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Espresso vs coffee and 7 differences!

Espresso vs coffee and 7 differences!

A lot of people don’t know the answer about the difference between espresso vs coffee!

To some people, it might even be the 2 same things. How wrong can they be? Some people think espresso is the only coffee, and others drink something with less power.

Brewed coffee has been around for a long time. Espresso is around since the beginning of the 20th century and has started to become more popular!

Read on to learn more about the differences between espresso vs coffee!

What is espresso coffee?

An espresso is a way of brewing coffee. It’s invented by Italians and comes from the Italian word “esprimere”, meaning “to press out”.

An espresso is a small amount of very concentrated coffee. They often refer to it as a shot of coffee. It’s a great example of the saying: quality above quantity!

The grind for an espresso is almost like powder, very fine. To make an espresso, you’ll need an espresso machine that’s capable of shooting the heated water through the coffee grounds with high pressure. This results in coffee with a very intense taste.

For some people, this taste is too strong and they will add water or milk to it. This is not a problem, but this means that the full flavor isn’t there anymore! There are a lot of espresso-based drinks like cappuccino, macchiato, latte, breve, and so on…

You can brew these drinks with super automatic espresso machines or budget espresso machines.

What is drip coffee?

Drip coffee is a traditional way of brewing coffee. Water is poured over the grounds that are put in a filter. The filter makes sure that the flavors and essentials parts for our brew get through and stops the grounds from getting into the brew.

With some built-in filters, grounds get through and can ruin our coffee experience.

This way of brewing coffee is very popular, especially at work and for large households.

The grind for drip coffee is coarser than espresso because you want to have the water be able to seep through. If it’s too fine, this can cause your coffee to be super acidic and bitter!

What are the 7 big differences?

We will dive deeper into 7 aspects of espresso coffee vs coffee.

Brewing method:

Espresso and drip coffee are 2 different ways of brewing coffee. We don’t say one brewing method is better or worse compared to the other. The result must be the same, aiming to brew yourself a great cup of coffee given the circumstances.


Drip coffee doesn’t require a lot of coffee gear to brew some good coffee. You can opt for the pour over method: you’ll need hot water, finely ground beans, a (paper) filter, and something to catch the brewed coffee in, mostly a carafe. You’re the boss about the process and experience will make you better. Aiming for even extraction is key!

You can also invest in a drip coffee maker, you have machines that brew you 4 cups per session. These are more convenient when compared to pour over. Read here more about pour over vs drip coffee.

Espresso requires an espresso machine to brew an espresso. There’s a wide range available from super automatic espresso machines and lower-budget espresso machines.

so basically you can brew coffee with no special equipment (pour over), require a small investment (drip coffee), or invest a bit more (espresso).

I mostly make espressos and have a decent 4-cup coffee maker as a backup plan. On the weekends I can opt for a simple pour over as this habit is relaxing for me.


When you brew coffee, you need to ensure a good extraction from your beans to get the most out of it for that great coffee experience.

With espresso, the hot water is shot through the fine grounds with a high-pressure pump (mostly 9 bars). The water is also heated in the machine itself so you don’t have to do a thing. It uses pressure.

When you’re brewing drip coffee, you simply pour the water over the grounds in a few cycles. During these, mostly 3, cycles you make sure all grounds are evenly saturated. You can do this manually as described above or with a coffee maker. The beans are extracted by gravity and of course more time.

Grind size:

As said before, espresso requires a very fine grind size as the water will be shot through the grounds. The finer the grounds, the less resistance there is. This results in a very intense taste.

Drip coffee requires a coarser grind size. This makes sure that the water can seep through to get most of the flavor out. The taste is great when you have an even extraction, meaning all the grounds are soaking in water for about the same amount of time.

When you use too fine or too coarse grounds you won’t get the best out of your beans, so tweak this to your liking and be consistent about it!

Caffeine content:

Is there more caffeine content in espresso when compared to brewed coffee?

They both have a lot of caffeine. Generally, brewed black coffee has more caffeine because of the higher amount of coffee. Espresso is very concentrated and can have in some cases the same amount of caffeine but mostly less. There are brewed black coffees that even have 2 times the amount of caffeine to espresso.

When you compare, please compare under the same circumstances. It depends on the types of beans you use (Arabica vs Robusta vs blends). Also, the roast type is very important.

Roasted beans:

So, the bean type is important as is its roast level. Espresso requires darker roasted beans because they need to be able to handle the high pressure that’s shot through them.

For brewed coffee, we can use lighter roasts with a medium, coarse grind size.

Please experiment and try with different beans and roasts to get the best experience for yourself.


Brewing coffee requires time, in some cases a lot of time. There are a few methods that shorten the drip coffee-making time.

Espresso needs to be made in about 20-30 seconds or less. Not much more because the espresso will pass through the grounds and end up very bitter.

Brewing times can vary from 2 minutes to 4 minutes for pour over! This is a very long time but makes sure the extraction is very even, which is essential in brewing!

Brewing time for drip coffee makers can vary from 3 minutes to more than 5 minutes.

Brewing durations of pour over or drip coffee makersare never as long as espresso brewing durations.


Is espresso stronger than coffee?

Yes and no. An espresso has can have half the amount of caffeine compared to a regular cup of drip coffee. Since we don’t drink the same amounts of espresso it’s no. But when you calculate the amount per ounce, of course, espresso wins.

Is espresso better for your stomach than coffee?

The longer the brewing time, the more stomach irritants and acidity there will be. It’s simple: the more you’re brewing, the more stomach irritants and acids you’re extracting from the beans. If you have stomach trouble, you can try coffee beans that are low on acids.

Can you make espresso with regular coffee?

You can make every type of coffee but the question is: how good will it be? We know that espresso requires finely ground coffee. When you use lighter roasted beans, they might not be able to cope with the high pressure, giving you a very sour and bad taste.

Which one is more expensive to make: espresso or drip coffee?

Definitely espresso. You’ll need coffee machines that can shoot water through the grounds at high pressure. When brewing drip coffee you just need coffee grounds, water, and something to catch the brew in. If you grind the beans yourself you might need a manual grinder.


Espresso vs coffee: which one is better? That’s a question that can’t be answered because it’s a personal matter. There’s a right fit for everyone. I like them both. Making yourself a nice espresso is an ideal change to drip coffee. Drip coffee is easy and practical, you brew a batch for multiple cups.

Drink what you like. I find it easy to start the day with drip coffee and make an espresso after my evening meal. This way I’ll avoid that my brewed coffee must sit out for more than a day.

Enjoy your coffee!