Espresso and coffee are two of the most popular drinks in the world, but they are also often misunderstood and confused with one another. In this post, we will explore the key differences between these two drinks and what sets them apart.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that espresso is a type of coffee, but not all coffee is espresso. Espresso is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee under high pressure. This process produces a concentrated shot of coffee with a rich, bold flavor, creamy, velvety texture, and a little extra on top called the crema. The result is a smaller serving of coffee that packs a powerful punch, with a bold and intense flavor that is perfect for those who enjoy a strong, concentrated coffee experience.
On the other hand, coffee is a broader term that encompasses many different brewing methods, including drip coffee, pour over, and French press. Unlike espresso, coffee is made by steeping ground coffee in hot water, which results in a larger serving of coffee that is less concentrated and has a milder flavor. The taste of coffee can vary greatly depending on the type of beans used, the roast, and the brewing method, but it is generally considered to be a milder and smoother drink than espresso.
While any type of coffee bean can technically be used to make espresso, some beans are better suited to the espresso brewing process than others. Espresso requires a coffee bean with a certain level of acidity, body, and flavor intensity in order to produce a quality shot.
Traditionally, espresso is made using a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. Arabica beans are known for their smooth, sweet, and balanced flavor, while Robusta beans are known for their bold and bitter flavor. By blending these two types of beans, espresso roasters can create a coffee that has the right balance of acidity, body, and flavor intensity for the espresso brewing process.
Some coffee aficionados argue that espresso should be made using only 100% Arabica beans, as Robusta beans are considered to be of a lower quality and can produce a bitter and unbalanced flavor in espresso. However, many others believe that the addition of Robusta beans to the espresso blend is what gives it the bold and robust flavor that is so prized.
Ultimately, the type of coffee bean used to make espresso is a matter of personal preference, and many different types of beans can be used to make a quality shot of espresso. Whether you prefer a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, or a single origin Arabica bean, the important thing is to find a bean that is well-suited to the espresso brewing process and that produces a shot that you enjoy.
Another key difference between espresso and coffee is the way they are prepared. Espresso machines are specifically designed to produce a concentrated shot of coffee, and the process of making espresso is much more involved than simply brewing a pot of coffee. Espresso machines require a high level of skill and precision, and baristas (at home and in the shop) must know how to use them in order to produce a quality shot of espresso that isn’t too bitter tasting.
In contrast, coffee can be made using a variety of different brewing methods and equipment and requires far less skill and precision. From a simple coffee maker to a manual pour over setup, coffee can be made with ease and can be customized to suit individual preferences.
Espresso and coffee are two distinct drinks that offer their own unique experiences. Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee with a bold and intense flavor, while coffee is a milder, smoother drink that is available in a variety of different brewing methods. Whether you prefer espresso or coffee, both drinks have their own unique charms and offer something for everyone.