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What is the difference between espresso and regular coffee

What is the difference between espresso and regular coffee

What is the difference between espresso and regular coffee

Not many! They are both nice coffee. But for someone with a lot of 'coffee preferences', there may be quite a lot! They can count some differences on their fingers without stress.

What many people especially coffee lovers don't know is that; espresso is not a different type or species of coffee bean. Yea! I used to think that way too. It's like saying strawberry flavoured yoghurts are not made from milk but the juice of strawberry fruit.

Like most coffee, espresso is made from the Arabica and Robusta coffee bean. It is a normal coffee that is processed differently. Right from the harvest, Espressos are stored, roasted, ground, and brewed differently

Let's leave the noticeable differences in taste, flavour, and caffeine content for the later part of this article; and Let's go step by step into the differences in HOW regular coffee and espresso are made.

Drip Coffee vs Espresso: Roast

Everything different in Espresso and coffee lies right here-The Roast. For espresso, the roast profile is like the 'Q' in Queue. The way you can't properly pronounce the word Queue without the consonant, Without a good roast, there is not going to be an espresso, to begin with.

Starting with the Roast profile. Drip Coffee or regular coffee beans are roasted quickly in the oven. They don't last long neither is the heat intensity high. They are light or medium roasted coffee beans.

Espressos on the other hand are different. The Robusta or Arabica beans take their time in the roaster or oven. At some times, they spend a handful of time in the roaster while the heater is in high intensity. Regardless of which choice is used to roast the beans, the end result is that the coffee beans are dark roasted and dark brown.

How well the roast is done will later have an impact on the overall properties of the Espresso or drip coffee.

Drip Coffee vs Espresso: Grind

How well coffee is grounded may be petty, but it means a lot for the property of good espresso or drip coffee

When making a shot of espresso, hot water needs to pass through closely packed openings in the filter of the espresso machine. Hence, the texture of the espresso coffee must be fine and smooth. That is, espresso beans must be finely ground into coffee powders.

For drip coffee, you may not really need to pass through such stress. You can make instant coffee with any ground coffee powder.

Espresso vs Regular Coffee: Brewing

Espresso brewing is different from regular coffee. An Espresso requires an espresso machine or Aeropress that brews one or two espresso shots ( usually one or two ounces). You cannot make an espresso in a regular way, you need a tangible amount of high pressure to make an authentic one.

Meanwhile, making espresso is different from drip coffee. A cup of coffee (regular) that you made or got from a coffee shop is usually less tedious. You can make one with just a cup, a percolator, a press, or any available method.

Espresso vs Drip coffee: Caffeine Amount

If you have ever tasted an espresso, you would want to agree with me that espressos have the highest number of caffeine. Hold on! The thing is, we are both wrong.

The caffeine present in both coffee is roughly the same. Normally, based on differences in processing, measuring the caffeine level is difficult. The volume of a shot of espresso can't be compared to that of a cup of drip coffee. The same goes for the volume of caffeine in both coffee.

An average cup of regular coffee usually has more caffeine content than an espresso. A shot of espresso ( 1 Ounce) contains about 35-80mg of caffeine while a cup of drip coffee (about 8 ounces) contains about 85-185mg of caffeine.

Even if this comes as a big revelation for you, taking 8 shots of espresso just to meet up with the volume of drip coffee is not a good idea.

Regular Coffee vs Espresso: Easily detectable differences

Espresso vs Regular Coffee

Since we have established differences you can notice in the processes of making a regular coffee and espresso; let's highlight the difference you can spot by just holding either cup of coffee.


Just like most drinks out there, it is very easy to sample the tastes of coffee and tell the properties as well as compare it with other cups of coffee.

Since the roast is much darker, Espressos are heavier in taste than drip coffee. It tastes stronger, less acidic, well-rounded, and full-bodied. Generally, espressos are considered richer than drip coffee especially when milk is added to the already creamy taste.

Regular coffee on the other hand tastes a little light, more acidic, and does have a creamy taste.


The aroma you perceive while either coffee is being brewed may be somewhat similar. However, when you pay careful attention to both flavours you will see a noticeable difference.

Since the flavour of coffee or espresso often creates a homogeneous detail with its taste. We can easily say that the aroma that oozes from a shot of espresso is strong and rich while drip coffee does not.

When I take an Americano, am I taking an Espresso or drip coffee?

Espressos have many derivatives. They range from the historical Cappuccino to Lattes, Macchiato, and Americano. The difference these derivatives have with traditional espresso is the use of milk, foam, hot water, pressure, or even an espresso machine.

When it comes to Americano, it is a form of espresso diluted with lots of water. Making it have a similar quality to that of drip coffee. However, it is less acidic and way smoother than drip coffee