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Difference Between Espresso And Coffee

Is espresso a coffee is a question people that do not know much about coffee specialties ask. Yes, espresso is coffee, but it is not just any other coffee as it comes with properties and parameters that lack in an ordinary coffee cup.

Some of the differences that make the two separate entities include the amount of caffeine in each of them, the preparation of the beans, taste, and machines used for extraction, among other few factors. The following detailed explanation of the differences between coffee and espresso, will remove any confusion you may have about the parameters that make each of the coffee drinks unique in its way.

What is the Difference Between Espresso And Coffee?


Everyone must know what coffee is, but if you do not know, let me try to explain. Coffee is the liquid that comes from ground coffee beans. To extract coffee from the ground beans, you do not need any fancy machines with in-built mechanized tools and pressure to extract the coffee.

What you need to make coffee are the beans, water, and a device to use for boiling the coffee beans and water. How you choose to have your coffee will depend on your preferences. I say this because some people like their coffee black, while others like it with milk and sugar.

On the other hand, espresso has a bolder, more flavorful taste than that of coffee. It contains more caffeine levels that come from the best finely ground coffee beans. To make espresso, the beans go through a process that presses them under high pressure using specialized espresso machines. Unless you have an espresso machine at home, the most likely place to get an espresso is in a coffee shop that sells specialty coffees.

Let us delve further into the things that make coffee and espresso different.


During the espresso extraction, hot water passes through the ground beans under intense pressure using 9-bar pressure espresso machines. The temperature of the water heats to between 190 and 196 degrees F. During extracting espresso, filters are not necessary, as they cannot withstand the pressure.

On the other hand, coffee uses hot water with temperatures of between 195 and 205 degrees f and with no force necessary. Filters come in handy when preparing coffee to separate the final brew from the ground beans residue.

Appearance of beans

Compared to coffee beans, espresso beans have a shinier surface and a darker color due to roasting for an extended period. The bright nature of espresso beans appears during the roasting process because of green beans oils seeping to the surface. On the other hand, coffee beans have a matte finish and a lighter color, as they do not go through a long roasting period.

Cooking time

Cooking time for the beans depends on various factors that include the roasting method and the type of bean. On average, roasting beans for coffee preparation takes about 13 minutes, while toasting espresso beans takes roughly 20 minutes.


Coffee contains more acid than the espresso because, in the latter, the long roasting process weakens and decomposes acidity. Many of the people that have stomach acidity issues prefer taking an espresso to a "Cup of Joe" or ordinary coffee.

Brewing time

Coffee brewing can take anything from 3 minutes to 6 minutes and for some people, even more, depending on how they like their coffee. Espresso, on the other hand, had a short brewing time that takes anything between 25 and 30 seconds. The espresso's taste and flavor come from exerting intense pressure on the grinds under high temperatures and hot water.

Differences Grinding and Extraction

Grinding and extraction methods also make a considerable difference between espresso and coffee. Espresso ground beans are much finer than the coffee ones. The preparation of espresso beans is fast at only 25-30 seconds, making the extraction process faster and more efficient. In espresso preparation, the beans have close to 24% extraction of all substances while for coffee beans; only about 17% of them go through extraction.

Brewing Temperature

Espresso machines come with thermostats that help to control water temperatures. The best temperatures for efficient and quality espresso extraction are between 180 and 196 degrees F.

The temperatures that make the perfect coffee drink are anything between 195 and 205 degrees F.

If you are using frozen ground beans, they will lower the water temperatures, which means you have to wait longer for the water to reach the right temperature.

Difference Between Espresso and Drip coffee

Drip coffee and espresso share the same basic concepts. In both, hot water passes through the grinds before ending into a cup as coffee r espresso. The difference though, comes in the way that water passes through the ground beans.

In making espresso, water passes through a machine that uses extreme pressure while in drip coffee; water uses gravity to pass through the beans. Brewing drip coffee takes longer than extracting espresso. Drip coffee has a moderate taste, while espresso has a bold taste with a rich caffeine flavor. Drip coffee contains lower acidity, and it is consistent and clean.

Which One Has More Caffeine?

Caffeine contest between espresso and coffee is another hot dispute that many people struggle to understand. When making the perfect coffee cup, caffeine levels are crucial as they make all the difference to the taste and flavor. A brewed coffee cup contains caffeine amounts of around 95 to 165 mg, which is the same as 12 to 21 milligrams per ounce of coffee.

In every ounce of espresso, you will get approximately 47 to 64 milligrams of caffeine. This closes the debate on which of the two has more caffeine. A coffee cup has more caffeine than a shot of espresso, but considering how much a shot is, the conclusion is that espresso ha more concentrations of caffeine than coffee does.

Read our complete guide about the How Much Caffeine Is In A Shot Of Espresso

Essential Espresso Drinks


How often have you looked at a menu in a specialty coffee shop and wondered what some terms stood for? Before I learned everything I know now about coffee, I had problems understanding some of the menu items. Today, I know all the coffee drinks, and I am here to help you learn about them.


Espresso is a shot of concentrated coffee that acts as a base for different types of coffee drinks. The drink served in small cups, has higher concentrations of caffeine, which is more potent than ordinary coffee. The espresso extraction is through a machine with 9-pressure bars that forces boiling water through finely ground beans under intense pressure resulting in espresso.


Like espresso, Ristretto uses the same kind of extraction method but with half the water amount. The beans used for the strong form of espresso are of the finest powder, making the shots intense.


Doppio is also another espresso-based drink extracted using a double coffee filter. It comes as a double shot and is the preferred drink in place of espresso.


Cappuccino is a popular espresso-based drink and a specialty that you will see on every menu in many coffee shops. The drink first came into the market on the 17th after the Italian popularizing it. The popularity of the drink runs across the globe. Cappuccino is a combination of hot milk, milk foam, and espresso. The bottom of a cappuccino drink contains 1/3 of espresso followed by 2/3 of hot and foamy milk.

Caffé Latte 

Caffe Latte is another popular espresso-based drink that is a favorite of many Americans. It is also an American origin, which is why it is more popular there. Even as popular as it is in America, a latte is also a favorite for many other espresso lovers worldwide with the UK following a close second to the number of people who consume the drink. It is a combination of steamed milk and espresso. The standard ratios are 1/3 espresso in a double shot cup and 2/3 steamed milk.

Piccolo Latte 

Another name for piccolo latte is a baby latte. The espresso-based coffee is a 15 to 20 ml shot of Ristretto with 60 ml steamed milk, and a foam topping.


If you love espresso and chocolate, chances are you also love Mocha or Moka. The espresso-based coffee originated from Mochaccino and ended up in Mocha's beautiful beaches in Yemen, where it got its name.

Mocha is very much like a latte or cappuccino except for chocolate added to the drink as syrup or sweetened cocoa powder. A typical mocha has a topping of milk froth like that one of a cappuccino. Mochas come with different chocolate flavor variations, with the most common ones being white and dark.

Espresso Macchiato

The macchiato drink is another type of coffee that confuses some people. Macchiato is Italian for marked, so an espresso macchiato has a larger content of espresso and marked with a little foam, and steamed milk for a bold rich taste.

Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato contains more steamed milk with a small espresso marking. It is a favorite for those that like their espresso incredibly creamy.


American is famous among people who love extremely strong coffee. This espresso coffee drink uses hot water with a double or single shot of espresso.


Many people mistake lungo for Americano because they have almost the same characteristics. However, they will tell you that the two are different for those who know their coffee well. Preparing lungo requires using the same amount of water and ground coffee beans.

If, for example, you use 50 MLS of water, then you will need to use 7 grams of ground coffee for the perfect lungo coffee. The result is more extraction of caffeine but with fewer coffee notes. Though lungo is not as popular as many other espresso-based drinks, it is a favorite for people like a kick of more caffeine in their coffee.

Flat white 

Flat white is the espresso-based coffee taking the world by storm. The coffee which has its origins in either Australia or New Zealand is the new hit in menus of high-end specialty coffee houses in the US and UK. Flat white does not have a foamy top but contains a shot of espresso with steamed milk in the ratio of 1:2.


Cortado is also another espresso-based coffee that comes with a little milk. The drink is originally Spanish and bears the name café monchado.

Espresso and Coffee Drinks

Other drinks that bear the aspects of both espresso and coffee are;

Black eye 

A black eye is a drip coffee made with a double shot of espresso topping.

Red eye 

Red eye is a regular coffee with a single shot of espresso topping

Dripped eye 

The dripped eye is also a regular coffee with three espresso shots served in a regular coffee cup

Lazy eye

Lazy eye is decaffeinated coffee with two espresso shot topping served on a regular coffee cup

Other Espresso Drinks

Other less popular espresso drinks are;

Black tie 

Black tie is a dark roasted espresso with a smooth, silky, and creamy texture. It has espresso and bitter and sweet tomes of chocolate.


Café Affogato is an Italian coffee taken as dessert, the preparation of the dessert is an espresso shot poured on top of a vanilla gelato scoop


Galao is a Portuguese drink that combines espresso with foam milk and serves in a glass. A quarter of the glass is espresso while the rest is foam milk

Espresso con Panna

Espresso con Panna means espresso with cream, and it is an espresso shot with whipped cream topping.

Health Benefits of Drinking Espresso

Health Benefits of Drinking Espresso

Drinking a cup of espresso every morning comes with several health benefits. Below are the top five benefits.

  1. Improves memory

According to the University of California neuroscientist Michael Yassa, drinking two espressos daily enhanced long-term memory.

  1. Reduces fatigue

Caffeine levels in espresso help to reduce fatigue and improve vigilance and memory.

  1. Helps with weight loss

Espresso is a low-calorie drink that helps with weight loss if you do not add cream and sugar. Each ounce of espresso contains only three calories. Besides the low-calorie levels, espresso also help to provide you with stamina, that improves your workouts. It is also filling, which prevents you from snacking in between meals.

  1. Reduces risks associated with stroke

Sussana Larson wrote in a Swedish report that drinking a cup of espresso daily reduces the risk of getting a stroke due to the antioxidants found in caffeine.

  1. Lowers risks associated with diabetes

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health also noted that coffee consumption helps reduce the risks associated with type 2-diabetes.

Wrapping it up

The differences between coffee and espresso help you make better decisions next time you walk into a coffee shop and you are not sure of what to order. You also got a chance to learn of the most popular blends that you will find in menus from major specialty coffee cafes. We hope this was of help to you, and if you have, any questions or comments to make, reach out to us by filling the form below, and we will get back to you. 

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