Guide to Espresso: Catch-All About Espresso

Espresso – the ultimate triple threat in the world of coffee! Not just a coffee bean, not just a brewing technique, not just a type of beverage – it’s all three in one. With its bold and complex flavor, espresso embodies each category’s best, making it a truly versatile and delicious creation.

But still, there’s a lot of confusion – Deep down, you know it’s true. That’s why I’m here with a comprehensive guide to espresso to answer all the queries related espresso world. 

So, please stick with me and make things clear to you after reading this guide to espresso.

Guide To Espresso

I’ll walk you through all whys and hows of espresso and provide you with a guide to espresso-related concepts.

Espresso isn’t the latest craze of coffee lovers; it has its roots 120 years ago when steam was used to brew coffee instead of water for faster results. This time is known as the steam age when technology depended mainly on steam.

Though espresso made on steam was a popular beverage and a new brewing method, the taste wasn’t much delightful with high-temperature steaming.

Espresso is all about the game of high pressure for proper extraction of taste from the coffee beans. While steam, even on high pressure was unable to give better results. Therefore, curious minds started making innovations in producing the right pressure.

And then there, come manual espresso machines, to push the water forcefully by pulling a lever to produce high pressure for espresso extraction. Though it was a great achievement it take manual effort and barista skills.

Then, Semi -Automatic machines come into place to ease the whole process of pulling the lever and measuring the right timing for pulling a shot. The right time is necessary to make a good espresso shot. 

After semi-automatic machines, there come fully automatic espresso machines, which produce the required high pressure with just a push of a button. But in an automatic espresso machine, you need to grind and tamp the coffee by yourself.

Here’s come to a peak of technology, a Super – Automatic Espresso Machine, all magic is done with a touch of your finger. These machines include a built-in grinder, a milk – frother, and even a self-cleaning system. Yes, it’s true. Read more about different types of espresso machines, and how they work.

Infographics of History or evolution cycle of espresso machine
Evolutionary stages of Espresso Machines

Nowadays, automatic espresso machines are most popular among coffee geeks, as they’re easy to use and easy to maintain. They also provide high-quality espresso within seconds. Read more about our top automatic espresso machines.

What’s An Espresso? A Bean, A Brewing Method, or A Beverage?

Let’s solve this myth. Well, Espresso is three in one and can be considered a bean, a brewing method, and a beverage.

If you call Espresso a bean, then as a bean, Espresso typically refers to a type of coffee bean specifically selected and roasted for making Espresso. Various express beans and even ground coffee are available specifically made for espresso shots.

On the other hand, as a brewing method, Espresso is a technique that involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure to produce a concentrated shot of coffee.

Finally, if you say no espresso is a beverage, then yes, Espresso is a popular coffee drink served in small portions and enjoyed for its strong and bold flavor and rich, creamy crema on top. 

You can enjoy espresso shots separately, but Espresso is also commonly used as a base for other coffee drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. So, you can enjoy milk-based drinks along with a strong espresso.

Make Sense? Now let’s have a look at Espresso vs. coffee, another myth.

YouTube video
A Guide to Espresso

Espresso Vs. Coffee

While both beverages are made from coffee beans, what’re the significant differences between the two? 

They differ based on preparation, strength, flavor, and serving size. Let me discuss all of these points in this guide to Espresso. Read more about espresso vs. coffee.

  • Preparation: Coffee is typically brewed by steeping ground coffee beans in hot water, while Espresso is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans at high pressure.
  • Strength: Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee typically served in small portions (1-2 fluid ounces), while coffee is usually served in larger quantities (8-16 fluid ounces). As a result, Espresso has a much higher concentration of caffeine per ounce than regular coffee.
  • Flavor: Espresso has a strong, bold flavor and a rich, creamy crema on top, while coffee has a milder flavor and is not as strong as Espresso.
  • Serving size: Espresso is typically served in small portions, often consumed in a single shot, while coffee is served in larger cups or mugs.
  • Price: Espresso drinks are often more expensive than regular coffee due to the specialized Espresso Machines required to prepare them and the higher concentration of coffee beans used.

So, this is the simple and foremost difference between both beverages. Now move to the other queries to solve regarding the guide to Espresso.

Can I Use Regular Coffee Beans For Espresso in An Espresso Machine?

This is the most concerning query among espresso lovers. Well, yes, you can use regular pre-ground coffee beans for Espresso in an automatic espresso machine. But, Can I be totally honest with you? 

If you use regular coffee for Espresso, then the resulting Espresso may not be as rich, smooth, and flavorful as it would be if you were using beans specifically roasted for Espresso. I hope you’ll agree.

I’m saying so because espresso beans are typically roasted darker than regular coffee beans, giving them a richer and more intense flavor. They also tend to have a higher oil content and finer grind than regular coffee beans, which helps extract more flavor and crema during brewing.

On the other hand, regular coffee beans are usually roasted to a lighter degree and have a coarser grind, which may result in a weaker and less flavorful shot of Espresso. Moreover, they’re used to make drip coffee, French press, and other brewing methods.

Hang on: Here’s a tip for you.

If you decide to use regular coffee beans for Espresso, use a dark roast and grind the beans as finely as possible. 

Espresso beans and coffee beans are both types of coffee, but they differ in terms of their roast level and intended use.

How Much Coffee Do You Use to Make Espresso?

The amount of coffee you want to use to make espresso can vary depending on the size of the portafilter basket in your espresso machine and your personal preference for the strength and flavor of the shot.

Showing chart of information about single vs double shot ratio
single vs double shot

A single shot of espresso typically uses around 7-8 grams of coffee grounds. This amount of coffee is usually enough to fill a single-shot portafilter basket, which is smaller than a double-shot portafilter basket.

And a general guideline for a standard “double shot” of espresso typically uses around 14-18 grams of coffee grounds. This amount of coffee is usually enough to fill a double-shot portafilter basket, which is the standard size in most commercial and home espresso machines.

Can You Use Espresso for Drip Coffee?

Yes, you can use espresso beans for drip coffee, but let me give you a proper guide to espresso by defining what drip coffee is.

Drip coffee is a method of brewing coffee where hot water is slowly poured or dripped over ground coffee beans, which then pass through a filter and drip into a coffee pot. Drip coffee makers are used for this type of brewing.

Drip coffee is a popular brewing method because it is easy to use and can produce a large quantity of coffee at once. It is also a relatively quick brewing method, with most drip coffee makers taking around 5-10 minutes to brew a pot of coffee.

The flavor of drip coffee can vary depending on the type of beans used, the grind size, and the brewing time. However, drip coffee is generally known for having a smooth, consistent flavor that many coffee drinkers enjoy.

Again if you want to use espresso beans for drip coffee, try to grind them coarser to reduce the bitterness so that you can enjoy the natural taste of drip coffee rather than having the taste of espresso in your drip coffee.

Is Brewed Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?

Are espresso beans stronger than coffee? The answer is yes or maybe not. Let’s make sense.

Espresso typically contains more caffeine per ounce than regular coffee, with 63 mg of caffeine in one ounce compared to 12 to 16 mg for coffee. But that’s not all – You often take one ounce of espresso, but one ounce of coffee can’t stop you from craving a cup or mug of coffee. Be honest!

So, if you take a cup of coffee, let’s suppose, an 8-ounce cup, it’ll contain 96 to 128 mg of caffeine. So, 3 mg more caffeine than one ounce of espresso. You can’t even try to deny it. 

informative chart to show caffeine ratio brewed coffee vs espresso
Caffeine Ratio of Brewed Coffee vs Espresso

Further, the caffeine ratio can vary based on factors such as brand, bean type, roast type, amount of coffee used, and brewing method.

But one thing’s for sure – even though espresso may have less caffeine than a cup of coffee, it can still provide a jolt due to its small serving size. Drinking it quickly can give the impression of a bigger boost. That’s why you like it.

However, limiting yourself to one shot of espresso can be a good way to moderate caffeine intake. Espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos are a great option for those who want to enjoy their coffee.

Is Espresso Coffee Good for Health?

A guide to espresso can’t be comprehensive without discussing the effects of espresso on health or what is the point of espresso.

So, do you think espresso can be good for your health? Yes, if Intake is moderate.

As with any food or beverage, moderation is key. Most health experts recommend consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, which is roughly equivalent to 4 shots of espresso. 

Therefore, moderate consumption of espresso coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle for most people. Research suggests that coffee, including espresso, contains antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that may help protect against certain diseases and conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and certain cancers.

However, excessive consumption of espresso coffee can have negative health effects, such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns. Additionally, adding high-calorie syrups and toppings to espresso-based drinks can increase sugar and calorie intake, negatively impacting overall health.

So, if you have certain health conditions or sensitivities to caffeine, you should consult a healthcare professional before consuming espresso or other caffeinated beverages.

Does Espresso need to be freshly ground?

Yes, espresso generally needs to be made with freshly ground coffee beans to achieve the best taste and quality. Fresh beans give you the most flavor and aroma, which stale or pre-ground coffee can’t give.

If you don’t have a grinder or automatic espresso machine, you can get the beans ground at any shop near you. However, it’s ideal for grinding at home right before pulling an espresso shot to enjoy the maximum taste of espresso.

What makes good Crema on espresso?

As it’s a comprehensive espresso guide, why not discuss the delicious Crema?

Ah, Crema! What’s Crema?

Crema is the layer of foam that forms on top of a well-made espresso shot. A good crema is a sign of a high-quality espresso and is an important component of the overall flavor and texture of the drink.

I hope you also love Crema as I do. Let’s discover how to make creamy texture froth on the top of your coffee.

Following are the factors that contribute to making a good crema.

Freshly roasted and ground coffee beans – Yes, Beans always play a vital role in every type of coffee-making process. To enjoy the maximum flavor of your Crema, use fresh whole beans and roast them right before brewing the espresso shot.

Correct grind size – Once you’ve roasted your fresh beans, it’s time to grind them. But hold on; grinding is another essential part of achieving a good crema. 

Your beans should be fine – grind to extract the maximum flavor and oil. But wait, they shouldn’t be too fine to clog your espresso machine. So, keep an eye on grind size while grinding your beans.

High pressure – your espresso machine should be able to create high pressure (around 9 bars) to extract the coffee and produce a good crema. Pressure is key in Pulling a perfect espresso shot.

Finally, correct tamping, the right temperature, and water quality are all involved in making good Crema.

You may be wondering all this for an espresso shot or Crema. So, yes, when your espresso will be perfectly pulled, your Crema will be perfect. That’s the real secret.

Is Blonde Espresso Stronger?

Contrary to popular belief, the taste of blonde espresso is not necessarily stronger than regular espresso. However, it has a slightly higher caffeine content (85 mg vs. 64mg) due to the roasting process. 

Blonde espresso beans are roasted shorter, producing a lighter roast and higher caffeine content than darker roasted beans. 

What’s a myth – the amount of caffeine in a shot of espresso depends on the roasting time and temperature.

Caffeine decreases as the roast period gets longer.

Guide to Espresso: Which Roast is Best for Espresso?

Espresso is something that you can do experiments with to find the taste and strength of your choice. But again, there’re some opinions of experts which you can follow to enjoy your espresso.

According to Italian baristas using medium or medium-dark roasts when making espresso is highly recommended. Why medium? Medium-dark roasts are known for their full-bodied taste. 

The aromas of medium-dark roasted beans strongly indicate the flavor of espresso. The flavor can be bittersweet to spicy, chocolatey, or caramel, depending on the beans’ age and origin.

What is the ratio of water in espresso?

Well, The amount of water you use in your espresso can vary slightly depending on your preference, but the general rule is to use twice as much water as coffee.

So, a traditional ratio for espresso is about 1:2, which means one part of ground coffee to two parts of water.

When should I start my espresso shot?

There’re two types of different opinions regarding when to start an espresso shot. The first opinion is you should time your espresso shot right after getting the machine on and the pumps start producing pressure. However, a more reasonable opinion is you should start your espresso shot as soon as the water hits your portafilter basket.

What milk do you use for espresso?

For getting rich creamy texture foam after milk frothing; go for Whole Milk. It’s easy to froth and contains more fat than other substitutes like soy, almond, nut, or oat milk. That’s why professional baristas recommend whole milk for getting more satisfying results.

Final Thoughts for the Guide to Espresso

In this comprehensive guide to espresso, I covered all the queries that confuse an espresso fan. You can learn how to pull a perfect espresso shot without a machine. Moreover, if you’re a beginner and want to go for an automatic espresso machine but worrying about selecting the right one, check all the articles and enjoy your brewing.


Yes, many people enjoy adding milk or sugar to their espresso to create a latte, cappuccino, or other coffee drink. However, purists believe that adding anything to espresso masks the flavor and aroma of the shot.

The ideal grind size for espresso is very fine, similar to table salt. The fine grind allows the water to extract the flavor and aroma from the coffee quickly, creating a concentrated shot.

It would be best if you store your coffee beans in an airtight container away from light, heat, and moisture. Whole beans will stay fresh longer than pre-ground coffee, so it’s best to grind your beans just before brewing.

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