Can we truly say which beans are the best for making espressos? Since taste is such an individual experience, people’s opinions on what the best tasting bean brew is will differ completely.
Regardless, there are a few rules that espresso beans should follow for it to qualify as a high-quality bean. One thing is for sure, espresso is one of the highest caffeinated drinks on the planet. Anyone who needs an energy boost in the mornings, will prefer having a shot of it. Check out this list of the most common types of caffeine drinks: https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/emmi-kinnunen/october-2019/affogato-ristretto-list-most-common-coffee-drinks.
What is an Espresso Bean?
There isn’t really a difference in the beans used for coffee vs the ones used for espresso. The only real difference is in the way the beverage itself is made. But, as a general rule, espresso beans should be much higher in caffeine and therefore darker in roast.
The lighter the bean’s color the lighter the caffeine content. And since espresso is drank for its energy kick, we should be looking out for darker colored roasts.
Another thing to consider is the taste. Even though all of us have different tastes, espresso should be smooth, rich, and aromatic. Some people even enjoy it being floral, piney, and citrussy,
So, how do we know if a bean brew is perfect for espressos or not? Before we list our top picks of beans, here is a short list of things that you should consider when looking for the best:
- Espresso beans are at its best quality 7 to 21 days after being roasted
- The darker the beans and roast, the better it is for making espressos
- Beans should be sourced from high quality manufacturers
- It can have deep notes of nuts, caramel, flowers, chocolate, and pine
- When purchasing roasts, consider getting it from a credible brand or brewer
- Understand that there is a difference in the process used to create espresso, compared to the process when making a cup of coffee
Wondering who invented the espresso? Check out this interesting article on where it all began.
Best Beans for Brewing Espressos
Here are a few beans you can consider:
This bean has a fruity undertone and is grown in Tanzania. More specifically on either Mt. Kilimanjaro or Mt. Meru. It’s typically within the Arabica category because it grows at such a high altitude. Because it is grown in such high places, the product itself contains aromatic notes like chocolate, black currant, and other fruits.
Other cultivars within this group are Blue Mountain, Kent, Bourbon, and Typica. All an excellent choice for brewing an espresso.
This product is harvested from October – March. It grows up to 1,600 meters above sea level in Nicaragua. It’s known for having a balanced sweetness with a richness filled with different flavors. Flavors include a chocolate, lemon, and floral undertone with a sweet aroma. Cultivars within this group include: Caturra, Pacamara, Maracaturra, Catimor, and Bourbon.
Even though the Sumatra Mandheling cultivar provides a smooth and rich coffee drinking experience, it’s great to use for brewing espressos as well. It grows in the region of Batak of West-Central Sumatra in Aceh up to 1,500 meters above sea level.
The harvest period is between June to December and it has a full body taste. Undertones within the bean are earthy, woody, herbal, spicy, and chocolate. Some drinkers have even reported tasting undertones of licorice. What makes it perfect for a morning energy shot, is that it has a low acidity. Making it great for brewing espressos.
Other beans worth considering are:
- Hawaii Kona
- Sulawesi Toraja
- Ethiopian Harrar
- Mocha Java
- Guatemalan Antigua
- Kenya AA
Even though experts in the industry can give you a list of the Best Espresso Beans: Top 5 Picks of 2021 – ColonyClubDC, you will still have to try and test a few brews yourself. Tasting and testing different types of recommended beans will give you a clear indication of what you prefer.
Plus, it’s a great hobby and adventure – roaming from brewery to brewery finding the perfect cup of espresso or bag of brew.