What is the Difference Between Coffee and Espresso: Read and Find Out


There are some questions that we feel embarrassed to ask. We are afraid of being judged. We think that people will call us stupid! What is the difference between coffee and espresso? This is one of the perfect examples of a question we would rather keep to ourselves. While we all know that they both provide the caffeine fix that we crave early in the morning or in the middle of the day when we need a perk-me-up, are we actually aware of how they are different? If you want to find out how coffee and espresso are two different things, read on and learn from some of the insights we will be sharing!

They are Both Made from Coffee Beans

source: en.wikipedia.org

First of all, before we tackle the differences, let us have a quick look at how they are similar.

Both coffee and espresso are from coffee beans. The flavor, aroma, and other characteristics of these beans may be different depending on the region at which they are sourced. Technically, however, they are from the same type of beans.

However, it should be noted that there are some brewers who have special preferences when it comes to what type of bean is to be used for espresso. More of this will be discussed later on.

As a takeaway take note that espresso does not refer to any special type of a coffee bean. In fact, almost any type of bean can be used for making espresso.

But, Not All Beans Make Great Espresso

While it has been noted above that all beans can be used for an espresso, there will be differences in quality depending which bean you use. As much as possible, stay away from regular coffee beans when making espresso. Choose those that are darker for the best flavor.

source: theblackcabcoffeeco.com

To add, the roasting process of the beans is also different. They are roasted for a longer period if they are to be used for espresso. Also, beans for espresso shots typically have a dark roast, which is the one that is responsible for having a more pronounced flavor.

The Method of Preparation Makes Them Different

While they are both from beans, coffee and espresso are different in the manner at which they are prepared. This brewing method is also the one that is responsible for the differences in their taste.

To make espresso at home, you need to have a machine that is specially designed for such. On the other hand, to make coffee, you have more options. You can do it manually with the use of a French Press or a regular pot.

Generally, making an espresso requires the need to force hot water into tightly packed coffee grounds. Extremely high pressure is needed to do this. The coffee grounds will be in contact with water for only about 20 to 30 seconds.

source: food52.com

When it comes to making a brewed coffee, on the other hand, you do not necessarily need expensive equipment. It uses gravity instead of pressure. Also, the grounds will have longer contact time with water.

From the process that has been briefly described above, it might seem like making a shot of espresso is a straightforward process. In reality, pulling a quality shot of this caffeine fix is an art that cannot be easily mastered. You will need to spend hours of training to achieve perfection!

Coffee and Espresso Taste Different

Another significant difference between the two is the way they taste. The preparation and extraction methods provide them a unique flavor and aroma. Espresso is stronger compared to a brewed coffee.

Once an espresso has been pulled, it forms three distinct layers. The bottom is the heart, which is the one responsible for the acidity. The center layer is the body, which is the one responsible for the sweetness. The top part, meanwhile, is known as the crema. This provides aroma and also offsets the other flavors.

To be more specific, the espresso has a full-bodied, roasty, and well-rounded flavor. It has a more bitter and robust taste compared to a regular brewed coffee.

The Caffeine Amount is Also Different

When talking about the differences between coffee and espresso, it is impossible to not have a mention of their caffeine content.

On average, a shot of espresso, which is usually 30ml, will have 40 to 75 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, a cup of brewed coffee, which is usually 250ml, will have 80 to 185 milligrams of caffeine.

source: Wikipedia

While it is true that espresso has a higher caffeine content, it all depends on how much you will drink. If you drink just one shot of espresso and your friend had a cup of coffee, the caffeine content is still higher in a cup of coffee.

The Grind Matters

Whether you are preparing an espresso shot or a cup of brewed coffee, the quality of the grind will also be an essential consideration.

For espresso, you should use exclusively only finely ground beans. They need to be packed tightly, and no air must pass through the grinds.

On the other hand, with the brewed coffee, the fineness of the grinds will depend on the type that you will prepare. For a pour-over, the medium grind is recommended. On the other hand, for a coffee press, a coarser grind will be the better option.

source: thebasicssyracuse.com

To Wrap It Up

Now that you have reached the end of this post, we hope that you already know the difference between coffee and espresso. Yes, they are both caffeinated beverages derived from coffee beans. However, the difference stops there.

Espresso is prepared using pressure while coffee uses gravity. To brew an espresso, you need to have a special machine, and the beans should be finely ground. Brewing coffee, on the other hand, offers more versatility because of the different machines that can be used. Also, in the case of coffee, the grind can be medium or coarse.

It is not up to us to say which one is better from coffee or espresso. At the end of the day, it is all a matter of personal preference!

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