If you are a dedicated espresso enthusiast, your morning cup (or cups) of coffee may lead you to wonder just where exactly those coveted espresso beans originate from. Though espresso is known as a tradition originating in Italy, the beans themselves come from various origins around the globe.
Espresso beans typically come from an area known as the “bean belt,” which is a subtropical and tropical zone spanning across the globe. The top producers of Arabica coffee beans that are often used for espresso include Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala, and India.
From its global origins, how does a coffee bean become specifically designated for espresso? Keep reading to learn the answer to this question, along with some other essential characteristics of espresso beans that will provide you with the geographical knowledge necessary to truly enjoy your morning beverage.
Where are Espresso Beans Grown?
Coffee beans are grown in various places worldwide, and various types of coffee beans grow best in different climates. Arabica beans are most often used to make espresso, and these grow best in arid, high-altitude locations.
The regions that usually produce Arabica coffee beans include the following:
- Ethiopia and East Africa
- Parts of Latin America including Brazil, Colombia, and Guatemala
- High-altitude regions of India
Arabica beans are not automatically ready for espresso upon being harvested, and many Arabica beans are used for other roasting styles. To become an espresso bean, the Arabica coffee must be brewed in a particular way.
Can I Buy Beans Specifically for Espresso?
Many coffee manufacturers sell beans that are designated to be used for espresso. Although it is possible to buy whole beans to make espresso, it is also common to buy canisters or bags of espresso grounds. This will be very helpful if you do not have a grinder with a fine enough espresso setting.
Some of the most popular brands for espresso include the following:
There are also many small coffee companies that roast and sell beans for espresso, so be sure to experiment with different brands!
How are Espresso Beans Different from Coffee Beans?
The distinction between espresso beans and standard coffee beans comes down to how they are roasted and brewed. Coffee that will be used for espresso is very finely ground, and then water is added to these fine grounds at high pressure that usually requires a specialized machine to create.
Additionally, dark roast coffee is most often used for espresso beans. This type of bean is shiny and dark brown and lends espresso its rich, dark color. Dark roast beans are those that have been roasted for a longer time or at a higher temperature. They are known for having an intense, smoky flavor that makes them a top choice for espresso beans.
While espresso is now eagerly consumed all over the world, it has its origins in Italy. To this day, espresso is still the most popular style of coffee in Italy and many locations across the European continent.
What are the Best Espresso Beans?
The best espresso beans are Arabica beans that have been dark roasted specifically for espresso. Remember that even buying the best beans will not guarantee the perfect cup of coffee unless you meet the following criteria while preparing them:
- The fine grind: Your espresso needs to be finely ground. If you grind your own beans, you should invest in a coffee grinder with an espresso setting for the best results.
- The water pressure: Water needs to be forcefully added to the grounds to create a good cup of espresso. Many people choose to make espresso with an espresso machine that has been designed specifically for this purpose.
- The water temperature: When making espresso, the water needs to be very hot but not yet boiling. Most coffee experts recommend a temperature between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is not hot enough or too hot, this could result in espresso that lacks flavor.
Once you have your espresso beans, making sure that you are preparing them correctly will help you brew the espresso of your dreams.
Are Italian Espresso Beans the Best?
Although you can buy espresso beans from coffee roasters around the world, you may wish to try Italian-roasted espresso beans as this country boasts an extensive espresso tradition. Although the “best” espresso beans will likely come down to your personal preference, trying beans that have been roasted true to the traditional Italian style may enhance your morning coffee.
Keep in mind that although you can buy beans that were roasted in Italy, you most likely cannot buy coffee beans that were grown in Italy as this is not an ideal location for coffee growing. Your espresso beans will likely have their initial origin from a coffee-growing hub.
It is easy to understand why espresso has become so popular around the world. Espresso has become a big hit for coffee drinkers everywhere with its rich flavor and inviting smell. As an espresso aficionado, you can expect your espresso beans to come from a location in the “bean belt” and be roasted for a length of time and under high heat.
Remember, if you are buying espresso beans, the trick to good coffee is as much in the preparation of espresso as it is in the origin of your beans. To create the perfect cup, espresso will require an extremely fine grind and the right water pressure and temperature. If you are serious about an espresso-powered lifestyle, investing in a grinder and coffee machine intended for espresso may be worthwhile.
Fortunately, because of its growing popularity, you can find espresso beans and grounds in grocery stores around the world. These beans have been roasted by a variety of manufacturers and will fit different tastes. Whether you are buying espresso beans from your local coffee roaster or a renowned brand, you will likely need to do some experimenting to find the bag of beans that you like best.
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