What Is The Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

If you are a coffee lover or a restaurant owner, there must have been a time where you have wondered; what is the difference between coffee and espresso. Maybe you want to improve your skills so that you attract many more customers.

If you have been wondering about the difference between espresso and coffee, then you are definitely in the right place. In this article, we will go through every aspect between coffee and espresso to give you a clearer picture of their core differences.

Before we begin, it will be essential to get the descriptions of the two right.


The term espresso is derived from an Italian word that means pressed out. It is a description of a type of coffee that is made faster and with minimal effort. Making espresso, you will need finely ground coffee beans and then passing hot water through them.

Ordinary Coffee

This is the type of coffee made in the usual way. People can use hand or machine methods to make this type of coffee.

The Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

For starters, both ordinary coffee and espresso are both fantastic to taste, and they will both offer satisfactory effects to the user. Even though they are both refreshing, they have some very core differences as well. They differ in the following aspects:

1. Roasting

Roasting of coffee beans has a significant part to play on what you will be serving in your cup. Will it be an espresso or regular coffee?

Espresso coffee beans are dark-roasted, meaning there is a higher level of extraction. This results in ground coffee with less acidity. The beans are usually dark brown and have a shiny, oily appearance on the surface.

On the other hand, regular coffee beans undergo light roasting with minimal extraction as possible.

2. Grinding

The fineness of the grind is another essential difference between regular coffee and espresso. There are differences in the sizes of the particles in the coffee.

For instance, espresso coffee is finely ground, with the particles being smooth to taste. You will not have to split the particles when brewing your coffee. Also, espresso coffee is more comfortable to consume and digest.

For regular coffee, the particles are coarse and rough to the tongue. You will need to split the coffee particle severely to make the coffee great to drink.

3. Brewing

Ordinary coffee and espresso also have different brewing times and processes. Espresso generally takes a shorter time to prepare. This is mainly due to the high pressure involved in the brewing process and the finely ground coffee particles.

It requires around five atmospheres of pressure to force the hot water or steam through the coffee particles to make an espresso. Coffee enthusiasts call this a shot of espresso.

Since ordinary coffee takes the conventional way of preparation, it, therefore, takes longer to prepare.

4. Caffeine Content

Ordinary coffee and espresso also differ in caffeine content. According to nutritional information on both, it is evident that a shot of espresso contains more caffeine than regular coffee.

One shot of espresso contains approximately 40 milligrams of caffeine. This can be equivalent to one ounce of espresso. On the other hand, an ounce of regular coffee contains about 12-16 milligrams of caffeine.

What brings in the difference is the definition of a cup of coffee. If the cup is bigger and you take more regular at any one time, you might find that you take in more caffeine, compared to a person who takes less of a shot of espresso.

5. Outward Appearance

They also differ significantly in their appearance. A shot of espresso is dark brown and is slightly thick. It usually has a small crema, which is a foam on top resembling the head of beer in a glass.
For regular coffee, since it is lightly roasted, it results in a liquid that dark light and usually doesn't have any unusual trait.

Espresso is also natural on the eye and, therefore, more attractive than ordinary coffee. You, therefore, enjoy looking at it while quenching your thirst.

Brewing Methods For Regular Coffee

There are several methods for preparing regular coffee. The main ones include.

Boiling Coffee

This is one of the oldest standing methods of brewing your coffee. It doesn't require any special skills. All you will need is water, source of heat, and ground coffee beans. If you don't have any coffee maker, it doesn't mean you will not be able to enjoy a cup of coffee.

You pour water in a kettle that contains ground coffee. Introduce the contents to heat and simmer for about 2-3 times.

Drip Coffee

Brewing drip coffee is straightforward as you only pour your water of the ground coffee beans and let it sit for a while. Gravity plays a central role as it aids the water from passing through the particles. The resultant collects in a vessel below.


This is a form of drip coffee with the difference being using cold water. It shouldn't be mistaken with iced coffee. It is one of the most popular ways of brewing ordinary coffee.

In this method, you drip cold filtered water through the ground coffee beans. It sits for a considerably long time. In most instances, the process takes more or less ten hours before you can get your coffee at the end.

The most common vessels you can use is the mason jar or a cold brew maker. With your patience, you will get a unique and robust tasting cup of coffee. The coffee doesn't need any sweeteners or milk meaning you will be tasting the original taste of the coffee.

Brewing Methods For Espresso

The trick in making a fantastic shot of espresso is the pressure required to produce this unique type of coffee. Whether you have an expensive piece of equipment or not, you can still be able to provide a fantastic shot of espresso.

Stovetop Espresso Brewing

It is sometimes referred to as Moka Pot Espresso Brewing. It is because of the Moka pot used in the process. The pot has three chambers, with each playing an essential part in brewing the espresso.

The bottom chamber holds water while it is boiling. This produces steam that builds up and enters into the second chamber where it meets the ground coffee particles. As the pressure is still building, it forces the water through the coffee beans and into the top chamber.

The resultant coffee has the sweet blend of espresso that most people crave. This method is relatively quick as it can take only five minutes from the moment the water starts to boil when you collect your coffee in the top chamber.

The Aeropress Method

This is a method that will produce an approximate of the espresso coffee. You can use this to make great tasting coffee right from your apartment.

Ensure you have a filter in the drain cap, and you can use more than one filter. This slows down the flow of when pressing. It is crucial to source fresh coffee beans for you to achieve excellent results.

Pour the freshly ground coffee in the filter and ensure to have more of it for maximum taste. Add the right amount of hot water to the coffee and stir. Press the plunger, ensuring to apply maximum pressure. Making an espresso depends on the force.

The resultant coffee will be a great shot of espresso right from your kitchen.


Is espresso bad for you?

Espresso is an excellent drink for many people who require a morning shot before getting into daily routines. The recommended daily caffeine intake is around 300 milligrams, and as long as you keep within that range, there will be no adverse effects.

It has numerous health benefits than negatives. It is rich in antioxidants and contains fewer calories. Espresso has been found to improve long-term memory, mood, and also boosts concentration levels.

It is common to find people turning to espresso to boost their work output. People in offices usually have coffee breaks, as it is an excellent source of an energy boost.

What’s more, there are numerous pieces of evidence showing that espresso can significantly reduce the chances of getting a stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The only drawback, therefore, is consuming more of the caffeine and getting hooked. As long as you limit the daily intake, you will be safe.

Is espresso stronger than coffee?

As mentioned earlier, espresso has a higher caffeine content than ordinary coffee. This, therefore, makes it much more potent than your regular cup of coffee. That’s why it has the term shot of espresso.

It is also easier to consume or ingest, meaning it works faster in your system than ordinary coffee. Because of the finer particles, it is easier to extract the nutrients and absorption in the body takes a very short time.

This makes it excellent for a morning shot if you require a quick coffee boost.

What is the strongest coffee?

Numerous factors will determine the strength of coffee in your cup. No single type of coffee that can incorporate all elements at once.

However, generally darker coffee beans tend to be stronger than their lighter counterparts. The time is taken to prepare the coffee also determines the strength. Coffee that takes longer to brew will have more power.

Higher caffeine levels also translate to more robust coffee.

If you can incorporate all these into one cup of coffee, then you will have the strongest coffee.

How much caffeine in drip coffee?

Drip coffee is one of the strongest coffees you can find. This is because it takes a longer time to prepare. It also has a high caffeine content than espresso and coffee.

Two ounces of espresso has 80 milligrams of caffeine. Compared to drip coffee, which has 120 milligrams of caffeine, it makes it very strong.

All factors considered drip coffee is more potent than espresso. Whichever you choose, it will depend on the level of alertness you require at night.

Do you need special coffee for espresso?

The answer to the question all depends on the quality of the espresso you want in your cup. You can make an espresso from any type of coffee beans, but the taste will not be the one you look for in an espresso.

The best coffee beans are the dark roasted ones as they guarantee you will have a rich crema at the top. This is a distinctive feature of a shot of espresso.

Whether it is robusta or arabica coffee, it has to be dark roasted.

Is black coffee and espresso the same thing?

You can think of espresso as a form of black coffee. This is because there is no added sugar or milk. The only difference with your black coffee is that espresso has that crema on top. Therefore, the difference comes in the method of preparation.

Black coffee is any coffee that has no milk or sugar added to it. You can prepare it in any way as long as you don’t add any sugar or milk. Espresso has to go through the pressurized process.

Closing Remarks

With the above information, we can be sure that your question to what is the difference between coffee and espresso has been addressed. With aspects between the two answered, you can be confident in making any type of coffee you need.

Coffee is a fantastic drink. It can refresh you, keeps sleep away, can quench your thirst, and can nourish your body. Therefore, you stand to gain more if you take your time and learn how to make the perfect coffee to take advantage of the benefits.


Ignatius is the Editor of Best Coffee Hut, who considers himself as a coffee lover. He is passionate about learning the art of brewing amazing coffee since he has the most experience as a barista. He would love to help you to make a better cup of coffee every single time.

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