What Is the Difference Between Espresso and Coffee Beans?

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What do people turn to when they need a morning pick-me-up or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Of course, coffee! This delightful beverage delivers an immediate energy boost, is the most traditional reason for a break, and is readily adapted to every palette. There is a cup of joe for everyone, whether you prefer your coffee gently roasted or black, sweetened with sugar or served with a frothy milk topping.

Espresso is one of the most popular beverages. But what exactly is that little cup of black, inky liquid? More significantly, what is the difference between espresso and coffee? We’re going to embark on an adventure with espresso beans, coffee beans, and everything in between!

What Do You Mean…Beans?

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: What’s the Difference?

While they seem like other beans and legumes, the tiny little beans that provide us with such a delicious beverage are not in the bean family at all. A coffee bean is the seed that is collected from the fruits of specific coffea plant species, known as coffee cherries. Each coffee cherry normally includes two coffee beans, which are green in their natural condition.

When it comes to coffee, two bean varietals stand out: arabica beans and robusta beans.

Arabica Coffee Beans

Arabica beans are the most valuable coffee beans due to their delightfully high acidity and flowery, round taste. A cup of arabica bean coffee has a smooth texture and is more expensive than other coffees.

Robusta Coffee Beans

Robusta beans, on the other hand, are far less expensive than arabica beans, owing in part to their ease of production. Most robusta bean coffee has a stronger flavor, is less flowery, and has up to twice as much caffeine than arabica.

How Are Espresso Beans and Coffee Beans Different?

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: What’s the Difference?

The fact is that every kind of coffee bean may be prepared as espresso, although there are certain fundamental features that make some beans more suited for espresso than others. When it comes to espresso bean coffee, certain kinds of roast and grind are significant, but the only fundamental distinction between espresso and coffee is, simply stated, how it is prepared. We’ll get to it later, but first, let’s start at the beginning: the roasting of the beans!

Espresso beans vs. Coffee Beans: The Roast

What is the purpose of roasting coffee? Because this is what gives it its coffee flavor! Roasting coffee beans has the same effect as caramelizing sugar or toasting bread in that it brings out the natural tastes of the food.

Because typical coffee beans are green in their natural form, we must resort to the roasting process to obtain those aromatic and more rich colours of tan, brown, and even practically black.

In general, roasted coffee beans are classified into three types:

Light Roast Coffee Beans

Light roast coffee beans are dark tan to light brown in color and have a very mild taste, as one would assume. Coffee made from light-roasted beans has a low amount of bitterness but a high level of acidity. Light roast is sometimes used to make white coffee, which is a very pale, delightfully mellow cup of joe!

Medium Roast Coffee Beans

Medium roasted beans have a lighter to medium brown hue, a more fragrant scent, and a stronger taste than lighter roasts, but lack the bitterness of deeper roasts. The beans stay oil-free on the lighter side of medium roast, but on the higher end of medium roast, the beans get heated enough to begin releasing oils. These oils give the surface of the roasted beans a gloss and provide body to the final cup of brewed coffee.

Dark Roast Coffee Beans

The grilled meals of the coffee world are dark roast coffee beans. The charred marks on grilled steaks that we adore offer the same amount of taste to coffee beans. While the goal is not to scorch the beans (burnt coffee=bad coffee), the goal is to maximize flavor development. Dark roasted beans will have an oily luster and as much caramelization as possible. The beans have burnt off most of their acidity and become extremely bitter at this phase, giving in a heavier, stronger-tasting cup of coffee.

This is the most common location for espresso-roasted coffee. Most espresso beans are just dark roasted coffee beans that have been verified to have the appropriate degree of taste and oil content for preparation as espresso.

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: The Grind

The coffee beans are crushed into grinds after they have been roasted, making the taste more available to the hot water that will follow.

powdered coffee may vary from extra-coarse grind, which has the consistency of coarsely powdered black peppercorns, to extra-fine grind, which has the consistency of a delicate powder. The logic for such a diverse selection of coffee grinds is that each kind is best suited to a certain brewing process (more on that later) in order to get the highest amount of flavor extraction from the grounds themselves.

As a result, there is still another significant difference between espresso beans and coffee beans: grind size! Because there are several brewing techniques for coffee, the variety of coffee grinds is also extensive. Espresso, on the other hand, is brewed using a single process that only works with finely ground coffee.

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: The Brewing

This brings us to the third, and most important, distinction between espresso beans and coffee beans: the brewing process. The ordinary cup of coffee contains 6-8 fluid ounces, however espresso is often served in a power packed shot! A regular shot of espresso provides around the same amount of caffeine as a standard cup of coffee while being just about 1-2 fluid ounces in size.

Whether you’re preparing espresso or coffee, the first brew always has just two ingredients: coffee grinds and water. When it comes to flavor extraction, the apparent simplicity conceals the underlying amount of intricacy required. When it comes to brewing techniques, there are a plethora of options to choose from in order to obtain that flawlessly made cup of coffee. The list goes on and on, from drip coffee (hello, Mr. Coffee!) to apercolator to cowboy coffee or the French press.

Making espresso, on the other hand, is dependent on a single brewing method: the espresso machine. An espresso machine operates by pumping hot, pressured water through densely packed grounds and into a waiting vessel below. Because the hot water only comes into touch with the packed grounds for around 30 seconds, the high pressure is required to extract as much rich flavor as possible in such a short period of time. This is why finely ground coffee is essential for creating espresso, since it gives the largest surface area for quick flavor extraction.

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew is in a league of its own! Cold brew coffee, unlike other coffee brewing techniques, is made without the use of heat. Coarse-ground coffee is often used for cold brew because the lower surface area allows for a gradual and simple flavor extraction procedure. The grounds are blended with water and steeped for 8 hours or overnight in a refrigerated setting or at room temperature, resulting in a softer and somewhat sweet cup of coffee.

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: The Flavor

There will always be a taste difference between espresso and coffee, regardless of the quality of roast, size of grind, or method of brewing.

The resultant shot of espresso will be more concentrated in taste than a standard cup of coffee produced with the same beans due to the brewing under pressure that happens inside an espresso machine. The fact that espresso is often produced with dark roast coffee beans adds to the depth of toasted flavor, intensity of flavor, and heavy mouthfeel provided by those oil-rich beans.

While a cup of coffee may taste robust and be full-bodied, it will never be nearly as powerful as espresso owing to the amount of concentration. Furthermore, espresso has a less acidic flavor than normal coffee. This is useful to know if you feel stomach distress after drinking a cup of coffee; acidity might be to fault! If you change your roast level or brewing procedure, you can find some sweet respite.

Popular Coffee Drinks

Have you ever felt overwhelmed when scanning the menu at your favorite coffee shop? So many different coffee beverages, and almost never with explanations! With our caf cheat sheet, we’ve got your back, providing a fast and dirty rundown of all the most typical espresso beverages and coffee mixtures.


An americano is a shot of espresso topped with hot water, giving you all the rich taste of espresso but with a little less strength. Depending on personal choice, an americano may be lightened with milk or half and half.


A macchiato is a basic drink that begins with a shot of espresso and ends with a thin coating of foamed milk. The milk softens the flavor of the espresso while keeping it significantly more intense than other forms of espresso beverages.


A cappuccino begins with a shot of espresso, is topped with an equal quantity of steamed milk, and is then topped with an equal amount of foamed milk. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle some cinnamon on top!


Alatte is quite similar to cappuccino in that it has the same three fundamental ingredients: espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. In the case of a latte, however, the espresso shot is mixed with more steamed milk than in a cappuccino, and the whole beverage is topped with a smaller topping of foamed milk.


A cortado is made by combining espresso and heated milk. If desired, a dollop of foamed milk may be added to the cortado, however this is not usually the case.

Final Thoughts on Espresso Beans and Coffee Beans

While espresso and coffee beans are made from the same beans, they have quite distinct qualities from the roast to the grind and all the way through the brew! The only real difference is that espresso is made using a pressure machine, which provides a concentrated cup of java, while coffee is made using other ways.

However, when it comes to preparing coffee in your kitchen, there are no rules! You may surely use any beans labeled as espresso beans in any other brewing technique, and you can also use any sort of normal coffee beans in an espresso machine. Just bear in mind that the tastes may not provide the desired results, but hey, that’s half the joy of trying new things, isn’t it? Enjoy your coffee!


Do coffee and espresso use different beans?

While it is a frequent misperception that Espresso beans and Drip beans are not the same, they are. Any kind of coffee bean may be used with any type of brewing apparatus. In reality, the only thing that distinguishes an espresso is that it was made using an espresso machine.

Why can you eat espresso beans but not coffee beans?

You certainly can. Espresso coffee beans are just normal coffee beans that have been roasted to an espresso roast, which is generally roasted hotter and for a longer period of time – a dark roast. Alternatively, a bag of beans that the roaster suggests brewing using an espresso machine to get out the greatest taste.

How is espresso different from coffee?

WHAT DIFFERS ESPRESSO FROM COFFEE? Because of the lower grounds-to-water ratio, finer grind, and pressured brewing process, espresso is richer and more potent than coffee. To extract the final brew, regular coffee requires a coarser grind, more water, and gravity.

Are espresso beans smaller than coffee beans?

It turns out that espresso and normal coffee beans are identical. If you’re wondering why they’re labeled differently, it’s because they’re best suited for various brewing methods. The roaster’s advice to label beans as espresso is how to best eat the coffee.

What happens if you put regular coffee beans in an espresso machine?

Regular espresso beans, no matter how wonderful they are, may not yield the type of brew you anticipate in a “perfect shot.” Some kinds are excessively pale, while others are too burnt or black. Espresso Basics for Beginners | Homemade Espresso Recipe!

Does the type of bean matter for espresso?

Conclusion. Espresso and coffee beans are interchangeable. When specialized roasters write “espresso blend” or “drip blend,” it’s just the brew technique the roaster believes will bring out the best in the taste profile. Coffee is a question of personal taste and preference—do what you want and brew coffee the way you want it.

Do espresso beans taste like coffee?

Because espresso is roasted, ground, and brewed differently from drip coffee, it has a distinct taste. It has a stronger, less acidic flavor with a well-rounded, full-bodied finish. It tastes “stronger,” which means it has a strong coffee flavor.

Is eating espresso beans healthy?

Yes, espresso beans are nutritious. They contain antioxidants and have been demonstrated to aid cognitive performance.

Can I eat coffee beans for caffeine?

Coffee beans are safe to eat, but should not be ingested in large quantities. They’re high in antioxidants and caffeine, which may give you more energy and reduce your risk of some illnesses. However, too many may have unfavorable side effects.

Is espresso just pure coffee?

Espresso is a concentrated coffee that is given in shots. It just has two ingredients: finely ground, 100% coffee and hot water.

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