Best Coffee Beans for Espresso Machines | Expert Reviews

A shot of espresso has about 63 milligrams of caffeine. This makes it very strong coffee. Finding the right coffee beans for your espresso machine is key for many coffee lovers. In this guide, we’ll look at what makes espresso beans great and some of the top options out there.

We will cover everything from roast types to what makes single-origin and blended beans different. With our help, you’ll be able to pick the best beans for your espresso machine. Get ready to improve your home espresso game with our expert advice.

Introduction to Espresso Beans

The kind of coffee beans you choose is really important when making espresso. Some think there’s a special bean just for espresso. But, any coffee bean can work as long as it’s roasted and ground correctly.

The Misconception: No Such Thing as Espresso Beans

Many believe espresso needs a special bean type. However, espresso beans is a term created by roasters. It’s for beans they think are perfect for espresso. You can actually use many types of coffee beans for great espresso.

What Makes a Bean Suitable for Espresso?

There isn’t a single perfect espresso bean. But some features do make a coffee bean better for espresso. It helps if the beans are dense, oily, and have a rich flavor. The way you grind and prepare the beans is also key.

In the end, the talk about “espresso beans” can be misleading. The most important thing is to pick top-notch coffee. It should be able to handle the pressure and brewing of an espresso machine. This way, it will give you a strong, tasty espresso shot.

espresso beans

Choosing the Right Roast Level

Choosing the right roast level for your espresso is vital. Many love the dark roast of Italian-style espresso. It has a bittersweet, smoky taste. Yet, we think a medium roast sets the stage for an amazing espresso.

Balancing Caramelization and Bitterness

Roasting coffee is like caramelizing onions. Slowly heating them brings out a sweet, complex flavor. But if you go too far, the sugars burn, and the taste is off. It’s a careful art that good roasters know well.

In the world of espresso roast levels, there’s a lot to explore. Lighter roasts bring out bright, floral notes in your espresso. But go a bit darker for a richer taste. It adds body, chocolate flavors, and a nice bitterness that many enjoy.

The best roast level is up to you. Yet, a medium roast espresso offers a great mix. It balances caramelization with a hint of bitterness. This creates fantastic coffee. So, don’t be afraid to try different roasts. See what fits your flavor and machine best.

Single Origin vs Blends for Espresso

The talk between single-origin and blend espresso shots is getting hotter. Some argue for single-origin beans, but a good espresso blend can be just as tasty. It often makes a shot that’s more interesting and balanced.

Single-origin espresso is special because it brings out the unique flavors from one place. It lets you taste the specific region’s coffee in every cup. A well-prepared single-origin shot is exciting, with a crisp taste and sharp flavors. Yet, it can be tricky to work with and may not give the creamy feel many espresso lovers like.

Creating a blend from various single-origin espresso beans offers a different experience. It combines beans from different places and roasts to make a cup that’s well-rounded. In the end, a good espresso blend offers depth and a smooth texture. Blends also add more diversity, making them a good fit for milk-based drinks and sweets.

When it comes to choosing, it’s really about what you enjoy. Exploring both single-origin and blends is the key. Each type brings its own unique taste to the table. The choice is yours to make. Whether you love single origins or you’re a blend believer, specialty espresso has something for everyone.

The Role of Robusta in Espresso Blends

In the realm of espresso, Arabica beans have long been the star. They’re known for their nuanced flavors. But, now, some are seeing Robusta’s value in creating the perfect blend.

Robusta, though known for its strong taste, has some notable perks. It packs more caffeine, less acid, and helps build a creamy layer on espressos. It’s also friendlier on the wallet. All this makes it great for blending with Arabica.

Italian espresso, known worldwide, often includes a touch of Robusta. This mix results in a well-rounded cup, combining body, flavor, and complex hints. Robusta boosts the shot’s texture and the Arabica adds layers of taste. Together, they’re a winning team.

Caffeine ContentLowerHigher
Crema ProductionModerateExcellent
Flavor ProfileComplex, NuancedRobust, Earthy

Robusta’s inclusion may surprise espresso aficionados. But, blending it right with Arabica can work wonders. It offers a unique taste that combines the best from both worlds. The lasting espresso favorites often owe their magic to a bit of Robusta.

Freshness and Resting Period for Espresso Beans

Making a fantastic espresso depends a lot on the beans being fresh and having time to rest. Although it’s key to purchase fresh roasted espresso beans, they can be too fresh for espresso. Wine needs to age; coffee beans need some time too after roasting.

When beans are roasted, they trap carbon dioxide inside. This gas must escape before the beans are good for espresso. So, it’s best to let your espresso roast coffee beans sit for a few days first.

Experts suggest waiting at least five days, but maybe as long as two weeks, to use newly roasted beans. This waiting time, known as the resting coffee for espresso period, lets the beans degas. As a result, your espresso will taste richer and more balanced.

To keep your beans fresh, store them in a tight container. Keep it in a place shielded from sunlight, heat, and dampness. This ensures your storing coffee beans correctly and they’ll be perfect when you brew your coffee.

Always remember, making the perfect espresso is a journey. Knowing about freshness and resting time is a vital part of this adventure. By sticking to these tips, you can make amazing espresso right at home.

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso Machines

We love our coffee and know how crucial finding the right beans is for your espresso machine.

Lavazza Super Crema Espresso Blend

The Lavazza Super Crema Espresso Blend is loved by many for its lavazza super crema espresso flavor and Italian-style espresso blend. It gives a deliciously rich and balanced espresso.

This blend is a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. It goes through a medium roast to bring out the beans’ natural sweetness and complexity. The outcome is a full-bodied espresso with hints of brown sugar and hazelnut.

The Lavazza Super Crema stands out because it creates a thick, creamy crema. This is perfect for drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. It ensures a great balance of flavor and texture.

Roast LevelFlavor NotesRecommended Brewing Method
MediumBrown sugar, hazelnutEspresso machine

Whether you know lots about espresso or you’re just starting to explore, the Lavazza Super Crema is a great pick. It offers a consistent, delightful taste. Plus, it works well for brewing your favorite espresso drinks at home or in a cafe.

Verve Coffee Roasters Aster Blend Single Origin

The Verve Coffee Roasters Aster Blend perfectly represents the skill behind single origin espresso in a blend. It bursts with tropical fruit and honey flavors. This creates a unique taste that coffee lovers, whether new or experienced, will enjoy.

Flavor NotesRoast LevelOrigin
Nectarine, Key Lime, and Brown SugarMediumEthiopia

The result is the Verve coffee roaster’s aster blend—a coffee that’s both vibrant and well-balanced. It’s creamy and has a satisfying aftertaste. This is the perfect choice for those who love espresso or are dipping their toes into the world of specialty coffee.

Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend

The Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend is perfect for those who want the same great espresso every time. It comes from the famous Stumptown Coffee Roasters. This blend is known for its perfect mix of brightness, body, and sweetness, ideal for all kinds of espresso drinks.

This espresso blend brings together beans from Latin America, Africa, and Indonesia. These different places give the blend its unique taste. You’ll notice hints of citrus, dark chocolate, and dried fruit, creating a rich, full flavor.

Consistent Quality and Flavor Profile

What makes the Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend special is its quality and taste. Stumptown ensures every blend is top-notch by picking the best beans and closely watching the roasting and mixing.

The Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Blend is a go-to for any coffee lover. It promises a great cup, every time. It’s a favorite in the world of high-quality coffee because it’s so reliable.

Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Espresso Blend

The Monarch Espresso Blend mixes different types of coffee beans. This creates a rich and balanced espresso with hints of dark chocolate and molasses. It’s a satisfying taste that will please anyone who loves good coffee.

Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso Blend

In the domain of specialty coffee, few can match the distinction of Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Espresso Blend. Renowned for its medium roast excellence, this blend epitomizes Intelligentsia’s dedication to sustainable sourcing practices. By forging direct relationships with farmers, they ensure exemplary quality standards are met. The complex and enticing flavors of Black Cat make it a preferred selection among espresso lovers.

Sustainability Focus and Taste Profile

Intelligentsia channels significant effort into crafting their esteemed Black Cat Espresso Blend by rigorously selecting each constituent coffee type to ensure peak quality beans are utilized. When preparing a shot of Black Cat Espresso, one will notice notes of dark chocolate, stone fruit nuances, and subtle sweetness that coalesce beautifully. This blend provides a superb taste experience whether enjoyed neat or within creamy milk beverages.

Furthermore, the Black Cat Espresso Blend symbolizes unwavering quality and openness within the coffee sector. Each process step—from bean procurement to roasting—is meticulously overseen. This results in every sip of Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso being impeccable. Striving for perfection in every cup makes the Black Cat a celebrated fixture in the specialty coffee community.

For those seasoned in espresso enjoyment or newcomers exploring gourmet coffee landscapes, sampling the Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso Blend promises delight. Its sustainably harvested ingredients, coupled with rich flavorings, make it perfect for daily consumption—a reliable yet thrilling option.

Blue Bottle Three Africas Blend

At Blue Bottle Coffee, the team takes pride in their superior espresso blends, known for delivering a rich and balanced taste. The Blue Bottle Three Africas Blend serves as a perfect example of their dedication to top-notch quality and expert roasting skills.

This special dark roast espresso blend is crafted to offer a deep and full-bodied taste. It’s more than just coffee; it’s an experience. Within its flavor profile, hints of chocolate and brown sugar emerge, making it an ideal choice for creamy cappuccinos or lattes.

Blue Bottle has perfected the art of roasting to achieve this balanced, dark roast. There’s no bitterness here—just a smooth and rich espresso blend that stands out. It caters to everyone, from seasoned espresso aficionados to those new to the espresso world, making each daily coffee ritual a special moment.

For optimal flavor development, it is recommended to wait 7-10 days after roasting before brewing this Blue Bottle Three Africas Blend. This patience allows the flavors to fully mature, resulting in an exceptional espresso experience.

For those seeking a dark roast espresso that is both rich and balanced, the Blue Bottle Three Africas Blend is the answer. Discover the thrill of gourmet coffee and unlock the full potential of your espresso machine with this extraordinary blend.

Presta Coffee Roasters 120 PSI Espresso Blend

If you’re serious about your espresso, then Presta Coffee Roasters’ 120 PSI Espresso Blend deserves a spot in your lineup. This slowly rotating blend brings together the rich, washed flavors of Mexican beans from Dana Montana, Chiapas, and the fruity, natural notes of Ethiopian beans from Adado, Yirgacheffe.

Presta’s 120 PSI blend is aptly named, drawing a clever parallel between the standard tire pressure for cycling competitions and the 9 Bars used to extract the perfect espresso shot. It’s the kind of geeky detail that makes a coffee connoisseur’s heart race—at least as fast as a well-caffeinated cyclist.

Tasting notes include a delightful mix of chocolate, brown sugar, nectarine, almond, and raisin. This blend is the ultimate chameleon: delicious as a straight shot, stellar in milk-based drinks, and versatile enough for cold brew or pour-over. It’s what they use daily in their stores, and trust me, that’s saying something.

With a full body and balanced sweetness, the 120 PSI blend isn’t just for the pros—it’s an approachable option that makes achieving espresso perfection at home a breeze. Whether you’re pulling shots in your kitchen or fueling your next epic bike ride, Presta’s got your back with this expertly crafted blend.

Cuvée Coffee Stella Cometa Espresso Blend

The Cuvée Coffee Stella Cometa Espresso Blend is made with great skill to offer a fantastic Italian-style espresso. It has a medium roast that brings out a rich, sweet taste. You can enjoy hints of caramel and molasses in each sip.

The Stella Cometa by Cuvée Coffee is all about high quality. It’s smooth and balanced, perfect with milk. This blend is great for anyone who loves espresso from Italy. It will make your morning coffee a highlight of the day.

The Cuvee Coffee Stella Cometa blend shows Cuvée Coffee’s knowledge of great coffee. They choose and roast the best beans for a perfect Italian-style espresso blend. The result is a delicious, inviting coffee that stands out.

Cuvée Coffee’s skill is evident in every cup. This blend is a top choice for anyone who loves traditional, tasty Italian espresso.


We went over many coffee options for espresso makers in this guide. We looked at classic Italian blends as well as single origins that are bright and fruity. Everyone’s taste was considered in this diverse selection.

On this list, you’ll find choices for both bold, chocolatey espresso lovers and those who like nuanced and complex shots. As you dive into making espresso at home, try out various beans and brewing methods. This will help you find what works best for you and your machine.

With the right beans and practice, you can make great espresso at home. Keep an open mind and try new things. This will ensure you enjoy the journey through the world of specialty coffee while striving for the best cup possible.

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