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Espresso Vs Coffee

The differences between espresso and coffee are quite confusing for many people. For some coffee lovers, a shot of espresso is what they find most satisfying. Others argue that espresso is a waste of good beans.

espresso vs regular coffee.

Regardless of your preferences, you can always try something different. After all, what you’re assuming is not tasty might be what you’re missing. In this article, you’ll learn more about the differences between espresso and coffee.


Espresso Defined

Espresso entails a coffee brewing method that results in a tiny coffee serving featuring a very strong coffee flavor.

Espresso is distinct from coffee in respect to its brewing method. Essentially, espresso is prepared by forcing heated water through ground coffee at a high speed and pressure. Making espresso requires a special appliance known as an espresso maker.

Espresso makers were initially made in the 19th century by Italians. Their design entails deep scientific knowledge. On the contrary, making coffee such as pour-over coffee requires a simpler brewing method with a simple pour-over appliance. With pour-overs, you only need ground coffee and water to make the brew. Regardless, there have been serious innovations in making pour-over appliances, especially those made in Japan.

Some individuals view espresso brew as the world’s purest coffee. Others prefer taking pour-over coffees due to their easier and smoother drinking quality. Regardless, the best brew is all about the skills used in brewing. A professional barista can make the best brew using any possible brewing method.

What contains more caffeine between espresso and coffee?

To help you understand which drink contains more caffeine between the two, it’ll help to break down the main misconception between them. The misconception is that espresso has more caffeine content than coffee. The correct answer to this misconception can be either yes or no.

When comparing equal amounts of coffee and espresso, it goes without saying that espresso will contain more caffeine than coffee. The reason behind this is that a shot of espresso is tiny but loaded with rich flavors. The way it’s brewed makes it more concentrated than coffee.

If you compare these two coffee drinks in terms of their standard servings, you’ll realize that an 8-ounce serving of regular coffee has more caffeine content than a 2-ounce espresso shot. The specific caffeine content may vary depending on factors such as the brewing technique, water temperature, and brewing time among other factors.

Generally, a cup of regular coffee contains between 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. It’s worth noting that coffees contain as high as 700 milligrams of caffeine per cup.

A single espresso shot contains about 60 milligrams of caffeine. Thus, a single espresso shot has less caffeine content than one cup of regular coffee. Thus, espresso and regular coffee have varying caffeine content, with each drink having more caffeine content depending on the factor being considered. You can experiment with a high-quality coffee refractometer to assess the caffeine content in different coffee brewing methods.

How Espresso and Coffee Differ

The difference between coffee and caffeine is all about the method used in brewing each drink. Basically, all coffees are sourced from one plant species, which is known as Coffea. Thus, both coffee and espresso are made from coffee beans. The difference is in the processing and brewing method used. Thus, the beans are not any different in terms of origin as any variety of coffee beans can be used to brew both coffees.


Coffee beans feature a pale green color when harvesting. They’re unfit for consumption until further processing. They require roasting to make them fit for brewing coffee. Roasting brings out unique qualities and flavors in coffee beans.

Generally, espresso is brewed from dark roasted coffee beans. Dark roasted beans have an increased ability to bear the extreme pressure used in brewing espresso. Dark roasts also result in a full-flavored and low acidity brew. Such a brew is perfect for adding milk.

Most coffee roasters and espresso lovers prefer the beans to have a darker roast when consumed with milk instead of drinking the brew in its plain black form.

On the other hand, lighter roasts make perfect pour-over brews. Lighter roasts feature fruitier and brighter coffee flavors.

Regardless, the best roast is the one you find most tasty. Thus, you can experiment with different roast levels until you find the perfect roast for your taste preferences.


Making espresso involves a very unforgiving brewing method. It involves science. When making espresso, you’re working with extreme pressure in a process that only requires approximately 30 seconds. That’s pretty quick right? Within such a short time, even the slightest change can affect the final brew significantly.

You need to get a perfect grind size to make a flawless espresso shot. Using grounds that are too fine causes over-extraction, thereby resulting in a bitter brew. Also, using coarse grounds causes under-extraction, which results in an acrid and light-tasting brew. When making espresso, it’s advised to use a fine grind size, with a texture of between table salt and flour. On the other hand, pour-overs are best prepared with coarse grounds. Since grind size matters a lot when making espresso, consider investing in a top-quality grinder.

Although hand grinders offer convenience when grinding coffee beans for pour-overs, they’re less reliable in grinding even and fine grounds for making espresso. Thus, invest in the right grinder for a perfect grind size to make espresso.


The brewing technique used in making coffee and espresso is what makes them different. Roasting and grinding are just the preparation stages. The main difference entails brewing.

Although it’s possible to brew filtered coffee using different techniques but based on the same core principle, brewing espresso is only possible when using a high-quality espresso machine.

A basic espresso maker uses a pressure of approximately 9 bars to force heated water through grounds in a process that takes approximately 30 seconds. There’s extreme engineering involved in making a perfect espresso brew. Every detail in the brewing process matters a lot.

Espresso makers are manual, semiautomatic, or automatic. Today, most espresso makers are automatic. Thus, baristas don’t have to understand every fine detail of an automatic espresso maker as most of the finer details are automated.

Final Words

In conclusion, the key difference between coffee and espresso is how they’re brewed. Espresso is a type of coffee brewed under high speed and pressure. You should use a fine, even grind and an espresso maker to brew perfect espresso shots. On the other hand, other coffees are typically made by filtering water slowly through ground coffee.

With that said, it shouldn’t appear like there’s any competition in coffee vs espresso. Some coffee lovers believe that espresso shots are the best brew. Others prefer the vivaciousness and smoothness of pour-over brews. Ultimately, the kind of brew you’ll make depends on your brewing skills.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do coffee and espresso differ in terms of taste?

Essentially, espresso is creamy, dark, rich, and intense. It’s loaded with sugary notes, bright aromas, and creamy thickness. On the contrary, standard drip coffee features a rounded, clean, and intense flavor and tastes smooth.

What’s healthier between espresso and drip coffee?

It’s generally healthier to take espresso than standard drip coffee. The reason behind this is that you don’t require a filter to make espresso. The brewing process used in making espresso allows for the extraction of natural minerals and oils in coffee. However, since espresso isn’t filtered, it can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood. However, unlike Turkish or French press coffee, you should only take one or two espresso shots, making the issue of cholesterol insignificant.

What makes espresso pricier than standard drip coffee?

Generally, espresso is pricier than standard drip coffee due to the complex and expensive equipment, skills, and effort involved in brewing espresso. When making drip coffee, you only need to put water and ground coffee in a drip machine to get a tasty brew without further intervention.



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