Espresso vs. Coffee What's The Difference? • Bean Ground

Espresso vs. Coffee What’s the Difference?

For a lot of coffee lovers, the distinction between espresso beans and coffee beans can be a bit of a struggle. If you ask ten coffee drinkers the difference between espresso and coffee, you would probably get ten different answers. Some might think that espresso beans are a particular strain while others believe that it’s all about the roasting.

​Difference Between Espresso and Coffee

​It all sounds confusing, but in reality, it’s not; the truth is that there is NO difference in the type of coffee bean used for espresso. YES, you heard me right.

​The coffee beans used to make espresso shots are the same beans that you would use to make any other types of coffee albeit drip coffee, French Press brewed coffee, the list goes on. You won’t find any special plant growing espresso beans. Espresso can be a mix of one specific type of coffee bean or a blend of different kinds such as Robusta and Arabica beans.

​The fundamental difference between espresso vs. coffee is the preparation method used. Almost all espresso shots are prepared using a much finer grind and not a coarse grind that you would use say in a French Press or a drip coffee maker.

​The roasting process also doesn’t actually play a role in whether an espresso bean is an espresso bean per se, however, dark to medium roasts are typically preferred. There is no such thing as an "espresso bean" it's all about the grind and roast!

The Preparation

​Another fundamental difference with espresso is how it's brewed. Unlike other brew methods that rely on water saturation such as drip brewing methods using a drip coffee maker. Espresso making uses pressure and a combination of water and a specialized espresso machine to make that perfect espresso shot.

As I mentioned above, the espresso is all about the grind and the roast nothing else. The fine ground coffee is tamped with roughly 30-40 pounds of pressure into a portafilter basket (that circular thingy with a handle that fits the underside of an espresso machine) so that it's tightly packed; this is another reason why a fine grind is used.

​A combination of pressure and water is then sent through the finely ground coffee which takes around 15-20 seconds every time a single or double shot is pulled.

​How Much Caffeine in Espresso?

​The amount of caffeine in an espresso shot? That’s bit trickier. What determines the amount of caffeine in your coffee is the bean itself (in this case) and the brewing method, time, grind, etc. As I mentioned the beginning of this article, there are two basic types of coffee beans, the Robusta beans, and the Arabica beans. The Robusta coffee beans contain the most amount of caffeine, in fact about 50% more caffeine than the Arabica beans. You can read my article Does Dark Roast Have More Caffeine for more info.

​So as you can imagine there are a few variables that will determine the amount of caffeine in your espresso shot. However, that being said, even though caffeine in espresso shots can be varied, a typical espresso would have about 64 mg of caffeine in a 30 g espresso shot.

To Clarify: espresso vs. coffee what’s the difference? It's basically all about the GRIND and the ROAST!

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Mark Morphew

Mark is the guy brewing up Bean Ground. He likes to think of himself as a bit of a coffee fanatic who can never get enough coffee! You'll often find him in a caffeine induced rant talking about... you guessed it, coffee.

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