If you like to enjoy a perfect cup of espresso, then getting the best espresso machine is not enough. You need to use the best coffee beans possible to give you that right flavor and aroma. The quality of coffee beans for espresso usually depends on the roast and the variety they come from.
My quest for the best coffee beans started when my friend gifted me a new espresso machine on my birthday.
Since I’m still new to the craft of coffee making, I searched far and wide for the best coffee beans that will suit my taste. My research and journey have led me to several discoveries which I’m going to share below.
Coffee Bean Varieties
If you know nothing about coffee beans, then a swarm of beans in the market could be a bit overwhelming. In reality, you can just narrow your choices between these two varieties: Arabica and the Robusta coffee beans. These beans can be used in coffee blends or in their pure forms.
Arabica beans have a sweet, slightly acidic taste and contain less caffeine as compared to the Robusta beans. Their flavors may vary depending on their growing regions. For instance, Ethiopian Arabica beans are famous for their smooth and nice floral aroma while the Colombian Arabica beans are known for their bold flavor and walnut finish.
The best Arabica beans for espresso are milds, which are grown at high altitudes. Brazilian Arabica beans may not be as good as milds, but they’re less expensive.
Robusta beans are considered inferior in quality than Arabica because they have less oil which tends to make them taste bitter and more acidic. Italians prefer the Robusta over the Arabica beans because they provide higher caffeine content. These beans also make better crema.
Choosing The Right Roast
Roasting is a procedure which transforms coffee into the aromatic, dark brown beans that we come to enjoy. This heating process draws out the aroma and flavor that are trapped inside the green coffee beans. Roasted beans have a coffee-like aroma and a crunchy texture.
Buying roasts may be a bit confusing because most roasters have unique labels for their favored products. But generally, roasts can be categorized as light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.
Light roasts have a light body and a toasted grain flavor. These light brown colored beans contain no oil on the surface, but they’re highly acidic and caffeinated. Some known roast names under this category include Cinnamon, Light City, and Half City.
Medium roasts are medium brown in hue and have more body as compared to the light variant. Although they may not be grainy in flavor as their lighter counterparts, they demonstrate more balanced aroma, flavor, and acidity, which is loved by most Americans. Under this category, some common roast labels, include American, Breakfast, and City.
Medium-dark roasts have a heavy body than the lighter versions. Unlike the light and medium roasts, the medium-dark have some oil on the bean's’ surface and they’re richer, darker in color.
The taste of these beans may be slightly spicy and leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. The most popular names under this category include Full City, After Dinner, and Vienna. You can use these roasts to make a light espresso.
Dark roasts have an almost black color and have the least caffeine content as compared to their lighter counterparts.
They have an oily surface and a bitter flavor, which is highly preferred in many espresso blends. Most common designations for this level include Espresso, Italian, and Continental.
Brewing Coffee Beans For Espresso
Once you have selected the coffee beans that you want to use for your espresso, you can now start brewing. Some of the things that you’ll need include a good espresso machine, tamper, and a coffee grinder.
To begin, grind the coffee beans in the grinder. The consistency should be similar to confectioner’s sugar. In a clean and dry portafilter, fill some freshly ground beans. One shot requires seven grams of beans.
You can check how the brewing is done properly in this video.
Next, tap the portafilter to settle the grounds evenly and give it a quick tamp. Lock the portafilter back to the group head and start brewing. This process usually takes about 25-45 seconds.
Try To Brew Some Coffee Beans Today!
To select the best coffee beans for your espresso, choose Arabica beans. The roast should be from medium to dark. You can brew your own espresso by preparing a good espresso machine, coffee grinder, and a tamper.
If you’re tried brewing some coffee beans for a good espresso, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to share this article with your friends if you like it.