Espresso Coffee Beans: How to choose the best ones

coffee beans

Those who love espresso coffee can’t compromise on its ideal caffeine kick, the crema, and aromatic flavour. Coffee is one of the most savoured beverages worldwide. Hence, most coffee lovers are very particular about the roast, taste, and beans for their refreshment drinks. It is only the true coffee enthusiasts who can understand the difference between different coffee beans and select the best ones for the ideal espresso drink. For the newbies who have just begun exploring the world of coffee and drinks, it might get confusing at first. For instance, a regular coffee bean is quite different from the beans used for espresso drinks. Yes, you read it right! There’s a lot more to these different coffee beans that you are probably unaware of.

Pure Coffee Bliss, that’s what coffee-holic crave. Choosing the beans for your coffee drink is a personal choice that should involve assessing certain factors such as origin, roast, taste, etc. of the beans. However, when it comes to espresso drinks, picking any regular coffee bean does not guarantee the ultimate crema and taste. Espresso is a tricky brewing method and thus requires a proper understanding of the bean quality, origin, and blend. There are certain basic things that you must know before shopping for the ideal espresso coffee beans. Knowing these will help you in becoming a pro at making espresso drinks for yourself and your close ones.

Espresso Coffee beans: What makes it special?

It is commonly observed that people fail to distinguish between regular coffee beans and espresso coffee beans very often. To them, there’s not much of a difference while making espresso drinks. Well, it does make a difference when it comes to selecting coffee beans for espresso drinks. There are a lot of factors that set a regular coffee bean and special espresso beans apart. Some of the reasons that make espresso coffee beans distinct are as follows:

  • Cost-Effective: Espresso beans are mostly blended which implies that they are made from various commercial-grade coffee beans supplied from countries like Brazil and Indonesia. This blend elevates the taste of the coffee while being available at lower prices as compared to a single-origin coffee bean.
  • Distinct taste: Espresso drinks are expected to be strong and resemble a rich caramel texture. Hence, the espresso beans are roasted darker than other regular coffee beans. This dark roasting enhances the bitter-caffeine flavours of the beans thus making it the traditional espresso drink.
  • Ideal for milk base: Most people prefer to have a milk-based espresso drink. Hence, choosing a dark roasted coffee bean that can cut through the creaminess of the milk is essential. The espresso coffee beans have the robustness to blend well with the milk and ensure strong caramel and caffeine flavours in the drink. 

Arabica or Robusta, which is better?

Another important thing to consider while buying espresso coffee beans is the origin and species of the coffee bean. The two most popular types of coffee are Arabica and Robusta which are consumed in large quantities globally. Hence, it gets quite debatable when one has to choose between these two. It is a common perception that Arabica coffee is better than Robusta, in terms of flavour, quality, and tastes. Well, that’s just a perception and does not necessarily stand true in every case.

Arabica coffee tends to have a sweeter, smoother, and chocolaty flavour that is cultivated anywhere upwards of 600m+ in tropical regions. On the other hand, Robusta coffee is cultivated anywhere from sea level to 600 m and has a harsher, bitter, and stronger taste. Therefore, for an ideal espresso drink that has a tradition of having strong flavours and less acid, Robusta coffee beans seem to be a viable choice. They are available at cheaper prices and can make for a delicious single-origin espresso coffee.

Basic rules for buying espresso coffee beans

  • Always make sure to buy fresh beans when buying from small coffee traders. In the case of buying coffee beans in bulk, enquire more about their packaging techniques and the production & expiration date of the beans.
  • If you are a cafe owner or retailer, it is important to buy coffee beans in limited quantities. Buying more than you’ll consume in the near future can damage the quality of the beans thus making them go stale in your storage units.
  • Never compromise on the quality of the coffee bean. Whether you are buying a single origin or blend, it is essential to maintain the quality of the beans as it significantly impacts the taste of the drinks.
  • Know your roasters well. While you can get a variety of options available in the market, it’s better to look for reviews and suggestions before selecting one of them.
  • Verify the source and origin of the espresso coffee beans that you buy. Any coffee beans that are untraceable do not guarantee good taste or quality.

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