What Is The Difference Between Espresso And Coffee [Regular One]?

Before anything, let’s answer the difference between espresso and coffee.

Coffee (regular drip) is a brewed drink made from medium-ground coffee beans. Espresso is a type of coffee that is made by forcing steam through finely-ground coffee beans. Espresso has a thicker, more intense flavor than regular coffee (a.k.a drip coffee). Espresso is also higher in caffeine content.

People have been drinking coffee since the Industrial Revolution. As time went on, technological advances allowed people worldwide to brew coffee faster and in larger batches. By the 1950s, Nestle had invented instant coffee for convenience. There are now many different cups of coffee you can find on cafe menus around the world.

Today, there is a wide array of methods of brewing when you compare coffee vs. espresso. Though you can make both by extracting flavor from beans, both coffee and espresso have unique qualities and preparation methods.

Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

What Is Coffee?

We make coffee from the extract of medium-ground coffee beans grown all over the world. There are many brewing methods through drip methods, and there are many ingredients added to the mixtures of different coffee cups to make lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, iced coffee, and so on.

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is coffee created in an espresso machine. Espresso is typically served in a small glass and topped with a velvety thick and reddish-brown foam called crema. In Italy, espresso is the most common brewing method. Around the world, there are more than 50 million cups of espresso served every day.

What Is Espresso

Difference Between Coffee And Espresso

Though both coffees prepared through drip methods and coffee made from espresso machines require the same coffee beans. If you compare espresso vs coffee, you’ll find that their preparation methods and taste are quite different.

StyleDrip CoffeeEspresso
Standard Weight8 oz.1.5 oz.
Caffeine Amount95 mg.60 mg.
Grind SizeCoarse and FineFine
Brewing MethodsCoffee Machine, Pour Over,
French Press, Cold Brew
Espresso Machine
Contact Time with WaterCoffee Machine: 5 minutes
French Press: 2-4 minutes
Cold Brew: Overnight, or about 12 hours  
20-30 seconds

Grind Size

When baristas prepare any coffee, they typically grind the coffee beans down to specific sizes for a particular kind of coffee.

For coffee going through a drip method, you can grind the bean down to a coarser to medium grind level, depending on your preference. Coffee ground size favors different brewing methods like the pour-over method or the French press method. Having coarser or medium-ground beans in these processes will result in different-tasting coffee.

Difference Between Coffee And Espresso

For espressos, you’ll want to grind the coffee down to a very fine state. You want a finer grind level because espresso machines require you to create a coffee “cake” with your grinds, which means you will compact the coffee grinds into a tool for the espresso machine to use.

The right texture for the coffee cake is a fixed structure. The finer coffee grounds allow water to pass through the cake easily for a better cup of espresso.

Brewing Methods

Espresso requires the use of an espresso machine. When the coffee comes out from the hot water pressure, ideally you will have a caramel-colored coffee with crema on top.

For other coffee, you can use a drip method like a pour-over, a french press, or cold brew. In both cases, you will grind the coffee and expose it to water.

The water you add will pass through the coffee grinds held in a filter and into a cup through the pour-over method. After you add enough water, the cup will hold your cup of coffee.

In a French press, you will add water to your coffee grounds held in the press and then use it to separate the leftover coffee grounds from the drinkable coffee.

Finally, with the cold brew method, you will use a filter that holds the coffee underwater. You then place this mixture in your fridge overnight and drink the coffee the next day.

difference between espresso and coffee

Whether espresso or coffee, how fresh your beans are will play a role in how powerful your coffee flavors are. Grinding your coffee beans releases carbon dioxide, which can affect the taste. If your grinds are left too long in this state and exposed to air, you will lose a lot of the intended flavor in your coffee.

It’s best to grind your coffee beans for your cup of coffee as close as possible to the time you plan to brew your coffee. Grinding your coffee just before you make your cup minimizes your beans’ air exposure and carbon dioxide release.

Contact Time With Water

Between coffee and espressos, there are different amounts of time you should expose either to water. Most pour-over methods recommend just a few minutes of exposure before finishing the brewing method. When you make cold brew coffee, the exposure time will span about 12 hours or overnight.

With espressos, you have 20-30 seconds of contact time before the water damages the taste.

Cup And Caffeine Amount

A standard cup of coffee is 8 oz. This weight goes for all kinds of coffee recipes like lattes, cold brews, macchiatos, etc. On the other hand, when comparing the sizes of espresso vs. coffee–espressos are much smaller in size, but they contain a heavy caffeine amount.

When you compare caffeine in espresso vs coffee, you’ll find that an 8 oz. coffee cup has 95 mg of caffeine while an espresso contains 65 mg in just 1.5 oz. So, it’s obvious that espresso packs more caffeine punch than a regular-sized drip coffee.

Caffeine is a normal part of people’s diets. Coffee is a typical caffeine source for most people, but it is linked to some diseases. When you compare espresso vs coffee health, espressos have less caffeine than a standard coffee cup but still require caution.

People often use coffee to keep themselves awake, and focused, or to maintain a good mood. The downside is that too much coffee, be it espresso or regular coffee, can result in major health problems. Enjoy the coffee that you make but be careful about the amount you consume daily.


Both espresso and coffee contain the same kind of coffee beans. Their primary differences are in their preparation methods. Things like grind size, contact time with water, and brewing methods are all different when you compare espresso vs. coffee. Keep in mind that one is not necessarily better than the other; it’s more about what kind of cup you enjoy more.

Happy Brewing!

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