Preheat oven to 350°F Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Using an electric stand mixer, beat eggs and 1 1/2 cups of sugar for a couple of minutes until you see a considerable increase in volume. Add the lemon rind, espresso, cocoa and almond extract. Slowly add the ground almonds until blended.
Roll the dough into 1" balls. Pour remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into a small flat dish. Roll the formed balls in the sugar and place on cookie sheets about 2" apart. If using the blanched almonds, press one almond per cookie in the center.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and cool on a rack.