Today:17 October, 2021

Espresso vs drip coffee – what’s the difference?

If you enjoy drinking coffee, then you probably enjoy exploring all the different kinds of coffee-based beverages. And just like any coffee lover before you, you started wondering what is the difference between coffee and espresso? Well, you’re about to find out! This article will help you learn a thing or two on espresso vs coffee so that, next time you’re in a café with your friends, you can give them a lecture on your favorite coffee drink.

What is the difference between drip coffee and espresso?

There are several differences between these two types of coffee drinks. However, the main difference lies in the brewing process and coffee beans.

espresso machines and coffee makers

To make a shot of espresso, you will need an espresso machine. Don’t try to improvise at home, because you will end up with a non-drinkable beverage and a messy counter (you guessed it – we’ve tried this at home. Be smarter than us).

Why do you need an espresso machine? Because espresso is the brewing process, in which hot water is forced through super-fine coffee grounds under extreme pressure. The result is an intense shot, rich in flavor and texture, with marvelous crema (fine foam you see on top). Usually, a high-quality espresso shot is brewed in about 25 seconds. Keep in mind that to get a balanced, intense, and delicious (read: true) shot of espresso, you need to be a good barista and to have a powerful espresso machine. We don’t recommend buying cheap espresso machines because they are likely to brew unbalanced espresso. Of course, if you are fine with an ‘okay’ shot of espresso, then you will probably be happy with an affordable espresso machine.

If you only drink espresso occasionally then your first choice is probably regular coffee. Simple, easy-to-make black drip coffee. Drip coffee is made when hot water drips over coffee beans. There is a paper filter that separates the coffee grounds from the brewed liquid. The process of brewing coffee is slower, and it takes several minutes to fill the pot. Compared to making espresso, drip coffee doesn’t require any skills. You just need to fill a water tank, add coffee grounds and turn on the drip coffee maker.

There is a variety of drip coffee makers on the market, high-end models coming with advanced features. However, both cheap and more expensive drip coffee machines will make a classic cup of Joe, and you cannot get much more than that. Except you can choose how many cups of coffee you want. Some models come with a small carafe, suitable for making coffee for a single person. This is perfect if you love drinking your cup of coffee in a large coffee mug throughout the day. Some models come with an extra-large carafe, so you can brew several cups of coffee in one go if you want to make coffee for other people as well.

Espresso vs coffee beans

coffee beans

Another difference between espresso and black coffee lies in the fineness of coffee beans. Espresso coffee is a blend of (usually) three different types of coffee beans that come from different countries. The coffee beans are roasted until they are dark and somewhat oily. The beans are ground very finely and the final product texture is almost like that of cacao or powdered sugar. On the other hand, coffee beans are more coarsely ground and are usually from a single origin. This gives the coffee drinker the chance to focus on the subtlety of taste.

How much caffeine is in espresso and coffee?

Is espresso just really strong coffee? Yes, it is pretty strong. But, surprisingly, a shot of espresso doesn’t have more caffeine than a cup of coffee does. A shot of espresso (an ounce) contains 63.3mg of caffeine, whereas one ounce of coffee contains 12 – 16 mg of caffeine. Since a typical cup of coffee is 8 ounces, it means that one cup of Joe has much more caffeine in it than a shot of espresso.

Some people like weak coffee, some people like strong coffee. So, how much caffeine your cup of coffee has depends on how you like your coffee. Just be sure to drink coffee in moderate doses.

Espresso vs coffee: variety

types of coffee drinks

Whereas you can drink regular coffee with sugar and milk only, when it comes to espresso, you have a number of possibilities at your disposal. Latte, Americano, and cappuccino are just some of the options you’ll discover. A good espresso machine will allow you to make some of these espresso-based drinks. But, if you strive for more, you can go to a coffee shop and see what you’ll find there. So, is espresso better than drip coffee? It certainly is, if you love trying new espresso-based beverages.

Espresso vs coffee: price

A drip coffee maker is affordable, which is why many people have it at home. Even if you opt for a budget-friendly model, you’ll be pretty happy with the brewed coffee. On the other hand, if you are an espresso purist, and love perfectly brewed espresso, be ready to spend as much as $500 on a high-quality espresso machine.

Final thoughts

Even though different in many aspects, both coffee and espresso taste great. It’s just a matter of preference (and of skills in espresso case) which one you love more. People have enjoyed this type of beverage for centuries for good reason – it helps us see the beauty in simple things and take a break when we need it. So, embrace your cup of coffee or a shot of espresso, and enjoy the rich taste and texture like never before.

Joseph is the founder and Chief Editor of "Indoor To Outdoor". He is an entrepreneur with experience in sales of household products. He also travels a lot, takes pictures and loves to ride a bike.

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