Best Coffee Beans for Espresso & How to Guide

Barista Training

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso 2

It can be difficult to navigate the coffee world. Especially if you’re new to the space.

That’s why in this article, we are going over the key facts about Espresso coffee and advising on which beans will work best for you. We also tell you a few ways to achieve a great espresso at home.

There are a few links too. So, you can find the appropriate pages on our website to relieve your craving for a great tasting coffee drink.

And at the end we provide answers to common questions, such as what’s the best grind size and why/how to use almost any type of coffee beans for an espresso.

Let’s dive straight in.

Best Coffee Beans for Espresso (in the UK)

Adams+Russell has a few top recommendations from the espresso coffee range.

  1. Guatemala Los Nubes – Top this season
  2. Espresso Blend
  3. Peninsula Espresso Blend – 2 Star Great Taste Award Winner 2019
  4. Costa Rica Tarrazu
  5. Honduras Womans Coop Fairtrade Coffee
  6. Best Blend – Continental

Ultimately, the truth is that most coffees will work well in an espresso machine if you have chosen the correct grind size – more on grind size below.

How to choose coffee beans for espresso

Choose your beans for espresso based on your taste preferences. For example, if you like strong coffee, try a medium to dark  roast with good body and richer notes. If you like it milder, choose a light roast with brighter acidity and floral, fruitier notes.

Some coffees are specifically given the name and title ‘Espresso Blend’ which seem to indicate they can only be used for this purpose.

Not true – here’s why:

This blend can also work well in a cafetière or aeropress for example. But you need to grind your beans a little coarser to suit each method of brewing

What is Espresso Coffee?

The word espresso literally means “pressed-out coffee” in Italian.

Many people can interpret this word in different ways-  for example:

  1. A brewing method (machine)
  2. A drink on its own (May I have an espresso please?)
  3. A base for another drink e.g. latte or flat white

It’s a brewing method (sort of)

The way it works is that near-boiling water passes through the coffee grounds at a high pressure.

By passing through at a high pressure, it means the coffee will be brewed much quicker than with regular brewing methods such as a French press, cafetière or Aeropress. A double espresso would typically take between 20 – 30 seconds to fully extract.

It’s a drink on its own

Many people – usually those who are looking for an instant caffeine hit – will order an espresso at a café.

It’s small! a single espresso would normally be around usually 30ml and very strong. It can be drunk in just a few sips.

Because of its small size, it has a high caffeine concentrate, which is believed to have a more immediate impact on your energy levels.

Have a read of this article How to Drink Espresso

It’s also then name of a Bean…

As we’ve seen above, don’t be fooled by this one though.

Here’s why

Some companies (including Adams+Russell) have an Espresso Blend.

The actual truth is that this coffee can be used for all brewing methods and you don’t just have to use these beans in an espresso machine.

How to make espresso coffee



Nearly all Coffee shops will us an espresso machine to deliver fresh coffee to their customers.

Often these are not practical for the general public because of their size, price and maintenance requirements.

However, if you are serving fresh coffee a lot then you may wish to purchase one of these as they are extremely durable when looked after correctly.

How to make a good espresso coffee at home

Home brewing has shot up in popularity over the last few years. And so too have the machines and equipment to help you do it.

Here are some examples of machines you can use at home.

Bean-to-cup machines

Bean-to-cup machines are a great way to achieve a high-quality espresso drink at home.

Beans will last longer than ground after you purchase them. So, with this method, you have a fast way of grinding them and getting them into your cup ready for drinking.

If you want to go down this route, be prepared to make an up-front investment. These machines will set you back between £250 and £2,000

Stove Top Espresso makers (with ground beans)

Also known as Moka Pots. These are low cost and work very well and are a great option for your home selection of brewing methods. You can use them to make a single drink or multiple by mixing the brewed coffee with hot water.

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