7 Best Coffee Beans for Superautomatic Espresso Machines in 2021 - Reviewed

Quick summary

Coffee Bean Direct Italian

Coffee Bean Direct Italian

Espresso beans with a heavy body, medium acidity, and deep, smoky flavors.

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best overall
Kicking Horse Whole Bean Coffee

Kicking Horse Whole Bean Coffee

Medium roasted coffee beans with blackcurrant, milk chocolate and brown sugar taste notes

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Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

Columbia, Guatemala and Sumatra blend with heavy body, smooth, cinnamon, bright with a long finish cupping notes.

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Did you know that expresso is an accepted spelling of espresso?

Although strictly speaking, the official Italian spelling remains espresso. It’s understandable why people make the mistake of saying expresso instead of espresso — because you can make an espresso shot in seconds. Express coffee.

Regardless of how you pronounce it, we all love espresso for its versatility. On its own, in lattes and cappuccinos and a myriad of different coffee recipes.

For the best espresso, you need the best espresso beans for automatic machines.

Best Beans For Superautomatic Espresso Machines - Our Picks:

Coffee experts (and snobs) like to say that there’s no such thing as an espresso bean, and they’re partly right. There’s no specific type of bean that makes great espresso. Espresso is supposed to be low in acidity and have a bitter taste, and it just so happens that dark roasted Arabica/Robusta blends tend to work well for cutting down on the natural acidity in coffee beans.

As we’ll see, there’s more to espresso than dark roasts — light, medium, and dark can work if the coffee type and roast are right.

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso

  • Type of roast: Dark
  • Form: Whole bean, Ground (1 lb, 2.5 lb, 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: chocolate, smoky, nutty, molasses
  • Certifications: Kosher Certified

Coffee Bean Direct is a great name for a coffee company. Coffee beans, direct-to-your-door (for a fair price).

Coffee Bean Direct’s Italian Roast Espresso is sourced from South America and India. The blend produces espresso with a heavy body, medium acidity, and deep, smoky flavors.

It’s called Italian Roast because — you guessed it — it’s roasted Italian-style. Italians like to roast beans dark to make strong-tasting espresso, so if you like the taste of strong, smooth espresso, this is the coffee for you.

Coffee Bean Direct also sells ground coffee on their website in 1 lb, 2.5 lb, and 5 lb bags. If you buy in bulk, you can save 50% or more, so our advice would be to try it before buying a bigger bag.

Kicking Horse Whole Bean Coffee

Kicking Horse Whole Bean Coffee

  • Type of roast: Various
  • Form: Whole bean (10 oz, 2.5 lb bag); Ground (10 oz bag)
  • Flavor notes: Various
  • Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified

Kicking Horse has a great lineup of whole bean coffee that’s sure to tickle your taste buds. Their bean blends are sourced from Indonesia, Central and South America, Africa,

Kicking Horse coffees:

  • Kick Ass, a sweet and smoky dark roast;
  • Three Sisters, a complex blend of light, medium and dark roast (resulting in a medium roast overall);
  • Grizzly Claw, a deeply chocolatey dark roast;
  • Smart Ass, a bright and sweet medium roast blend;
  • 454 Horsepower, a smoky, spicy dark roast;
  • Cliff Hanger Espresso, a medium roast that brews smooth, fruity coffee,
  • and a dark Decaf roast.

Kicking Horse recommends Smart Ass, Cliffhanger Espresso, and Decaf for brewing espresso. All Kicking Horse coffee comes in whole bean and ground form.

Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast Beans

Nicoletti Coffee Espresso Roast Beans

  • Type of roast: Light
  • Form: Whole bean (2.2 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: chocolate, nutty
  • Certifications: Unknown

Nicoletti makes our top-3 with their whole beans for espresso machines that are lightly roasted (yes, you read that right). If you missed it, light roasts produce amazing espresso as long as they keep to low acidity, and Nicoletti got it right with this one.

The 75% Arabica and 25% Robusta blend is roasted in small batches, and Nicoletti recommends this for espresso machines and Moka Pots. Our feeling is — you can brew it however you want as long as you like what you’re drinking.

The added plus with these beans is that since they’re a light roast, they’re less oily, so you won’t have problems with oil buildup in your grinder. Combined with the price of $0.71/ounce and made-to-order roasting and shipping, this is a top contender on any espresso bean list.

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

Koffee Kult Coffee Beans Dark Roasted

  • Type of roast: Dark
  • Form: Whole bean, Ground (12 oz, 2 lb, 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: dark chocolate, spicy
  • Certifications: Fair Trade Certified

Right off the bat, you should know that Koffee Kult uses these beans to make their espressos in-store. They source the beans from four locations: Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, and Sumatra, resulting in great bold flavor for a morning, mid-afternoon, or heck, any time of day pick-me-up.

Apart from the Dark Roast, Koffee Kult also offers specialty single-origin coffees that we’ve also reviewed. The company has been roasting beans since 2010, and in that time, they’ve gained a Kult following.

If you join the Koffee Kult of espresso drinkers, you can be sure that every bag of Dark Roast coffee is shipped within a few hours of roasting. Recommended for lovers of in-your-face, boldness in a cup.

Death Wish Ground Coffee

Death Wish Ground Coffee

  • Type of roast: Dark
  • Form: Whole bean, Ground (1 lb, 2 lb, 5 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: smoky, chocolate
  • Certifications: USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified

Death Wish has aggressive marketing with the name, the skull and crossbones, and the “world’s strongest coffee” claim. We can’t say for sure if it has the most caffeine, but we can say that it packs enormous flavor. It makes a great espresso in both superautomatic espresso coffee makes and other espresso machines.

The “world’s strongest coffee” is popular, and we don’t think you can buy that many ratings (over 34,000!). So looking past the marketing gimmicks, it truly is a bold, tasty coffee. Death Wish is available in ground coffee and whole beans and is certified Organic and Fair Trade.

This is a great dark roast with deep chocolate flavors. And at the price point, it’s worth a try.

Lavazza Caffe Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Lavazza Caffe Espresso Whole Bean Coffee Blend

  • Type of roast: Medium
  • Form: Whole bean, Ground, K-Cup
  • Flavor notes: fruity, floral
  • Certifications: Unknown

Lavazza has been around for over 100 years. Their coffee game is on point, considering the scale of production. Lavazza Espresso Italiano is a big hit worldwide and a signature blend from the old Italian master roasters.

The beans are sourced from various coffee-growing regions and are 100% Arabica. When you brew fresh espresso, your nose will notice the fruity, floral, aromatic notes. And once you taste it, the medium roast balance with low acidity and flavor will create an unforgettable experience.

Only $0.43/ounce for whole beans. An excellent choice for people starting their espresso journey. But also great for anything from drip machines, Moka Pot, Cold Brew, and French Press. Just make sure you get the grind size right.

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

Lavazza Super Crema Whole Bean Coffee Blend

  • Type of roast: Medium
  • Form: Whole bean (2.2 lb bag)
  • Flavor notes: sweet, nutty
  • Certifications: Unknown

The second Lavazza coffee in our Top-7 picks.

Super Crema is a 60% Arabica and 40% Robusta blend that produces a great crema — the delicate foam on the top of a good espresso. Remember, not every coffee bean gives you a good crema, and a lot also depends on the espresso maker. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see crema. The flavor will be enough to up your mood.

Your search for beans for super automatic espresso machines may come to an end with this medium-light roast. It’s only $0.36/ounce, works well with milky coffee drinks, and with the right skills and equipment, it can produce a picture-perfect crema.

Types of Coffee Beans

There are two major branches of the coffee “tree” — Arabica and Robusta.

Generally, Arabica’s flavor profile is more complex and sweet, while Robusta is stronger and bolder. The best espresso beans for automatic machines are blended Arabica/Robusta. This way, you get the pleasant caffeine kick with subtle flavor notes.

And since Arabica is more popular, Robusta’s market share is less, meaning it’s not as prized. However, it’s still grown in areas like South America, Asia, and Africa.

Espresso Coffee Bean Buying Tips:

Coffee experts agree that classic espresso should have a rich, bitter taste without overpowering acidity.

Our most important piece of advice is — look for coffee with low acidity. It’s one thing if it’s bitter (it should be slightly bitter at least), but too tangy and acidic for an espresso is a no-no.

Second, especially if you plan to use dark coffee beans for superautomatic espresso machines, check for excessive oiliness. It could cause your machine to malfunction if you neglect to clean it properly.

Roast Type

Don’t think for a second that you can only make espresso with a dark roast. Plenty of roasters do a medium and even light roast (check out our list for suggestions). Thankfully, they also tell you if they recommend the coffee for espresso.

Look for low acidity, and leave the roast type up to the professionals.

Growing Region

Each coffee brand sources its beans from the world’s most well-known coffee-growing regions. The ones on our list source from Sumatra, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, and various African and Asian countries.

How Oily Beans Can Ruin Your Machine

Oily beans are often associated with dark roasts. Dark roasts indeed tend to be oilier, but any coffee bean can become oily over time.

Oily beans can ruin your machine if you use them all the time. The reason is — oil on the outside of the beans sticks to the inside of the grinder. Whether it’s in a few days, weeks, or months, the problems are inevitable.

You can mitigate those problems by cleaning your automatic espresso machine regularly. The problem is — it can be a pain, life can get in the way, and you may end up ignoring it. Also, a gunky grinder will make your coffee taste bad because the extra oils get into the cup.

If you do decide to use oily beans, throw in some drier beans to soak up some of the oil in the grinder burrs.


Hopefully, you learned something new after reading our guide, and we’ve made it easier for you to make your next coffee purchase.

You’ve bought a superauto. Now it’s time to see what it’s capable of.

Renat Mamatazin

Renat Mamatkazin


Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).