Let us talk about how much we love espresso. Can you use any coffee beans for espresso? Will it alter the delightful taste of that single shot or double shot of goodness in a demitasse? The answer is, it most likely will. Whether you like it or not, beans play the lead role in making an amazing cup of espresso.
If done right, espresso is a powerful and delicious drink. Let us cover the essentials in achieving that perfect espresso roast and some recommendations you might like. Crafting the perfect espresso is not so difficult if we get the right ingredients and materials.
What is an Espresso?
Just to reiterate, espresso is the result of brewing coffee through fast and high pressure. Every coffee aficionado knows that. It is that little drink when you need a caffeine fix to get through the day. Just a sip and boom! You’re up.
The fine-ground coffee used in this process is packed tight in a basket called a portafilter, which is then placed into your espresso machine. The tamping requires thirty to forty pounds of pressure.
Can You Use Any Coffee Beans for Espresso?
The answer is yes, you can. However, it will not taste as good when you use ANY bean. When it comes to espresso, there is nothing more important than the beans. No expensive machine can make up for low-quality beans. It just doesn’t work like that.
However, when you pair high-quality coffee beans with a high-quality espresso machine, that’s when you reach espresso heaven. Other articles might tell you otherwise, but it is always better to do a little reality check. Coffee is made differently than espresso. The beans that taste good for regular coffee might not taste as good for espresso.
A good espresso bean is dark roasted, has a bold flavor, is full-bodied and smooth, but with a hint of bitterness.
How to Choose the Perfect Beans
The rule of thumb in choosing your coffee beans, like any other decision you make, is to choose the beans you like. You might probably not know what you like, so here are some guidelines you can start from in making your decision:
- If you drink manual drip coffee, and you want subtle flavors, use those beans. This will most likely be a lighter roast with delicate acidity and floral notes with some African beans.
- If you have a sweet tooth and will most likely go for natural sweetness, the darker roast is the best option. Do not choose the darkest ones. Otherwise, the flavor will be a little bit ashy.
- If you are not sure about what to choose just yet, your safe bet is the espresso roast. These are usually labeled as such and can be found easily — Roasters craft these beans to please espresso lovers. Their blend might be your new favorite.
Rules in Buying Beans
No matter what kind of bean you choose for your espresso, never forget these essential rules:
- Make sure that the beans you are buying are still fresh. If you are buying from a large company or roaster, learn how they package the coffee. Make sure the expiration date is still far. You do not want to buy coffee that has been on the shelf for over a year.
- Buy coffee you can finish off in a week. Get it in a small quantity. Otherwise, they will go stale in your pantry.
- Buy quality coffee. You can achieve this by looking into reviews and ratings.
- Poor quality coffee will always taste bad- this is tested and proven.
- Buy whole beans only. Your espresso is doomed to be lifeless after a few days if you do not own a coffee grinder.
- If you are buying from small local roasters, look at how they store their beans. If it is stored improperly and the roast date was seven days ago, it is probably stale.
- Trace where your coffee came from. If it is untraceable, then it most likely has poor quality.
- Arabica arguably creates the best espressos. A word of advice? If you are new to espresso-making, try brewing with Arabica beans first. You will thank me for it.
Top Rated Espresso Beans
Here are some espresso bean brands you might want to try for starters:
- Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans – This bean has a rich, spicy, nutty espresso smell that one cannot get enough of. Just smelling the beans will give you a sense of fulfillment. Imagine drinking it, the perfect coffee bliss.
- Lavazza Super Crema, Whole Bean Coffee – This fine espresso is being distributed for more than a century now. This gives them serious high rep. Lavazza uses a mixture of 80% sweet arabicas and 20% Robusta. It has a thick, velvety crema which is perfect for lattes and cappuccinos.
- Kicking Horse Coffee, Whole Bean Cliffhanger Espresso – Kicking Horse Coffee is Canada’s most popular organic trade coffee. A percentage of sale on each bag is donated to coffee harvesters from all around the coffee. Talk about espresso for a cause.
- Coffee Bean Direct Espresso Whole Bean Coffee – Trusted by many, the Coffee Bean Direct Espresso is slow-roasted and fresh which fits the palatability of many coffee-lovers. The beans are so flavorful and aromatic.
- Café de Loja Medium / Dark Roast Single Origin – Ecuadorian Coffee is known worldwide for being hand-picked and grown in highlands. This is important because Arabica thrives in higher elevation. Thus, the beans produced make richer coffee. This brand is the perfect example of this. It also has a fruity flavor that hooks coffee lovers.
The Final Shot
Coffee beans play a crucial role in making that delightful shot or cup of espresso. You can have the fanciest espresso maker, but the coffee beans will define the taste and the quality of your drink. It is not advisable to use mediocre beans since you won’t fully enjoy the capability of your machine.
Can you use any coffee beans for espresso? Absolutely yes. With these guidelines you can follow in choosing your beans, you can now conjure in your kitchen that magical cup of espresso. Best of luck! Here’s how to learn more about coffee beans.