the beans aren't everlasting! As much as you hate to admit it, you have to throw away the remaining espresso coffee beans once they reach their expiry dates.
Some coffee beans don't have a "best before" date stamped. This doesn't mean you hit the jackpot. Try to consume them within three weeks of opening the pack.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Espresso Coffee Beans
Now that you know almost all there is to know about the best espresso beans, let's answer some FAQs.
Here are some of the most frequent questions I get asked regarding espresso beans - I hope it will help you choose the best espresso bean for your needs and budget.
Please don't choose your espresso beans according to the tv stars appearing in their commercials. Instead, consider roast profile, flavor profile, and roast type, and find the kind of coffee bean perfect for your personal preferences. I'll explain:
Dark roast / medium roast / light roast
Notes - chocolaty, nutty, or fruity
Aroma - floral, spicy, smoky, complex, or herbal
Body and crema - rich, full, velvety, and heavy
Small batch roasted
The best espresso beans are a matter of personal taste.
Arabica espresso beans are generally thought to be better than other types of beans. They are high in oils, which create a thicker crema. They also ensure that your espresso has the consistency, body, and flavor you desire.
If you like your espresso with a balanced flavor, use medium roasted Arabica espresso beans. However, Arabica espresso beans with a dark roast are great for rich, full-bodied drinks.
Whole espresso beans stay fresh for longer than pre-ground beans. Espresso beans usually have a shelf life of up to three weeks, but you can refer to the packaging for the exact dates.
If you opened you espresso bean bag and need to keep it frsh for longer periods, put the beans in an airtight container and keep it in the freezer.
No rule says you can't! But the espresso you brew from medium-roast coffee beans would not have the bitter, rich flavor and thick crema as a dark roast would.