The Best Espresso Beans for Every Coffee Drinker

Updated: Mar. 19, 2024

Whether you prefer a rich, bold flavor or something smooth, we found the best espresso beans for your daily dose of caffeine.

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Dark Side Of The Moon The Creme Brulee CoffeeVIA MERCHANT

Finding the Right Espresso Beans

When it’s time to pull a shot from your espresso machine, you’ll want to use espresso beans instead of regular coffee beans. Espresso beans are roasted for longer periods of time at high temperatures, giving them a bolder, richer and more concentrated flavor (Find out the difference between an espresso and a coffee). These beans also contain more oil than coffee beans, as this is what gives a shot of espresso that beautiful crema on top. Espresso beans need to be finely ground before they’re put into an espresso maker, so if you buy whole beans, make sure you have one of the best coffee grinders in your kitchen, too.

To find the right espresso beans for your morning latte, the first thing to consider is flavor. Like coffee beans, espresso beans all have unique flavor profiles—some might be nutty, while others are chocolaty or fruity. You may need to test out a few different options to find what you like best.

Other criteria to consider include how you’re making espresso—in an espresso machine, AeroPress or even a moka pot—and how much the beans cost. Some brands even offer coffee subscription services that deliver your beans on a recurring basis.

Evaluation Criteria

To find the best espresso beans for every type of coffee drinker, we scoured the internet for products from top-rated coffee brands. We compared the flavor profiles, recommended uses and costs of different beans, reading hundreds of reviews from real coffee drinkers to find the best beans for espresso shots, lattes and more.

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Partners Elevate Coffee via merchant

Best Everyday Espresso Beans: Partners Coffee Elevate

For everyday espresso drinks, you can’t go wrong with Elevate from Partners Coffee. Described as a “well-balanced, comfortable espresso,” this single-origin bean features notes of red apple, caramel and pecan, and has a sweet acidity level. You can choose to have it delivered as whole beans or ground to the right size for your coffee maker, and its moderate price point makes it ideal for everyday use—perfect for making a Copycat Starbucks Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso!

“I love the taste notes of this bean,” writes reviewer Denise L. “I make oat milk lattes at home with Elevate, and they are delicious. It has a nice boldness, but it’s smooth like honey.”

Also check these chocolate covered espresso beans; a super yummy snack to have around—especially when hosting.

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Stumptown Holler Mountain Coffee via merchant

Best Organic Espresso Beans: Stumptown Holler Mountain

If you prefer organic beans, the Holler Mountain blend from Stumptown Coffee is produced within a strict, organic-certified supply chain. These beans deliver a full-bodied espresso with notes of citrus, caramel and berry jam, and the beans work just as well for drip coffee as they do for shots of espresso. Plus, if you really love these beans, you can opt to buy them in 5-pound bags or sign up for a subscription so you never run out.

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Chamberlain Coffee Fancy Mouse Espresso via merchant

Best Espresso Beans for a Caffeine Kick: Chamberlain Coffee Fancy Mouse

You can jump-start your morning with the Fancy Mouse Espresso Blend from Chamberlain Coffee, which is described as a 5 out of 5 on the caffeine scale. It has a creamy body with notes of dark chocolate and sweet caramel, and the beans are USDA-certified organic.

The flavor of this espresso is a hit among reviewers, as well: “Works perfectly in the espresso machine, especially nice if you would like a blend that’s flavor profile is close to a dark roast,” writes Lilly B. “The caffeine level will definitely get you started in the morning!”

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Onyx Coffee Monarch Coffee via merchant

Best Espresso Beans for Lattes: Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch

The Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch beans are specially roasted to pair well with all kinds of milk—including regular and plant-based milks—making them ideal for your morning latte or cappuccino. When brewed into shots of espresso, Monarch delivers a sweeter flavor, with notes of dark chocolate and molasses, and you may even detect a subtle note of dried berries on the finish.

Monarch is available only in whole-bean form, and while it is pricey, you’ll be wowed by the espresso drinks you can make with these beans.

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Volcanica Espresso via merchant

Best Decaf Espresso Beans: Volcanica Espresso Dark Roast Decaf Coffee

If you’re trying to cut back on caffeine but can’t live without your morning coffee, the Volcanica Espresso Dark Roast Decaf Coffee is the way to go. Thanks to the brand’s chemical-free decaffeination process, these beans are 99.9% caffeine free—significantly higher than the USDA requires for decaf coffee—yet the flavor of the coffee is preserved. You’ll taste notes of sweet caramel and a complex, spicy aroma, and you can choose between whole beans or an espresso grind.

“These coffee beans are delicious!” says reviewer Penelope C. “The problem with decaf beans is that they are usually a lot weaker in taste. These beans are true to taste—strong, flavorful and as described in their description.”

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Dark Side Of The Moon Coffee via merchant

Best Espresso Beans for Breakfast: Blossom Coffee Dark Side of The Moon

Dark Side of The Moon coffee beans from Blossom Coffee Roasters will perfectly complement your morning breakfast thanks to their sweet, bold taste. This medium-roast espresso features flavors of caramel, chocolate and toast—you may even detect a note of smoky caramel brulee. Yum! It’s made from a blend of South American and African beans, and reviewers rave about the smooth finish: “Sweet flavor reminds me of a low percent dark chocolate, no bite and smooth as can be,” says Taylor, who gave the beans a 5-star rating.

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Stone Street The Perfect Espresso via merchant

Best Espresso Beans for Crema: Stone Street Coffee Perfect Espresso

If your favorite part of espresso is a thick layer of crema, you’ll definitely want to try The Perfect Espresso from Stone Street Coffee. The medium-roast blend is described as having a “complex, multi-dimensional flavor,” and it works well as both a straight shot or mixed into a milk-based drink.

However, the best part of these espresso beans is undeniably the crema, which is a selling point for many reviewers: “Just as the name denotes, this espresso is perfectly balanced with strong yet complex tasting notes,” writes George M. “Each shot pulls with an appealing crema and very inviting flavor.”

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Wink Coffee Blonde Espresso via merchant

Best Light-Roast Espresso Beans: Wink Coffee Blonde Espresso

Most espresso beans are medium or dark roast, but if you prefer a lighter body, try the Wink Coffee Blonde Espresso. The single-origin beans have notes of citrus, brown sugar and even a fruity touch of strawberry, and the bags are well-priced, to boot. “The taste is really smooth and complex with a little hint of sweetness, no burnt flavor or bitterness,” says Amazon reviewer Eric R. “The smell is intoxicating from the moment you open the package and only gets better when you grind and brew it.”

Just keep in mind that light-roast beans have very little oil, so this espresso won’t have the best crema when you’re pulling shots.

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Verve Halo Halo Coffee via merchant

Best Single Origin Espresso Beans: Halo Halo Single Origin Espresso

It’s common for espresso beans to include a blend of different beans, but the Halo Halo Single Origin Espresso is made solely from beans grown in Ethiopia. This is another light-roast option with a bright, tart flavor, and you’ll get notes of tangerine, pluot and agave with each sip of your espresso.

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Coffee Bros Espresso Roast via merchant

Best Espresso Beans for Moka Pots: Coffee Bros. Espresso Roast Coffee

For those without an espresso machine, a moka pot delivers a similar taste and texture to espresso with a bit less fuss. If you’re using a moka pot, the Coffee Bros. Espresso Roast will deliver a well-balanced, medium-roast brew with flavors like strawberry, sugar cane and vanilla. The brand recommends this roast for moka pots and AeroPress coffee makers, and the natural sugars in the espresso lend themselves well to lattes and other milk-based drinks.

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Illy Classico Illy Blend Coffee via merchant

Best Inexpensive Espresso Beans: Illy Classico Espresso Ground Coffee

Specialty espresso beans can be fairly pricey, and if you’re looking for a quality product that costs a little less, the Illy Classico Espresso is a classic option. This popular espresso comes pre-ground, so it’s ready to measure into your portafilter, and the medium roast offers notes of caramel, orange blossom and jasmine. Plus, it comes in a pressurized can that helps preserve the aroma and flavor for longer than a bag.

“When you crack open the can, your entire kitchen smells like a great coffee,” writes Amazon reviewer Gregory H. “The smell is an accurate preview of taste. The taste is a smooth baseline of chocolate. Price feels like a steal.”