Espresso vs Drip Coffee

6 Differences between Coffee and Espresso

There’s nothing like a nice cup of coffee to start your day off. Whether you like to start your day off with espresso or a regular cup of coffee, the end result is that you want it to taste great. But did you ever think what was the difference between coffee vs espresso and what make them taste so different? Let’s go over them both.

The 6 differences between coffee and espresso is how they are brewed, grind size, flavor and strength caffeine amount and roast level.

Keep reading to get in depth answers to all the questions that you have about the differences between drinking coffee vs espresso.

1. Grind Size for Espresso Vs Coffee

Grind Size Espresso and Drip Coffee

Filter coffee is generally ground to medium to course size, depending on the pour over method, as the grinds are allowed to soak in hot water for several minutes, which breaks them up and lets the coffee brew drip through.

Espresso coffee uses much more finely ground coffee beans when compared to filter coffee. The beans are generally ground down to around the consistency of sugar or sand, which allows the pressure applied to them in an espresso machine to fully saturate them .

Without using a fine grind size you will probably end up extracting watery, sour, and imbalanced shots of espresso. This finer grind requires a higher pressure to properly extract the full flavor of the espresso brew.

Usually, the only coffee beans ground down finer than that used with espresso are the ones used for Turkish coffee. This is likely due to the need to extract a stronger and thicker brew of coffee.

2. The Different Brewing Methods

Pour Over coffee can be made in a variety of ways for example with a V60 or Chemex but the idea is the same for letting gravity do the work. It doesn’t require any pressure in order to brew coffee

Because filter coffee is brewed using gravity, it needs to brew for longer in order for the hot water to filter through the coffee beans and saturate the beans for enough time (but not to much) to bring out the qualities of the coffee beans.

Espresso coffee requires an special espresso machine to brew it. This machine forces the hot water through the coffee grindings with 9 atmospheres of brewing pressure, which quickly separates out the coffee that you will drink and results in a much stronger brew in the process.

Generally, you need to let filter coffee brew for about 4 minutes, but an espresso machine can make a cup of espresso in around 30 seconds.

3. The Brew Time Differences

Drip Coffee vs Espresso

Espresso and filter coffee use different amounts of coffee. Espresso tends to create a more concentrated coffee which is normally drunk in smaller quantities, so you may go through fewer beans if you tend to savor the coffee rather than drinking large quantities of it.

It usually takes several minutes to brew a good cup of pour over coffee. The coffee beans need time to soak in the hot water and separate the coffee brew. If you don’t give the coffee the right brewing time or don’t use the right water temperature then the resulting coffee can end up tasting watery, or sour and bitter.

Espresso coffee brews much faster due to the extreme pressure applied during the brewing process. Generally, you can brew your espresso in an espresso machine in around half a minute. This can be handy if you need a quick fix of caffeine. It also results in a stronger shot of coffee which can be great if you need a stronger taste to wake you up.

4. The Taste

Pour Over coffee tends to be less caramelized than espresso coffee and is sweeter as a result. Espresso tends to have a more concentrated and intense flavor that is best savored slowly.

The taste you get from your espresso coffee can vary a lot depending on how it is prepared and what type of bean roast is used. Different regions will have differences in how they produce an espresso, so if you travel around a bit you may find a variety of different types of flavor produced by the locals.

The taste of espresso coffee can be fairly divisive with many people finding it too strong for their liking. You can find many opinions on whether espresso is better than regular coffee, but the only opinion that really matters is your own. If you like a higher coffee strength then espresso may be the right choice for you.

5. Caffeine Levels

Drip Coffee vs Espresso

Espresso has more caffeine than drip coffee when the weight or fluid volume is compared. This isn’t the whole story though. Because of its strong taste, espresso is usually served in small shot cups while drip coffee is generally served in a standard coffee mug.

This means that you end up drinking far more drip coffee in a given serving compared to espresso. Depending on the size of the containers used and the brew of coffee you might find that an average serving of espresso has around eighty milligrams of caffeine compared to eighty to one hundred and twenty milligrams in a mug of coffee.

So if you are going by pure volume then espresso is definitely stronger. Once you factor in how much you actually drink on average then drip coffee will put more caffeine into your day.

6. Coffee Roasting

Espresso has different requirements compared to regular coffee, but you can generally make espresso with the same beans.

Traditionally an espresso shot is made using a dark roast of beans that have been roasted for a longer period but since that can often produce a burnt or smokey taste, many people today like to use either a medium to medium dark roast.

This can vary from region to region though, as really all depends on what you are used or more importantly, what you like.

The main point in making espresso is to use finely ground beans and force water through the grind under pressure to release the full flavor of the espresso coffee. Achieving this can be an art and science that takes time to master though.

Final Thoughts

Over the years many different flavors of coffee have emerged and people have found a variety of ways to prepare and serve it. You can find a huge number of coffee brands that produce different types of coffee bean mixes, and coffee shops that serve all sorts of tasty brews.

You can also find many offshoots of espresso coffee that use it as a base to build on. Coffee plays a big role in modern life and helps power us through our days. So enjoy that delicious shot of espresso coffee while you think about all the things that go into making it taste as good as it does.