The 3 Best Espresso Beans for 2022 (and 23 More!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

A perfect espresso can kickstart your morning, while a bad one might ruin your day and upset your stomach. Finding a decent espresso bean isn’t too tough, but discovering the best espresso beans? That’s a real challenge.

Welcome to your go-to guide for top-notch coffee beans! Drawing from my own adventures in coffee tasting and insights from reliable reviewers, I’ve put together a list of the top 3 espresso beans, plus 23 more that range from really good to absolutely fantastic. If you’re on the hunt for beans that will elevate your latte or cappuccino, you’re in the right spot. Let’s discover your next favorite together!

Ready for the best part? Discover the top 3 espresso beans here:

What Makes Espresso Beans Different From Coffee Beans?

In short, nothing. All espresso beans are coffee beans, and all coffee beans can be used to make espresso.

What really makes a drink espresso instead of coffee is the way it is prepared. Espresso machines work by taking hot water near its boiling point (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit), pressurizing it to at least 9 bars (preferably closer to 15 bars), and forcing it through very finely ground coffee beans. All of this — the high temperature, high pressure, and the high surface area of the grounds — works to maximize the amount of coffee extracted from the beans, creating a more concentrated coffee drink.

What Is Different About the Best Espresso Beans?

Just because all coffee beans can be used for espresso doesn’t mean they’ll all make equally high-quality beverages. There are several characteristics that you can look for when trying to pick out good coffee beans for your espresso, cappuccino, latte, or other espresso-based beverage.

The roasting process

For a perfect espresso, choose dark or medium roast coffee beans. Darker roasts pack a stronger flavor and have more natural oils, making your espresso richer without being too acidic. Plus, they’re more porous, letting you extract more goodness in the quick espresso brewing process.

The type of bean

There are dozens of types of coffee beans out there, but there are only two that you’ll see in most coffee roasts: Arabica and Robusta. Changing the percentage of each of these in your roast will have a huge impact on your espresso. 

Arabica beans are known for their soft, sweet flavor and a bit more acidity compared to Robusta beans. They thrive at higher altitudes and are a big deal in Latin American coffee. On the other hand, Robusta beans pack a punch with their earthy taste, more caffeine, and less acidity. Interestingly, you won’t spot Robusta in Latin American mixes because they’re grown only in the eastern hemisphere.

Do you love the creamy foam on your espresso, known as crema? Well, Robusta blends give you a thicker and richer crema compared to just Arabica beans.

Where the beans are from

Espresso beans from different places taste unique because of many factors. The height of the land, amount of rain, type of soil, how they’re grown, and even the shade affect their flavors and smells.

There are more than 50 countries that produce coffee beans. Most of these are located within the “Bean Belt”, a region that stretches from 30 degrees south of the equator to 25 degrees north of it. Even within this range, the growing conditions are far from uniform.

The most popular beans for espresso come from Brazil, Indonesia, and — to a lesser extent — Colombia. Brazilian beans offer a lot of variety in the overall flavor profile, but the most common varieties have a heavy body and a spicy and nutty flavor. Indonesian beans — including the famous Java bean — are most notable for their deep-bodied mouthfeel. Colombian coffee beans often offer a fun caramel flavor with a hint of nuttiness, and they are generally more well-balanced and mild than other beans used for espresso.

The grind size

Espresso needs a super fine grind. Why? Because it brews fast! The hot water zips through the grounds quickly, so a finer grind means more surface area to grab all the tasty bits from the coffee.

Buying pre-ground beans? Look for the word fine on the package or anything mentioning it’s for espresso. But, here’s a pro tip: grinding your own beans takes your coffee to the next level. Check out how to do it [here](https://easytoespresso.com/how-to-grind-coffee-beans/). If you’re diving into grinding, a [burr coffee grinder](https://easytoespresso.com/best-coffee-grinders/) with a fine setting is your best friend. Stuck with a blade grinder? Just grind those beans a bit longer than you would for regular drip coffee.


When it comes to good coffee, freshness matters. Once the beans are roasted, it’s a race against the clock to make use of them while they are still at their best. If you want the freshest coffee beans, you can roast them yourself, but that’s a lot of effort. The next best thing is to buy freshly roasted beans and use them within a few days.

If all of that sounds too complicated, here is my best advice: at least buy whole beans. The processes that make coffee beans go stale happen at the surface. Grinding coffee, especially the fine grinding required for espresso, causes the coffee to go stale much faster. A few days on the shelf causes as much staleness in ground coffee as weeks or even months would for coffee beans. If you do buy grounds or you want to grind in batches, make sure to store the grounds in an airtight container

Some brands give their coffee beans a longer shelf life by using cool tricks like nitrogen packing or vacuum sealing. These methods mainly keep oxygen away from the beans during their journey and while they’re stored, keeping them fresh for you.

The 3 Best Espresso Beans

I believe in giving you choices because exploring different flavors is what makes coffee exciting. However, I won’t overwhelm you with too many options. Instead, I’ll guide you to find the perfect espresso to try. Dive into the world of coffee with me!

In this section, I’ve handpicked a few top-notch coffee choices for you to try first. Don’t worry, I’ve got more great options waiting in the next section. Start with these three picks, and once you’ve tasted them, explore the rest of our amazing selections.

Best espresso beans: Lifeboost organic espresso

Imagine biting into a delicious candy bar, filled with chocolate, fruity, and caramel flavors. Now, picture those same flavors in your morning espresso. That’s what Lifeboost’s espresso blend brings to your cup, with added hints of richness and sweetness. Plus, their dark roasted beans create a low acid coffee or espresso, making every sip smooth and enjoyable.

They exclusively use 100% Arabica beans, grown organically without any harsh chemicals or pesticides, meeting USDA-certified standards. These beans are responsibly sourced from Nicaragua’s mountains, where they’re carefully hand-picked. They’re then cleaned with spring water and sun-dried, ensuring a process that’s completely fair trade certified. To guarantee quality, they even undergo third-party testing for mycotoxins. Finally, each bean is hand-roasted, crafting the perfect cup of coffee.

Looking for espresso beans that tick all the boxes? Healthy, tasty, eco-friendly, and sourced from local farmers? Lifeboost has you covered. Their blend is perfect for your espresso cravings. And while you’re at it, explore their other roasts too. You won’t be disappointed!

Best Complexity: Volcanica Coffee Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

Though not an espresso blend, don’t overlook it. This blend put Volcanica on the map as one of the top Ethiopian coffee roasters.

These medium-roasted beans pack a sweet, rich taste with layers of fruit flavors like guava, pineapple, and strawberry, mixed with a touch of dark chocolate. Their medium body and lively acidity make this Ethiopian blend a real favorite among coffee lovers.

Their beans are not only organic and fair trade but also help protect rainforests. Plus, they come from wild, indigenous coffee trees in the region.

For Caffeine Lovers: Death Wish Coffee

Death Wish stands out for being among the strongest coffees in the world. But there’s more to it than just its dark roast and intense caffeine kick. It boasts a rich, bold flavor with hints of cherry and chocolate, making each sip a delight. The secret to its extra caffeine? A unique slow-roasting method that naturally doubles the caffeine content compared to regular roasts.

They mix Arabica and Robusta beans from various places, all meeting USDA organic and fair-trade standards. They roast these beans in small batches, guaranteeing top quality and freshness.

Brewing espresso with Death Wish coffee? It’s not for everyone. If you’re not a fan of a strong caffeine kick, this might not be your cup of coffee. But for those who love that energy surge, it’s an adventure. And here’s a bit of fun: you haven’t really lived until you’ve tried Death Wish espresso.

More Great Espresso Beans

Just like I promised, here are some more amazing espresso bean options to explore after you’ve tried the top 3. They’re listed randomly, but I’ve shared details to help you find the perfect match for your taste.

Found an incredible espresso bean I missed? Let me know! I’m on the hunt for my next perfect cappuccino.

Volcanica Coffee Tanzania Peaberry

Discover Volcanica’s peaberry coffee, a unique gem in the coffee world. If you’re new to peaberry, you’re in for a delightful surprise, just like I was!

Coffee cherries contain two coffee beans each. At least 95% of them do. The other 5% contain a single coffee bean that is able to soak up that extra nutrition that would usually go to the second bean, growing into a denser, rounder, richer bean. These are the peaberries. 

Peaberries, unique beans with a distinct taste, often get tossed aside in regular coffee batches. Discover why these special beans are worth a second look!

Many coffee lovers believe peaberries taste better than regular beans. Some say it’s because peaberry blends are only made from the best sources. But, everyone agrees: peaberry coffee is amazing.

Volcanica’s Tanzanian Peaberry coffee is roasted just right to bring out its unique fruity taste that’s typical of the area. It has a zesty lemongrass kick, with sweet notes of plum and nougat. This coffee has a creamy, rich texture that makes it amazing for both drip coffee and espresso.

Kicking Horse Coffee 454

Kicking Horse is a close contender to Death Wish in the caffeine game. It’s a smooth, dark roast with a rich, full body. You’ll taste earthy notes with a touch of nutmeg and chocolate.

Kicking Horse sources organic, fair trade beans from Indonesia, Central, and South America, all grown in mountain shade.

Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso

Discover another Kicking Horse gem—a medium roast that’s smooth and rich. It bursts with wildberry syrup flavors and ends with a cocoa twist. Its scent? A delightful mix of blackcurrant, brown sugar, and chocolate.

They get their coffee beans from Indonesia, Africa, Central America, and Latin America. All their coffee is organic, grown in the shade of mountains, and fair trade.

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend

Usually, single-origin coffees outshine blends. But, Peet’s Coffee breaks the mold! They’re one of the few where their blends can stand toe-to-toe with their single-origin offerings. A real treat for coffee lovers!

Peet’s single-origin coffees are good, but their blends, like Major Dickason’s Blend, are truly amazing. Perfect for coffee lovers!

Major Dickason’s Blend is a dark, rich coffee mix from Peet’s Coffee, made with beans from secret locations. This blend is perfect for espresso lovers like me. It’s bold, full of flavor, and works great no matter how you brew it. I’m dying to know where these beans come from because it’s just that good.

Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt Coffee

Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt isn’t just a catchy name. It’s here because it’s a strong coffee blend that manages to be smoother and less intense than other high-caffeine choices. Perfect for those who want a powerful but pleasant kick.

Dive into the world of French roast coffee! It delivers a deep, dark flavor minus the oily feel of other dark roasts. Expect a rich taste with fruity, earthy notes, and a dash of molasses and tobacco. Its aroma? A smoky blend with a hint of cinnamon.

Discover top-notch Colombian coffee beans – organic, fair trade, and ethically picked.

Lion Coffee French Roast

Discover a bold French roast made from sweet, full-bodied Hawaiian Arabica beans. It’s intense and unforgettable. 

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso

French roasts go deep, darker than most. Yet, Italian roasts push further, teetering on the edge of burning. It’s the pinnacle of dark coffee beans.

Discover beans with a warm, honey scent and a rich, smoky taste featuring hints of molasses and chocolate, all hailing from India and South America.

Coffee Bean Direct might remind you of a bulk store, right? Well, the price becomes a lot clearer once you know they offer their coffee in big 5-pound bags. Perfect for stocking up!

Intelligentsia Black Cat Analog Espresso

In my old office, we had a special bag of coffee reserved for special moments. It was rich and sweet, with a thick, syrupy feel and hints of dark chocolate. Perfect for our espresso machine!

Exploring the full flavor of this coffee blend is like a fun mystery for you to solve. Don’t worry, it’s not a secret I’m keeping. The taste changes with the seasons, making each sip a unique surprise. But I promise, it’s always a delightful experience.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender

This blend almost snagged the top spot for complexity! It’s a mix of Indonesian, African, and Latin American beans, each adding a unique layer to the rich, dark-roasted flavor.

Discover the world in your cup! African beans bring a deep, earthy flavor. Indonesian ones add a bright, rich texture. And from Latin America? A fruity twist. Together, they create a perfect blend of bitter, tart, and sweet, with hints of citrus and dark chocolate. It’s a truly amazing experience.

Lavazza Super Crema

Of course, I had to include Lavazza, a top pick among Italian coffee brands! It was hard choosing just one from their amazing selection, but it’s a must-mention for any coffee lover.

Discover the magic of a medium-roast blend that’s super creamy! It’s crafted from 80% Arabica and 20% Robusta beans from India, Colombia, Brazil, and Indonesia, all roasted the Italian way.

This coffee is smooth and creamy, tasting of honey, almond, and a touch of fruit. Its lower caffeine and higher acidity set it apart from others we’ve talked about.

Illy Classico

Espresso reminds me of Italy, and Italians love their Illy coffee.

If you’re on the hunt for hidden micro-roasters, this might not be for you. However, if you’re after a brand that’s been nailing espresso quality for almost 100 years, check out Illy.

Their coffee uses 100% Arabica beans from nine countries, medium-roasted for a sweet taste with hints of caramel, orange blossom, and jasmine.

Illy stands out as a leader in ethical coffee, making Ethisphere’s list of the Most Ethical Coffees for the eighth year in a row in 2020. They’re one of just six companies in their sector to earn this honor.

Koa Coffee Estate Dark Roast 100% Kona

Koa is famous for its light roasts, but don’t let that fool you. Even though dark roasts aren’t their main game, they’ve shown they can make a dark roast that’s just as amazing.

Discover the magic of Hawaiian Kona beans in your espresso. These beans bring flavors of juicy fruit, toasted nuts, and creamy milk chocolate. Enjoy a rich, full-bodied coffee with a smooth feel, low acidity, and a delightfully tangy aroma. Perfect for an amazing espresso experience!

Blue Horse 100% Kona

Let’s talk about Hawaiian coffee again, but it’s not just any coffee. Blue Horse brings us unique, hand-picked beans from a family-owned farm in Kona, Hawaii. Trust me, it’s something special.

These beans are 100% organic, grown without any harmful chemicals. While not the cheapest, top-notch Kona coffee like this usually comes with a higher price tag.

Discover a medium roast bursting with flavors of almonds, vanilla, and a touch of spice, all wrapped in a sweet embrace. Fancy something bolder? Try it in a dark roast too!

Rainier Coffee Roasters Ethiopian Gotiti Natural

Ethiopian coffee beans are a flavor adventure! They’re fruity, sweet, have a toasted warmth, a hint of nuts, and a dash of spice. Pour a little milk into your espresso, and surprise – there’s a chocolatey note hiding in there too!

Diving into this medium roast coffee, you’ll find it’s not just a drink but an experience. Its rich, syrupy texture and deep flavor are hard to sum up quickly. If I had to try, I’d say it’s unique, thrilling, and wonderfully complex.

Cafe de Loja Medium/Dark Roast Single Origin Coffee

Ecuador is making its debut on our list, and it’s a must-try! Grown in the highlands at 6000 feet, these Arabica beans are carefully handpicked, promising a rich and delightful coffee experience. 

Cafe de Loja is a local gem, famous for its top-notch quality. Its medium-to-full body, fruity flavors, and silky smoothness create a blend that’s simply irresistible.

Klatch Coffee World’s Best Espresso

Missed the 2007 World Barista Championship? No worries, so did I. But guess what? Klatch Coffee stole the show by winning the World’s Best Espresso title. They’re definitely top-notch in the coffee game.

Dive into a cup that begins with the rich tastes of chocolate and orange. As you sip more, you’ll uncover layers of syrupy sweetness, berry, and a hint of spice. This unique flavor profile is crafted from a blend of Brazilian Yellow Bourbon beans, Ethiopian Natural beans, and Sumatra Lake Tawar beans. Each sip invites you deeper into its complex world.

Larry’s Coffee Secret Espresso #17

Larry begins with top-notch Arabica beans that are organically grown, fair trade certified, and shade-grown. Then, he crafts a rich roast with creamy, dark chocolate flavors and a toasty finish.

The Secret Espresso #17 blend is said to be as “complex as boutique whiskey.” As a boutique whiskey fan, I’m on the fence about that claim. However, it’s undeniable that these are top-notch espresso beans.

Verena Street Shot Tower Espresso

Verena crafts rich, layered flavors from their single-origin Arabica beans. These beans are Rainforest Alliance certified, promising to protect wildlife and the environment.

Their beans are dark roasted until they’re a bit oily and super fragrant. This blend is smooth, rich, and leaves a deliciously sweet, creamy taste in your mouth. 

Fundamental Coffee Company Guatemala Puerto Verde

One of my top picks, this roast is like hot chocolate but for coffee fans! Imagine sipping on a cup that’s smooth, rich, and tastes like dark chocolate. Plus, it’s got sweet brown sugar vibes and a touch of orange blossom. Sounds tempting, right?

Arabica beans from Guatemala thrive under the shadows of active volcanoes. The volcanic ash, a natural and sustainable fertilizer, enriches the coffee plants, giving them unique flavors.

They medium-dark roast their beans, bringing out bright and crisp flavors, perfect for these beans.

Caffe Appassionato Organic Shade Grown Espresso Roast

Caffe Apassionato grows its coffee in the shade to help local birds. Their organic beans are fairly bought from Indonesia and Central America.

They roast the beans slowly at low heat, making the coffee smooth, rich, and strong with a lovely aroma and less acid.

Blackwelder Coffee, 100% Arabica Espresso

Micro-roasting is cool, but the folks at Blackwelder Coffee take it to another level. They taste every batch they roast. Honestly, who wouldn’t want that job if they had the chance?

Their espresso mix combines Latin American and Indonesian Arabica beans, medium-dark roasted for a mild acidity. It delivers a rich, smooth taste with a hint of caramel. Perfect for coffee lovers!

Nicoletti Coffee Espresso

Nicoletti takes their time to roast coffee beans in small amounts, ensuring they’re super fresh when they send them out within a day of roasting. Their espresso mix combines 75% Arabica and 25% Robusta beans, giving you a smooth, fresh, and light coffee. Plus, the Robusta beans add a rich, thick crema on top of your espresso, just like in Italy!

This unique espresso blend is lightly roasted, making it perfect for automatic espresso machines. It’s great because it doesn’t clog the machines like oily coffee beans do.

Middle Fork Roasters Full City Espresso

These beans shine with a splash of milk, unlocking rich flavors of caramelized sugar, chocolate, and cherry that you won’t taste without it.

This dark-roasted coffee is rich and bold, with a touch of sweetness. Perfect for latte lovers, it promises a deliciously indulgent experience.

Closing Thoughts

If you believe all espressos taste alike, you’re missing out on great ones. I enjoy both espresso and drip coffee, but there’s a world of difference to explore. 

Exploring the world of espresso is like embarking on a flavor adventure. Each espresso brings its own unique taste, texture, and scent, inviting you to discover the vast possibilities within a cup. Why not kickstart this journey with a pick from the top 3 espresso beans? As you delve deeper, sampling from a broader selection, you’ll soon find the perfect bean (or beans) to claim a permanent spot in your kitchen.

best espresso beans

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *