Coffee vs Espresso- 5 Difference between Coffee and Espresso?

Coffee vs Espresso- 5 Difference between Coffee and Espresso?


Coffee is a staple beverage that one finds in every household, not only in United States but across the world. In a common household, a person’s day starts with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and is generally the first drink of the day for many. A lot of us are habituated to having coffee with a dash of milk.

However, once you step out of the comforts of your home and you wish to have a coffee in a nearby café, you are bombarded with different varieties of coffee. So exactly what is the difference between them? In this post, we will look in detail at two most common type of beverages, we will look at the difference between coffee and espresso.

Is coffee made from a bean? What is coffee?

Before understanding the difference between coffee and espresso, let’s see what exactly is coffee.

Coffee is a drink which is prepared by brewing roasted and ground coffee beans- This we all know! But do you know that although it is called coffee beans, it actually is not even close to that? What we refer to commonly as coffee beans are the seeds of a fruit that grows on coffee plants. This seed, which is green in color, is first separated from the fruit and then roasted. The roasted seeds are then ground into fine powder, and then brewed into a delicious concoction which we all love and call coffee.

You can read the article on ‘what is coffee’ on  National Coffee Association website.

Now that we know in depth about coffee, let us look at five difference between coffee and espresso.

Major Difference Between Coffee and Espresso:

 Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

Are coffee and espresso made from different beans?

It is commonly understood that coffee and espresso are made from different beans, however, this is not true. When it comes to use of coffee beans, the only difference is in the manner in which the coffee beans are roasted and ground. Coffee beans that are used for espresso are generally roasted for a longer amount of time than beans meant for normal coffee. Also the beans used for espresso are ground finer than it normally would for normal coffee. One could compare the texture of ground coffee made for making espresso, to that of sand gravel. Therefore, use of seeds is not the difference between coffee and espresso.

Also Read: How can you make a tasty Late coffee with an espresso machine

Is addition of milk, the primary difference between coffee and espresso?

Many also believe that addition of milk in coffee maybe the difference between coffee and espresso. Again, use of milk is not the difference between coffee and espresso. Sometimes, milk may also be added to espresso. The key difference between coffee and espresso is the manner of preparation of the beverage. One needs a machine to make espresso. You may ask why is that? It is because espresso is made by using high water pressure through ground coffee to make a concentrated drink that is small in size. The espresso machine does just that. Also the flavor of espresso is supposed to be strong and concentrated. The essence of an espresso is ‘crema’, which is a foam that forms and sits atop of well – made espresso.

Is the way they taste the difference between coffee and espresso?

Yes of course! As mentioned earlier, espresso is a concentrated and strong flavored beverage as compared to normal coffee. While having espresso, one can very distinctly taste a high concentrate of coffee with a hint of sweet tone to it. Unlike popular opinion, espresso shot should not be sour or bitter. Most importantly, espresso does not taste like black coffee!

 Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

Since espresso is made in concentration, is the quantity of use of caffeine the difference between coffee and espresso?

This totally depends on the taste preference from person to person and how a beverage is made tailored to a person’s taste palate. Usually, a cup of normal coffee will have greater quantity of caffeine than a shot of espresso. As per studies, typically there is 63 mg of caffeine in one ounce of espresso shot. Whereas, regular coffee has 12 to 16 mg of caffeine in every ounce, which can add up to a greater number considering people prefer having coffee of a quantity more than one ounce. Although espresso has a higher concentration of caffeine per ounce, it is more likely that one drinks lesser caffeine in one shot of espresso vs. one cup of coffee.

Is there a difference in the manner of serving coffee vs espresso?

Serving is one of the basic difference between coffee and espresso. An espresso is served as a shot, whereas a coffee is always served in a cup. One serving of espresso on an average will be equal to one once, whereas one serving of coffee will be close to eight ounces.

To know more about espresso, click on this link.

Now that we have become aware of the difference between coffee and espresso, read on further to know the answers to most commonly asked questions regarding espresso and hot beverages in general.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)-

1. Why I am feeling very low and my hands are quite shaking after having a double shot of espresso?

If you experience any kind of shakiness in your hands after having espresso, you need to revisit and understand how much quantity of espresso shots you have had. Up to 400 ml of caffeine a day is considered safe for adults. It is recommended that children and teens should not consume caffeine. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should limit the quantity of caffeine they consume in a day. Also caffeine is considered to be a stimulant which helps one stay awake. Too much caffeine may cause too much stimulation, which in return may lead to tremors in hands.

Higher consumption of coffee may result in palpitations, anxiety, restlessness and blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, coffee is a stimulant and stimulants are known to cause such reactions for some people. There are also some studies that show a link between high amounts of coffee intake and depression.

Read this article to know more about depression and coffee.


2. Can we use 80% coffee – 20% chicory instant powder in chocolate cake instead of espresso powder?

Yes, one can use 80% coffee – 20% chicory instant powder in chocolate cake. The addition of the instant powder will add a unique flavor to your chocolate cake. Click on this link for a delicious cake recipe using coffee and chicory powder.

3. How to get best results from a home espresso machine?

If you wish to make a premium quality espresso at home, first and foremost you must choose a good quality ground coffee. The second step would be to choose good quality Portafilter Baskets. Portafilter Basket is a type of filter that is used in an espresso machine which holds the coffee. Good extraction of coffee depends upon the designing of Portafilter Basket. The third step is to make sure the water that is being used is of correct temperature. Most at home espresso machines do not provide adequate heating technology that can be used to get the best coffee. One hack is to pre-heat the brewing device with hot water before making coffee.

4. How much sugar to tea powder is needed to make tea for four people?

difference between coffee and espresso

People have their preference when it comes to having tea. Some like it stronger while others prefer it to be sweeter. There are others who do not prefer adding sugar to tea for health reasons. While making tea for four people, a general rule of thumb is adding four – five teaspoons of tea leaves and not more than eight teaspoons of sugar. Adding more sugar will not only make the tea too sweet but it will lose its essence as a beverage.

Read More: About this question here

5. Do tea leaves affect the boiling point of water?

Addition of tea leave will not affect the boiling point of water. Water will start boiling at 100 °C. The time taken to boil water will increase once you add anything to it. So yes, the duration of time taken for water to boil which has tea leaves in it will be more than just plain water, but, the water will boil at 100 °C. More about it on Quora.

6. How can we keep jaggery tea warm continuously without making it thick?

There may be several reasons why one may not want to add sugar to their tea. In such cases, many people prefer using jaggery as an alternative. However, jaggery is known to get thicker in consistency as it gets heated up. So how can one keep liquid-y consistency of tea if one wishes to add jaggery? The solution is quite simple, you add jaggery at the end and not while preparing the tea. After you have completed making tea, filter it and pour it in your cup. Add one or two teaspoons of crushed jaggery. This will not only keep your tea sweet, but also not disturb the consistency of tea.


A coffee enthusiast from Asia keeps trying new hot beverages and sharing all his experiences with the internet. Aayush is a writer by profession who only thinks about coffee. He loves to brew and create unique recipes and share them with the public. Aayush had tried different types of coffee from different sides of the world. His favorite coffee is the Hawaiin Kona Coffee.

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