What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For Espresso?

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Written By Anh Dung Pham

The type of coffee you utilize is essential when it comes to preparing a delicious espresso drink. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which coffee beans are best suited for this popular coffee drink.

So, what type of coffee do you use for espresso? Whether you have a cappuccino machine, a French press, or an espresso machine, finding the right coffee beans is essential to making coffee and achieving that perfect balance of flavor and aroma.

If you’re looking for the best grocery store options, there are several coffee roasters that offer ground coffee specifically designed for espresso brewing. These coffee beans are usually a dark roast, which brings out the rich and intense flavors that are characteristic.

When choosing coffee beans for espresso, it’s important to consider the roast level, the origin of the beans, and the flavor profile you prefer such as Excelsa coffee taste. By understanding how the espresso beans are roasted and the extraction process, you can make an informed decision on the best coffee to use for your cappuccino machine or espresso maker. So, why not give it a try and start making espresso at home today? 

What is special about espresso beans?

The first question you might ask yourself is, “Why not just use regular coffee beans in my coffee maker?” There are several reasons for this: Most cafes use a special blend and roast for espresso. Although you can technically brew any coffee as espresso, these are the main reasons most coffee lovers and coffee shops use a blend:

Tradition: Espresso has always been roasted darker than other coffee types. Customers now expect a certain “espresso taste” that cannot be achieved with normal beans and which taste quite sour as espresso shots.

Better with milk: If you want to use the espresso in a milk drink like a latte or cappuccino, you’ll need a rather dark roast coffee bean to “cut through” the creaminess of the milk.

It’s Cheaper: Single-origin coffee is expensive. For this reason, it makes sense to use a blend in a busy coffee shop where customers are unlikely to sit and think about every flavor note. Typically a blend uses a base of cheaper beans from countries like Brazil and Indonesia.

What is special about espresso beans?

Coffee that would be boring with other brewing methods works well. While this statement may not sit well with some who prefer a straight espresso shot, I think we should embrace it. Most coffee produced in the world is NOT fruity and exciting, so it’s good that it has a place in blends.

Think about food; We also have simple ingredients that can taste great like a shot of espresso when cooked a certain way. While you can theoretically use expensive Wagyu beef and truffles in your burger, most people are happy with a cheap patty, pickles, and some caramelized onions.

What type of coffee do you use for espresso coffee beans? 

 When it comes to great coffee, the type of coffee beans you use makes a big difference in the final taste and quality of your brew. Coffee roasters recommend using a darker roasted coffee for espresso, as these beans are roasted longer than lighter roasts, resulting in a more intense and bold flavor.

The coffee extraction process in an espresso maker requires finely ground beans and espresso, so make sure you’re using beans specifically labeled for espresso. It’s important to note that there is a difference between espresso beans and coffee beans; espresso is a concentrated coffee drink made by forcing hot water through the finely ground coffee, while drip coffee is brewed using coarser grounds.

However, you can still use any type of premium arabica beans, as long as they are suitable for the brewing method.

What Type Of Coffee Do You Use For Espresso?

Ultimately, the best espresso coffee is the one that suits your taste preferences for how you brew espresso, whether that be a darker-roasted coffee for a bold taste or a lighter-roasted coffee for a more nuanced flavor. 

Coffee Bros espresso blend (Medium Roast)

While I’m not usually a fan of the term “brother”, it’s apt in Coffee Bros’ case since it’s a roastery run by two brothers who started with a coffee machine. I recently had the opportunity to try out their Signature Blend and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. This blend is a crowd-pleaser and works great both as a straight shot and as a base for a milk drink.

The coffee was medium-roasted to bring out the natural sweetness. Therefore, it is suitable for both experienced home baristas and espresso newbies. The blend is made from 100% Arabica beans and is not roasted too dark, giving it a cleaner finish than many other popular blends of espresso that contain beans in McDonald’s coffee.

The brand mentions flavors such as strawberry, sugar cane, and vanilla on the packaging. Of these, I think the berries stand out the most. The blend is made up of Ethiopian and Colombian for different coffee seeds, I suspect the berry flavors come from a high proportion of dry-processed Sidamo or Yirgacheffe.

I also liked that the coffee was roasted immediately after ordering, so the bag I received was still at peak freshness.

Illy – The best Italian coffee for espresso

This is a classic in the espresso community. Illy is a traditional Italian company that was almost synonymous with espresso for many years.

Although Illy is a well-known and rather industrial company, there is no doubt that Illy places great importance on choosing the right beans for its blends. This means sweet cherries with only a few defects.

This is the same type of coffee that world barista champions used just 16 years ago. They have a medium roast and suit almost any brewing style. Illy won’t win any competition in today’s snobbish and progressive coffee world, but it won’t disappoint in the cup either, no matter how you make it.

If you have a proper setup with a grinder, you should definitely go for the best bean coffee for the whole bean option. However, as this is a supermarket brand, pre-ground products are of course also available.

Intelligentsia black cat espresso blend

This is another legendary company in the American specialty coffee scene. Intelligentsia trades directly and maintains relationships with all the farms it buys from. You pay a reasonable price and get incredible quality.

Intelligentsia black cat espresso blend

This isn’t just marketing nonsense like some of the big multinationals. This special coffee is dark, mysterious, and round.

It has flavors of chocolate, caramel, and molasses. This coffee also has low acidity, making it suitable for milk-based drinks or for those with sensitive stomachs.

Lavazza espresso italiano 

This is a medium roast coffee from Lavazza. It is a subtle, balanced coffee with notes of hazelnut and chocolate. This is truly an all-round coffee, you can use it in milk drinks or enjoy it straight up.

I’m not sure why Lavazza calls it “Espresso Italiano” because that might confuse some people who think Italian espresso means super dark and strong – which is NOT dark at all. If that’s what you’re looking for, then go for the next coffee on this list: Qualita Rossa.

Espresso Italiano is a cheaper alternative to Illy’s famous medium roast and, in my opinion, on par with quality. However, it is usually cheaper.

Lavazza: Best coffee beans for Fully automatic espresso machines

This is another classic Italian espresso blend. Lavazza is, so to speak, the evil twin of Illy and is just as widespread in the motherland of espresso.

The Rossa version is one of the company’s most famous blends. There’s a lot of Robusta in here, so expect a strong coffee that doesn’t really offer much acidity or subtle flavors. This is more about the crema, the texture, and the mouthfeel.

This is a very traditional espresso!

However, many people actually still like it. So if you’re reading this and you’re looking for coffee for espresso machines and you’re not a hardcore espresso snob who’s deep into extraction theory, then you should give it a try.

It is a powerful espresso without any acidity and with subtle notes of cocoa nibs. What’s interesting is that it’s still a medium-dark roast. It’s not as oily as, for example, Starbucks.

If you are looking for beans to put in your fully automatic espresso machine, this is an excellent choice.

Tips for Making Espresso Shot with Brazilian Bourbon

Here are my pro tips for using Brazilian Yellow Bourbon beans to make exceptional espresso:

  • Choose a premium Brazilian Bourbon like Fazenda Passeio
  • Use a dark roast to amplify the chocolate notes
  • Grind fine but not powdery for proper extraction
  • Dose 18g – 22g coffee per shot
  • Aim for 25 – 30 second shot time
  • Pull ristretto shots to intensify the flavor profile
Tips for Making Espresso Shot with Brazilian Bourbon

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sipping smooth, chocolatey espresso bliss in no time. The sweet, heavy body of Brazilian Bourbon will transform your home brewing game.

Frequently Asked Questions

What roast level is best for espresso?

A darker roast between Full City and French is ideal to bring out the bold-bodied flavor needed for espresso.

Do you need an espresso roast for making espresso?

While not strictly necessary, an espresso roast helps amplify the intensity and chocolate base notes that complement a great shot.

What’s the difference between espresso and coffee beans regular?

Espresso beans are generally a darker roast and are developed to maximize crema and bold flavor under pressure. But any bean can be ground fine and made into espresso.

Can you use medium roast beans for espresso?

Yes, medium roast beans can be used but may result in brighter, more acidic shots compared to darker roasts.

Is cold brew coffee good for espresso?

No, cold brew lacks the boldness needed for espresso. The low acidity makes for flat, uninspiring shots.

What is the best coffee for a beginner espresso drinker?

A Brazilian or Sumatran bean with low acidity and sweetness is ideal for beginners transitioning to bolder espresso.

In conclusion, choosing the right coffee beans is crucial for making delicious espresso drinks at home. Visit lido18.com to learn more about my extensive coffee knowledge and experience conquering the world of coffee beans.