Espresso v. Black Coffee: What’s the Difference

Justin Goldstein • June 06, 2022 • 2 min read

Espresso v. Black Coffee: What’s the Difference

Are espresso and coffee the same thing? Well, the answer is both yes and no. First things first, all espresso is coffee but not all coffee is espresso. I’ll let that sink in. While an espresso-based drink like an Americano or long black might look indiscernible from your black coffee, they are certainly not the same thing. In the past few decades, the rise in popularity and affinity for espresso across the U.S. has caused more confusion than ever before between espresso and coffee and I’m here to give you some much needed clarity.  

Are Espresso Beans Different From Coffee Beans?

I’ll clear up a common misconception among novice coffee drinkers. There is no such thing as an espresso bean. All coffee beans can be prepared as espresso or coffee. Traditionally, one might expect a more developed roast profile for espresso, something on the medium to dark end of the spectrum, but that is not always the case. In fact, in our increasingly sophisticated specialty coffee world, we see a growing desire for lighter roasts and single-origin espressos. The tides are changing and the once defined lines between espresso and coffee traditions are starting to blur.

How is Espresso Made Differently Than Coffee?

coffee grind

Espresso and coffee differ in terms of preparation. Espresso requires a very fine grind and high pressure of water to extract a small 1-2 oz. drink in about 20-30 seconds. Coffee on the other hand uses a coarser grind size and less pressure to brew a larger volume of liquid in a matter of minutes, not seconds. The results from the same coffee beans can be drastically different from one another.

How Do Coffee and Espresso Taste Difference From One Another?

The difference in taste between coffee and espresso is the result of their unique brew methods. The quick concentrated extraction of an espresso shot produces a far stronger and bolder drink than your slower, less concentrated drip coffee. If you want to taste more flavor nuance and enjoy your drink over a longer period of time, I would opt for coffee but if you want a flavor punch in the mouth and want to get straight to business, go espresso.

Which is Better?

Bruvi brewer with espresso

This is a simple question to answer. The best coffee is whichever is in your cup at this very moment!

Know, you can switch seamlessly between espresso and coffee with your Bruvi® brewer,  so you can  get the best of both worlds at the touch of a button. 

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