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Now that you’ve bought yourself a high-quality Breville espresso machine, to pull third-wave specialty espresso shots, you need to stock up on the finest and most suitable coffee beans for espresso as well.
But navigating through the market without a reference to fall back on can be hard.
So, in this article, the Coffee Geek, who also personally uses a Breville machine (Breville Barista Express) every day at the office, will help you out by recommending these 13 best coffee beans for Breville espresso machines to boost your espresso brewing journey.
Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans In A Breville Espresso Machine?
Technically speaking, yes, you can use whatever type of coffee beans or roast profiles with Breville espresso machines or any other espresso machine for that matter.
Espresso is a coffee brewing method that involves shooting hot water through the tight coffee puck under high pressure. So, as long as it’s done right, the brew can be considered to be espresso regardless of what kind of coffee beans you use.
Many coffee enthusiasts are also experimenting with lighter-roasted coffee beans for espresso to explore new flavor notes, aroma, and mouthfeel.
Basically, there are no coffee police going after you when you use coffee beans outside the common norms to make coffee.
However, there’s a reason why the common takes are common. They pair best with the espresso machines to favorably draw out the delicious coffee compounds and give the brews the signature intense and full-bodied flavor.
And sticking to them isn’t the worst idea, especially for beginners who are trying to get into brewing coffee at home (A Breville is a great choice!).
The bottom line is, you can use the coffee beans you’ve already owned for your Breville device, whether they’re actually intended for making espresso or not. But, in this article, I will mainly recommend common brands of espresso coffee beans rather than the unusual.
How To Choose Coffee Beans For Espresso
Here’s a simple guide to help you start looking for espresso beans in the right place!
What Kind Of Beans Should I Use For Espresso?
Typically, you can just go ahead and pick the coffee bean bags that are labeled “espresso roast” or “espresso-style”. As they’re fully intended for espresso machines, they likely contain suitable coffee blends and roasts.
You can take that easy way out or expand your options by learning the basics about coffee, starting from the type of bean.
The 2 most common types of coffee beans in the world are Arabica beans and Robusta beans. There are other types of coffee trees out there, but the above 2 are so popular that the rest only take up a very small percentage of the market, so just focus on those 2 for now.
Arabica is the most popular coffee species in the world, having taken over 70% of the market share.
It’s considered to be the superior coffee beans out of the two due to its lighter and sweeter taste with higher acidity. The unmistakable chocolaty and fruity flavor notes are also very entertaining to the taste buds.
Nowadays, third-wave specialty coffee shops often serve 100% Arabica coffee as the norm for an espresso shot. You can also easily find the “100% Arabica” label on many bags of coffee beans in the market as well.
If you want to pursue the specialty coffee route, try going the extra mile and buy single-origin coffee beans, which means they’re grown within the same space. This ensures that the quality is as consistent as possible for a unique and great-tasting espresso.
However, the traditional take of making espresso actually involves an espresso blend of both Arabica beans and the “inferior”.
Robusta accounts for the rest of the coffee market, which is around 30%. Although it’s much easier to grow and care for compared to its cousin, Robusta coffee is only popular in Europe, the Middle East, and countries that produce (a lot of) it such as Vietnam.
The reason why Robusta beans aren’t many’s favorite coffee beans is they have a bolder and more bitter flavor with an earthy undertone and grainy body. This makes them a lot harder to consume, especially as straight espresso shots or regular coffee.
However, they pair extremely well with sweeter ingredients, such as sugar, milk, and creamer. They also taste fabulous when served cold.
That’s why the traditional take of espresso coffee involves espresso blends containing both Arabica and Robusta coffee. This gives the espresso shots a more balanced flavor and body to act as a suitable base for sweeter espresso drinks like latte and cappuccino.
What Roast Is Best For Espresso?
Traditionally, darker roasts are preferred for brewing espresso coffee. The more the beans are roasted, the darker and oilier they become.
Brewing espresso beans like these can produce fuller-bodied and more intense espresso shots than you’d get from lighter roasts.
Coffee oils are also an important factor in the formation of espresso crema. If you enjoy the look and taste of a prominent layer of crema on top of the espresso brewed, using dark-roasted espresso beans is crucial.
What Should I Look For When Buying Coffee Beans? Extra Expert Tips
For the above factors, you can take your pick depending on my recommendations and your personal preference.
But you shouldn’t “pick and choose” the following suggestions if you aspire to make a really high-quality cup of Joe and become an espresso aficionado someday.
Is Freshly Ground Coffee Better?
What most people tend to forget yet matters so much is the freshness of the beans. If the beans are old and stale, you’ll also taste and smell that staleness in the final cup of Joe, which definitely knocks it down a few notches in terms of quality and desirability.
So, always make sure to check the roast date. They’re best consumed within the first 1 – 2 weeks. 3 weeks should be fine as well but anything beyond that is stretching it.
Can You Use Pre-Ground Coffee In Breville Espresso Machine?
You may also be thinking of getting pre-ground coffee. Although you can when push comes to shove, generally, I would also advise against it.
Pre-ground beans go stale a whole lot faster than whole bean coffee. This is because once they turn to coffee grounds, the surface area exposed to the environment significantly increases.
So, it’s best to buy whole bean coffee and a dedicated burr grinder, ideally the Breville Smart Pro coffee grinder to suit your Breville espresso machine ( so that you can grind the espresso beans right before you brew to preserve optimal freshness.
What Beans For Breville Espresso Machine? 13 Best Espresso Beans For Breville
|Lavazza Super Crema||CHECK PRICE|
|Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender||CHECK PRICE|
Best low-acid coffee
|Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Organic Coffee||CHECK PRICE|
Best medium roast
|Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso||CHECK PRICE|
|Lavazza Espresso Italiano|
Best Arabica blend
|Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso||CHECK PRICE|
Best medium-dark roast
|SF Bay Coffee Fog Chaser||CHECK PRICE|
Best Dark Roast
|Koffee Kult Dark Roast||CHECK PRICE|
Best Traditional Blend
|Lavazza Crema E Gusto||CHECK PRICE|
Best Energy Charger
|Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast||CHECK PRICE|
Best espresso base
|Cuvée Karmadillo Espresso Blend||CHECK PRICE|
Best As Black
|Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso||CHECK PRICE|
Best Starbucks experience
|Starbucks Espresso Roast||CHECK PRICE|
Medium Roast Coffee
Medium roast beans can also work with an espresso maker. If you’re trying to get into drinking espresso, this is a great option to start with.
A medium roast can also easily be utilized for other coffee brewing devices. So, even if it won’t taste good as an espresso shot for you, you can still make good use of it for something else.
Lavazza Super Crema
If you’re a fan of Brazilian coffee, you absolutely cannot miss out on these Lavazza beans – Lavazza Super Crema.
It contains a blend of both Arabica (60%) and Robusta (40%) coffee for better balance and intensity in flavor, aroma, and most notable of all, the layer of crema, as its name suggests.
Both types of beans are sourced from giant producers around the world. Arabica is sourced from Brazil, Colombia, and India, while Robusta is gathered from the Southeast Asian countries of Indonesia and Vietnam.
Like the dark-roast Lavazza bag of Joe I’ve mentioned earlier, these high-quality beans are then transported to Italy, where they’re blended and roasted.
The combination of the coffee blend and medium roast profile helps this coffee preserve some of its original coffee compounds still, including brighter flowery and fruity notes of dried fruits.
The coffee intensity is also relatively mild and creamy (medium-light), making it a lot easier to consume, especially for those who aren’t too familiar with the intense flavor of espresso.
The coffee tastes like a classic velvety smooth Italian cup of Joe, featuring aromatic notes of roasted hazelnut and almonds and hints of sweet brown sugar.
Other than espresso machines, coffee lovers may also find this suitable for making drip coffee.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender
Looking for something more fruity? Try the Hair Bender blend of Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
This is actually the first coffee blend introduced by the brand’s founder and it also happens to be its most popular offering.
Hair Bender involves a combination of high-quality beans sourced from 3 major coffee-growing regions – Latin America, East Africa, and Indonesia.
The resulting Arabica blend offers a rich texture of Indonesian beans and the signature boldness and intensity of Latin American and African beans.
You’ll notice a clear tone of dark chocolate and scattered citrusy notes of fruits and aromatic hints of caramel that can brighten the whole cup. It’s the citrus flavor and intense mouthfeel that makes this a close 2nd on my list of espresso beans for Breville, but I understand the acidity may not be everyone’s cup of Joe.
This medium roast is best enjoyed as an espresso brew, though regular drip isn’t a bad idea either.
Lifeboost Coffee Espresso Organic Coffee
If you have a sensitive stomach, try looking into Lifeboost Coffee, a brand specializing in offering certified organic and Fair Trade coffee that’s very low-acid compared to others in the market.
Lifeboost also only distributes single-origin beans, to highlight the uniqueness and consistency in quality, flavors, aromas, and body of the coffee.
Its medium-roasted Espresso Organic Coffee is a great start to explore third-wave specialty coffee with your new Breville device.
It features premium beans grown by small local coffee farmers on the high elevations in Nicaragua. The result is a rich and well-rounded cup of Joe with deep tones of chocolate, scents of caramel, and sweet hints of fruits.
And, feel free to explore this coffee beyond the espresso brewing method.
Kicking Horse Coffee Cliff Hanger Espresso
Kicking Horse Coffee is a pretty well-known coffee roaster. It’s in fact the number 1 Organic and Fair Trade roaster in Canada for 13 years straight. Cliff Hanger Espresso also contains Arabica coffee that’s certified organic and Fair Trade.
Like other coffees I’ve mentioned here, Kicking Horse Coffee also uses a blend of beans sourced from different regions around the world. In this case, specifically, they’re from Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America.
And despite being a medium roast, Cliff Hanger Espresso can actually bring you a better espresso experience than your typical dark roasts.
Once you take a sip, your mouth bathes in the velvety smooth flow of Joe with complex notes of wild berry syrup. It deals the final blow with a luscious cocoa finish that seemingly leaves you on a “cliffhanger”.
When enjoying the best coffee beans, make sure to savor them by your sense of smell as well. Have a peaceful morning sitting in the distinct aroma of coffee with hints of blackcurrant, milk chocolate, and sweet brown sugar.
And don’t save the Cliff Hanger for just espresso. Go all out and use it for your drip machine and manual coffee makers as the true coffee enthusiasts that you are.
Lavazza Espresso Italiano
If you’re not the biggest fan of Robusta coffee and thick crema layers, the Espresso Italiano blend from Lavazza is a great alternative to the Lavazza Super Crema.
It features 100% Arabica coffee sourced from Latin America and then blended and roasted in Italy.
Any coffee lover can enjoy this medium roast with medium intensity and body. Nothing too strong or too weak, yet still highly aromatic and flavorful.
The signature Italian coffee taste with sweet and creamy flavor notes and hints of fruits and flowers is thanks to the long and careful roasting process.
You can brew these beans with your new Breville machine or any other coffee brewing device you can get your hands on at home (drip coffee maker, French Press, Pour-Overs, Moka Pot, Cold Brew).
Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso
Love the dark chocolate undertone in espresso? Get a taste of the Black Cat Classic Espresso from Intelligentsia.
The brand is a specialty coffee roastery that prioritizes direct trade to support ethical coffee farming and trading practices.
When accessing its website, you can easily find the detailed origin information of any coffee bag that it offers, from the name of the producer, where and when the coffee is grown and harvested, to how it’s processed.
The Black Cat Espresso contains a blend of 100% Arabica coffee sourced from Brazil and Costa Rica.
The medium roast profile and espresso brewing method help draw out the syrupy sweet molasses flavors and deep chocolate undertone that can hardly be missed. You may also taste some interesting hints of stone fruit.
Other than espresso, a drip machine should work for these medium-roasted beans as well.
If the dark roast profile is too strong for you, inch a little closer to the medium roast realm with the best of both worlds – a medium-dark roast.
SF Bay Coffee Fog Chaser
This coffee is supplied by an American family-owned business, San Francisco Bay Coffee.
It contains a blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced from Central and South America. They’re roasted for long and hard enough to develop the signature espresso taste that’s strong enough to get rid of the morning “fog” and shake you wide awake.
The process also successfully breaks down the sugar compounds, causing them to become caramelized. This adds additional richness and sweetness to the final full-bodied brew.
The Fog Chaser isn’t only well-received for espresso machines but also for other brewing methods as well. Think regular drip, tasty French Press, or clean Pour-Over.
Dark Roast Espresso Coffee Beans
Now, let’s explore my favorite dark roasts. If you’re a fan of the intense, dark, and concentrated coffee contrasting with an outstanding layer of crema, welcome to the dark side!
Koffee Kult Dark Roast
Another strong coffee you should get your hands on if possible is the Koffee Kult Dark Roast, featuring the best espresso beans that are organic, exotic, and Rainforest-friendly.
These beans are also incredibly fresh as they’re shipped within hours of roasting so you can taste them in their peak period.
With this dark-roasted gourmet coffee, you get to enjoy an artisan blend of 100% aromatic Arabica coffee sourced from Latin America (Colombia and Guatemala) and Indonesia (Sumatra).
These dark brown beans aren’t roasted long and hard enough to bring out visible oil to the surface, so it’s very grinder-friendly and a great choice for anyone who isn’t a big fan of espresso oil.
The result is a rich, intense, and unique flavor blend with a thick body yet surprisingly smooth and clean-tasting.
Before you know it, you’re whipped by its distinct cinnamon undertone, hints of bright notes, and a long-lasting lightly sweet finish.
Lavazza Crema E Gusto
For an authentic Italian espresso experience, give the Lavazza Crema E Gusto a try as these espresso beans are blended and roasted in the espresso’s motherland.
And to taste the ultimate traditional espresso coffee, a blend of both Arabica and Robusta is necessary. Luckily, the Crema E Gusto brings you just that.
It combines the Brazillian Arabica with the African and Indonesian Robusta coffee for a well-balanced and one-of-a-kind flavor and aroma combo.
As espresso beans, they can bring a rich and creamy flavor and a robust and concentrated finish. And the lingering spiced aftertaste should leave you desire for more.
It can be used for any type of coffee maker, from typical ones that utilize dark roasted coffee bean like espresso machines, Moka Pots, and French Presses to the less-typical drip coffee machines, Cold Brews, and Pour-Overs.
So if you’re one of the coffee lovers who frequently experiment with different types of coffee brews and switch up your coffee routine, go all out and test with this coffee bean bag.
Death Wish Coffee Dark Roast
If you buy and drink coffee a lot, you might have heard of the brand Death Wish Coffee, marketing itself as the world’s strongest coffee.
Though it’s not actually the strongest brew out there, it can still blast you out of sleepiness with its 59 mg of caffeine per oz, which is around 5 times the normal amount of a regular Joe.
For the true caffeine-packed experience, grab its classic best-selling Dark Roast whole bean coffee. Rest assured that these espresso beans are USDA certified organic and Fair Trade certified, so both sides, the consumer and producer, get the best end of the deal.
Containing a blend of both premium Arabica and Robusta coffee, this Joe can take you on a bold ride from the smooth entrance to the heightened notes of cherry and the dark chocolaty undertone.
Though it won’t be unpleasantly bitter, those inexperienced with darker roasts may find this taste burnt. So, if you’re only getting into drinking espresso, experiment with the well-rounded medium roasts first, which I’ll introduce later.
Or, if you want to push through anyway, rather than drinking it as a straight espresso, pair it with some sugar and cream or use it as a base for a sweet latte.
This is also a great option for anyone who also owns a drip machine and wants to alternate between the two.
Cuvée Karmadillo Espresso Blend
If you’re interested in more espresso bean blends, this Karmadillo flavor bag of Cuvée espresso bean.
This is 100% Arabica coffee that’s directly traded with the OG producers to make sure it’s of high quality and the farmers are paid fair and square for their sustainable practices.
It features a blend of Latin American coffee and a little bit of Indonesian and Ethiopian coffee for a touch of exoticness.
The coffee beans are then darkly roasted in small batches to bring out a satisfyingly flavorful, complex, and full-bodied brew with a lightly sweet milk chocolate undertone and sparks of bright berry notes.
These Karmadillo beans are great on their own as a regular espresso shot. But they can also be elevated when paired with some hot steamed milk.
Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso
Here’s another Italian Roast option from the brand Coffee Bean Direct.
It features a signature blend of the best coffee beans sourced from South America and India.
These Coffee Bean Direct espresso beans are darkly roasted to give you a full-bodied gourmet coffee experience with a vibrant and strong taste.
When you take a sip of this dark roast blend, you can clearly pick out the toastiness and honey-sweetness in the aroma and the deep notes of cocoa powder and smoky molasses in the flavor tone.
This strong brew with a medium body can satisfy you in the form of a classic espresso shot, refreshing tall glass of iced coffee, or other types of dark and intense brews like regular drip and French Press.
Starbucks Espresso Roast
A fan of Starbucks? If you grab a bag of Starbucks coffee, you can easily recreate its delicious brews at home at a much cheaper cost.
What coffee does Starbucks use? The brand has clarified that it uses 100% Arabica. And so, the same as its physical coffee shops, the whole bean coffee bags that it sells also feature Arabica coffee all the way.
The beans are also sustainably and ethically sourced through Starbucks’s partnership with Conservation International.
The Espresso Roast, in particular, contains a blend of the best espresso beans gathered from multiple giant coffee regions around the world (Latin America and Asia-Pacific).
The result is a more unusual and balanced mix of flavor notes, acidity, body, aroma, and even the aftertaste.
As the Espresso Roast is deeply roasted, the dark flavors are drawn out which creates a strong and full-bodied flavor yet still retains hints of its sweet molasses and caramelized sugar notes.
You can pull a simple espresso shot with this dark roast blend, stop there, and call it a day, or pair it with some steamed milk for a sweet caffeine fix.
The Final Verdict
The most well-rounded and balanced espresso beans option that should work for everyone, from the coffee aficionados to the beginner espresso drinkers, is the medium-roasted Lavazza Super Crema.
It offers a classic Italian cup of espresso, from the crema-rich look to the bold and creamy taste with hints of roasted brown sugar.
What’s more, it should pair well with other brewing methods as well, so even if it doesn’t work out well with your Breville machine, you can still utilize it for your daily drip routine.
Want to explore other types of espresso coffee beans? Check out my list of the best espresso beans in the market in general for more options!