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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Top 7 Best Espresso Coffee Beans on the Market



Coffee beans and portafilter.

Many will say that espresso is the superior way to take your morning cup of joe, and while we aren’t biased, there is something to be said about the smooth richness of a quality espresso. Attaining that high quality of a drink starts with the beans you use.

Want to learn which beans will give you a perfect cup of espresso? We think Starbucks Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee Espresso is the best option out there, but keep reading to discover the best espresso coffee beans and find out how to choose the right ones for your taste.

Best Espresso Coffee Beans

Choosing the best espresso bean can be difficult, especially if you aren’t an avid espresso drinker. The best place to start is with what’s agreed to be the best espresso coffee beans. But what would that be? Well, there are a few options.

To help you out, here are our picks for the best espresso coffee beans.

Best Overall Espresso Beans: Starbucks Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee Espresso

To kick off our list of the best espresso coffee beans, we have Starbucks Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee – Espresso.

STARBUCKS® Espresso Roast – Whole Bean Coffee 18oz​ - Packaging may vary

Whether Starbucks is your go-to coffee shop or you prefer small, local coffee brands, many people admit that Starbucks coffee beans are some of the best coffee beans you can purchase, and this is especially true for their espresso beans.

These beans are the starting point for making your favorite espresso drinks at home. Deep and dark with a caramelly sweet flavor, Starbucks has been using this espresso roast since 1975 and has had fans hooked ever since.

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Best Crema: Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend, Medium Espresso Roast, Authentic Italian,Produced in a nut-free facility center, Mild and creamy with notes of hazelnuts and brown sugar, 2.2LB (Pack of 1)

Next, we have Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend. All you need to hear is “super crema” to understand why this is one of the best espresso coffee beans out there.

A blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans, these beans are described as having a rich crema and aromatic taste profile.

Lavazza Super Crema Espresso blend is full-bodied with notes of roasted hazelnut and brown sugar for a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

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Best for Pour-Over Coffee: Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso

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 chocolatey smooth blend with cocoa undertones and a bold flavor. Silky and complex, you’ll find notes of wild berry syrup with a smooth cocoa finish.

What makes this one of the best espresso coffee bean options is that it is versatile. You can use it in your espresso machine or use it to make a strong, bold coffee with a pour-over coffee maker or a French press.

It also makes an impactful cold brew.

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Best for French Press: Peet’s Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean Espresso Forte

Peet's Coffee, Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee - Espresso Forte 32 Ounce Bag

Next on our list of the best espresso coffee beans is Peet’s Coffee Dark Roast Whole Bean Espresso Forte.

Many Peet’s drinkers claim this as their go-to espresso choice.

Peet’s Coffee says that they specifically crafted this espresso blend to have a rich flavor, stout body, and perfect crema. This dark roast espresso is chocolatey with a smooth hazelnut flavor.

Although it’s primarily meant for espresso, you can also grind the beans to the consistency of coarse sea salt to be used in a French press, or the consistency of sand for the pour-over method.

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Best Medium-Dark Roast: SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast Whole Bean

San Francisco Bay Coffee Espresso Roast Whole Bean 2LB (32 Ounce) Dark Roast

San Francisco Bay Coffee is a family-owned American company that offers great quality, traditionally roasted coffees.

They have a variety of choices of quality beans, but their SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast Whole Bean is the best choice to make the perfect cup of espresso.

This Arabica bean coffee is a full-bodied, medium-dark blend with notes of smoky brown spice and dark chocolate for a unique flavor. Enjoy it as espresso on its own or use a French press to make a delicious cup of coffee.

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Best Cuban Coffee: Gavina Old Havana Espresso

Gavina Old Havana Espresso, Whole Bean, 100% Arabica Coffee, 32-Ounce

Gavina Old Havana Espresso is an espresso coffee option with the company’s Cuban heritage in mind. This whole coffee bean espresso is nutty and sweet with hints of citrus and a smooth finish.

Enjoy it on its own or in one of the traditional Cuban ways, as suggested by the company.

If you’re an environmentally conscious consumer, you’ll be happy to learn that the company packages this espresso at its zero-waste-to-landfill facility in Los Angeles.

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Best Packaging: illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee

illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee, Dark Roast, Intense, Robust and Full Flavored With Notes of Deep Cocoa, 100% Arabica Coffee, No Preservatives, 8.8 Ounce (Pack of 1)

Last on our list of the best espresso coffee beans is illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee.

This classic Italian coffee brand company offers high-quality espresso, so it’s no surprise that it made it to our list.

The Intenso Dark Roast, in particular, is composed of nine of the best Arabica coffee sources in the world and carries an intense, robust flavor.

What’s more, the company is known for its pressurized packaging, so you can rest assured that your coffee is always fresh.

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How to Choose the Best Espresso Coffee Beans

Espresso coffee with beans

Here are some additional tips on how to choose the best espresso coffee beans.

  • What flavor do you go for in your espresso? Do you like dark, medium, or light roast? Do you enjoy a dark chocolate nutty aroma or prefer citrus notes?
  • Consider how you drink your espresso. Do you like just a shot of espresso? Do you add milk? Are lattes your drink of choice? How you drink your espresso will largely dictate the type of beans you should choose. We recommend that you stay away from the extremes and lean more towards the medium roast categories.
  • Determine whether you would prefer Arabica or Robusta beans. Many companies offer blends between the two. There are many differences between these two beans. Generally, Robusta beans are less acidic and have more caffeine, while Arabica coffee beans are sweeter and of higher quality.
  • Expensive coffee does not necessarily mean that it tastes the best. Make sure that you pay attention to all of the characteristics of your coffee choice before committing.

The Verdict: Best Espresso Coffee Beans

To choose the best espresso coffee beans, think about how you generally like your espresso. Bold or smooth? Moderately dark or light-medium roast? Normal crema or super crema? Do you prefer organic coffee or coffee from a specific region, like South America, Latin America, or Central America?

For best results, test out a few different types to determine your favorites. Arabica bean coffee may have different tasting notes than Robusta, but you may find the best espresso bean for you is actually a blend. We gave you some of the best options out there. Try them all, and you may end up with a mixed and matched collection!

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Brock Yates

Because Brock is the tallest member of the team at 6 foot 5 inches, when he’s not thinking about food, he’s eating his favorites: pizza, burgers, tacos and burritos. He's always experimenting with the latest kitchen gadgets and exploring new techniques in the kitchen.

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