Coffee beans are of course the basis of all cups of coffee. Thankfully, there are literally thousands of blends out there to choose from if you have a very particular taste in mind.
Or you may actually see this as a negative if you have no idea how to search for the best coffee beans for espresso. From all of the different tastes and origins to the individual roasters and coffee requirements, there is a lot to take in, especially for someone buying their first-ever batch of beans.
So, we have compiled a guide of some of our personal favourites below.
Top 10 best coffee beans for espresso in UK 2021
Some of the brands we included are household names, others are cult favorites, but all of them are delicious. We describe each coffee’s flavor notes, sourcing regions, and availability, while also breaking down pros and cons to ensure you get value for your money. Products are sorted into distinct categories to suit everyone from dark roast lovers to decaf drinkers.
Fresh, tasty, and waiting to be brewed, here are the best coffee beans for espresso to buy.
1.Lavazza Super Crema Coffee Beans
If you’re looking for something which can give the ultimate crema, then this unique blend is perfect as there is a long-lasting foam created no matter which technique you use. They would be the absolute best if used in espresso, however, which isn’t dulled down by milk and other additions.
The use of Arabica/Robusta in a 60:40 ratio gives you the best of both worlds, and there are notes of hazelnut and brown sugar for a smooth taste. The beans have been medium roasted, so are just that right middle-level for everyone’s taste buds.
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2. Spiller & Tait Signature Blend Coffee Beans
This is one of my personal favourites and we particularly like it because the beans are roasted in small batches in the UK by a company who’s owners have decades of experience in the British coffee market.
Different countries tend to have a different requirement for how they like their coffee and these guys have nailed it for the UK market with their signature blend.
It’s a medium roasted coffee blended form from beans from 5 different countries and you’ll always get the roasting date on the packet to show you how fresh the beans are.
Great value coffee that is highly rated by many customers over a number of years and not one that you will find in the supermarket.
Perfect for espresso and all espresso based drinks.
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3. Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian Coffee Beans
Taylors of Harrogate is a 100% pure Arabica Bean, which makes it sweet, soft with the flavor of fruits and berries.
The Amazing Flavor of this Coffee will take you back to Northern Italy. It contains rich dark chocolate and bits of almonds.
Taylors is devoted to bringing a delicious taste throughout their range of products and their coffee beans are no exception.
Taylors is an independent tea and coffee brand in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England. It provides a remarkable flavor from the world’s best coffee growers.
Looking for the best coffee beans UK? Taylors might just be the one!
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4. Hampshire Coffee Co – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – Award Winning UK Roaster
Sourced from one of the top coffee bean producing regions in Ethiopia, Yirgacheffe has definitely put Sidomo region on the map with some of the world’s finest coffee. After sourcing, the coffee is roasted by Hampshire Coffee Co in small batches to achieve a consistent and quality flavour.
Boasting of a medium roast profile that allows flavours to develop with the trademark Yirgacheffe complexity, seasoned coffee lovers will adore the aromatic, fruity notes and vibrant aftertaste of wine and berries. Combine all that with the incredibly versatile brewing methods and it’s easy to see why Hampshire Coffee Co ‘s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe remains an award-winning UK roaster and an excellent option for espresso nuts.
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5. Pelican Rouge Barista Coffee Blend
A recommended coffee for those who like a bit of tenacity in their drink, Pelican Rouge is ideal for espresso or black but can provide a sturdy base for speciality drinks. It’s dark roasted to produce the full-bodied flavour of caramel and almonds, with the added spiciness of Robusta beans.
Positioned as more of a wholesale coffee, Pelican Rouge Barista is an unspecified, mixed origin Arabica-Robusta blend that might not be ideal for those wanting a more complex cup.
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6. illy Coffee, Classico Coffee Beans, Medium Roast, 100% Arabica Coffee
Another popular Italian brand, Illy is a brand of coffee you’ve probably heard of. This Illy Classico is 100% arabica, it’s fairly dark roasted as you’d expect with an Italian espresso bean. As with Lavazza, by reputation, I’d put Illy coffee towards the top when it comes to commodity coffee roasted for espresso.
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7. Grumpy Mule Sumatra Gayo Highlands
Established in 2006, Grumpy Mule is a specialty coffee roaster based in West Yorkshire. The company sells award-winning coffees, receiving the Great Taste winner award several times
Our first pick from Grumpy Mule is the organic Sumatra Gayo Highlands. This coffee is a real crowd-pleaser. It’s a medium-dark roast that has notes of cocoa and dark chocolate which work wonderfully as both espresso or filter.
The coffee is produced by Grumpy Mule’s partner growers from Takengon and Lake Lut Tawar in the Aceh province of Sumatra.
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8. Brown Bear Real Colombia Colombian Coffee
This single origin Colombian coffee from Brown Bear hit all of the right notes with us. The coffee has a nice nuttiness and smooth mouth-feel. Produced a nice crema when put though our pump espresso machine and we acheived great results either as a black americano or with milk in a cappuccino.
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9. Seattle’s Best Coffee Signature Blend No. 5 Dark Roast Whole Bean Coffee
The only thing better than coffee is a lot of coffee, and Seattle’s Best makes it easy to load up on java with its unbeatable prices. While its beans aren’t as cheap as those of Folgers and Maxwell House—brands that are known for weaker, watery coffee—the combination of affordability and high quality is what sets Seattle’s Best apart.
The company offers ten delicious blends, from delicate light roasts like Very Vanilla and Toasted Hazelnut to robust dark roasts like Post Alley Blend. You can find your favorite flavor in whole bean, ground, or K-Cups, and you choose between a 12-ounce bag or, for the true coffeeholic, a 20-ounce bag.
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10. Starbucks Espresso Roast Dark Roast Coffee Beans 200 g Bag (Pack of 6)
STARBUCKS is a well-known coffee brand all over the world and this fact as a recognition for their coffee quality. So, this product is always one of the best coffee beans in the UK.
Hence, his product is the most suitable candidate for you to create fragrant cups of Espresso and the outcome that you will have when processing this coffee beans is a rich and smooth coffee with thick and floating crema.
Besides, this product is packaged in a 200g per pack – the perfect amount for one or two cups. And so you can finish it before the bacteria outside can lay their fingers on it. Undoubtedly, this will help you preserve your unused coffee in a better way.
Overall, this product is worth trying. But watch out as it is a bit oily, which makes the user feel relatively uncomfortable.
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How To Choose best coffee beans for espresso?
Above, we have some of our favourites, and a pick for pretty much every flavour profile, method and preference. But how do you narrow it down to what you want?
Ask yourself three simple questions – which method are you using, which flavours are you seeking and what kind of coffee drinker you are.
French Press – Medium to dark roast for a full bodied taste
Cold Brew – Light roasted, higher-acidity beans. Single origin is great for maximum taste. We have listed our favourites here
Espresso Machine – You want a dark roast for more flavour without milk and sugar
Pour Over/Drip – If you don’t add milk, choose an exotic single origin bean with stand-out flavour notes of your choice which will be intense
Pod Machine – You can’t use any of the beans above (unless you prepare your own pods using a fine ground). Look at our picks of the best Nespresso pods instead
Any other method, such as bean to cup, is pretty flexible and can adhere best to your tastes.
Fruity, Floral Exotic Flavours – Opt for light roast single origin coffee. Best drunk without milk and using a drip method
Full Bodied Coffee Taste – After the classic palate? Go for dark roast coffee. You are flexible with aftertastes, and can add milk
Fruity Picks – Something medium roast from Africa, or a speciality house blend, will likely give you this. You can choose between berries, citrus or floral picks
How do you drink your coffee? As mentioned above, if you use milk, a darker roast is best so the coffee flavours still emerge through the dairy. Anybody who needs something quick may be best buying pre-ground, and using a cafetiere or automatic coffee machine, so pick accordingly.
When you drink the coffee can also have an impact. You may want an invigorating strong roast in the morning, but something more mellow with hints of caramel for a post-lunch perk.
We have included this information because despite being a page for the Best Coffee Beans, you don’t necessarily have to buy them as beans.
While we would always recommend buying beans and grinding them just before use, this does require a grinder or bean to cup machine, so it is easier for a lot of people to buy it pre-ground, even if it means it has to be used within ~two weeks.
A 250g bag will give you around 15 cups. By this following, a 1kg bag will be enough for around 60 cups.
Think about how much coffee you drink. Freshly roasted beans should ideally be used within a month, so if you are only partial to a coffee rather than drinking two or three per day, a small bag will be plenty.
There are two things to bear in mind here – country, and blend.
Where the coffee bean was grown can have a big effect on taste. Ethiopian coffee has distinct fruity flavours, like berry, with floral notes. Guatemalan coffee has chocolate hints in the aftertaste, with nutty hues when being drunk. El Salvador coffee can see plum or red fruit.
This isn’t to say your coffee will definitely have these flavours because of where they come from, but it is used as a good guide.
The blend can either be single origin or house blend. Single origin means one bean, from one grower, so there will be a particular taste. A house blend is a mix of beans, usually from different countries, to create an overall taste.
To sum up, making a great espresso is impossible if you do not use the best coffee beans for espresso and you do not grind right before you start the espresso machine. The advice mentioned above allows you to make the correct choice every single time. You can thus buy whole coffee beans that you can trust will offer a strong espresso.
Never compromise when it comes to the best coffee beans you buy for your espresso. This is the only way to enjoy the best possible brew.