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10 Best Espresso Beans Ranked for Flavor and Crema


Whether you enjoy a chocolaty bold espresso roast or the fruity notes of a light roast, we’ve found 10 of the best espresso beans for you to try.

The best espresso beans have a medium to dark roast, a fine grind size, and can create rich crema. However, searching for the brands and coffee beans with the richest flavor can be difficult among the overwhelming amount of options.

I worked as a barista at a Starbucks efficiency in the U.S., but it wasn’t until I traveled to Europe that I fell in love with the rich, chocolatey taste of excellent espresso. However, I found that you can achieve the same delicious flavor of European espressos, no matter your address, by choosing quality beans and following the experts’ advice.

Since Italians played an essential part in developing the espressos we know today, I leaned into their experience and wisdom when choosing the best beans for espresso. Most Italians choose a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans with a Medium, Full City, French, or Italian roast to create rich, full-bodied espressos.

My top pick for the best espresso beans is Lavazza Qualita Rossa. Lavazza is an Italian brand with over 100 years of experience and continues to set an example for high-quality coffee beans in Europe. The Qualita Rossa contains aromatic notes of chocolate and dried fruits. This Arabica-Robusta blend is full-bodied and creates impressive crema. Lavazza Qualita Rossa has a difference you can taste, and an impressive fan following all around the globe.

I sifted through 100s of beans and brands to find the best espresso beans currently on the market. Then, I chose ten options with a variety of roast types, bean origins, and flavor profiles to please every palate. Check out these delicious high-quality espresso beans and decide which one is right for you!

Our Ten Best Espresso Beans at a Glance

  1. Best overall: Lavazza Qualita Rossa
  2. Best bold roast: illy Intenso Ground Espresso Coffee
  3. Best for crema: Julius Meinl: “Crema Espresso Classico,” Medium Roasted Coffee Beans
  4. Best single-origin espresso beans: Café de Loja Gourmet High Altitude Ecuador Coffee Beans
  5. Best decaf espresso beans: No Fun JO Decaf
  6. Best light roast espresso beans: Wink Coffee Colombian Single-Origin Blonde Espresso
  7. Best espresso beans for milk-based specialty drinks: Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Espresso Coffee Blend
  8. Best high-caffeine espresso beans: Death Wish Coffee Espresso Roast – Extra Kick of Caffeine
  9. Best organic espresso beans: Java Planet Organic Low-Acid Espresso Blend
  10. Best affordable Arabica espresso beans: Gevalia Espresso Dark Roast Ground Coffee

The 10 Best Espresso Bean Brands

The best espresso beans have a medium to dark roast with a full-bodied mouthfeel and bold flavor. We’ve rated our top picks for espresso coffee beans according to their flavor profile and popularity. Check out our 10 favorites:

Best overall

1 Lavazza Qualita Rossa


Lavazza Qualita Rossa is a blend of 70% Brazilian Arabica beans and 30% African Robusta beans. This Arabica-Robusta ratio is widely popular in Itlay and other European countries for its perfect balance of great taste and superior crema. The blend is roasted to a medium level in Italy and contains rich notes of chocolate and dried fruit.

The Lavazza brand has over 100 years of experience in the coffee business, and its Qualita Rossa espresso beans are a favorite among Italians. You can enjoy the delicious taste of a European espresso in your own kitchen with Lavazza’s coffee blend.



Best bold roast

2 illy Intenso Ground Espresso Coffee


If you want to start your day with a bold, flavorful espresso, illy Intenso Ground Espresso Coffee is an excellent choice. This Italian brand uses a blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans from Brazil, Central America, India, and Africa.

The coffee beans are carefully selected for quality. Then, they are roasted until dark to bring out bold flavors of cocoa and caramel. The pre-ground coffee comes ready for you to make a quick espresso brew. This Italian coffee is one you can enjoy again and again.



Best for crema

3 Julius Meinl: "Crema Espresso Classico," Medium Roasted Coffee Beans


Julius Meinl is a popular espresso coffee that you can find in coffee shops all over Europe. This Viennese brand opened its doors in the mid-1800s and still pleases the palates of dedicated espresso drinkers today. The Crema Espresso Classico is an Arabica-Robusta blend with origins in Central America, South America, and India. It has an intense dark chocolate flavor and a thick, stable layer of crema.

The superb crema on this espresso creates a solid base for latte art. Each bag of whole beans is imported from Europe, so you can enjoy the rich taste of Viennese coffee from the comfort of your home.



Best single-origin espresso beans

4 Café de Loja Gourmet High Altitude Ecuador Coffee Beans


While single-origin coffee beans are often light-roasted for a pour-over brew method, Cade De Loja Gourment High Altitude Coffee Beans are processed for espresso. The medium-dark full-city roast brings out the sweet, fruity notes of high-altitude Ecuador coffee beans while maintaining a bold flavor perfect for espresso.

This single-origin coffee doesn’t have the same full-bodied mouthfeel as other espresso blends. However, Cafe de Loja Single-Origin Ecuador Coffee can be a treat when you want an espresso that has an intense flavor without bitterness.



For more single-origin coffee bean options, check out our article: The Best Costa Rican Coffee Beans on Today’s Market: Our 6 Top Picks in 2023

Best decaf espresso beans

5 No Fun JO Swiss Water Processed Decaf


If you are watching your caffeine intake, this Organic No Fun JO Decaf may be just what the doctor ordered. This medium-dark espresso coffee is bright and creamy with a flavor profile that includes sweet blueberries and milk chocolate.

Jo Coffee starts with specialty-grade Arabica coffee beans of the highest quality. Then, the coffee beans are roasted in small batches for a fine-tuned flavor. Instead of using chemicals to remove caffeine, Jo uses the Swiss Water Process. This delicious decaf coffee lets you enjoy a rich-tasting artisan espresso without the caffeine.



Best light roast espresso beans

6 Wink Coffee Colombian Single-Origin Blonde Espresso


Wink Coffee Colombian Single-Origin Blonde Espresso Coffee is perfect for coffee drinkers who prefer lighter coffee tastes. If you never press the bold button on an automatic drip coffee maker, this bright summery brew may be your new jive. The coffee beans are harvested from higher elevations in Columbia before they are fire-roasted in Texas.

The light roast allows you to taste more of the delicate flavors inherent in these coffee beans such as citrus, brown sugar, and strawberries. Wink Coffee’s Blonde Espresso is not the traditional espresso flavor we are used to. However, this coffee is full of fun, bright flavors that are worth exploring.



Best espresso beans for milk-based specialty drinks

7 Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Espresso Coffee Blend


The Onyx Coffee Lab Monarch Coffee blends the100% Arabica beans from different origins to create the perfect texture, flavor, and crema for your espresso. This well-balanced coffee has delicious notes of dark chocolate and wine berries to wake up your tastebuds and open your mind. This particular blend is slightly sweet and lends itself well to milk-based specialty coffee drinks.

These beans are full-bodied and perfect for espressos. However, these versatile coffee beans can also work well with other brew methods. Each batch of beans is roasted fresh for each order. This Monarch Espresso Blend is a work of hand-crafted art!



Best high caffeine espresso beans

8 Death Wish Coffee Espresso Roast - Extra Kick of Caffeine


If you need an extra kick of energy to start your day, Death Wish Coffee Espresso Roast is ready to pack the caffeine into your cuppa. Arabica coffee is combined with Robusta beans to increase the caffeine level. In fact, Death Wish prides itself on creating the World’s strongest coffee.

This coffee bean blend has a dark rich roast that is low in acidity and bitterness. It has a strong, intense flavor that includes delicious notes of caramelized sugar, cocoa, and berries. The texture is perfect to make a cup of bold, smoky espresso coffee.



Best low-acid organic espresso beans

9 Java Planet Organic Low-Acid Espresso Blend


Coffee tastes delicious, however, the acid-content can be painful to sensitive stomachs. This Java Planet Organic Espresso Blend can save the day with its low-acid content. These Organic 100% Arabica beans are ethically sourced from high-altitude areas for the purest flavor. Then, they are roasted until dark to remove much of the acid.

If you enjoy a smooth, rich-tasting coffee with a delicious layer of crema, Java Planet’s espresso blend is an excellent choice. You can have your coffee without the stomach ache!



Best affordable Arabica espresso beans

10 Gevalia Espresso Dark Roast Ground Coffee


The Gevalia brand has had its focus on coffee since the mid-1800s. This Swedish-style Dark Roast Espresso has a rich, smooth flavor with caramel undertones. The Arabica beans are roasted past the second crack and have a lower acidity level than lighter roasts.

Since this espresso coffee comes pre-ground, you can prepare a quick cup of espresso to start your morning well. This delicious dark coffee is full of flavor and comes at an affordable price.



Buying Guide: How to evaluate the best espresso beans?

Time, temperature, tamping, and bars of pressure are all important factors to brew the perfect shot. But, before you pull the perfect shot, you have to start with high-quality beans.

Espresso beans are just regular coffee beans. However, the roast, grind size, and flavor profile of the coffee beans determine whether they are capable of making the perfect espresso. The bean type (such as Arabica, Robusta, single-origin, or blend) can also change the flavor and texture of your brew. 

Let’s take a look at the best espresso bean options to decide which is best for you. 


An espresso roast is roasted past the “second crack” and is considered a dark roast. However, a medium to dark roast range is considered acceptable for brewing espresso. Full-City, Italian, and French roasts are common roast types for espresso beans.

Darker roasts tend to have less acidity than lighter roasts and produce a thicker layer of crema. These roasts tend to be nutty, chocolatey, or smoky. Dark roasts are also a good choice for milk-based drinks.

Medium roasts are smooth and provide an adequate amount of crema with less bitterness than dark roasts. Many espresso drinkers add two spoonfuls of sugar to a medium-roast espresso and no milk.

Light roasts are not commonly used for espresso because of espresso’s quick brew method. The 20-30 second brew cycle misses many of the finer nuances of light-roasted coffee beans. Lighter roasts also have a higher acidity and produce very little (if any) crema.

Grind size

The grind size is also important for brewing the perfect espresso. If your grind is too coarse, your espresso can taste weak or acidic. However, if it is too fine, it may prevent the water from flowing through the grounds. The best grind size for espresso is a fine grind. Use a burr grinder to achieve an even grind size that is a little finer than sand.

Flavor profile

The taste and flavor of your coffee depends on where it was grown, the soil, elevation, climate, and the drying process. Some coffees have brighter fruity or floral flavors, while others have smoky, chocolaty, or sweet tastes. Single-origin beans often have a unique or exotic flavor profile, while blends contain well-balanced flavors.

You can experiment with different coffee bean blends and origins until you find the flavors that suit your tastebuds.

Robusta VS Arabica beans

We are used to thinking that “100% Arabica beans” are best in any coffee-related situation. However, with the espresso brew method, Robusta beans have their place. Espressos brew quickly so they pick up the best parts of the beans and leave the unpleasant flavors behind. So, while Robusta beans may be wanting in flavor as a drip brew, they can enhance espresso brews.

Arabica beans are known for their smooth mouthfeel and bold flavor, and Robusta beans tend to produce thicker crema and contain more caffeine. Many European brands use an Arabica- Robusta bean blend to achieve a smooth flavor, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a delicious crema layer. 

Our Verdict

After searching through the 100s of espresso roasts, flavor profiles, and brands, I found 10 of the best espresso beans available on today’s market. 

My top pick in this category is Lavazza’s Qualita Rossa. These espresso beans are classically Italian with their Arabica-Robusta blend. They have a smooth, rich flavor, a satisfyingly thick layer of crema, and a reasonable price.

World-renowned brands such as Lavazza, illy, Julius Meinl, and Gevalia can allow your tastebuds to travel to exotic foreign cafe patios. However, smaller businesses with their unique micro-roasts also have their place in the world of espresso. 

Whether you enjoy deep, smoky flavors of dark roast coffee beans, lighter floral flavors, or enjoy trying new things, we hope you find the best espresso beans for you.

Looking for the best espresso machine to brew your new espresso beans? Check out our Breville espresso maker review: Breville Bambino VS Bambino Plus: A Comprehensive Comparison


Robusta coffee beans are capable of creating thicker crema than Arabica beans. They also tend to be much cheaper. However, you rarely see 100% Robusta beans for sale because they lack flavor. Arabica beans are usually superior in smoothness and flavor quality. Often the best espresso beans combine Arabica beans with a small percentage of Robusta coffee beans.
When you compare espresso and coffee ounce to ounce, espresso can have more than ten times the caffeine. However, if you compare a one-ounce shot of espresso to a regular cup of coffee, an 8-ounce mug of coffee can have over twice as much total caffeine.
Crema can give an espresso a smooth, creamy texture. However, it also adds to the flavor of your coffee. How much crema your espresso has depends on how many bars of pressure your espresso maker uses and the type and roast of your espresso beans. More bars of pressure, darker roasts, and Robusta coffee beans can contribute to the thickness of your crema. A thick layer of crema indicates a perfect espresso.

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Alexandra Elise

Alexandra Elise

Alexandra Elise’s love for coffee began when she worked her first job as a barista in Texas. After getting an English degree, she toured Europe where she fell in love with espresso and her husband. She combines her passion for coffee with detailed research to share the best tips, products, and recipes with fellow coffee lovers. In her spare time, she hones her coffee craft and visits the newest coffee shops with her family.
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