What Is the Difference Between Coffee and Espresso?

What Is The Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

Last Updated on January 31, 2022

“People get perplexed over who’s the best footballer in the world, currently Messi or Ronaldo, and try to differentiate between them. If you thought that was tough then find the differences between coffee and espresso.”

I had a meeting with my potential client today in a Starbucks. So, while we were chatting, I said, “I’m going to have a cup of regular coffee. What about you?” He replied and stated, “ I would like an espresso, please.”

Right then and there, it suddenly hit me like a jolt. “ What is the difference between coffee and espresso?”

“An espresso’s darker roasting, high pressured battering inside the espresso machine, refined grinding literally turning the mixture into dust, unique brewing method, bold yet bittersweet flavored taste and the presence of the crema is the standout difference which signifies in telling an espresso, and coffee is two separate entities altogether.“

Coffee and espresso are some of the most widely consumed beverages throughout the world. From 2020 to 2021, around 166 million kg of coffee bags were consumed globally.

The Us has an enormous hand in that absurd number, too, as over 50% of the population or 150 million Americans drink numerous variations of the coffee such as espresso, cappuccino, latte, red-eye coffee, and so on.

A report from coffee statistics has shown that an average coffee goer drinks close to 3 cups of coffee per day.

If you thought coffee was dominating the scene, you are dead wrong as espresso itself isn’t that far behind, as reports show 200-300 cups of espresso-based coffee are sold per day in the Espresso Drive-thru Business.

Even though both of the beverages are extremely popular across the states, coffee and espresso have many similarities as they do come from the same beans; they have some specific glaring differences, which we will try to clear out for you.

What is Coffee?

Coffee is a bitter tasted brewed drink made from finely refined coffee beans. The coffee beans themselves come from the seeds of berries from a specific Coffea species.

Coffee, in general, is dark-colored in the naked eye and has a bitter yet acidic taste in nature. Because coffee has high caffeine content, it has a lasting stimulant effect on the body.

Coffee can be prepared in various ways such as latte, cappuccino, red-eye, and many more, both in hot or iced format.

The density and consistency of bitterness can vary from the different types of coffee beans we use. The most popular coffee bean types are C.arabica and C.robusta.

Coffee has its fair share of benefits and demerits to its arsenal. From Mayo Clinic, we have obtained the below results of coffee consumption:

Benefit
Demerit

In a live television interview, renowned Russian doctor Alexander Miasnikov said this about coffee: “I have repeatedly emphasized that coffee is not harmful to those who suffer from heart problems. Numerous scientific studies are confirming that people who drink coffee in moderation seldom develop atrial fibrillation. So drink coffee if you like it.”

Furthermore, Dr. Frank Hu just completed a 20-year study on the consequences of coffee on the human body; he stated, ” People who drink more extra coffee, it turns out, live longer and have a lower risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as suicide.”

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is a unique brewing process of making a concentrated coffee made from when we utilize the hot water and force blend it thoroughly with finely selected ground coffee beans.

Mouthwatering espresso coffee is made with neons of a wide variety of coffee beans and roasts (Diverse degrees).

The fundamental distinction between espresso and coffee is the thickness and richness generated by the espresso due to a higher concentration of suspended and disintegrated solids.

Espresso has an extensive caffeine content per unit compared to other coffee beverages thanks to the smaller serving size than others even though it’s not much more than a mug of standard brewed coffee.

A typical 1-shot espresso serving of espresso contains 28gm / 1 -ounce, which rounds up 65mg caffeine count, whereas a standard serving of drip coffee usually contains 65-120mg (National Coffee Association)caffeine content which is much less.

This espresso is bitter in general and has a rich, bold, robust aftertaste which is in large use as the base for more famous and well-known coffee delicacies, such as caffe latte, cappuccino, americano, Caffe mocha, and so on.

Coffee is considered as an espresso if it has –

  • 200ºF water temperature
  • 9 bars of pressure during extraction
  • 25-30 seconds of extraction time

By checking the consistency of those criteria, you can judge an espresso machine if it’s imperfect, good, okay, or excellent.

“Espresso is a magic of chemistry in a small cup.”– Andrea Illy.

Dr. Jamie Foster, a well-renowned mathematician and co-author of the research from the University of Portsmouth said this about espresso, “The common understanding is that if you want a more powerful cup of coffee, your coffee should be finely grounded. This is known because fine fields indicate that the surface section of ​​the coffee bean gets in contact with water, which suggests a robust coffee should.”

Dr. Chris Hendon (aka Dr. Coffee) shared his valuable opinion about espresso and stated that “One approach to achieve extraction optimization and reproducibility is to apply thicker crushed and slightly less water, the other is to reduce the mass of coffee simply.”

What is espresso? Click here to know more.

Several Differences Between Coffee and Espresso

Origin

It all started in 850 CE or even earlier, with numerous reports and legends circulating around it.

After some time, glaring evidence surfaced that in Sufi monasteries in Yemen in the 15th century, people first started to drink coffee or identified the coffee tree. The discovery soon hit the mainstream, and the tales of coffee reached Mecca and medina.

There is a common misconception that coffee originated from Europe, but that is false. As it was in the 17th or 18th century, it actually reached the lands of Europe thanks to the bans handed by Saudi Arabia in general to export coffee to other continents.

In truth, you do have to give credit to Europe as they actually put coffee in global attention and the US for commercializing coffee as you see it today.

Well, as coffee had its share of struggles through centuries, the process of making coffee was another factor in the discovery of espresso.

Regular brewed coffee used to consume a substantial amount of time in the olden days. So, in the early 20th century 1903, an impatient man named Luigi Bezzera resided in Venice. Italy was irritated by the time it took to make a single cup of joe.

He was a genius in machinery expertise; hence he wanted to make a machine that could boost the preparation process and cut-off time entirely. After multiple tries, he finally succeeded and saw some glaring differences as it actually tasted much better with smooth bitterness adding to a new layer of flavor.

That is how the first espresso machine came to be. And “Espresso” was born.

Cost

If you go outside and purchase a cup of coffee from any coffee shop or cafe, a cup of espresso will undoubtedly be far costlier than a cup of regular coffee/ drip coffee/ brewed coffee.

In Starbucks, a standard regular coffee costs $1.85, and a 1-shot espresso costs $2.85-$5.00.

The leading cause for this steep increase in price is primarily due to the high-priced espresso machine, which is generally close to $700-$800 whereas, an average cost of a regular coffee maker is $20-$200.

In addition, the coffee beans are also another factor as the more enriched and darker beans are preferred for espressos which can cost you a bit more bucks.

Taste

Taste-wise, espresso brings an entirely different flavor into the mix. An espresso is bolder, less acidic, rich, and consistently bittersweet than a regular cup of coffee.

Espresso is stronger and more vigorous because upon getting a sip, you will experience a flavor bomb in your mouth that is well-rounded. Espresso is also heavier in nature thanks to the concentrated roasting process, which swamps the beans with extra oil.

In contrast to espresso, a regular cup of coffee/ brewed coffee/ drip coffee lacks flavor explosiveness as well as is less intense in comparison.

Strength

Strength wise there is no contest simply putting it’s a massacre as espresso takes the point easily.

Even a lighter 1-shot espresso such as Red Eye Coffee has 2 x the kick compared to a regular brewed coffee. (Green Eye Coffee 8 x and Black Eye 4 x)

Although, the overall strength of the coffee isn’t dependent on the caffeine content per serving size (8 ounces) at all. By doing so, you will only make the prepared coffees flavor heavy and provide a unique mouthfeel for the consumers.

You can even make a regular brewed coffee strong if you can just adjust the ratio of the water to the quantity of regular ground coffee.

An average regular cup of coffee/ brewed coffee/ drip coffee has a ratio of 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds to every six ounces of hot water.

Strong coffee isn’t judged by the bitterness or sourness of the coffee itself. Instead, the presence of an increased sour or bitter flavor implies that the coffee has a high concentration of ground coffee. Which means the coffee was underdrawn out.

So keep nibbling with the ratio till you find that rich, impactful, flavorful strong cup of drip coffee.

Speed

Speed was the primary reason for the creation of espresso. Espresso is an Italian term translated to “fast.”

Espresso was created to tackle the long couple of minutes that felt like eons to an avid coffee lover such as the inventor Luigi Bezzera himself.

A standard shot of espresso takes 30 seconds maximum to be poured into a cup.

In comparison, a regular brewed coffee takes at least 5 minutes to be done and consumed.

So, in terms of speed, espresso beats regular coffee by miles.

Consistency

An espresso prides on its consistency per shot. First, espresso has a dark roast compared to regular coffee, which already has an advantage; then, put the high pressure grinding into the mix (which beats the water and coffee beans finely), then it’s a game-changer all together.

Espresso has a heavy yet rich flavor going for it due to the crema, which also provides a consistent bittersweet taste that goes through the tongue like butter. In contrast, regular coffee has a watery consistency.

Pressure

The principal also crucial feature that ultimately takes apart both kinds of drinks is the pressure element.

For espresso, it’s a necessity to have high pressure. The high pressure provided by the espresso machine accelerates the brewing process. It also aids in developing crema and combines the excess oils from the grounded beans into the finished espresso shot.

The high pressure helps to filter the coffee, which correctly brews through ground coffee and water, where water is pushed hard to ground coffee.

Usually, 9 bars are needed; however, in the current times, we have seen a considerably lower number, down to 6.5 bars, being accepted by the barista elite.

In contrast to espresso, you can brew a regular coffee in two styles: Infusion and Immersion.

Infusion is the classic yet old drip coffee maker, whereas immersion is similar to the french press.

However, a Bialetti moka pot also brews using high pressure, but because it only reaches 1.5 bar, it’s not considered a genuine espresso or regular coffee. So instead, you can say it’s a hybrid of both.

Brewing

This is the climax of the argument per se; what’s the difference between espresso and coffee? At the end of the day, the espressos brewing method is the focal element that keeps these two drinks apart from being similar.

There are numerous brewing techniques; however, they consume a lot of time due to the heavy reliance on slow filtering of hot water straight through your coffee grounds.

This brings your bits of patience into the equation as you have to wait several more minutes to take your first sip of the freshly prepared coffee.

Espresso machines high pressure shoots the boiling hot water through the finely grounded coffee beans and pulverize them till they achieve a particular consistency.

The whole ordeal takes about 30 seconds, resulting in an enriched, bolder complex flavored aromatic coffee with the additional kick from the concentrated caffeine content.

Grinding

Espresso has a finer ground than a typical coffee, 

which is another significant difference between the two beverages.

The main reason for this fine grind is the rare 9 bar high pressure coming from an espresso machine brewing that the fate of the shot of espresso depends on.

The final outcome of this process is a well-grounded magnificently fine coffee that is rendered particularly to dust. You can place the dust into a filter or manually put it in a puck.

It’s better to note that it’s better to use pre-ground beans as using the standard coffee in an espresso machine might provide a thinner shot.

Roasting

Now, we come to the fact that even a child might know if their parents drink coffee on a regular basis.

What is the top difference between a coffee and espresso? Answer – Espresso having a darker roast.

The story behind the dark roasting goes way back to Italy as in Southern Europe; dark roasts have always been fancied over lighter ones.

Even now, people flavor darker roasting coffee beans than other types of brewing. The advantage of having a dark roast is a heavy consistency in the coffee, making it relevant to use milk in the espresso.

For example, beverages like cappuccino, latte, and galao depend on various espresso and hot milk combinations.

Furthermore, a lighter roast has a watery consistency because that it can’t cut through creamy, velvety, and milky flavor that effectively, but a dark roast achieves that feat unhinged.

Crema

There are many elements that can mislead you into identifying an authentic espresso. There is a lot of variation to espresso’s that are espresso by ingredients. However, they aren’t entirely like aerospace and Bialetti. Both are brewed in high pressure and can be used for espresso-based beverages.

So, can it be called a genuine espresso?

Indeed not. One might look for another factor, which is the final deciding characteristic to declare it as an authentic espresso, and that is the presence of ‘crema.’

After the intense ground brewing process overheats, the oil layer gets battered into a foamy consistency visible to the naked eye in a golden hue at the very top of the espresso. Crema is an element that is monumentally unique from other beverages. Authentic espresso is incomplete without the presence of crema.

Caffeine Content

This factor is a tricky one as the outcome varies in the espresso shot count.

For example, average drip coffee is made up of 8 ounces per serving, where at least 80-180 mg (Average 93) caffeine is present. In contrast, in a standard 1-shot espresso containing between 40-75 mg (Average 63).

Therefore, Regular Coffee > 1-Shot Espresso.

Let’s check for 2-shot espresso, Caffeine Content = (2 x 63) mg = 126 mg

Hence, Regular Coffee < 2-Shot Espresso.

For the last time, let’s check for 3-shot espresso, Caffeine Content = (3 x 63) mg = 189 mg

Thus, Regular Coffee < 3-Shot Espresso.

It is well to note that one shouldn’t go over five shots of espresso per day as the caffeine could harm your body then.

Health Benefits and Concerns of Coffee and Espresso​

Benefits

Strengthened Long-Term Memory

After constant research on coffee and espresso, it has been discovered that drinking the beverage can significantly increase an individual’s long-term memory. For example, a student prefers a cup of espresso just before an upcoming intense exam.

Heightened Concentration

A small dose of coffee can immensely boost an individual’s energy. This heightened energy makes it a lot easier for the brain and makes the mind focus on day-to-day responsibilities.

High Antioxidants

After copious tests, it has been found that coffee contains a high degree of antioxidants.

Boosted Physical Activity

Many people prefer drinking coffee right before conducting a physical exercise session to enhance their performance.

Lower in Calories

It’s surprising as it may be, but coffee has a massive benefit going for them, and that is a lower calorie count in general.

Lowered Risk of Stroke

An article from a renowned journalist has proved that taking a considerable amount of espresso can lessen women’s risk of having a stroke.

Weight Loss

Coffee can help you get an intense power enhancement for the body to endure a strenuous workout session. If individuals can push themselves to do more workouts, they can ultimately cut out a large chunk of weight.

Improved Digestion

Espresso can massively help you to improve your digestion system. It is all due to the anti-inflammatory qualities of the espresso.

Reduced Chances of Diabetes

In the land of SweetValley(Almost every nation globally), where the menacing presence of diabetes dominates it, it comes as a great astonishment that espresso can assist in decreasing the risk of diabetes.

Improved Mood

The caffeine content in espresso is a potent stimulant. Espresso is the type of stimulant that can ultimately aid you in clearing up any foggy mood swings. But, on the other hand, that can pose a threat to bringing down your mood.

Drinking Espresso Does Much More than Stimulate You

Even though people prefer espresso for its momentary energy boost, many people choose this glorious cup of coffee just to experience this delicious cup of joe and ease up and relax.

Concerns
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Muscle Pain
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Jitters
  • Anxiousness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Upset Stomach
  • Dysphoria
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John Reeves

Kevin Pietersen

Hello, Kevin here, Wispy Pick’s Co-Writer. We go through and guide you through various Coffee Machines and Accessories for a great morning.

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