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best coffee beans for cappuccino

The best coffee beans for cappuccino can be tricky to find. You want coffee with a vivid flavor that can punch through the milk, but with a creamy mouthfeel to complement the recipe.

It is possible to have the best of all worlds with your dark roast coffee beans. You just have to know which features to look for. If you've never made a cappuccino before, never fear. We'll talk about technique, too!

We're going to list the seven best coffee beans for cappuccino below: we'll explore details like flavor notes, mouthfeel, and cappuccino recipes so you can create the most delicious cup.

Can You Use Any Coffee For Cappuccino?

Most coffee recipes are made using espresso. Cappuccinos are no different. The rich crema and powerful flavor of espresso shots make them prime foundations for coffee drinks.

The best coffee beans for cappuccinos are dark roasts. You might also see these coffee beans labeled 'espresso blend' or 'Italian roast'. To contrast, 'French roast' is often lighter to enhance the more nutty, fruity notes of your coffee.

Not sure which one to commit to? We'll list several different options in our list so you can experiment with confidence.

Do You Have to Use Dark Roast Coffee Beans?

What kind of flavor notes do you prefer in your coffee? Espresso-based drinks usually come from dark roasts, but sometimes they come in medium or medium-light.

You don't have to use dark roast coffee beans if you don't want to. The right coffee beans for your set-up should revolve around your tastes, not just what's popular!

What Coffee Blend Does Starbucks Use For Cappuccino?

Starbucks has been a gamechanger for years now. While they offer traditional dark roast coffee for their lattes and cappuccinos, they also like to step off the beaten path.

Starbucks invented the 'Blonde Espresso' a few years back. It's described as having a very smooth and silky mouthfeel, with a strong lean toward sweeter flavor notes. It's a unique approach to the cappuccino that has proven a big hit with their primary fanbase.

If you're not a huge fan of dark roasts, we've made sure to list lighter alternatives in our coffee suggestions.

How Do You Make Steamed Milk?

This is both the most delightful and tricky aspect of the cappuccino art form. If you make your milk too hot or aerated, you'll have a lackluster cup on your hands.

Steaming milk properly means understanding it on a scientific level. Don't worry: we won't get too technical. All you have to know is that steamed milk is created through a term called 'aeration'. This is the process of filtering tiny air bubbles through the milk, resulting in the classic swirling motion you see in the milk carafe.

Creating fluffy milk for your cappuccino will take a little longer than a latte, since you need enough to fill the entire cup. You can achieve this with the steam wand on your espresso machine or a separate battery-powered milk frother.

You shouldn't have to wait more than twenty to twenty-five seconds to get a creamy, fluffy result.

What are Cappuccino Variations?

Coffee is as unique as you are. Cappuccinos come in several varieties to better meet your personal tastes.

What is a Dry Cappuccino?

This recipe is the bane of beginning baristas everywhere. You have to be quite comfortable with the art of steaming milk to create this drink!

The dry cappuccino is espresso and microfoam: no steamed milk allowed. While some coffee shops add a little leniency with a dollop of milk, most locations go for a strict 100% microfoam rule. This creamy cappuccino is like sipping on a cloud and is best served as a quick treat.

Drinking too slowly will have you missing out on the milk foam's buoyant texture!

What is a Wet Cappuccino?

You're likely catching on to the logic of the cappuccino. Whereas the dry cappuccino is focused on microfoam, the wet cappuccino has a little more milk to its name.

You could almost call the wet cappuccino a very fluffy latte. The ratio usually sits at equal amounts of espresso, foam, and milk, though this can be changed from place-to-place.

Some coffee shops prefer to lean toward higher volumes of microfoam to distinguish their cappuccinos from the lattes and flat whites.

What is a Cappuccino Scuro?

The cappuccino scuro has a little more milk and espresso than the average cappuccino. It's still on the dry side and filled with lots of fluffy foam.

The scuro has its fair share of fans, despite being a fairly rare designation you won't find in some coffee shops.

What is a Cappuccino Freddo?

Have you ever wanted a traditional, hot espresso drink...but it was just too warm outside? Enter the freddo, a Greek-based coffee drink designed for sweaty weather.

The freddo tosses espresso shots over ice, then pours in cold frothed milk. Yes, you can froth cold milk! Getting that fluffy texture involves more aeration than it does heat.

What is a Cappuccino Chiaro?

This drink is one of the most difficult to spot in the list. It's similar to a cafe au lait and a latte in its technique.

The cappuccino chiaro uses espresso and hot milk, with just a dollop of foam on the top. Remember that hot milk is not the same as steamed milk: this results in a different flavor than what you're used to.

Consider trying this recipe out if you want to cut back on milk or add a twist to your usual morning drip coffee.

Top Coffee Beans for Cappuccino

Mt. Comfort Coffee Espresso Roast, 12 oz Bag - Flavor Notes of Chocolate & Caramel - Roasted Whole Beans

Mt. Comfort Coffee Espresso Roast, 12 oz Bag - Flavor Notes of Chocolate & Caramel - Roasted Whole Beans

With a name like Mt. Comfort, how could you go wrong? This espresso roast has entered our list as one of our favorite cappuccino options.

This blend comes from several corners of the world, including Ethiopia and Costa Rica. It's a very dark roast, ensuring you'll get delicious flavor with a heavy dose of smoky bitterness. These chocolatey beans result in a classic cappuccino cup, though they translate well into espresso-focused recipes like flat whites and cortados.

If you're a coffee drinker that only wants to buy organic beans, you're in luck. Mt. Comfort Coffee offers mostly single origin coffee, though all of it is proudly certified organic. Coffee lovers who worry about the surrounding details will be happy with this purchase.

Who Should Drink This?

Traditional cappuccino drinkers, step right up. These beans will give you the blend of bitter flavor and subtle sweetness you're craving. If you want the full punch of flavor, go for a dry cappuccino with pure microfoam.

Mocha fans will also appreciate this bag for its caramel and dark chocolate notes. If you try a freddo, you can get an almost cold brew-like flavor going.

Copper Moon Espresso Roast, Dark Roast Coffee, Whole Bean, 5 lbs

Copper Moon Espresso Roast, Dark Roast Coffee, Whole Bean, 5 lbs

Do you make espresso-focused drinks on a daily basis? You'll need a hefty bag to keep up with your coffee habits.

Copper Moon is a family-owned roastery with an impressive coffee portfolio to their name. They source from Africa, Indonesia, and Central America, with a plethora of roast levels and flavors to choose from. Their Espresso Roast is an honest bag designed to give you all the basics in one handy package. Dark chocolate notes, a rich aroma, and a silky smooth mouthfeel round out this bag nicely.

This roaster is transparent about their roasting process and the loving technique they put into each small batch of coffee beans. The fact this bag is Kosher Certified and allergen-free is just icing on the cake (or crema on the espresso, rather).

Who Should Drink This?

Are you a coffee lover and a pastry lover? This balanced bag will meet your sweet tooth and your bitter cravings halfway. Its large size also makes it ideal for regular coffee drinkers.

Practice your dry cappuccino in the morning, then switch up for a wet cappuccino in the evening. Heated milk will balance out the dark chocolate flavor profile.

Kahwa Cuban Coffee Beans, Cubano Dark Roast Espresso Blend, Whole Bean Coffee, 1 lb Bag

Kahwa Cuban Coffee Beans, Cubano Dark Roast Espresso Blend, Whole Bean Coffee, 1 lb Bag

Does all espresso have to emphasize sharp, bitter chocolate notes? With Kahwa, you can lean more into your sweet tooth without sacrificing classic espresso flavor.

This Cuban origin is a pleasant deviation from more common Colombian and Brazilian origins (though we love those, too). While it's roasted to the darkest possible point, it comes with a pleasantly sweet and bright finish. It's lower on acidity and has a bold taste that goes nicely with more fatty milk.

If you can't have dairy, soy or oatmeal have a nutty kick that would pair well with these flavors. Keep in mind they take a little more aeration steam properly, since they're missing the fat that helps milk fluff up faster.

Who Should Drink This?

Coffee drinkers with a sweet tooth should try this bag as soon as possible. Despite the very dark roasted beans, the Kahwa Cubano Dark Roast Espresso Blend holds onto a sweet, slightly fruity finish that holds strong to milk.

This espresso blend would also make a pretty nice cappuccino freddo to beat the heat. Whether hot or cold, you should always use the freshest coffee for your recipes.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Homestead Blend - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade Coffee, Flavor Notes of Milk Chocolate, Cherry and Orange

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Homestead Blend - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade Coffee, Flavor Notes of Milk Chocolate, Cherry and Orange

We have Stumptown back for round two! This coffee roaster has a special place in our hearts for their consistent delivery of high quality coffee beans.

This medium roast eschews classic cappuccinos in favor of a delicious, off-the-beaten path result. Fruity cherry, tangy orange, and a sumptuous milk chocolate result in a cup that makes you feel spoiled.

Open this bag as soon as you get it, because freshly roasted coffee beans will completely change the way you look at brewing.

We've talked in the past about Stumptown's recent B Corp Certification, which is a big win for coffee drinkers who want more transparency in their purchase. This certification is only given to businesses who consistently prove their ability to remain sustainable in their day-to-day operations.

Who Should Drink This?

Want to try a different kind of cappuccino? Put the Homestead Blend on your to-buy list. Whole milk will support these mellow flavor notes beautifully, so stick to a wet or freddo cappuccino.

Even classic cappuccino drinkers may find this mellow and sweet coffee bag a refreshing change of pace. While you can buy ground coffee, consider a coffee grinder so you can enjoy your cappuccino coffee beans fresh.

RĀKO COFFEE ROASTERS HueHue Waykan, Guatemala Whole Bean Specialty Coffee, Medium Roast, 12 oz. Bag, 1-Pack

RĀKO COFFEE ROASTERS HueHue Waykan, Guatemala Whole Bean Specialty Coffee, Medium Roast, 12 oz. Bag, 1-Pack

Specialty coffee automatically denotes quality, hard work, and high standards. The HueHue Waykan Guatemala is just what we're looking for when we buy specialty roasts.

Brown sugar and milk chocolate create a decadent final cup, though there's just enough of a lemon tang to keep things interesting. While acidic flavor notes don't usually mix well with milk, this bag stays pretty balanced no matter the recipe. That said, we'd recommend a dry cappuccino so you can focus more on the espresso.

The sheer volume of details behind-the-scenes would make any coffee lover's head spin. This bag is upfront about being GMO-free, vegan, and gluten-free.

Who Should Drink This?

If you worry about any health or personal conflicts getting in the way of drinking your coffee, the HueHue Waykan Guatemala will ease your mind.

It makes a mean cappuccino, though you should lean toward the drier side to avoid a funky aftertaste. Acidic flavor notes are rather famous for being unfriendly toward frothed milk and will taste bitter!

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters – Epic Espresso Whole Beans – Gourmet Light Roast Coffee, 12oz

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters – Epic Espresso Whole Beans – Gourmet Light Roast Coffee, 12oz

We're going to wrap up the list with a very rare espresso: a light roast! You heard that right. 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters is clearly keen to establish themselves as an experimental roaster, unafraid of trying something new.

Ethiopia is famed for its delicate, floral, and highly aromatic coffee beans. This is a result of its rich organic soil and ideal growing climate. The dainty, sweet flavor notes are easily the most stunning part of this package. They practically beg for a dry cappuccino so there's no dilution in the final cup.

This single origin coffee is directly sourced from the Guji region of Ethiopia, so get started on your origin journey here.

Who Should Drink This?

If you want to avoid a bitter taste in your espresso shot, this Gourmet Light Roast Coffee will make your week. Ethiopia is famed for its high-quality coffee beans and this bag is no exception.

Try these cappuccino coffee beans in a dry cappuccino or a cortado so you can get the espresso's full range. If you don't want it to taste bitter, choose a recipe with more steamed milk.

Eight O'Clock Coffee Pumpkin Spice, Medium Roast, Ground Coffee, 11 Ounce (Pack of 1), 100% Arabica, Kosher Certified

Eight O'Clock Coffee Pumpkin Spice, Medium Roast, Ground Coffee, 11 Ounce (Pack of 1), 100% Arabica, Kosher Certified

We've tried Eight O' Clock coffee in the past and were impressed by the vivid flavor notes on display. This seasonal variation is the perfect way to get in the festive spirit...with less work, to boot!

These medium roast coffee beans come with added flavor, though you have nothing to fear when it comes to quality. While some coffee roasters mask defects in their beans with flavor additions, the Eight O' Clock Coffee Pumpkin Spice is Kosher Certified and made with 100% Arabica beans.

Pumpkin spice is a soothing flavor combination meant to invoke the flavor of a freshly made pie. Think cloves, vanilla, and nutmeg.

Who Should Drink This?

These coffee beans pair perfectly with the rich, creamy texture of a cappuccino: it's practically whipped cream. Since it's pre-flavored, you don't have to add extra syrup or sauce. This is perfect if you have to navigate a morning rush or taking care of the kids in the morning.

The sweet spices are distinctive enough to push through the milk and invoke fond memories of holiday dinners.

Wrap Up

When you buy coffee beans, you are investing in several key features beyond brewed coffee. From flavor to ethics, today's coffee consumers want to know they're getting their money's worth.

These coffee brands are just the tip of the iceberg on what you can enjoy with your machine. With homebrewing the new standard of coffeemaking these days, consider experimenting with your freshly roasted beans. Experiment with milk foam, caramelized sugar, or different recipes.

If you want a little more advice, reach out to our live chat or send us a message. We're happy to steer you in the direction of your next delicious cappuccino.

Related Articles:

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso

Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

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