While many of our coffees make excellent espresso as well as non-espresso brewing methods, we have specifically formulated a number of coffees for espresso brewing. Conversely, many of these also work well in other brewing methods simply because they are extraordinarily flavorful, balanced coffee blends.
We define an "espresso" as coffee that meets 4 specific Espresso criteria: Espresso roast style, palate balance, body, and retention. Each of our espressos is the result of a hundred hours or more of research and development aimed at making sure there are no better espressos on the market today for the type of blend they are!
Espresso roasting: The roasting profile is stretched out time-wise, at least 10%, with an extended development time after First Crack. This results in a drier, more-uniform bean throughout and extracts flavor better under the steam pressure of expresso.
Palate balance: Award-winning espressos appeal to the full palate. There is an initial sharp, pleasing impression on the tip of the tongue, sometimes referred to as acidity or brightness. There should also be "back palate" (sometimes referred to as "soft palate") impression. While the tip of the tongue responds to sharper taste impressions, the back of the tongue and other taste receptors in the roof of the mouth are pleased by rich, deep impressions that include the types of tastes that are in volcanic-soil-grown beans or species like Robusta, Excelsa or Liberica. Some Arabica coffees like Caturra have genes that originated from Robusta, and therefore they can provide back-palate presence even in an all-Arabica formula.
Body: If an espresso blend is "thin", it will not be as satisfying and it won't produce a pleasing mouthfeel or rich "crema" on the top of the espresso shot. Espresso blends should always be high in body.
Retention: Back-palate impressions create memories in the posterior parts of our brains that associate and remember tastes, and can assign these memories to pleasant experiences or create a desire to repeat the taste experience. Great espresso always has high retention, and is thus experienced not just as you are drinking it, but in your memory for a period of time afterwards.