Choosing the best coffee beans for Italian espresso

Making the perfect cup of Italian espresso is an art, and paying close attention to your coffee beans' origin, roasting method and quality is vital. If you are interested in learning more about drinking espresso the Italian way, our expert guide will help you to find the perfect beans.

What are Italian espresso coffee beans?

Espresso is a concentrated beverage brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans. Roasted in Italy, coffee beans can be ground finely to make the perfect cup of espresso when you follow the correct methods.

Read how to make an Italian espresso coffee here.

Italian coffee beans for espresso are typical given a medium to dark roast. The darker roast helps in delivering the strong flavour and reduced acidity that Italian espresso is renowned for. It also ensures the oily surface that is pivotal in creating the perfect espresso shot with a rich, thick crema.

Arabica beans, Robusta beans, or a blend of both can be used to create an Italian espresso blend. Arabica beans are known for their sweet, soft taste, while Robusta beans offer a stronger, harsher taste, with a grain-like overtone and nutty aftertaste. Blends of both are popular for espresso as they combine the smoothness of Arabica with the crema and body of Robusta.

Read our guide What is Italian espresso? to find out more.

Shop our full range of Italian espresso coffee beans.

Choosing the best beans for Italian espresso

Coffee beans create slightly different flavours and notes depending on how they are ground. Purchasing authentic Italian coffee beans allows you to experiment with different options to find your perfect flavour. For example, when ground course for a caffetiere, they will provide slightly different notes in comparison to a finer blend for espresso. When our Napoli beans are grinded course for a caffetiere, for example, they will offer notes of cinnamon, cherry, and molasses.

When finding the perfect beans for making Italian espresso, choose options that will offer flavours typical of Italian espresso, such as notes of chocolate, caramel, walnut, or dark cocoa when grinded finely. For authentic Italian coffee beans, look for coffee beans that have been roasted in Italy. You can also choose beans according to their roasting technique to enjoy your preferred flavours. For example, our Napoli coffee beans provide smokier, bolder flavours when ground finely, whereas our Milano beans will result in sweeter flavours, such as chocolate and hazelnut. Consider whether you prefer bolder and smokier flavours, or sweeter blends before purchasing your coffee beans for espresso.

Our Milano beans, perfect for grinding finely for espresso, are refined, and smooth, providing a Milanese-style coffee experience. Our Napoli beans, on the other hand, offer a richer, lively, and well-rounded flavour. If you’d prefer notes of dark caramel or walnut for your espresso, our Roma coffee beans may be a perfect option for you.

Shop our full selection of coffee and hot drinks here to enjoy the authentic Italian coffee experience from your home.

Close up of roasted coffee beans on a black smokey background

Choosing equipment for making your Italian espresso

To enhance the flavour for maximum intensity, we recommend freshly grinding your beans just before making your espresso. There are many different methods to choose from when making an Italian espresso. While using an espresso machine remains a popular method and can help to create a high-quality and authentic espresso, alternatives, such as the Moka pot, can offer a similar coffee experience. While these methods may not replicate the exact high-pressure extraction of an espresso machine, they produce a strong and flavourful coffee that's reminiscent of traditional Italian espresso. Read our guide How to drink espresso the Italian way to find out more.

Shop our Milano coffee beans

Our Milano beans provide chocolatey, caramel and hazelnut flavours when ground finely for espresso. To grind your own beans finely for use in an espresso machine, you can shop our Milano coffee beans here. You can also grind our Milano coffee beans coarse for use in a cafetiere, providing honey, toffee and nutty flavours.

Milano coffee beans here

Shop our Milano coffee beans.

Carluccio’s Italian coffee beans

At Carluccio’s, we offer a range of Italian espresso coffee blends, allowing you to explore different regional flavours. We are committed to providing authentic Italian quality, and our coffees are designed to bring the aromas of an Italian coffee house into your home.

Our attention to traditional methods, combined with the use of high-quality beans and roasting techniques, ensures a delightful coffee experience that resonates with the essence of Italy. For more detailed information, you can visit our full coffee and hot drinks range here.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use any coffee beans for Italian espresso?

While you can technically make espresso from any coffee beans, beans that can be ground to provide flavours typical of Italian espresso is recommended to enjoy an authentic Italian coffee experience. You will often find Italian coffee beans have a medium to dark roast.

What makes Italian espresso different to other options?

Italian espresso is generally characterised by a complex flavour profile, a thick crema, and a high concentration. Espresso plays a huge role in Italian society, with espresso bars serving as social venues as well as simply a place to enjoy espresso. Different roasting techniques can also provide different regional flavours.

How important is the grind size for espresso?

The grind size for espresso is finer than that for regular coffee. This finer grind is crucial for creating the signature resistance necessary for the water to pass through slowly, extracting the full flavour of the beans.

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