Affiliate Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases when you buy from the links on this page. This does not cost our readers anything extra and allows us to continue making these guides.

best espresso beans

Are you seeking out the best espresso beans to stock up your machine? You won't want to miss this list.

The art of espresso feels hard to grasp at the best of times. You have to sort through details such as roast level, bean origin, and espresso machine pressure...and that's just getting started! Whether you're a homebrewer eager to experiment or a barista who wants some delicious home zen, the best espresso beans start with you.

We've decided to narrow down your search with our top 11 picks for 2022. These are judged not just on flavor, but surrounding details such as certification, fair pricing, and kosher designations.

See Also: Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Quick Summary of Our Top 5 Picks

Top Bulk Espresso Beans - Majesty Coffee Espresso Blend

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender

Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Flavor Notes of Citrus and Dark Chocolate

  • Bitter, Dark Chocolate and Citrus Notes
  • Deep Roasted with Bold Flavors
  • B Corp Certified

Intelligentsia, Black Cat Classic Espresso

Intelligentsia, Black Cat Classic Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade

  • Sweet and syrupy flavors
  • Dark sugar and fruity notes
  • Hints of stone fruit flavors

    Peet's Coffee, Espresso Forte

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

    • Dark roasted with nutty profile.
    • Hazelnut and truffle notes
    • Lemon and tangy finish

    Top Shelf Grind Liquid Gold Oganic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee

    Organic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee, The Best Espresso Beans from Peru - Fair Trade, Single Origin Mycotoxin & Mold Free Fresh Peruvian Purity | Super Healthy Arabica for Peak Performance - Low Acid

    • Light, nutty and mild.
    • Soft cocoa powder flavor notes
    • Strict quality control

    Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast

    Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Oz

    • Milk chocolate, black currant and brown sugar notes
    • Similar to a strong tea
    • Not bitter

    Things to Consider When Buying the Best Espresso Beans

    Are Coffee Beans and Espresso Beans The Same?

    Let's start off with one of the most common questions: are coffee beans and espresso beans the same?

    While all espresso beans are coffee, not all coffee is espresso. Espresso beans are usually roasted dark to create the most chocolatey, creamy espresso shots.

    You can still occasionally find medium-roasted espresso beans, which will be explicitly stated on the front or back of the bag.

    What Country Makes the Best Espresso Beans?

    Coffee origin gives you a starting point when it comes to flavor notes, aroma, and mouthfeel. Espresso is favored not just for its toasty chocolate flavor, but its buttery smooth texture.

    It's important to note that 'the best' espresso is largely up to your unique taste. One person's trash is another person's treasure, after all! When it comes to traditional preferences, the origin that makes the highest quality espresso beans is Colombia.

    This country is famed for being the second largest producer of coffee in the world, committing to growing subtle, sweet Arabica beans.

    You should also consider buying medium and dark roasts from Brazil, Peru, Kenya, and Jamaica. These origins are famed for making some of the best coffee beans around.

    What are the Smoothest Espresso Coffee Beans?

    How is smoothness in coffee defined, anyway? While this description is a touch ambiguous, it usually refers to how balanced the coffee is: not too much of anything.

    That means not too sweet, not too tart, and not too bitter. Think of the traditional coffee flavor: toasty and chocolately. Coffee that is extremely sweet or weirdly sour is not often categorized under the 'smooth' moniker, to say the least.

    This term can also refer to mouthfeel. Coffee is remarkably diverse and creates all sorts of textures, from thick and creamy to more oily. A 'smooth' mouthfeel should feel silky soft on the tongue.

    Is Espresso Healthier Than Coffee?

    This detail is an interesting aspect of coffee that many new and experienced brewers don't know about. Coffee is chock full of antioxidants, a type of chemical that protects your body from damage caused by age, exertion, and the environment. That doesn't make it flawless!

    Coffee also comes with a pretty hefty cholesterol count. Coffeemakers and pour overs use filters that can catch some of the excess oils, reducing the cholesterol in the final cup. Since espresso doesn't use a traditional filter, the antioxidant count is higher...and the cholesterol count is higher.

    If you want to drink coffee and stay healthy, consider alternating between espresso and drip. You can also try skipping syrup and sugar once in a while (which will be easy with the delicious coffee beans on this list).

    Is Espresso Bad for High Blood Pressure?

    Do you struggle with high blood pressure? How about a family history of heart attack or stroke? Coffee is pretty healthy in moderation, but can still be too much for some brewers.

    The large amount of antioxidants in coffee are very healthy for you in the long-term, as long as you don't constantly pad out your drink with sugar. On the other hand, the caffeine count and cholesterol count can set you back.

    If you're worried about side-effects of regular coffee drinking, consider the following:

    Try Some Decaf

    Too much caffeine consumption (think multiple cups per day) can increase your risk for heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and sleep difficulties. A little decaf can solve that!

    A standard mug of decaf coffee has a mere two to three milligrams of caffeine, compared to the over sixty-five milligrams of regular bags.

    Most of the roasters we feature on this list have a few decaf coffees to their name. Consider giving them a try when you need to wind down for the evening.

    Balance Espresso with Drip

    As we explored in the previous question, espresso has a higher cholesterol count due to lacking a paper or cloth filter. By comparison, drip coffee made in a coffeemaker or a pour over is a little more heart-healthy.

    Why not have the best of both worlds? Brush up on your coffee skills and try different brewing methods. You'll get a healthier cup and more variety in your coffee, since a single bag can taste different depending on the brewing method and grind level. A win-win!

    How Do I Choose a Good Espresso Blend?

    This is the fun part! Espresso blends are categorized by being darker roasts, from medium-dark to the absolute darkest. That said, they can still lean toward the lighter side on the discretion of the roasters.

    The best espresso bean for your machine should complement your tastes. If you don't like bitter and toasted flavors? Try medium roast beans to enjoy more fruity or nutty notes. If you're a huge fan of savory dark chocolate? Stick with the dark roasts.

    Let's take a look at what your espresso machine is missing.

    Top Coffee Beans for Espresso

    Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Flavor Notes of Citrus and Dark Chocolate

    Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Hair Bender - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Flavor Notes of Citrus and Dark Chocolate

    Let's start off 2022 with a brand name you've likely seen while browsing the grocery store aisle. Stumptown has earned its household name as a roaster that creates consistently flavorful bags for all coffee methods: especially espresso!

    This dark roast blend hails from Latin America and Africa, mixing bitter dark chocolate tasting notes with a tang of citrus. If you're a fan of chocolate oranges around Christmas time, you'll have to get your hands on this bag. Like most espresso, this coffee is deeply roasted to bring out its boldest flavors.

    Stumptown is keen on leaving a positive impact on the coffee industry, having recently become B Corp Certified. This honor is only provided to coffee businesses that have consistently proven themselves to go above and beyond in areas of sustainability, transparency, and fair pricing.

    Who Should Drink This?

    With a chocolatey-yet-sweet flavor, this is a relaxing espresso well-suited to early morning rushes and late night wind downs alike.

    Savor it in your drip coffee maker first, then try it in a dry cappuccino.

    Intelligentsia, Black Cat Classic Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade

     

    Intelligentsia, Black Cat Classic Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce Bag, Direct Trade

     

    You just can't go wrong with Intelligentsia coffee. With a few decades of hard work to its name, this roaster immediately invokes quality and dedication in the eyes of coffee aficionados.

    The prestige doesn't end there. The Black Cat Espresso is sourced from Colombia and Brazil, both today's largest coffee producers. While our first entry on the list was chocolatey and tart, this espresso leans more toward the sweet and syrupy side. Expect dark brown sugar tasting notes and hints of stone fruit.

    More specifically, stone fruit is a category that leans toward cherry, apricot, and plum.

    Who Should Drink This?

    If you crave low acidity in your brew, add another point! This espresso would make a fine dessert-like drink, whether to treat yourself or someone you care about.

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

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

    You don't get much more classically espresso than this tasty bag from Peet's Coffee. This household name is beloved among casual coffee drinkers and more experienced homebrewers alike.

    Roasted nice and dark, the Espresso Forte is blended from Indo-Pacific and American origins. It has 100% Arabia beans and is strictly roasted in small batches. Expect a nutty profile of hazelnut and truffle, with just a dash of a lemon-like acidity to give your cup a tangy finish.

    Who Should Drink This?

    What we love most about this coffee is how it retains a nice balance across the board: if you prefer your dark roast beans without too many surprises, this is the espresso for you.

    While this bag is best enjoyed as a standalone shot, experiment with different coffee recipes to your heart's content!

    MISCELA PRIVATA Italian Style Espresso | Whole Bean Coffee | Dark Roast | 1 LB Bag | Great Crema, Full-Body, Rich, & Balanced | Specialty Handcrafted 100% Arabica Artisan Small Batch

    MISCELA PRIVATA Italian Style Espresso | Whole Bean Coffee | Dark Roast | 1 LB Bag | Great Crema, Full-Body, Rich, & Balanced | Specialty Handcrafted 100% Arabica Artisan Small Batch

    Are you one of those coffee connoisseurs that doesn't like a lot of fuss in your cup? The Miscela Privata Italian Style Espresso hearkens to simpler times when coffee was a more straightforward drink.

    This roaster has been providing coffee to the weary masses since all the way back in 2009, offering a range of origins from Colombia to Guatemala. The Miscela Privata Italian Style Espresso is the darkest of the dark, a robust mix that fans of bitter chocolate will fall head over heels for. Expect a full, creamy body and a tall layer of crema.

    Even better? It's kosher!

    Who Should Drink This?

    Fans of espresso-focused drinks like flat whites and macchiatos will go through this bag very quickly.

    The subtle microfoam will ensure you're not missing out on the flavor while adding a little creaminess to the mouthfeel.

    Eight O'Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso, Dark Roast, Whole Bean Coffee, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1), 100% Arabica, Kosher Certified

    Eight O'Clock Coffee Dark Italian Espresso, Dark Roast, Whole Bean Coffee, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1), 100% Arabica, Kosher Certified

    Eight O' Clock Coffee is keen on providing you with the best espresso around. Right off the bat they stress their extra dark roast, ultra fine grind, and kosher certification.

    If that wasn't enough, this roaster has been around for a century and a half. It's no surprise they deliver on all fronts. This coffee bag blends dark chocolate with creamy caramel notes, resulting in a bitter-yet-sweet contrast you won't be able to put down.

    It can be difficult to capture all the nuances of coffee with a dark roast, which makes this bag all the more impressive.

    Who Should Drink This?

    Drink this coffee black, with milk, or with a dollop of sugar. It's traditional enough to suit just about any brewing method, yet just complex enough to stand out.

    Organic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee, The Best Espresso Beans from Peru - Fair Trade, Single Origin Mycotoxin & Mold Free Fresh Peruvian Purity | Super Healthy Arabica for Peak Performance - Low Acid

    Organic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee, The Best Espresso Beans from Peru - Fair Trade, Single Origin Mycotoxin & Mold Free Fresh Peruvian Purity | Super Healthy Arabica for Peak Performance - Low Acid

    Do you worry about quality control in your coffee? If you're someone who struggles with nausea or intolerances, this coffee is ready to meet you halfway.

    Top Shelf Grind Roasters put their best foot forward by stating their USDA certification for quality control. Not only is this coffee organic and hand-washed, it has been inspected deeply for any exposure to mold.

    You might be thinking, "How can a light roast compare to the best espresso coffee beans?". While darker roasts are better suited to espresso due to their bold flavor, they're still not for everyone. Light roasts are more nutty and mild: think soft cocoa powder or nougat instead of dark chocolate.

    Who Should Drink This?

    These are the best coffee beans for black coffee fans, cappuccino lovers, and those who could use a more mild latte to get their day started.

    Partners Coffee Roasters, Bedford Blend, Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce - Medium-Dark Roast

    Partners Coffee Roasters, Bedford Blend, Whole Bean Coffee - 12 Ounce - Medium-Dark Roast

    Partners Coffee's bold packaging seals in a bold coffee. This bag might contain some of the most distinctive tasting Arabica beans on this list.

    Partners Coffee has been around since 2012, carving out a niche for themselves as a New York roaster with a penchant for uniqueness. This bag's notes blend jammy marmalade with tart pomegranate and a sweet, brown sugar finish. Needless to say, these aren't your regular coffee beans!

    Who Should Drink This?

    To enjoy the fullest range of flavors from this bag, consider drinking it black or in a flat white. That said, fans of milk and sugar will still be able to taste these delectable flavors. That's nothing short of quality.

    Coffee Bros., Espresso Roast — Whole Bean — 100% Arabica — 1 Bag (12oz) — Colombia & Ethiopia — Gourmet & Specialty

    Coffee Bros., Espresso Roast — Whole Bean — 100% Arabica — 1 Bag (12oz) — Colombia & Ethiopia — Gourmet & Specialty

    How do you quantify specialty coffee, anyway? It's time to dive in deep so you can get a grasp on the level of quality in Coffee Bros.' Espresso Roast.

    Specialty coffee is measured with strict standards: a panel of coffee experts analyze flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel using a grading scale. They also record any deficiencies, such as rust leaf damage or malnourished beans. A specialty coffee grade needs to score eighty points or higher out of one hundred to qualify.

    The Coffee Bros. Espresso Roast is for coffee drinkers with a demanding sweet tooth, offering a blend of strawberry and vanilla notes in one toasty package. This whole bean coffee is a medium roast meant to keep bitterness at bay.

    Who Should Drink This?

    Drink this with milk, black, or with sugar. Its fruity and syrupy personality will remain consistent in just about any recipe you try.

    Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Oz

    Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, Certified Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher Coffee, 35.2 Oz

    Continuing the list is Kicking Horse Coffee, a brand name with a punch that suits its roasted espresso beans well.

    Go around the world with this varied blend of African, Central American, South American, and Indonesian origins. With 100% Arabica beans and a medium roast, this bag provides a slightly less bitter experience than your average espresso. Depending on your tastes, this could be music to your ears!

    We were impressed by the black currant, milk chocolate, and brown sugar notes, the result of which is similar to a strong tea.

    To top things off, the Cliff Hanger Espresso is organic, Fair Trade, and kosher.

    Who Should Drink This?

    Coffee lovers who also love tea will gravitate to this memorable bag. Medium roast bags are a little light on the bitterness, so try these coffee beans black or in a cortado.

    Our Best Alternative Coffee Picks

    Allegro Coffee Organic Espresso Bel Canto Whole Bean Coffee, 12 oz

    Allegro Coffee Organic Espresso Bel Canto Whole Bean Coffee, 12 oz

    This top pick immediately caught our eye for its organic label and interesting espresso blend. While it's a medium roast, don't let that stop you from giving it a try!

    This wholesale roaster can be found online and in several grocery stores across the country. They provide the best in specialty grade Arabica beans to ensure every cup is better than the least. The Allegro Coffee Organic Espresso Bel Canto mixes in both Ethiopian and Latin American coffees. The result is the best of both worlds: you get the classic cocoa of coffee with a pop of juicy berry.

    Who Should Drink This?

    If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, but don't want to stray too far from a traditional mug of coffee, this bag deserves a spot on your shelf.

    Drink this coffee in a simple latte to savor its chocolate flavor or add a dusting of brown sugar to contrast its tart, fruity notes.

    Folly Coffee | Classic Jo | Medium Roast, Rotating Single Origin (Brazil) | Fair Trade & Small Batch | Whole Bean, 5 lb Bag

    Folly Coffee | Classic Jo | Medium Roast, Rotating Single Origin (Brazil) | Fair Trade & Small Batch | Whole Bean, 5 lb Bag

    Don't be fooled by the name: you won't commit a folly when you purchase this bag! Folly Coffee is a relatively young roaster with a bright future ahead of it, thanks to their commitment to award-winning coffee.

    This espresso is a rare breed, blending medium roasted beans with dark roasted beans to create a sumptuous blend of flavors. Sweet caramel pairs nicely with a nougat aroma, creating a cup that both smells and tastes like a hot pastry. This is one bag you absolutely must buy in whole bean form so you can experience its full range of freshness.

    Who Should Drink This?

    Enjoy this espresso as a sweet kick in the morning, whether as a lone espresso shot or with a dollop of microfoam.

    Our Tips For Making the Best-Tasting Espresso

    Now that you've got a few bags on your to-try list, it's time to narrow down what makes espresso taste so delicious in the first place. There's a reason why making coffee is considered an art form!

    Order Whole Beans

    Don't have a coffee grinder? It's time to take the plunge and add one to your kitchen or home office. Whole beans are easily the best way to enjoy coffee by a landslide: pre-ground coffee already loses some of its flavor and aroma by the time it's packaged.

    Coffee grinders come in both manual and electric forms. Manual coffee grinders are small and portable, perfect for taking with you on a camping trip or a business excursion. They're best suited for smaller households or on-the-go individuals. While you can use these for Moka pot espresso, you can't use them for machines.

    Electric coffee grinders come in a variety of sizes and are faster than their manual counterparts. They also are better suited to machines due to creating finer grind levels. As a result, they tend to be a little more expensive. If you're a big coffee lover, they're well worth it!

    Make Sure Your Beans are Roasted To Order

    The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans for espresso is unmatched. If you've been around coffee long enough, you've learned how to tell when coffee beans go stale.

    Make sure your coffee bean order is roasted and shipped the same day (or the next day). Most coffee bags come with a roast date on the front or back to let you know how fresh it is. Ideally, you should go through your bag in two to four weeks. The sooner you drink it, the better it'll taste.

    Drink Your Coffee Fresh

    We're not done banging on this drum yet! Not only should your beans be freshly grounded and freshly roasted, you also shouldn't let your espresso linger.

    Have you ever noticed just how fast baristas work when making your order? This is because espresso rapidly loses its crema as it sits around. When making your espresso-based drinks, get comfortable with multitasking. Heat up or steam your milk as your shots pull so you can mix them together as soon as possible.

    Know the Difference Between Moka Pots and Espresso Machines

    This detail can be confusing for new espresso brewers. Both Moka Pots and espresso machines create espresso...but that's where the similarity ends!

    The Moka Pot is the older of the two coffee machines, cropping up in the late 1800's as an alternative to brewing. It uses water and steam to push out a highly concentrated form of coffee. While Moka pot espresso is heavy and smooth, it lacks the signature crema of the espresso shots you see at the cafe.

    Espresso machines also use steam and pressure to create espresso, but far more of it. As a result, your espresso shots come with a golden layer of crema that add an extra creamy texture to your drinks.

    Be Mindful of Robusta Beans

    Robusta gets a pretty poor reputation in the coffee industry for being of a lower quality. It's common for coffee lovers to run the other way once they see this name on a label!

    Robust beans are more bitter, have a higher caffeine content, and often lack the subtle flavors of Arabica. You'll more likely find Robusta beans in grocery store instant coffee than whole bean coffee. Does that mean Robusta is completely terrible? Not at all.

    Robusta beans are often used in blends, whether to pad out Arabica or to try new flavor combinations. Vietnam, the world's largest Robusta coffee producer, is also starting to see more attention in the specialty coffee space.

    Use your discretion when purchasing espresso beans and consider branching out once in a while. Robusta may end up pleasantly surprising you!

    The Final Verdict

    Exploring your unique tastes is one of the most enjoyable aspects of being a coffee lover. While our espresso beans reviews are based on our favorites, don't be afraid to step off the beaten path!

    Most espresso is roasted dark to enhance the more savory, bitter, and chocolate-like flavors of the coffee. However, some espresso is roasted medium or medium-dark to offer a different range such as nutty, fruity, or sugary. It's recommended you purchase Arabica beans to keep your coffee as complex as possible, as Robusta beans tend to be lower-quality (though that's starting to change!).

    If you're looking for a little help on grinding and brewing coffee, reach out to our live chat or send us a message. We're happy to answer any and all of your coffee-related questions!

    Related Articles:

    Best Coffee Beans for Cappuccino 

    Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

    -

    Affiliate Disclaimer: MajestyCoffee.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases when you buy from the links on some of our pages.

    *Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates