What Kind of Coffee Beans are Best For Espresso?

We always tell our customers the same thing "make sure you are getting freshly roasted coffee beans" first and foremost. It doesn't matter how exotic your beans are, but if they have not been used within 4-5 weeks of roasting, you're going to miss out on too many flavours that make the coffee drinking experience extremely rewarding.

But as a general rule, espresso extractions are best done with medium/medium-dark roasts based on experience.

What are medium and light roasts?

Wait, what about light or light-medium roasts? Generally people who use chemex or v60 pour-overs lean towards medium roasted beans for their acidic complexity (aka fruits, berries, florals). Popular Japanese style cafes also tend to roast on the lighter side so the beans retain their acidity and "edge". This gives the gentle nuances of berries and fruits that a darker roast might mask.

Espresso-Based Drinks and Milk Drinks

Espresso however is a whole different animal. Espresso is the base component for a whole host of drinks such as:

  • Espresso shots
  • Ristrettos
  • Machiattos
  • Lattes
  • Flat Whites
  • Americanos
  • Mocha
  • Ice Blended Drinks

There are probably some really fancy drinks not captured in the list above but, the above is a representation of the amazing drink experiences that can be made with good espresso.

What kind of flavours do you like in your cup of coffee?

You would start to notice that most of the drinks involve some sort of milk, cream or foam component, and that makes a difference. For example, my wife prefers robust chocolate flavours and doesn't like acidity so typically medium-dark and darker roasts work well, particularly the Brazils, Columbians, and Dark Roasted Sumatra/Javas. 

For me I like more acidity as I do almost exclusive lattes for my afternoons which means that higher acidity coffees (medium roasted) like the ethiopians, columbians and nicaraguans do fantastic for me when mixed with microfoamed milk. 

To kickstart my mornings I do straight up espresso shots with high acidity for that early-morning "bite" and get my day going. It took some getting used to because of the way your body just absorbs everything on an empty stomach fairly quickly, which is kind of magical "pick me up" everyone should try!

The point of it all is the type of coffee beans you should be using in your grinder, for purposes of espresso extractions, depends entirely upon your tastebuds. Some people, myself included, love all spectrums of coffee from dark roasts to medium-light roasts for espresso but I'll keep it simple based on Splendour's list of coffees

For people who like full-bodied espresso and milk-coffees

Splendour Classic Beans

Splendour Premium Beans

Splendour Supreme Beans


For people who love fruits/florals and don't need thick bodied coffee

Splendour Roaster Blend

Sumatra Mandheling

Nicaraguan Roasted Beans

Nicaraguan S Blend


Ok but you can tweak it to taste too!

The above list is a general guideline for people who may want a starting point to getting freshly roasted beans from roaster like us. We don't try to overcomplicate matters or try to be like boutique "hipster" cafe/roasters with fancy taste notes. But we try to keep it accessible and highly affordable so you can experiment on flavours. Perfectly freshly roasted coffee beans delivered quickly to you if you're living in Singapore!

If you're familiar with adjusting your coffee grinder settings, you can grind your beans down a tad finer to get your extractions slightly slower for more full-bodied flavours to come through OR raise your extraction temperatures towards 94-95 degrees celsius (assuming you can adjust your coffee machine, one trick is to make sure you coffee machine is warmed up for 30 mins or more)

If you've got a medium-dark roast, you can leave your ideal grind settings alone and flush your coffee machine a little to drop the temperatures a little and then extract to get your extractions going at about 90-93 degrees celsius to pull out those more fruity flavours! 

Coffee is an organic experience, embrace it all

As you can see, just because you get a bag or freshly roasted coffee, you don't necessarily need to stick to one single taste profile, feel free to experiment and sometimes it may pay off with an unexpected God-shot (some say this happens only when divine powers intervene in creating the perfect grind/temperature settings!) 

Just for full disclosure, I only had one God-shot in my life and it was made with a $300 grinder and a $600 coffee machine from Takashimaya. I still have memories of that. It's rare, like a unicorn. 

Therein lies the charm of a coffee-lover. I'm sure you know it in some form that's why you're on this page reading my little bit of sharing to hopefully kickstart your coffee adventure.

Other things that make coffee extraordinary, somewhat like wine

Coffee beans come from different regions in the world and also harvested from different varieties of coffee plants. Add in complex factors like elevation levels, rainfall and sunlight and you've got even more variations in the flavours in the cup.

Within regions of a country, say Columbia, there are farms that supply to big companies like Starbucks, but within the farming regions there may be very special smaller family-run farms with extremely unique bean flavours that form highly-prized single origins that fetch a pretty penny as well. 

No 2 Columbia beans are alike even if they come from the same general area. The more unique they are, the smaller the harvests are and also the higher the prices. 

At Splendour we strike a balance of getting tasty coffee in your hands without the fancy price tags and we aim to make next-wave coffee appreciation accessible to Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia. 

If you liked this article, please feel free to drop a comment or like us on Facebook and Instagram so we can keep giving you valuable insights on making delicious coffee for your home and office! Also please buy a few bags of our freshly roasted beans and start enjoying delicious coffee soon!

Note: We are having a limited promotion of free delivery on Singapore orders, just buy $40 or more of coffee and we'll get it to your doorstep as soon as possible (usually within 2-3 days!)