Varieties of Espresso Beans and Roasts



Coffee has come a long way in the US. From shortly after the Boston Tea Party, when coffee was viewed as a patriotic drink, to the ubiquitous street corner coffeehouse; Americans love their coffee. As more and more Americans visit coffeehouses and order espresso and espresso drinks, many people want to recreate the perfect coffeehouse experience at home.

Now that good quality, but lower-priced home espresso machines are available, consumers want to know how to get the best coffee from their machines. Many people are confused when it comes to buying beans. There are many types of beans and roasts you can use in your home espresso maker. If you are confused about which type of coffee bean you should use to make your own espresso, you should consider the following:

The type of bean. There are two types of beans: Robusta and Arabica. Robusta beans are more acidic, sometimes bitter and have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. Arabica beans are more aromatic and much more mild, but Arabica beans tend to be more expensive. Your choice of coffee beans should be based on your personal preference. Many commercial blends for a home espresso maker use Robusta beans, due to their higher caffeine level, but if you prefer a less bitter coffee, you may want to choose Arabica beans for your espresso.

The style of roast. The style of roast refers to the temperature of the roaster and the length of time that green coffee beans are exposed to it. The style of the roast has a large impact on the overall flavor profile and the characteristics of espresso drinks.

Many people prefer a darker roasted coffee bean for espresso. Darker roasted beans are often labeled as: French, Italian or Espresso. Beans roasted in these styles are very dark, brittle and oily. The flavor of the espresso that these varieties produce is strong and rich, but may acquire a burnt or smoky taste. Some lower-quality coffee beans are dark roasted to hide their poor quality.

City roasts or High roasts are also dark, but not as oily. These types of roasts are not as strong as the darker roasts, but still give you a robust coffee drinking experience without a chance of your espresso developing a burnt taste. A City or a High roast can be a good choice, if you prefer a straight espresso, but a milk-based drink using these beans may lack adequate body.

Light roasts brew the most mild and thin tasting espresso. These roasts are not very good choices for milk-based drinks, and they may not provide the body you desire for a straight espresso.

Your coffee beans are a personal choice. Having a home espresso maker gives you the perfect opportunity to experiment and find the perfect brew for you. Keep these things in mind when you choose:

• If you drink straight espresso throughout the day, try a City or High roast of Arabica beans.
• If you want a strong shot of caffeine in your espresso, try a City or High roast using Robusta beans.
• If you prefer milk-based espresso drinks, you can experiment with darker roasts.
• Avoid lighter roasts for espresso, unless you enjoy a lighter-body drink.
• Try mixing Arabica and Robusta beans to save money and give you an extra boast of caffeine.

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