Best Coffee Beans For Espresso

There’s a few very good reasons why espresso is one of the most popular ways to make coffee in the world.

Their rich and intensely deep flavor is a lot different to other types of coffee, not to mention how delicate and creamy they taste thanks to their usage of particular coffee beans to create a dark and rich texture and flavor.

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso

The coffee beans that give espresso this unique and addicting flavor are grounded and roasted a bit finer than regular beans are and need to be brewed in an espresso machine to grind them correctly so they distill the flavor into the coffee.

With such a wide choice of coffee beans now on the market however, it has become more effort than it needs to be to seek out the right ones that you can be sure will give you an elegant tasting espresso each time, so to make this easier we have compiled some of very best coffee beans that work perfectly for making an espresso that you can find right now.

STARBUCKS Espresso Roast

Coming straight from the kings of coffee themselves, Starbucks offers these classic and time honored dark roast beans that contain hints of molasses and caramel which perfectly mixes in that smooth and heavenly taste that a lot of us know espressos for.

The real beauty of this product is just how many options you get to choose from, allowing you to simply buy a smaller pack for if you want to try the beans out, or if you decide to save some money and buy a few packs in bulk.

With 4 options to choose from including 1 pack of 28 ounces if you don’t want to buy multiple at once but still want a good quantity or 18 ounces split between 6, the choice is yours.

Their dark roast beans used for making espressos are also mixed in with some tremendous unique flavors, not to mention that because Starbucks is known for taking great care in retrieving it’s beans and using them fairly, being sourced from more than 30 coffee producing countries with a set of guidelines followed that ensures the coffee beans are grown ethically and traded responsibly.

Customers have reported that the beans grind perfectly on a coarse or fine setting and that while the flavor is quite strong, it never oversteps the mark and is still incredibly delicious while never coming out too bitter, making for an excellent option for brewing up espressos.


  • Delicious dark roast beans mixed with rich molasses and caramel
  • Good variety of different bag sizes
  • Strong taste without being bitter
  • Beans are sourced responsibly


  • Packing reported to come loose and invalid Starbucks reward points

Allegro Coffee Organic Espresso

Among coffee enthusiasts, Allegro is one of the most reputable brands when it comes to coffee beans, and for good reason.

If you don’t want that bitter aftertaste that can linger in the mouth after drinking an espresso, then these beans are the choice for you being full bodied but still incredibly smooth so that you get the maximum amount of flavor all in one.

Speaking of the flavor, despite these beans being for an espresso specifically, many customers report that they are a lot less strong than other coffee beans which to some may be a deal breaker, but if you are someone who wants as much of that dark and rich flavor as possible but don’t want it to be overpowering in the morning, then these are excellent beans for an espresso.

There is also the fact Allegro’s beans are organic rather than being grown using pesticides which can cause the beans to contain nasty chemicals which can harm the body.

Potassium, niacin and magnesium are just a few of the nutrients that are retained in these beans so you can feel healthy and refreshed while you drink a delicious espresso.

With a strong and sweet chocolate flavor that tastes delicious but dials back on how strong it is to make for a smooth tasting experience, this offering by Allegor is definitely some of the best beans for an espresso that you can find.


  • Taste not too overpowering, creates smooth and rich flavor
  • Grown organically and full of nutrients
  • No bitterness
  • Good price for 12oz bag


  • Short expiration date of 2-3 months

Kimbo Espresso Crema Intensa

If you want a bit more control over the intensity of your espresso and want to be able to retain as much flavor as possible while customizing the coffee to your personal preference, this Kimbo Espresso products come with 7 different options all with their own intensity ratings depending on how much you want that strong kick to be present when you sip on some espresso in the morning.

Whether you want the much stronger taste of the Intenso or just want more of a mild taste with the Caffe Crema, the choice is entirely up to you and offers you a great amount of options.

This is not to say these intensity levels forfeit any of the taste of the beans, in fact these full bodied beans are incredibly smooth and are even mixed with a spicy aroma sourced from Naples that leaves an extremely pleasant toasted flavor in the mouth with a good balance between the sweet and acidic flavors so that one never cancels out the other.

Unlike a lot of other products, these beans are not oily in the slightest making them much easier to handle and are also not over roasted which would cause the taste to become diluted and tasting like any other regular coffee beans.

These beans can be used easily in an automatic espresso maker and they can also be used to make for some delicious cappuccino and latte macchiatos if you ever feel like having a bit of a change up every so often.


  • Wide variety of intensity options
  • Full bodied and smooth taste with spiced aroma
  • Non-oily beans makes for easier preparation
  • Can be used to also make cappuccinos and latte macchiatos


  • Slightly more expensive

Illy Intenso Whole Bean Coffee

Another option with a huge amount of variety that also contains a unique taste that works perfectly as an espresso, the Illy Intenso gives you the option of choosing dark roasted beans from 9 of the finest Arabica coffee sources worldwide including beans sourced from India, Costa Rica and Ethiopia.

At a generous price point, you get a varied choice of what specific flavor you want your espresso to have when it’s finally prepared, whether you want a flavor that is as intense as it can be with the Brazil sourced beans or you want a much smoother taste with a few hints of fruit thrown into the mix with the Ethiopian beans, each and every taste you could think of are included in this product.

The beans also come in a unique pressurized packaging tin which preserves all of the flavor and complexities of the illy blend, while at the same time also working to enhance the coffee’s natural aroma and ensuring the beans are as fresh as possible so you don’t receive some stale coffee beans upon purchasing them.

Illy caffe was also listed on Ethisphere’s list of the world’s most ethical companies ranking at number 7, so you can be sure that the beans are sourced ethically and traded responsibly, and with a signature ground coffee that has continuously been refined for over 8 decades, The Illy Cafes Whole Coffee Beans are certainly some of the best beans for espresso that can be found on the market today.


  • Huge amount of choice from 9 different countries
  • Every taste possible from intense to light and smooth
  • Pressurized tin packaging retains flavor and freshness
  • Beans are ethically sourced and traded responsibly


  • Beans can appear very oily

Lavazza Gran Crema Espresso

If you are looking for a slightly different flavor and blend in your espresso coffee, these Lavazza Gran coffee beans are slow roasted and fused with a taste of honey that gives these beans a sweeter texture than normal while still retaining a lot of the deep rich flavor that espressos are known for.

Lavazaa has been refining its coffee taste for 120 years, which is what makes these beans so unique giving them a distinctive Italian taste which still has a familiar dark taste that is noticeably quite intense when made into an espresso.

These beans are therefore more suited to those lovers of the more intense and striking flavor of an espresso that doesn’t become too bitter, but is much more noticeable for when you don’t want a coffee that ends up too smooth or delicate.

These beans are also great for when you want an espresso in the morning that you know will fill you with energy and motivation for the long day ahead rather than a softer cup in the afternoon or evening when you want to wind down.

They can be prepared in just a few minutes through an automatic espresso machine and are therefore some of the most unique and best coffee beans for making espressos if you want more of a kick to the taste that is sure to wake you up and get you ready for the day that awaits you.


  • Unique rich taste mixed with honey
  • Perfect for having a slightly more intense flavor
  • Easy preparation


  • Quite expensive for bag sizes

Buyer’s Guide

When buying coffee beans to make the perfect cup of espresso, there are a few key points to always keep in mind to make sure you buy beans that are not only compatible with making an espresso, but so that you can also choose the product that is right for you since there are such a wide variety now on the market to choose from.

Dark Or Light Roasted?

There can often be a lot of misconceptions in the wider coffee community that you cannot use light roasted beans for making an espresso.

This is very far from the truth, not only can they work just fine and can give a lot of the same taste as dark roasted beans would, but some coffee enthusiasts actually prefer using lighter beans to give an extra dimension to the shot.

Majority of people however will much prefer to use darker roasted beans when making an espresso specifically because they provide that deeper and richer taste that is so addicting to taste and provides that fully unique espresso flavor we all know and love.

Medium to dark roasted beans also provide a very similar flavor that can spice things up a little when you want a bit of a change from the regular dark roasted beans and want something with a bit more of a delicate caramel sweetness that mixes well with the moderate levels of acidity.

At the end of the day, while moderate to dark roasted beans are often seen as the very best choice when you want an espresso you know will have a delightful taste that comes out rich and creamy every time, if you feel you want to try some lighter roasted beans then this is never a bad choice either.


It is always a good idea when choosing coffee beans, not only for an espresso but for any type of coffee, to always check how fresh the beans are as this can affect so many factors including how stale the beans might be when you use them and their expiration date.

If you’re picking up beans from a small roaster, always try and purchase the freshest beans you can buy while if you are buying from a larger roaster, always check the packaging and find out about how the beans were raised, where they are from and what the expiration date is as a lot of the time, brands and companies can sell high priced beans only for the expiration date to be no more than a few weeks, leaving a lot of the bag to go to waste.

While we might not be able to detect the difference in flavor immediately, to ensure you get the maximum taste possible,which is incredibly important when making a rich textured espresso, always read the packaging to find the beans that are the freshest and will last you the longest.

Arabica Or Robusta?

While choosing the kind of beans to use for an espresso there are two primary variants that stand out the most, arabica and robusta, with arabica by far being the most popular, and for very good reason.

Arabica is incredibly delicious being the go to beans most coffee stores and companies will use when making an espresso as they create this sweet yet dark and creamy flavor that is hard to make too bitter when preparing.

This is not to say robusta has no advantages however, for one it is far cheaper than arabica because of its longer harvesting season and the fact that it is less fragile than arabica.

It is also commonly used in some of the most popular authentic Italian espressos primarily because it creates a plentiful and more thick taste that the arabica can sometimes struggle to give off.

For an espresso that produces a better creamy flavor and is packed full of caffeine, robusta is the way to go while the more popular arabica is for when you want that signature deep and dark espresso taste.

Find Beans That Are Traceable

While this may not seem like that much of a big deal originally, it is an industry standard that sellers make very clear on their packaging where their beans come from with many actually using it as the primary way to sell them.

This is not only important because the taste and texture of the beans can be drastically different depending on where it is from, but if the beans are untraceable then it is a good sign that they are of poor quality and may have been grown in very poor conditions, causing the beans to be stale.

Frequently Asked Question

Do You Need An Automatic Machine To Make An Espresso?

While automatic espresso machines are usually the go to way to prepare this delicious drink because it requires enough pressure, if you don’t have one in the house or don’t want to go through the hassle of going out and buying one, you can also opt for either using a French press which are widely available and are the more affordable version of the regular automatic machines, or you can even use a burr grinder which is known for keeping the beans as fresh as they can be.


These are some of the very best coffee beans for espressos that are on the market right now, whether you just want a standard espresso bursting with soft and elegant flavors to relax or one with an intense kick to see you through the day, there is an option for every preference.

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