If you were to order a black coffee and were instead handed an espresso shot, you would likely be very disappointed. This is because the two drinks are very different.
Technically, yes, they are both coffee, and they are both made from the same coffee beans. However, they have distinct differences in terms of the way that they are prepared which is why they should never be confused with each other.
If you’d like to know more about the differences between the two, this article has got you covered.
Coffee vs Espresso: A Quick Summary
Coffee is a drink that is brewed with boiling water and coffee beans that have already been both roasted and ground. It can be prepared in many ways and, depending on this method, can have varying levels of caffeine.
Coffee is characterized by a bitter and slightly acidic flavor in addition to a bold aroma. It also leaves a pretty strong aftertaste in the mouth, unless the coffee is paired with lots of milk and sweet syrups to lessen the bitterness factor.
This is a popular method of brewing coffee that utilizes finely ground coffee beans and high water pressure to create a concentrated shot.
One of the defining characteristics of an espresso, aside from its syrupy body and concentrated flavor, is the crema, a layer of foam that is the by-product of the high-pressure extraction process.
Using the best automatic espresso machines out there, you can make and add milk or water to espresso to create well-known drinks like a latte, Americano, flat white, and frappes.
Is Espresso Classed As Coffee?
Yes, it is. This is because coffee is the liquid that is extracted from the bean rather than the exact method of preparation. It’s possible to achieve a brilliant cup of espresso via the specific preparation of Arabica or Robusta coffee beans.
Consider the ways that people prepare coffee. You have pour-over coffee, stovetop coffee, and French press coffee, to name a few methods. This means that although all espresso is coffee, not all types of coffee are espresso.
This means that you can still make espresso with regular coffee beans provided they are finely ground. Use a dark roast if you’re aiming to achieve the ideal flavors.
There are some huge differences between espresso and coffee that you must know of. We’ve outlined these below for you to take a look at.
Espresso has far more caffeine in each ounce than coffee does, yet coffee contains a lot more caffeine in each serving.
Typically, an 8 oz. cup of coffee has anywhere from 85-185 mg of caffeine whereas 1 oz. (a shot) of espresso has anywhere from 40 to 75 mg of caffeine.
Espresso indeed has a much higher caffeine concentration per ounce but you will still be consuming less caffeine by drinking a single shot of espresso compared to a cup of coffee.
Yet, with such a bold flavor, and a much thicker texture, less espresso is definitely more.
The main difference between espresso and coffee drinks is that coffee is less concentrated, which makes it ideal for those who prefer their coffee without a punch. Espresso is a lot more concentrated, which makes it ideal for specialty drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, etc..
Does espresso truly have a different taste from coffee? Yes, it does. An espresso shot generally has bolder flavors than a generic mug of coffee. This is likely because it is not made using a filter, meaning none of the flavored oils are lost in the process.
On the other hand, drip coffee offers a much less intense flavor..
Filtered coffee heavily relies on gravity to drive water through ground coffee to make your drink.
The default for a lot of espresso machines is nine bars, the rough equivalent of 130 pounds per square inch (PSI). In real terms, you’d need to dive to almost 300 feet in the ocean to experience this sort of optimal espresso pressure!
This explains why espressos are so strong in a short amount of time.
Espresso and coffee have a couple of differences that set them apart from each other including taste, concentration, and the amount of caffeine in both drinks. Overall, the main differences between the two drinks can be simplified to the way that they are prepared and enjoyed.