One question our baristas are often asked is “What is the difference between Espresso & Coffee?” It is an understandable question considering how subtle yet simple the answer is. A lot of the confusion regarding Espresso is because the North American Caffeine Culture is historically founded upon Coffee as the preferred morning go-to as opposed to other parts of the world where Espresso is a more predominant drink.
Espresso vs. Coffee
In essence, Espresso and Coffee are both brewed with the same beans but prepared in a different manner. The main differences in the preparation of Espresso is the grind, the equipment and the way that the equipment brews the beverage. Espresso requires beans to be ground extremely fine, almost to a powder. The fine grinds are placed into a part of the Espresso Machine Known as a Portafilter (pictured below) where highly pressurized boiling water is forced through during the brewing. The combination of fine grind and high pressure creates a stronger, darker, thicker and more concentrated beverage than standard drip coffee machines where gravity is relied upon to percolate water through the course grinds.
A Few Other Things to Keep in Mind
Some think that only Dark Roasted Coffee is suitable for Espresso. Although Dark Roast is almost standard it entirely depends upon an individual’s taste and preference. Another common misconception is that Espresso has more caffeine than Coffee. This is not true. A full cup of coffee (8-10 oz) has just a little bit more caffeine than the typical espresso (1.5-2 oz). However, the difference in volume and the way in which each beverage is consumed usually affects you differently. Coffee is sipped and drank slower than espresso where the drink is consumed quite rapidly. The high concentration of volume of the espresso does effect your Central Nervous System differently than a cup of joe will.