10 Best Espresso Beans Review

Espresso is at the heart of so many of most coffee-lovers’ favorite drinks. Whether you drink a long black, no milk, a flat white, or an almond milk latte with two sugars, the espresso is the backbone of your beverage. Using the right beans for the kind of coffee you’re making is incredibly important, as is knowing what you like. Espresso beans vary from medium to dark roast beans as a general rule, with dark being more traditional. The extraction process with espresso means bold and smokey flavor notes. Get inspired to try a few of the options below. I will say, though, that I think the best espresso beans are Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast!

1. Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast


  • A perfectly balanced coffee blend with a dense caramel like sweetness, signature intensity, light acidity and a complex spicy aroma
  • Espresso dark roasted whole beans for a remarkable taste
  • Fresh roasted then immediately packed and sealed to assure freshness
Espresso Coffee, Dark Roast, Whole Bean, Fresh Roasted, 16-ounce

We all love a good cup of joe in the morning. But finding the perfect coffee can be difficult at times. That’s why I recommend Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast to anyone who enjoys a rich and strong cup of Joe in the morning!

Volcanica has been around since 2000, and they have created an amazing recipe for an amazing cup of coffee. They roast their beans to perfection and offer a wide variety of flavors, so there is sure to be something that suits your taste buds!

The Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast is roasted just slightly darker than you might traditionally find an American-style roast. This rich flavor comes from high-quality Arabica Beans grown in volcanic regions around the world. It features a balanced aroma with notes of spice, caramel, and sweetness.

Every Volcanica Coffee I have tried packs a punch, and their Espresso Dark Roast keeps that track record in tact! These espresso beans produce a beautifully textured crema. If you’re looking for something even blacker than normal – this may be what your tastebuds have been craving!

Check out our full review of Volcanica coffee.

2. Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend Medium Espresso Roast


  • Blended and roasted in Italy
  • It has a medium espresso roast, making it perfect for espresso shots or iced coffee drinks
  • Gives you an aromatic and balanced flavor profile with low acidity
Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, 2.2 Pound (Pack of 1) Authentic Italian, Blended And Roasted in Italy, Produced in a nut-free facility center, Mild and creamy

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast is delicately roasted to perfection. The excellent balance of smoothness and deep flavor ensures this blend will please both coffee connoisseurs with rich taste as well as those with a more casual approach. Lavazzas blends are made from premium-quality Arabica beans

The beans are hand selected, then lightly roasted in the traditional Italian method for an infusion of subtle sweetness balanced by hearty undertones that make it cherished around the world.

What makes this espresso blend stand out? This popular espresso rests on a foundation of Arabicas with honeyed acidity and a creamy body that delivers nuanced flavors to suit any palate. I’m always happy to try Lavazza coffee.

3. Coffee Bros Espresso Roast


  • Roasted to highlight all of the natural sugars and sweetness
  • Makes great lattes
  • Coffee Bros helps to improve coffee quality while also giving back to the areas where it is produced
  • A vibrant and round flavor with a strawberry, sugar cane, and vanilla combination
Coffee Bros., Espresso Roast — Whole Bean — 100% Arabica — 1 Bag (12oz) — Colombia & Ethiopia — Gourmet & Specialty

If you are looking for a new favorite espresso bean, look no further! Coffee Bros Espresso Roast is what your taste buds have been craving. They roast their beans to highlight all natural sugars and sweetness making them great for lattes. The blends are made from 100% Arabica Beans which guarantees that you will find notes of strawberry, sugar cane, vanilla with a vibrant and round body when drinking this espresso.

Coffee Bros is a company launched by two brothers in May 2019. The goal of the company is to bring better coffee to Amazon while giving back to coffee growing regions.

If you’re looking for a new favorite espresso bean then look no further because Coffee Bros has what you want!

4. LifeBoost Dark Roast


  • Beans are sun-dried, and spring water washed
  • Exclusive farms that we work with are all bird friendly
  • Low acid dark roast
  • Certified organic and 3rd party tested
Lifeboost Coffee Dark Roast Ground Coffee - Low Acid Single Origin USDA Organic Coffee - Non-GMO Ground Coffee Beans Dark Roast Third Party Tested For Mycotoxins & Pesticides - 12 Ounces

I can’t recommend LifeBoost Dark Roast enough as a healthier, better-tasting coffee. If you’re looking for one of the best coffee beans that’s high in flavor and low in acid, I recommend you give this coffee a try. This shade-grown coffee is handpicked to ensure purity and is certified organic with 3rd party testing for 400 toxins. The result of this life boosting single-origin coffee is an antioxidant-rich organic cup of joe without the side effects you can get from your standard cup of coffee.

LifeBoost Dark Roast is my favorite way to get my caffeine fix and keep a happy tummy. The low-acid coffee beans are a godsend for people like me that have trouble drinking regular coffee beans sometimes. I love the rich, earthy flavor of this dark roast and the fact that it comes from organic, non-GMO beans. One sip of this organic ground coffee and you’ll have a hard time going back to your old blend. Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

5. Death Wish Organic Whole Bean


  • Single-origin beans that deliver a distinctive and full-bodied flavor
  • Made without chemicals or preservatives
  • The ultimate dark roast taste experience
DEATH WISH COFFEE Whole Bean Coffee [16 oz.] The World's Strongest, USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Arabica and Robusta Beans (1-Pack)

Why is Death Wish Organic Whole Bean the best? Death Wish Organic Whole Bean is a top choice for hard-core coffee drinkers. The beans are sourced from the Chihuahua region in Mexico and carefully roasted to perfection for the best flavor.

Known for their high caffeine content, each bean of Death Wish Organic Whole Bean is meticulously hand selected for quality by being carefully sorted by weight, size, density, age, and defects. This ensures that you will get the most flavorful coffee in every cup with this special blend of beans.

An interesting trait about these dark espresso beans is that they actually have a rich sweetness to them. With notes of chocolate and caramel, this may be one of the best choices when looking for a natural-tasting dark roast blend to create specialty drinks.

Death Wish does not use any chemicals or preservatives, so you can enjoy your morning cup of joe without worrying about what nasty things have been added to it. And with organic, single-origin beans that deliver a distinctive and full-bodied flavor, it’s no wonder this brand has developed such a loyal following! With these benefits combined, there’s no better way to start your day than by grabbing yourself some Death Wish Organic Whole Bean today!

6. Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso


  • Perfect for making espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos
  • Organic and Fairtrade-certified coffee beans, which means that their workers are paid fairly for their labor.
  • Bright, complex medium-roast blend
Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Oz

Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso is a great product because it has a balanced flavor that isn’t too bitter or acidic. Enjoy the smooth and complex tastes of wild berry syrup with a subtle cocoa aftertaste.

It’s made with 100% Arabica coffee beans, which are known for their rich and smooth flavor. The beans are roasted medium-dark to create a flavor that’s not too smokey or overpowering. Cliff Hanger Espresso is perfect for making espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos.

Kicking Horse Coffee is organic and fair trade arabica beans certified coffee beans, which means that their workers are paid fairly for their labor. They have been around since 1995, so they have paid their dues in getting to where they are today. Kicking Horse Coffee started as a brand dedicated to sustainability and helping other farmers be able to grow healthy crops through their Environmental Initiatives program.

7. Koffee Kult Dark Roast


  • Cinnamon and chocolate flavors
  • Smooth with low acidity
  • Makes great, traditional espresso
  • Ethically sourced
Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted - Highest Quality Delicious Organically Sourced Fair Trade - Whole Bean Coffee - Fresh Gourmet Aromatic Artisan Blend (32oz)

The best espresso beans are those that have been roasted by a skilled roaster with an appreciation for the craft. And Koffee Kult is one of the world’s most skilled and knowledgeable roasters. They pride themselves on their ethical sourcing, direct trade relationships with coffee farmers and workers, as well as fresh roasting every order to ensure maximum flavor and freshness. The result is a perfect cup of coffee.

The smooth blend has low acidity with flavors of milk chocolate and cinnamon which makes it a great brew during the holidays. This 100% organic coffee is Fair Trade Certified and directly traded with farmers and workers to ensure ethical sourcing, fresh roasting every order for maximum flavor, and bagged for freshness.

8. Counter Culture Big Trouble


  • Caramel, nuts, and chocolate
  • Sweet and mild Medium roast beans
  • Low acidity
  • Recommended here for those fairly new to espresso
Counter Culture Coffee - Whole Bean Coffee - Fresh Roasted, Sustainably Farmed (Kosher) - Big Trouble, 12 oz (1 Bag)

Counter Culture Big Trouble offers nutty, caramel, and milk chocolate flavors that many people will love. While attaining such an approachable profile might seem like an easy task, the Big Trouble blend is one of the most challenging year-round products for Counter Culture to source due to the quality and seasonality of coffees with these characteristics.

It comes in a medium roast which means it’s sweet without being overpowering or bitter. This is great for those fairly new to drinking espresso. All this while maintaining a low acidity level so you don’t have any stomach issues too!

If you enjoy a strong and bold espresso, then this might not be the coffee for you as it falls on the lighter side. But if you have a more sensitive stomach, this is definitely a coffee to try!

9. Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso


  • A dark roast espresso prepared in the traditional style
  • Deep and complex flavor with a European flair
  • Rich, complex, and very smooth
Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee Classic Italian Espresso Medium Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee 2 LB

The Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso is a time-tested Don Pablo family formula that contains a special blend of smooth Colombian Supremo with Sumatra Mandheling. The special roasting technique produces a very deep and complex flavor without any bitterness at all. Notes of dark chocolate and mild earthy tones are present, which give this dark coffee an intense roastiness while still retaining its full body character.

This traditional-style dark roast espresso is best served as a straight cup of espresso. It can also be enjoyed black from an auto drip machine for those who prefer their coffee on the lighter side.

The beans are grown in nutrient rich volcanic soil in the lush mountainous terrain of the world’s best coffee-growing regions. A full caramelization of the natural sugars in the bean gives this dark coffee an intense roastiness while still retaining its full body character with a smooth, pleasant aftertaste.

Rich, complex, and very smooth with low acidity. This coffee contains only 100% Arabica beans. The Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso has a complex flavor with European flair.

10. Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic


  • Dark chocolate, nuts, and cherries with bright acidity
  • Medium-dark roast
Intelligentsia, Black Cat Classic Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade

If you’re looking for the best espresso beans, it doesn’t get much better than Intelligentsia. It is a specialty coffee pioneer with humble Chicago roots, and it’s driven by curiosity, empowerment, and the never-ending quest for the most extraordinary coffee in the world.

This syrupy sweet espresso blend has been its staple since day one. Supreme balance and wonderful sweetness make Black Cat Espresso truly a classic. The components of this blend change throughout the year to incorporate new arrivals that ensure freshness and optimize quality while profiles remain consistent.

Commitment to direct trade allows them to cut out unnecessary importers and exporters, enabling them to partner with growers to bring you nothing but the sweetest coffees in their world. And Intelligentsia roasts all their coffees to showcase the distinctive flavor contributions of each origin. If you’re unfamiliar with this brand, now is as good a time as any to become acquainted.

Best Espresso Beans

What are Espresso Beans?

Espresso beans are specialty roasted to brew espresso. (simple, right?) They can vary in flavor profile based on their origin and how they are roasted. The darker the roast, the bolder and more smokey of a taste you will get. Many people like to use dark coffee beans because of this distinction.

Top benefits of espresso beans

– Espresso beans are bolder in flavor profile

– They create a concentrated shot of coffee that maintains its original taste

– It is easier to extract an espresso shot with dark roasted beans

The benefits of espresso beans are that it creates a concentrated shot of coffee that maintains its original taste, and is easier to extract. Espresso beans vary in flavor profile based on the origin and how they are roasted. The darker the roast, the bolder and more smokey of a taste you will get. The dark coffee bean distinction is attractive to a lot of individuals.

There are many advantages to drinking espresso over regular brewed coffee: firstly, espresso is a more concentrated form of coffee, so a little bit goes a long way. This means you can have your caffeine fix faster, and it takes less coffee to achieve the same effect as regular drip coffee.

This also means that if you’re looking for an intense taste experience, espresso will deliver on that front as well. Espresso has a stronger flavor than regular coffee because it’s made from finely ground beans, which enables the flavor to more easily infuse into the hot water during extraction – resulting in a bolder more flavorful shot of espresso.

And lastly, espresso tends to be lower in acidity compared with traditional drip coffee – meaning many people who suffer from heartburn or indigestion after drinking even small amounts of regular coffee report that espresso has less of an effect on their stomachs.

What makes the best quality espresso beans?

  • The best quality espresso beans should have a deep, rich flavor profile with low acidity and medium body
  • High altitude coffees are better than low altitude coffees
  • Top brands offer a unique blend that is hard to find in other coffees

There are many factors that go into determining what makes a good quality espresso bean. One of those factors would be it’s rich flavor profile, which is typically achieved through dark roasting. Another factor is low acidity as well as having a medium body. High altitude coffees are better than low altitude coffee beans because it gives you more time to let the flavor develop in the bean itself.

Brands that have a unique blend of espressos are the best because you can’t find them anywhere else. You can determine if a brand is good by its worldwide reputation for making quality espresso beans. These factors will help provide you with the best tasting espresso.

What Origins make the best espresso beans?

High altitude coffee is better than low altitude coffee because it gives the beans more time to grow and develop. Low-altitude coffees do not have the same flavor profile as high-altitude coffees, which means that even if you’re using dark roasted beans, there will be a lower quality taste in your final product. The reason why this is important is that when you buy an espresso blend from some companies, there’s no way of telling what type of bean was used in making your drink – and chances are it was low-altitude coffee rather than higher quality blends made at higher altitudes.

  • Colombian coffee is well-balanced and mellow, with a wonderful caramel aftertaste and minor nuttiness. The majority of the country’s production is carried out by tiny family farms.
  • Brazilian coffee have a broader flavor variety than Colombian beans owing to the changes in elevation. However, the conventional “Brazilian” taste is typically characterized as being nutty or seasoned with a bold body.
  • Ethiopian coffee also have a wide range of tastes, so you may expect anything from heady, wine-like flavors to lighter, floral brews.
  • Kenyan coffee are cultivated in more direct sunlight than other regional coffees, resulting in a somewhat tangy and sweet flavor.
  • Java and Sumatran are common Indonesian bean names. Those, in addition to some aged coffees with a thicker body, may be found.
  • Hawaiian coffee, which is particularly well-known for their unique flavor, are highly prized. Heavy rain and abundant sunshine foster rich coffee with slightly sweet and floral undertones, accompanied by an occasional tangy aftertaste.

Arabica or Robusta Beans, and What that Means?

There are two types of beans that are grown for making espresso – Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are more expensive because they require more care than Robusta beans. Arabica produces better tasting espresso with high quality flavors. Robusta beans, on the other hand, grow well in countries at lower altitudes where Arabica beans need a specific environment to grow. They are hardier and have a more bitter taste, but they also contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica coffee.

Most high-quality espresso blends combine the best qualities of Arabica and Robusta beans, creating a rich flavor with low acidity that makes for easy drinking.

Whole vs Pre-Ground Espresso Coffee Beans

When it comes to coffee, there are two main types of beans: whole and pre-ground. With whole bean coffee is you will need to grind them just before being brewed. Pre-ground beans, on the other hand, have been roasted and ground, then sealed in a package for later use.

There are pros and cons to both types of beans. Whole beans tend to have a fresher flavor, since they haven’t been exposed to air for as long. They’re also more versatile, since you can grind them yourself to the coarseness you prefer. Pre-ground beans, on the other hand, are more convenient and can be bought more easily in grocery stores.

When it comes to brewing espresso, grind size is a critical factor. Since you need a fine grind in order to get the most flavor with your espresso, it’s generally recommended that you go for whole bean coffee. If they’re not pre-ground, you can head to your local coffee shop and ask them to grind them for you – it only takes a few seconds.

Best Espresso Beans

Coffee Bean Roast and how it affects the flavor

Coffee beans are roasted to different degrees. The level of roast defines the flavor profile of the coffee. People who prefer more unique flavor profiles might enjoy beans that are lightly roasted Those who like their coffee stronger will want to purchase dark-roasted beans. Espresso beans are traditionally dark-roasted, resulting in a bolder flavor.

Light Roast: This is for those who prefer a more mild cup of coffee. The beans are only roasted to the first crack, which means the coffee contains slightly more caffeine and has more subtle flavors.

Medium Roast: This roast is for those who want moderate strength without too many strong, smokey flavors in their coffee.

Medium-dark Roast: The bean has been roasted just enough to enhance its natural flavor and produce a stronger taste without creating too much acidity. A medium-dark roast imparts a more complex, bolder flavor than lighter roasts.

Dark Roast: This is very popular roast creates a bitter and intensely flavored coffee that goes well with steamed milk and sugar or cream since it can stand up to both of these additions to your drink.

Black Espresso Beans: What makes these beans different is how they are roasted. The bean is left in the coffee roast longer than usual to produce a very dark color and bitter flavor. These coffee beans are ground for making espresso drinks.

Espresso Roast: Traditionally made with dark-roasted beans, espresso has become one of the most popular categories of gourmet coffee today. A fine grind is essential for making espresso.

Best Espresso Beans

Brewing With Espresso Machines

Brewing espresso is a fine art that takes some practice to perfect, but it’s well worth it for the delicious and creamy results. Here are the basic steps to brewing espresso with an espresso machine:

The basics are simple, the art is in perfecting the pull. You start by filling the portafilter on your espresso machine with finely-ground coffee. Then you need to tamp the coffee down firmly. Secure the portafilter into the espresso machine and begin brewing. When you’re brewing espresso, the coffee should take around 30 seconds to fully extract in the espresso machine–when it does, stop immediately.

Each espresso machine is different, so there are a few more steps you might need to take when it comes to the finer points of making espresso with your favorite espresso coffee beans.

Best Espresso Beans

My experience using Espresso Beans

I had my first espresso drink when I was in Seattle on a work trip. I figured that in a city that thrives on coffee, I would be in excellent hands. The bold taste and thick crema (foam on the top) won me over and I was determined to find an espresso bean I could replicate at home.

I started with a medium roast, but it wasn’t quite perfect. The beans were too light and the flavor wasn’t as rich as what I had in Seattle. I then moved up to a dark roast, but it wasn’t quite robust enough either. I finally settled on the Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast you see in the article.

The espresso drink made with these beans is similar to what I had on that rainy day in Seattle.

Espresso beans produce a bold flavor and are best suited for drinks that are complemented by them (also dark chocolate). A dark roast is the most popular roast, but still not for everyone.

I have since moved on to other coffee beans because I always love to explore different roasts. The Lavazza Super Crema has become another personal favorite because of its sweet and nutty undertones. It is also a darker roast but lighter than other espresso beans. I drink this when I need something sweeter than the Volcanica Coffee Espresso Dark Roast,

The best part about making coffee at home vs going to a coffee shop is that you can customize it to your own taste. With espresso beans, it is important to find the roast and flavor that best suits you and your palate. Experiment until you find what you’re looking for!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a dark roast and a medium-dark roast?

A dark roast creates a bitter and intensely flavored coffee that goes well with steamed milk and sugar or cream since it can stand up to both of these additions to your drink. Some dark roasts are so intense that they can overwhelm the taste buds, producing an acidic brew. A medium-dark roast imparts a more complex, fuller flavor than some darker roasts.

What are the best espresso beans for a latte?

The best espresso beans for a latte are medium or dark roasted beans. The intensity of flavor from these roasts will make your latte stand out from an espresso drink made from light roasted beans which lack the same bold flavor. Talk to any coffee aficionado and they will tell you that medium or dark roasts are the way to go.

What are the best espresso beans for a latte?

The best espresso beans for a latte are medium or dark roasted beans. I use Coffee Bros Espresso Roast. The intensity of flavor from these roasts will make your latte stand out from an espresso drink made from light roasted beans which lack the same bold flavor. Talk to any coffee aficionado and they will tell you that medium or dark roasts are the way to go.

What is the difference between espresso beans and coffee beans?

Espresso beans are specially roasted to create a bold, intense flavor which is perfect for making espresso drinks. Regular coffee beans can be any roast but are not specially made to be used for espresso. The best espresso coffee beans are those with cherry and chocolate flavor notes. These can also be used in a moka pot.

What is the difference between Espresso Roasts and French Roasts?

Espresso roasts are darker roasts which create a richer, more intense flavor than French roasts. These beans are often made into espresso drinks with steamed milk, but can also be served on their own. French roasts are roasted to the point that they become almost charred, resulting in a very bitter flavor.

What is the difference between regular roasted coffee beans and dark roast coffee beans?

Regular roasted coffee beans are lighter in color and flavor than dark roast coffee beans which are darker in color but bolder in flavor. Make sure to use the best coffee beans for the type of coffee you intend to brew.

How much caffeine is there per shot of espresso?

One shot of espresso has approximately 63 to 78 milligrams of caffeine, which is about the same amount as a cup of black tea.

What does espresso taste like?

Espresso has a bold flavor that can be anywhere from bitter and acidic to sweet and nutty depending on the roast used and the coffee beans involved.

Where can I find fresh whole bean coffee?

Most big chain grocery stores will only carry pre-ground coffee. For quality coffee try online, at a local roaster, or at a specialty grocer. Some specialty stores will do the work for you and grind freshly ground beans on the spot.

Should I buy an Espresso Blend or 100% Arabica?

The Arabica beans are light, bright and provide an earthy fragrance to the coffee. They bring out flavors like nuts or chocolate but they can also be weaker in flavor at times. The Robusta beans are much more powerful than the Arabica bean with a deep smooth flavor which you might prefer if you’re adding milk, sugar, or both to your espresso drink. Both types of coffee produce espresso that is strong enough to withstand cream, sugar, and other additions that some people might want for their morning cup of joe. Picking one type of bean vs the other is usually up to personal taste but you should take into account what drinks you will be making. The best espresso beans are the ones right in front of you ready to be used in espresso machines.

Can you make cold brew with espresso roasted beans?

Yes, if you want to make cold brew with beans for espresso coffee read our cold brew guide.

Picture of About the Author Kris Silvey

About the Author Kris Silvey

As a semi-professional at-home barista and full-time software engineer, my love for coffee borders on obsession. By combining my passion for coffee with an engineering mindset, I strive to perfect my brewing process and share that knowledge with each of you.

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