The Difference Between Coffee And Espresso

The Difference Between Coffee And Espresso

It’s all about the roast!

The difference between a coffee and an espresso is not in the beans used for it, but simply in the roast. Both Robusta and Arabica beans are used to prepare both drinks. However, the roasting time for beans for an espresso is longer. You can tell at first glance by the much darker color of the bean image. Depending on the degree of roasting, the beans are shiny or rather matte.

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Espresso, the drink made from “squeezed out” beans: the secret lies in the roast

Espresso means “expressed”. It does not matter whether this process is used for preparation with Robusta or Arabica beans. The later processing in the form of roasting alone decides whether the beans are served as espresso or coffee. The beans for espresso roast a little less than 20 minutes, while for drum roasting they only need about 13 minutes of the roasting process. From a purely visual point of view, espresso beans are also much darker and have a shiny surface, as the oils and fats contained in the beans become visible during roasting.
If the roast is stopped at this point, these beans will retain their shine. However, when roasting for a longer period of time, the fats evaporate, leaving a matt, dark surface. Espresso beans also contain fewer acids than beans for making coffee, because the longer raw coffee beans are roasted, the more of the acids they contain are broken down, one reason for the popularity of espresso.

Espresso, its caffeine content and other details worth knowing

Espresso is famous for its high coffee concentration and the associated intense taste. Coffee and espresso differ not only in terms of roasting, but also in terms of preparation .

Espresso is produced under particularly high pressure, as the water must flow through the previously pressed coffee grounds at a pressure of at least 9 bar. Because of this high pressure, paper filters are never used to prepare the drink, as they cannot withstand it. The particularly fine espresso flour is compressed so tightly that the water could hardly seep through without the high pressure. The temperature of the water must be between 88 degrees Celsius and 94 degrees Celsius. A sieve is used for the preparation of espresso, which brings out the strong and aromatic oils of the grist and thus ensures the delicious taste. The preparation of coffee on the other hand, this takes place without this particularly high pressure, whereby a higher water temperature between 92 degrees Celsius and 96 degrees Celsius is required for this production.

Coffee and espresso

Compared to the production of coffee, the brewing process for an espresso must be significantly shorter. The reason for the shorter contact with the water lies in the significantly finer degree of grinding, which enables a more effective extraction of all substances. During the preparation of the coffee, only 17 percent of the substances are extracted, compared with around 24 percent in the case of espresso. The processing time for an espresso should ideally be around 25 seconds for 30ml, otherwise bitter substances will dissolve; With a shorter processing time, however, the espresso does not develop its delicious aroma.

Video: This video explains in detail the difference between coffee and espresso.

The caffeine content

Due to the stronger taste of an espresso, the wrong assumption is often made that it contains more caffeine than a cup of coffee. In fact, espresso contains far less caffeine, half as much as a cup of coffee. One reason for this is the longer roasting times espresso beans are exposed to. In addition, a cup of this drink usually only has 25 to 30 ml of liquid. Even if the amount of caffeine in espresso is lower than in coffee, the concentration is higher, which is due to the coffee grounds used in relation to the water. However, assuming the usual consumption quantities (a cup of espresso usually contains 25 ml, whereas a cup of coffee in America is 118 ml!), the caffeine content of the espresso is ultimately lower.

Read the following article about the best coffee beans:

Which coffee beans for the fully automatic machine?


The significant difference between espresso and coffee lies in the roasting and preparation. The type of beans, whether robusta or arabica, does not matter.

  • The roasting time for espresso is a little less than 20 minutes.
  • The roasting time for coffee takes about 13 minutes.
  • Ultimately, the caffeine content of espresso is lower than that of coffee.