Well, the age-old debate: espresso vs. coffee. It’s a topic that coffee fan love to discuss, and there are strong opinions on both sides. Some people swear by espresso’s smooth, rich flavor, while others prefer the milder, more subtle taste of coffee. So, what exactly is the difference between these two beloved beverages, and which one is better?
Did you know that coffee plants produce the amazing coffee beans that we all love? These beans are then harvested, dried, and then roasted to perfection to make delicious coffee.
Now, here’s the fun part – there’s actually no specific plant or bean variety that’s exclusively used for making espresso! That’s right, espresso and regular coffee are both prepared from the same beans that are sourced from coffee plants and processed by roasters.
The roasting process is where the magic happens. Their unique flavor and aroma are brought out by exposing the beans to high temperatures. You often heard dark beans, medium beans, or light beans, so what makes them different?
These different roasts – light, medium, medium-dark, and dark – are named based on how long they’re roasted and their resulting color and characteristics. While you can use all roasts to make drip coffee, dark roast is typically preferred for espresso, but honestly, any roast can work well for espresso.
But wait, there’s more! Coffee and espresso can both be made from either robusta or Arabica beans. These beans are known for offering a sweet and smooth taste, while robusta beans are often preferred for making espresso due to their lower acidity, higher caffeine concentration, and ability to produce a perfect crema on top.
Espresso Vs. Coffee: Main Differences
Despite the different tastes, the beans used for coffee and espresso are the same. Now, let’s discuss the Espresso vs Coffee myth. How do espresso and coffee differ from each other?
First things first, let’s talk about what espresso is. Espresso is a concentrated coffee drink that forces hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure. As a result, you get a small, strong shot of coffee, typically served in a small cup.
On the other hand, to make coffee, you need coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water. And you get a larger, less concentrated drink.
One of the main differences between espresso and coffee is how they are brewed. As I mentioned earlier, espresso is made using high pressure, which extracts more of the coffee’s flavor and oils.
This type of brewing results in a stronger, more intense flavor that make you irresistible. The term “pulling a shot“ refers to the old hand-pumping method. And you what? Learning how to use an automatic espresso machine is quite easy and simple.
Espresso is the most commonly used brewing method in Southern European countries such as Italy and Spain, but many other methods can create different coffee drinks.
The original method of making espresso used steam power, but it was later improved with the addition of hand pumping, which decreased the bitter taste. Today’s espresso machines use pressure pumps to force the water through the beans, which results in a highly concentrated and hot cup of espresso.
To become a home espresso expert, you will need to purchase an espresso machine or an Aeropress, as regular coffee pots won’t work. And if you want to enjoy your cup of espresso with just a push of a button, read out our best automatic espresso machines for perfect espresso shots.
On the other hand, drip coffee is brewed by steeping the grounds in hot water, resulting in a milder, less concentrated flavor. If you need more time to commit to the espresso machines and the barista skills required for making espresso, you can try making a strong cup of coffee instead.
How to Make Strong Coffee?
You need to adjust the water-to-ground coffee ratio to make strong coffee. An average cup of filter coffee has a 1-part coffee grounds ratio to 18 parts hot water. Start by reducing the amount of hot water gradually.
If the taste of your coffee is too bitter, it may be due to too much ground coffee, which means it was less extracted. Experiment with the ratios until you get a perfectly rich, flavorful, and strong cup of coffee.
Espresso vs. Coffee Strenght
Caffeine – Another key difference between espresso and coffee is their caffeine content. While it may seem like espresso would have more caffeine than coffee due to its concentrated nature, this isn’t necessarily the case.
You may wonder, but it’s true. Although a shot of espresso contains more caffeine than a sip of coffee. But here’s a secret – can you compare the intake quantity of both beverages? You enjoy a strong single shot of espresso but you can’t resist taking a whole cup of coffee. Read more about espresso vs. coffee in my guide to espresso.
The debate over espresso vs. coffee also involves the right grinder and grind size. If the grind size is too fine, the espresso will taste bitter and over-extracted, while too coarse grounds result in an under-extracted, acrid cup.
For espresso, the ideal grind size is fine, somewhere between flour and table salt. In comparison, for pour-overs, the grind size is usually coarser. That’s why the taste of coffee isn’t much bitter as espresso.
Remember, grinder, and grind size are vital features in the brewing method for both coffee and espresso. So, investing in a good grinder is necessary for producing quality espresso. While hand grinders are sufficient for grinding beans for pour-overs.
Espresso vs. Coffee: Taste and Richness
When it comes to taste, espresso has a bold, intense flavor full of caramel, chocolate, and nutty undertones. On the other hand, coffee has a lighter taste and is more dependent on the bean’s origin and roast. You can get anything from fruity, floral notes to nutty, chocolaty flavors in your cup of joe.
But what about the richness, espresso vs. coffee? Espresso again wins in taste.
Well, espresso is known for its full-bodied texture that coats the tongue and leaves a syrupy aftertaste. It’s largely due to its concentration and crema, a creamy foam layer that forms on top of the shot.
In contrast, drip coffee has a smoother, more straightforward texture that doesn’t have the same level of richness as espresso. But, yes a smooth texture of coffee is always loved by coffee connoisseurs.
Espresso vs. Coffee: Which One Is Better?
So, which one is better: espresso or coffee? Well, that really depends on your personal taste preferences. If you love a strong, bold flavor and don’t mind the higher price tag that often comes with espresso drinks, then espresso might be the way to go.
However, coffee is probably your best bet if you prefer a milder, more nuanced flavor and want to save a little money. Additionally, coffee is often enjoyed in larger quantities than espresso, making it a better choice for those who prefer a more gradual caffeine boost throughout the day.
Of course, many different types of coffee and espresso drinks are out there, so it’s important to experiment and find the ones you enjoy the most. Whether you’re a die-hard espresso fan or a coffee aficionado, there’s no denying that both of these beverages have their own unique charms and can provide the perfect pick-me-up for any occasion. You’ll love to read about Hot brew vs cold brew.
Final Words the Espresso Vs. Coffee Debate
Well, there you have it! The age-old debate of espresso vs. coffee may never truly be settled, as it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for a quick, concentrated burst of caffeine with a creamy foam on top, then espresso is probably your go-to. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste with a larger serving size and don’t mind waiting a bit longer for your cup of joe, then coffee is likely the winner.
But regardless of which one you prefer, one thing is for sure: both espresso and coffee have their unique tastes, brewing methods, and cultural significance. So, to finish the espresso vs. coffee debate, I’ll end up saying that whether you’re a coffee lover, an espresso aficionado, or somewhere in between, there’s always something to appreciate and enjoy about these two classic never ages. Moreover, every type of coffee gives you some health benefits too.