With hundreds of thousands of shops worldwide, almost every house having a coffee machine, and the global market having an estimated worth of around 497 Billion US dollars by 2028, it is safe to say that humans love coffee. However, if you’re new to the espresso scene or want to be sure you use the right stuff for your next shot, you may wonder if espresso can get made with any coffee.
If you grind the coffee beans fine enough, you can make espresso from any coffee bean, provided they get roasted beforehand. There is no specific area that the beans need to come from, nor a particular type of roast that the beans need to make espresso with, though dark roast is traditional.
Though you can use any roasted coffee beans to make expresso, there are other types of coffee that you cannot use to make espresso, such as instant coffee. The other factors to consider if you want to make espresso, like some coffee beans that are better for different brewing methods, and further details, are below.
What Coffee You Can And Cannot Use To Make Espresso
If you want to brew espresso at home, there are a few types of coffee you may consider using to make espresso. Though it may seem obvious that you cannot use all kinds of coffee to make espresso, it is best to discuss all these types, especially if you are new to espresso brewing.
What You Can Use To Make Espresso
There is no restriction on the kind of coffee beans, the roast of the coffee beans, or the area the coffee beans come from if you want to make espresso. Though traditional Italian espresso brewers use mostly dark roasted coffee beans, this is by no means a necessity, and many prefer lighter roasts with more flavor and less bitter tones.
However, if you want to make espresso the right way, there are some aspects you should consider since they can influence the taste and extraction of your espresso.
Most importantly, to make espresso, you need to grind your roasted coffee beans to be very fine without being too fine. There is a tiny window for the best grind size for the perfect espresso. Grinding too fine can clog your machine and burn the beans, while grinding too coarse can under extract your coffee causing lacking tastes and acidity.
In addition, you should also consider that espresso is a tiny but powerful coffee drink, which means that the flavors you expect to find in your specific beans can contort or become non-existent. For example, the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans often have blueberry notes, but extracting them through an espresso machine may take away these notes and replace them with acidic notes instead.
What You Cannot Use To Make Espresso
Some coffee types that you cannot use to make espresso, though some may look similar to finely ground coffee beans. Though instant coffee, depending on the type, may look like it would work well in an espresso machine, this type of coffee will dissolve and not make espresso.
Another type of coffee you cannot use to make espresso is coffee from coffee bags. Coffee bags refers to the kind of coffee that comes in tea-bag-like packaging. This type of coffee needs to steep, and you may have better results using this coffee type in a French press.
You should also never remove the top of coffee pods and try to use this type of coffee for espresso in a regular espresso machine. Though the result of using a pod in a pod machine may look similar to traditional espresso, you would need a lot more ground coffee for a regular machine, and the pods get carefully made for their devices.
Are The Coffee Beans You Use To Make Espresso Important?
Though you can use any roasted and finely ground coffee beans to make espresso, the type of beans you use is still significant, especially for the taste. The taste of the espresso is also why so many coffee shops mix different kinds of beans to create an enjoyable flavor, both as an espresso and an espresso-based coffee beverage.
If you want to make good espresso in the comfort of your home that is not too acidic or bitter, it is best to look for a medium or dark roast depending on the beans and their notes.
Though you may get tempted to buy coffee beans that are “complex” or have notes of blueberry, like the beans mentioned before, these beans tend to work less well for espresso and can become very acidic if you don’t set the grind size and extraction times perfectly. Instead, baristas recommend using coffee with earthy or rich flavors, or you can use a specialty espresso blend and see if it works for you.
Which Is Best For Espresso, Arabica Or Robusta
As you may have heard, if you are a coffee lover, there are two main bean types, Arabica coffee beans, and Robusta coffee beans. If you buy a blend, you will likely have both these types of beans in the mix since they can both get used for espresso, but using the cheaper Robusta is a good and not too bad-tasting way to cut down on costs.
However, if you want to make your espresso even better or wish to have the highest quality espresso, using pure Arabica, provided it is a high-quality bean, is a sure way to make your coffee taste even better and more flavorful.
Though some specialty roasters have looked at the history of Italian coffee and tried to replicate it by using Robusta beans for a thicker crema, many people recommend the opposite. Robusta beans carry less flavor, so even some old Italian companies are moving over or creating 100% Arabica blends for their espresso.
Knowing what beans to use to make your espresso is just as important as how to grind and brew your coffee effectively. You can use any type, origin, or roast for your coffee beans if you want to make espresso, though some have better flavors than others. It is also best to use coffee beans for your espresso machine rather than trying other types of coffee, like instant coffee.