Ask coffee snobs what the most sought-after coffee in the world is, and a lot of them will say 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain.
It’s bold and bright with an unusual sweetness and an overpowering aroma. Shade-grown in Jamaica and roasted freshly several times each week by 1st In Coffee, this is the best espresso bean I know.
Hair Bender repeatedly appears on lists and forum threads of the best espresso roasts, and I completely agree.
With a strong toffee and fudge profile and hints of dark fruit, it’s a deliciously complex roast that works for both a bright morning espresso or an after-dinner dessert.
This dark roast isn’t especially oily, which makes it ideal for super-automatic espresso machines.
And the Stumptown packaging, while odd-looking, is among the best at locking in the freshness.
A much more affordable espresso roast than the 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain from 1st In Coffee, their Marlboro Hills Espresso is roasted freshly several times each week.
Smooth, rich, and light on bitterness, this roast was designed with the help of Master Roaster George Schneider.
I was first introduced to Kona coffee when I visited Hawaii in 2014.
A medium roast with a big, rich flavor, you can almost taste the Big Island Kona coast’s recent volcanic past. And less oily than most beans on this list, they’re perfect for superautomatic espresso machines.
Most Kona coffees you’ll find are blends with perhaps 10% Kona coffee. That’s not what this roast is. It’s the real 100% Kona experience. Just be ready to pay through the nose for this pure, high-quality, regional roast.
A great 100% Kona coffee, Blue Horse was my go-to for a whole year before I decided to switch things up.
(Now I’m drinking Ethiopian and Kenyan coffees.)
This roast is similar to the Koa Coffee 100% Kona above but it’s a little heavier on the chocolaty flavors.
As the name implies, these Lavazza espresso beans produce a great, rich crema.
The resulting espresso is thick with a delicate chocolate flavor, but this medium roast coffee does have higher levels of acidity and is 80% Robusta, 20% Arabica.
A nice bonus with Lavazza coffee beans: they’re nitrogen packed. This means a longer shelf life (pre-opening).
A 100% Arabica, five-bean blend from South America, Africa, Indonesia, and India, there’s a lot happening with this coffee.
The dark roast produces a deep, rich espresso but it doesn’t mask the complexity afforded by its cross-continental bean profile.
Stone Street Coffee is a small roaster based in Brooklyn, NY, which means these beans are freshly roasted in small batches. Plus, you can feel good about supporting a small business.
Kick Ass is another robust, dark roast blend by Kicking Horse’s expert roasters.
Really, everything this company does is of high quality.
Kick Ass offers more sweetness and less earthiness than Cliff Hanger Espresso but still boasts a balanced profile and low acidity.
Fresh, oily and aromatic, Kick Ass is a great coffee for that delectably dark, roasty flavor without the bitterness.
One of Kicking Horse Coffee's medium roast offerings, Cliff Hanger Espresso is a lighter, fruitier blend than either of the dark roasts above while still offering a smooth, bold finish.
Designed as Kicking Horse’s espresso roast, Cliff Hanger is perfectly suited for a rich shot with a beautiful crema. But then again, both 454 and Kick Ass will be great in that capacity, too.
A medium-dark roast, nitrogen-packed, 80% Robusta/20% Arabica blend from Lavazza, the Crema e Gusto Forte is a high-intensity, full-bodied roast designed for espresso.
While Lavazza is a mass-produced coffee, this roast is authentic in flavor and popular among Italians — the most discerning espresso drinkers in the world. Heck, the packaging is in 100% Italian!
This single-origin 100% Guatemalan espresso bean is roasted to bring out bold flavors without overpowering bitterness.
Sourced from from San Marcos, Antigua, and Huehuetenango, it features beans from three of the best coffee growing regions in one of the most under-appreciated coffee countries in the world.
The caffeine kick isn’t extreme like most espresso blends, which are which mainly Robusta (Two Volcanoes Espresso Blend is 100% Arabica), but it still gives you that much-needed morning pick-me-up with each savory sip.
A dark French roast with medium acidity, Koffee Kult Thunder Bolt is a tantalizing blend of Colombian and Brazilian beans roasted in a small batch.
Heavy yet sweet, Thunder Bolt advertises this coffee as the world’s strongest (in terms of caffeine), but I’ll still give Death Wish the top spot in that category.
Not overly oily, this is another great roast for super-automatic espresso machines.