There is nothing quite like a good cup of coffee.
Whether it’s to feel more energised to face the day first thing on a morning, or for middle of the day pick me up, coffee is the go to option for most of us.
Not all coffee is created equally – the range of choices is so huge now it can be overwhelming.
Of course there’s instant coffee and pod coffee, but if you truly enjoy a good cup of coffee, then only freshly brewed coffee will cut it.
And even then, there are options. Do you want to buy pre-ground coffee or whole roasted beans and make your own? All coffee lovers will know that the best coffee is freshly ground coffee.
Even thirty seconds after the grinding process, the coffee starts to lose its flavour as the oils dry up slightly and the air hits it. And anyone who appreciates fine coffee will be able to taste the difference.
If you’ve always used pre-ground coffee, you might be reading this and shaking your head – just try grinding your own. It can be a bit of a trial and error process at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will really taste the difference.
And you won’t want to go back to any other type of coffee – I know I wouldn’t.
So, how do you choose the right espresso coffee beans?
Well of course you want a good quality coffee, but a lot of the rest of it comes down to personal preference.
Buyer's Guide – How to Find the Right Coffee for You
The trick to finding the right coffee beans for you depends on several factors:
- The roast – Do you like a dark roast? A medium roast?
- Your budget – Your budget will show you the range to start looking at
- Your machine – Will you need a coarse grind? A fine grind? Always check the product is compatible with your machine
The best advice for buying coffee beans is to choose one and try it! It’s often trial and error, but with something such as how a coffee tastes, it’s very subjective – what I think tastes great might not appeal to you and vice versa.
Try a few from this list and you’ll soon find your favourite!
Best Espresso Beans (Whole Bean) - Top 6 Brands Reviewed
Below you will find reviews of the five best espresso coffee beans I like the most to help you decide on which ones to try out.
In the below table you will find a quick, easy to read check list about the five brands I’ve chosen. Use it to help you decide which reviews to read first.
Now you’ve had a look at the table, you’ll have a better idea which of the coffee beans brand you would like to try first. Read on for some more detailed information about each brand.
1. LifeBoost Espresso Coffee Beans – Best of The Best
“Mountain shade grown, handpicked, spring water washed, sun dried, and roasted to order. It doesn’t get any better.”
Lifeboost has an impressive line of coffees, but their espresso blend is especially stunning. Featuring a smooth chocolate depth, a dark caramel sweetness, and a slight fruity aroma, espresso shots made from this bean are among the best we’ve ever had.
The magic is in how carefully the beans are grown. It all starts in the highlands of Nicaragua, where the beans are grown on rich mountain soil and the climate is perfect for growing coffee.
These beans are Certified Organic, so you know there were never any pesticides or harsh chemical fertilizers used at the farm.
They’re also Fair Trade, which means the farmers were paid $0.30 extra per pound of coffee beans. It may not sound like much, but the current price of coffee is just $1.00, which means these farmers are paid 30% more than most—and that’s how these beans are grown so ethically.
Here’s why LifeBoost tops our list as #1:
- Reliably amazing home espresso - chocolate, caramel, and fruity notes
- Ethical and sustainable - it’s hard to find beans that check a few boxes, but this one checks them all
There’s really just one drawback to consider:
- It’s on the more expensive side - it’s not cheap to grow such an incredible bean
What's the Bottom Line?
Overall, LifeBoost’s Espresso Bean is a stellar pick for anyone who wants to know their coffee not only tastes amazing, but also comes from an honest, ethical, and sustainable farm in Nicaragua.
2. Koffee Kult Dark Roast Coffee Beans – Also Great
“Our coffee beans produce a bold, strong cup of coffee that lingers with a smooth, clean finish.”
The Koffee Kult dark roast is a rich tasting, aroma filled experience that will leave you wanting more. The heavy bodied coffee taste fantastic – because Koffee Kult use only 100% Arabica beans, there is no bitterness in the coffee.
The Koffee Kult beans are perfect for drip coffee machines, pour over machines, French presses and espresso machines and they taste great in both hot and cold brews.
The flavour is intense and bold with a slightly sweet under taste – exactly what coffee should taste like.
The fantastic taste comes, in part, from the small batch roasting system employed by Koffee Kult which ensures an even roast and lasting freshness.
The combination of the great taste and smell coupled with the low price is what makes Koffee Kult my pick for best of the best.
Here is what I loved about the Koffee Kult dark roast:
- The flavour
- The easy to pour spout on the bag
- The price
Here is what I didn’t love quite so much about the Koffee Kult dark roast:
- The re-sealable bag is quite hard to seal
- The rocks! Sometimes, there are small rocks in the coffee – watch out for them as they could easily break your grinder blades if you don’t notice them in time
Overall, this is a great cup of coffee at a great price. Perfect for anyone who likes a good dark roast with no bitterness and the right mixture of smoothness and depth.
“This perfect dark roast will make you the hero of the house or office.”
The Death Wish coffee sure packs a punch. Marketed as the strongest coffee in the world, this may be a slight exaggeration, but the Death Wish coffee does have twice as much caffeine as the average brand.
The dark roast provides a smooth yet bold flavour that will delight coffee lovers – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that extra caffeine kick, especially first thing in the morning.
It might be one to stay away from after 8pm, but it’s the perfect pick me up for earlier in the day.
Although the Death Wish is the most expensive brand on the list, it’s also the one that scored the highest with customers, so it’s definitely worth the extra few dollars.
It’s also USDA certified, meaning you are guaranteed that all of its beans are organic and ethically sourced. It’s also kosher.
Here is what I loved about Death Wish coffee:
- The strength of the caffeine – I drink a lot of coffee and I could feel the effects of the caffeine which doesn’t happen with other coffees
- The sourcing of the beans – I love that this coffee is fair trade and organic
- The packaging is fantastic
Here is what I didn’t love quite so much about the Death Wish coffee:
- It had a slightly burnt aftertaste
- It’s expensive if you’re not looking for caffeine boost
Overall, the Death Wish coffee is perfect for anyone who has a level of tolerance to caffeine and wants to get the effects without having to drink four or five cups.
4. Lavazza Super Crema Espresso - Best Value Pick
“A blend of coffees with a velvety cream and persistent aroma. Aromas of honey and almonds for a mild and creamy espresso.”
The Lavazza Super Crema mixes a blend of Central American, Brazilian and Indonesian beans for a delicate flavour with a hint of sweetness.
The coffee is suitable for fine grinding and course grinding, so it’s a good choice for both drip coffee makers and espresso machines.
This coffee produced a good amount of crema which lasted well.
For me, the coffee taste wasn’t strong enough, but to be fair to the brand, they do advertise this bean as a mild coffee taste, so you definitely get what is advertised.
Here is what I loved about the Lavazza Super Crema:
- Good amount of crema
- Long lasting crema
- Works well with both fine and course grinding
Here is what I didn’t like quite so much about the Lavazza Super Crema:
- The price – this coffee is more expensive than some of the others which I preferred
- The weak coffee taste
Overall, if you want a good, strong tasting, this isn’t for you. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys the caffeine buzz but isn’t particularly fond of the taste of coffee and prefers something sweet and less intense.
“This is a no compromise coffee and a no compromise company, committed to local and global environmental conservation.”
The Kicking Horse coffee is made from a blend of African, South American and Indonesian coffee beans. It is roasted in Canada.
The product is fair trade and organic and the company believes in using beans from sustainable crops. The beans are also kosher.
For this reason, the coffee is a bit pricier than some other brands, but it’s worth the extra few cents to help to preserve the environment.
The Arabica beans are grown 3,000 feet above sea level and whether or not it’s a myth that the altitude improves the taste is open to debate, but for whatever reason, the kicking Horse Espresso tastes good.
It’s a medium roast coffee with a bright colour and a slightly fruity hint. It tastes good and you can tell it’s been freshly roasted.
Here is what I loved about Kicking Horse Espresso:
- Good colour
- The taste – not bitter or acidic and with under tastes of chocolate
- The vacuum sealed packaging that aids freshness
- The company’s attitude to sustainability
Here is what I didn’t like quite so much about Kicking Horse Espresso:
- There isn’t a “roasted on” date on the packaging which is odd, but a coffee lover will know the beans are fresh anyway
- You have to use quite a lot of beans to get a strong flavour
Overall, the Kicking Horse Espresso is a great choice for anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee at a fair price knowing that they are not ruined the environment further to save a few cents.
“Our artisan Italian roast espresso is a dark roast and produces a rich, full bodied coffee with a moderate acidity and a full bite.”
Made using a blend of American and Indian coffee beans, the Coffee Bean Direct Espresso promises a rich, dark, full bodied espresso with a big bite. And it doesn’t disappoint.
With a smoky hint and an under taste of cocoa, this coffee’s natural flavours really shine.
It’s hard to believe this coffee is less than $10 per pound as it tastes anything but cheap.
Here’s what I loved about Coffee Bean Direct Espresso:
- The flavour – intense and drinkable
- The aroma – smells like good coffee should smell
- The price
Here’s what I didn’t love quite so much about Coffee Bean Direct Espresso:
- The beans are a bit too oily
Overall, this is a great coffee for anyone who is on a budget – or who wants to pay less for an equally good product.