Choosing an Espresso Coffee Bean

First things first – there is really no such thing as an espresso bean.  Any type of coffee beans can be used to make an espresso. But often the beans are roasted to a darker level, giving a more bitter flavour. This bitterness creates the flavor of espresso that many have come to expect and love.

Trying to choose a coffee bean for espresso can initially be somewhat confusing. But if you know the simple steps to choosing an espresso bean, you can easily find the best bean for your coffee.

What Flavour Do You Prefer?

As we’ve mentioned although the term “espresso bean” is used, it is possible to make espresso from any coffee bean available. You simply need to think about the flavour of coffee that you enjoy. If you like a more bitter taste, you will want a bean that has a darker roast. If you want a more subtle flavor, you should choose a lighter roast. Again, any coffee bean can be used to make espresso.

Flavour is always important when talking about an espresso coffee bean. Some want their espresso more bitter than others. You simply need to taste the various beans and their espresso to understand what you like. You also need to think about power. How strong do you want the espresso to be? What other flavours do you like – those from South America, or perhaps from East Africa?

What Strength Do You Like?

How much strength do you want in your espresso? The stronger the flavor of the bean, the stronger your drink will be. The more the caffeine in the bean, the more the caffeine in the espresso. It is important to remember that espresso comes in shot sizes. If you want a more powerful drink, you cannot look at the coffee bean. You simply need to add an extra shot of espresso to your drink.

It’s a myth that espresso has more caffeine. Because of the short contact time with the water – typically less than 30 seconds, the amount of caffeine that gets into an espresso cup is small. Certainly, there are higher levels of caffeine in a French press coffee, with brewing times of up to five minutes.

What Does It Cost

When you are choosing beans to make espresso at home, you need to consider cost. How much are you willing to spend on coffee? While the more expensive beans and roasts may have good flavor, are they necessary for the drinks that you are making? If the drink that you make is heavily diluted with coffee and milk or cream, you may not want to fork out for a more expensive coffee bean.

In general, the more expensive the bean, the better the flavour will be. This is especially true of small and organic producers.

That said, don’t stint on quality coffee beans. If you’re roasting your own then you’re already saving half to two-thirds of the cost in comparison to ready-roasted beans. So go for the best quality producers – you can afford them!


You should also consider availability. Will your Arabica beans be easy to find? Worldwide shipping in bulk has increased the availability of Arabica beans from all over the world. Beans are now readily available either roasted or green from all parts of South America, East Africa and Asia. And multiple mail-order coffee suppliers can deliver exactly what you need, and the quality you want, when you want it.

If you are making espresso at home, you may want consistency. For some people, they want to make their coffee taste the same each and every time they make it. So for them, the availability of a particular coffee bean is vital. If it is easy to find your beans, you will know that you will not run out. Your espresso will taste the same each and every time that you make it.

For others (like me), part of the fun is trying different beans and different roasts. Luckily, the many mail-order coffee bean suppliers mean getting coffee any time you want is easy and convenient.

Espresso Bean Summary

Choosing an espresso bean for your coffee depends on a number of factors. When you can find a bean that meets your flavour needs, cost, and availability, you may have found the perfect bean. Then again, with so much availability of quality beans at affordable prices, it makes sense to experiment!

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