The Espresso Bean Test 2021

The Espresso Bean Test 2021

The currently best espresso beans at a glance

With our espresso bean test, we give you an overview of which espressos are currently the favorites of our editorial team. We present our highlights to you. Which beans are particularly suitable for the Milanese type of preparation? In our editorial team, we tried around 50 espressos from various top roasters, compared them with one another and enjoyed them primarily. There are of course differences in quality and taste, sometimes just nuances. Which espresso choice, you are guaranteed not to go wrong with what can be found in our top selection of the best espressos. 

Remember: You can always check our shop page for our recommended products that we tested ourselves. We’ve tested espresso makers, espresso machines both fully automatic and portafilters, coffee beans and coffee utensils.

The espresso – one among many?

The espresso from Milan is a way of preparing coffee among many… One among many? Not at all, many of our readers will be right to think because the description of espresso as a coffee classic is more accurate.

The espresso, also known as “little brown” in southern Germany and among their Austrian neighbors, is undeniably a specialty among coffees. Many coffee enthusiasts love it for its very own, intense and strong taste. Incidentally, an espresso contains less caffeine than a cup of filter coffee in terms of normal quantities. A typical espresso with 25 ml of liquid contains around 25 to 30 mg of caffeine, while 125 ml of coffee from the filter contains around 100 mg of caffeine. However, if you look at the same amount, the caffeine content of an espresso is again higher than that of coffee. So it’s a matter of perspective.

Whether classic pure or in one of the delicious variations, such as with milk as a macchiato – the espresso exudes an unadulterated aroma and embodies coffee enjoyment in its purest form. For many people, especially in southern Europe, it is therefore the first choice when it comes to preparing brown espresso beans. Even in the evening, after a good meal, it is very popular. Then, the espresso rounds off the previous enjoyment perfectly.

At TangyCoffee magazine, we also appreciate a good espresso. In order to find out which products are currently making the best impression, we took a close look at our espresso bean test and tested different varieties. We have chosen our three current favorites that we would like to share with you here.

Why an espresso bean test?

In our great coffee bean test, you will find recommendations for a wide variety of preparation systems, tastes and preferences. Whether you need coffee for your fully automatic machine, want good advice on delicious organic and fair trade products or you are looking for beans from Italy, the land of coffee : we have already found a wide range of delicious coffees.

This absolute classic is still something special even among the many coffee specialties. For this reason, it occupies a prominent position. This is supported by its tradition, the incomparable taste and the very special type of preparation. This is really celebrated by connoisseurs.

For our espresso bean test, we prepared a number of espressos, including many products from small, local roasters, but also from larger and well-known brands. We always used whole test espresso beans that we ground ourselves to ensure the greatest possible freshness when comparing.

If you love espresso as we do, you’ve come to the right place.

What is the essence of the espresso bean test?

As with all tests we carry out, we attach great importance to test criteria that are as objective as possible. We can then form our judgment on this. In doing so, we want to ensure a fair comparison level on the one hand, and on the other hand, the specified criteria also serve as meaningful and important guidance for good espresso beans.

Needless to say, a taste judgment depends heavily on personal preference. Nonetheless, there are of course many product features that can be objectively assessed.

The price-performance ratio

The standard for us here is the usual market price for a high-quality, good coffee. According to our research, this is currently between € 20 and € 25 per kilogram. Based on this comparative value, we can classify to what extent the price of a product is within the framework or possibly stands out, whether negative or positive.

Since the price alone is not everything, we naturally always relate it to the taste test. In this test, the following properties are on the test bench:

Roasting

Ideally, the beans should be roasted gently and at mild temperatures. A very important keyword in this context is what is known as drum roasting. Constant rotation at evenly mild temperatures ensures that the espresso beans are roasted very evenly.

This process is different than industrial roasting processes, in which the beans are often exposed to excessive heat for too short a time due to quantity and time reasons. With the effect that the taste of an espresso prepared from such a roast or another coffee specialty leaves a lot to be desired compared to gently roasted coffee beans.

By the way: there are no espresso beans in the sense that they are specially grown. Coffee and espresso beans can be made from the same starting material. The difference lies in the roast. Classic espressos are roasted longer than coffee beans and break down more acid in the process. Meanwhile, the bitter substances increasingly come to the fore. This also gives espresso beans their characteristic shine. In the meantime, however, there are occasional light espresso roasts that tend to develop somewhat milder, fruity notes. The different types of roasting do not have any influence on the amount of caffeine in the coffee or espresso.

Acid
If you have a really sour-tasting espresso in front of you in spite of ideal extraction, the causes are likely to be found in the mistakes in roasting described above. However, certain amounts of acid are an essential part of every coffee. They round it off. They are tasty and thus contribute significantly to its typical taste. Stronger proportions of acid are explicitly desired as a fruity overall experience, especially with light roasts. However, this must be clearly differentiated from shock-roasted beans, which are only burned on the surface.

When it comes to acidity, opinions often differ. Individual preferences are very different, which is why we provide you with information about the respective acid content of the top products tested.

Read more about sour-tasting espresso:

Is Espresso Too Sour? Find Out What You Can Do About It Here.

Aroma

The aroma of the espresso is of course a further, if not the decisive component for our assessment. At this point, it is not our aim to simply rate an aroma as good or bad in our espresso bean test. This would amount to a personal judgment of taste, which is not intended at all.

Rather, we would like to give an overall impression of which taste nuances perhaps stand out in the tested product and how well they harmonize with one another. All of the products we favored were able to convince with a very balanced composition.

Read more about aroma here:

Coffee Aroma: Storage and Shelf Life

Crema

Last but not least: the crema. The dense foam is characteristic of a good quality and perfectly prepared espresso.

The hazelnut brown, almost golden color does not only leave a catchy and typical impression because the crema, which consists of oils from the coffee beans, proteins and sugar, binds the aroma of the espresso and is therefore also a decisive taste factor. We also pay attention to the amount, density and color of the crown on the espresso.

In any case, in our opinion, an “honest” espresso test can only be carried out with an espresso machine with a portafilter.

In fully automatic machines, for example, a valve is often built in through which the espresso is frothed as it flows out. A crema produced in this way does not really deserve its name. The real crema only rises from the espresso that has already flowed into the cup.

Read more about crema:

What Is Espresso Crema? What Should An Ideal Espresso Crema Look Like?

Preparation and settings

Not only for the perfect crema is a suitable setup consisting of good technology and settings for the subtleties. With the coffee grinder and portafilter machine used in our tests, both of which are absolutely top-quality products, we create the desired technical requirements. With these, we can do justice to the high quality of the respective roast in the preparation.

Our coffee grinder is the Italian Mazzer Mini Electronic A. We are particularly proud of our La Marzocco Linea Mini, an espresso machine with a portafilter that is one of the best that can be expected in the private sector for a reason. The little sister of the Linea Classic, which is widely used by professional baristas convinces us with its extremely constant brewing temperature and reliably high brewing pressure. Both are further central factors for the success of the perfect espresso.

The rest is then fine-tuning, which we make anew with each individual espresso bean test. We benefit from our personal experience when determining the ideal amount of coffee (approx. 7-9 grams, depending on the product), the grinding degree or when tamping.

This is because even the smallest differences in these fine adjustments have an influence on the taste experience that should not be underestimated. That is why it was particularly important to us to ensure that these requirements were met in our tests so that we could focus exclusively on evaluating the espresso beans themselves. These are our favorites: Espresso Bean Test 2021

Conclusion

The crema has a hazelnut-brown sheen. The variety of flavors is impressive. Fine tingling acidity rounds off the intense overall experience. This is roughly how it should feel when you enjoy a high-quality espresso. The products presented met and exceeded our high expectations. The Italian classic is simply a pleasure.