The 10 Best Espresso Beans for 2021 – Reviewed and Ranked

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A cup of espresso isn’t like your regular cup of coffee. All things remaining constant, your typical cup of Joe has about 2% dissolved coffee solids as part of the final product. This is minuscule compared to the astonishing 12% that makes it into your cup when dealing with espresso.

In essence, that’s one of the main reasons why you absolutely must use the best espresso beans when making this delicious beverage. Not only that, but the beans you choose need to pair well with your preferred brewing process.

However, as is the case with pretty much everything else on this planet, it almost always comes down to a matter of personal preference. What would be considered the best espresso beans by one person might not necessarily make it into another’s top 10 list. That’s why it’s good to have lots of options, and that’s exactly what you will get here.

Below are 10 of the best espresso beans options in the market today. If you are still on the fence about which brand or espresso beans to choose, any one of these 10 will do nicely.

10 Best Espresso Beans to Buy

1. Lifeboost Coffee Dark Roast Ground Coffee

lifeboost dark roast coffee packet

Shade-grown in Nicaragua, Lifeboost Coffee Dark Roast Ground Coffee is one of the most popular espresso beans on the market for several good reasons.

For starters, it sells itself as part of the fair trade sustainable market and a healthier option compared to the competitors. The farmers who grow this coffee on the mountainsides of Nicaragua use bird-friendly farming techniques, but they also make sure no pesticides are used on the land.

These beans are single-origin Arabica in nature which by itself makes them elite. Furthermore, they are washed in spring water, dried organically in the sun…what you end up with is something spectacularly authentic.

Another excellent selling point is that these coffee beans have unusually low pH, which means that it’s easy on the stomach as well as on your teeth. If you are one of those, who love your coffee strong but have to trade that off with serious heartburn after, maybe you should give LifeBoost Dark Roast a try and see how well it treats your stomach.

Pros:

  • Low pH
  • Rich and dark
  • Italian roast
  • Sustainably farmed
  • Single-origin Arabica coffee
  • USDA certified organic
  • Over 1000 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Quite pricey when compared to the competition

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2. Lavazza Super Crema

Lavazza Super Crema

There’s a good chance that if you are an absolute espresso fan, you might have a barista-style espresso machine. If so, then you absolutely must give this Lavazza Super Crema Italian coffee a try.

Designed to be brewed using that kind of hardware, this bag of coffee holds a highly prestigious position when it comes to aroma intensity. It comes at you with nothing but the traditional espresso-friendly flavors such as almost honey and dried fruits.

This bag is a blend of 60% Arabica coffee and 40% Robusta coffee farmed in exotic places like India, Colombia, Brazil, and Vietnam. If you have a barista-style semi-automatic machine, then you will love these beans and the crema that comes with them.

Finally, the fact that it comes from as prestigious a brand as Lavazza, a company that is not only of excellent Italian heritage but that has managed to garner a reputation as an exceptional master of coffee; there’s no doubt that this blend is designed to impress any avid coffee drinker. And it does!

Pros:

  • Exceptional blend
  • Rich coffee with great crema
  • Rich taste but not bitter
  • Complex flavors
  • Highly trusted brand
  • Has over 21,000 4 to 5-star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Might be a little too traditional for some people

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3. Death Wish Organic Whole Bean

death wish coffee

With a name like Death Wish Organic Whole Bean, it’s not unreasonable to expect that this coffee packs the maximum allowed caffeine content…which it does. This slow-roasted dark coffee has exceptional depth when it comes to flavor.

While you might be expecting to experience an equal level of bitterness, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that not only is it not bitter, but it’s a rich, full-bodied coffee that has notes of cherry and chocolate in the background as well as an alluring cocoa aroma.

The most die-hard of espresso fans will quickly point out that a dark roast is the right kind of bean for “real” espresso. However, if you are a card-carrying member of this club, then you won’t be disappointed by this dangerously delicious blend.

Pros:

  • Dark roast coffee without the bitterness
  • Intense flavor
  • Roasted in small batches
  • Certified organic
  • Fair trade
  • Over 15, 500 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • The extremely high caffeine content isn’t for everybody

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4. Coffee Bros Espresso Roast

What do you like to taste in your espresso? Does a round body, a hint of sugarcane, maybe some strawberry, and even notes of vanilla sound like something you would like to try? That’s exactly what you will get when you buy this bag of Coffee Bros Espresso Roast.

This medium roast option is painstakingly roasted in small batches to give you a unique yet subtle and distinctive taste that is both delicate and refreshing. Run out of New York, Coffee Bros understand just how deeply coffee is ingrained in the culture of the city as well as America.

As such, they take real care to provide you with nothing but the best option. Every single one of these bags is exceptionally fresh and 100% Arabica blend. While it might not have that dark and forward flavor that most people expect to find in their espresso coffee, it does make up for it by having a lighter and extremely complex touch that is not bitter but full of fruity flavor.

Pros:

  • Roasted in small batches
  • Extremely fresh
  • Fruity flavor
  • Produced by an ethically sound brand
  • Medium roast
  • Over 1400 4 to 5 star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Might be too light and even too fruity for some people

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5. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans

Have you ever tasted coffee that is not only rich and deep in flavor but also manages to remain smooth and quite clean at the same time? That’s exactly what this bag of Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans offers you. This dark roast is perfect for espresso lovers as it brings with all that heavy flavor without bitterness.

Koffee Kult is a unique brand in that they bag their beans immediately after roasting them. What this means is that these bags are not only full of freshness but an intense aroma that will permeate your surroundings as soon as you open one up.

This brand is a steadfast member of fair trade, supports more than 650 small-scale coffee farmers, and gives to many charities. So, if you weren’t going to give them a try because of how intense and delicious their coffee blend is, then maybe you should reconsider on their humanitarian grounds?

Pros:

  • Rich and dark roast
  • Ethically sourced coffee
  • Traditionally espresso
  • Packed immediately after roasting
  • Over 6100 4 to 5 start reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • The flavor might be too simple for some people

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6. Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso

Kicking Horse Coffee

This is a delectable medium-roast blend of Arabica coffee from around the globe. The Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, is best brewed as espresso. However, that doesn’t mean that its wide array of talents end there – this bag of beans can be brewed using a French press as well as a V60. You can even use a manual espresso machine and get excellent espresso out of this blend.

What makes this particular blend special is that it’s designed for the eclectic espresso drinker. This is evident in its uniquely bizarre flavors. From black currant undertones to brown sugar notes and some milk chocolate, this blend is not only sweet but is full of explosive tongue action that will send your taste buds onto the dancefloor.

Pros:

  • Medium-roast
  • Complex flavor
  • Fairtrade
  • Can be brewed well in a variety of machines
  • Over 1200 4 to 5-star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Somewhat expensive

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7. Equator Coffee & Teas Jaguar Espresso

Equator Coffee & Teas Jaguar Espresso

Yet another espresso with a uniquely impressive name that simply calls for you to try it out. Thankfully, this Equator Coffee & Teas Jaguar Espresso is not just about good naming but also excellent coffee. It’s available in various options as you can choose ground for espresso, whole beans, or drip. It’s organic, farmed with fair trade ideals in mind, and is a blend of coffee beans from Sumatra, Ethiopia, and Latin America.

Although it’s a bit lighter than most dark roast coffee, it comes with a host of flavors that more than make up for that. It has delectable notes of spiced dark chocolate, hazelnut, and apricot. Furthermore, it comes from a brand that has an outstanding track record as a coffee maker.

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of options from ground to whole beans
  • Excellent espresso
  • Comes from an ethical brand
  • Rich and complex flavor
  • A relative newcomer with currently 14 5-star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Pricey

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8. Verena Street 2 Pound Espresso Beans

Verena Street 2 Pound Espresso Beans

This is a 2lb dark roast whole bean espresso option for people who love their coffee with a rich body yet sweet and creamy flavor. The Verena Street 2 Pound Espresso Beans is smooth and full and quite course at the same time. It’s exactly the kind of espresso you want when you are having a long day.

This blend gives you a host of options when it comes to brewing. You have the fine grind for espresso and the coarse grind for drip coffee if that’s what you prefer.

It’s a sustainable source and freshly roasted then packaged to ensure that the aroma is properly sealed inside the bag. It’s also Kosher certified.

Pros:

  • Kosher certified
  • Sustainably sourced
  • Dark roasted
  • Rich flavor
  • Array of brewing options
  • Over 3,300 reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Slightly pricey

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9. Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso

Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso

The most avid coffee fans know that while dark roasted coffee is the desirable option, it’s difficult to achieve that beautiful look and complex flavor without getting scorched beans or a bitter taste. Thankfully, this Don Pablo Classic Italian Espresso has found just the right balance. Not only is it rich and dark, but it’s also smooth and without that bitter taste.

Don Pablo’s brand is experts at what they do, and this blend of coffee is full of flavor and right up there with the best in the market. One thing that sets them apart from everyone else is their competitive pricing. For such a delectable and expertly made blend, this coffee is quite affordable. It’s dark roasted, toasty, and has hints of brown sugar.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Made by an expert brand
  • Traditional dark roast
  • Host of brewing options
  • Over 1000 4 to 5-star reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • According to some reviews the roast may be inconsistent

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10. Jo Espresso

Jo Espresso

A beautifully rich crema, an exceptionally elegant finish, a heavy hint of dark chocolate, and absolutely no flavoring added that’s what you get when you buy this bag of Jo Espresso. If you are a fan of coffee with subtle undertones, you will love this option.

It has no added flavors, each batch is hand-crafted to fit a specific palate, and they are all micro-roasted, which gives them a unique taste and aroma. In addition, the brand is quite strict on using fair trade as well as USDA-certified organic coffee beans.

While the espresso produced here isn’t as complex as most, it’s dark, rich, and of exceptional quality. It’s the kind of coffee you get when you simply want an espresso without all the added-on bells and whistles.

Pros:

  • Rich crema
  • Excellent value
  • USDA certified organic coffee beans
  • Fair trade
  • Great taste
  • Over 690 reviews on Amazon

Cons:

  • Not a complex roast

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Best Espresso Beans Buyers Guide

As you already know, there are just too many options when it comes to finding the best espresso beans. So, simply closing your eyes and picking one or going by price might not be the best approach.

One of the best things to do in this case is to educate yourself on the various coffee bean options to understand what kind of flavor you will get or the best kind of brewing process. With that in mind, here is a useful best espresso beans buyer’s guide you can use.

What Are Espresso Beans?

When it comes to espresso beans, they range from medium roast to dark roast, with the latter being the more traditional type of espresso beans. Knowing which one works best with your preferred brewing process and taste is exceptionally important to find the right beans for you.

Another factor that comes into play is the origin as well as the type of beans involved. For the most part, the more high-end brands use Arabica bean coffee, while most brands use a blend of Arabica bean and Robusta bean.

Either one works just fine, except that single-origin beans are often more finely tuned to produce specifically rich tastes. Unfortunately, they are also more finely tuned to be a little more expensive.

Understanding Coffee Roasts

Here is a rundown on the different types of coffee roasts.

  • Light Roast: These types of roasts are not only bright but also citrus-edged and quite lively. They are not commonly used in espresso because they rarely pair well with milk and tend to be a little acidic.
  • Medium Roast: While these roasts may not be quite high in caffeine, at least not as high as light roast options, they are still very strong. They tend to have berry flavors, almonds, and even brown sugar. The more complex espresso options tend to be medium roast or partially medium roast.
  • Dark Roast: These are the richer and more full-bodied espressos. Dark roast coffee beans are traditionally considered the best for espresso, and hardcore espresso fans only ever go for dark roasts. They are thick and syrupy and tend to have a full, smoky, and chocolate finish. The issue with a dark roast is that depending on the brand, you can run into charred beans or a bitter taste.

FAQ

Do you still have questions regarding the best espresso beans for 2021? Read on below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.

What kind of beans are good for espresso?

Traditionally, dark roast beans are considered the original espresso beans and work great for an espresso blend. This is because they have a rich chocolate flavor that stays with you and still packs a kick. However, the more sophisticated and modern espresso lover prefers to have fruity and highly flavorful espressos, which aren’t traditionally achieved by using dark roast. In this case, you would have to go with medium roast beans.

Which is better, single-origin or blended beans?

Either one works just fine. Single-origin coffee is often considered superior because it is more often than not Arabica coffee, which is quite frankly superior thanks to its growing conditions. That being said, there are some Arabica and Robusta blends that would give single-origin espressos a run for their money.

Is espresso easy to brew at home?

This depends on your brewing method. If you have a barista-style machine, then it’s a breeze. If you have a French press, it will take some learning, just like any other brewing method. Ultimately, it comes down to what kind of brewing method you prefer and how committed you are to perfecting it.

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