Real Good Blog.

Coffee vs. Espresso

Apr 22, 2021

If you’ve ever brewed drip coffee, you may have wondered whether you can make espresso with the same bean. It’s one of the most common questions we get at Real Good Coffee Co. The short answer is yes — but the process of brewing these two drinks looks a bit different.

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is simply a different way of brewing coffee beans. You can make espresso by using the hot water and high pressure of an espresso machine. The result is a smaller, more intense-tasting beverage than a cup of drip coffee.

With its more concentrated flavor, espresso is a popular base for drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. The strong coffee flavor can stand up to added flavors and extra milk. That said, espresso is also popular on its own.

The Differences Between Coffee and Espresso

Whether you’re considering drip coffee or a shot of espresso, you’re drinking caffeine. Espresso is more concentrated and has more caffeine per ounce. However, it’s also served in smaller shots.

An 8-ounce mug of drip coffee can contain 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine depending on how it’s made. Espresso has 47 to 64 milligrams of caffeine for every 1-ounce shot.

Espresso and coffee are not actually roasted differently. Both are made from coffee beans, although some whole beans are labeled “espresso roast.” This label is often more about marketing than anything else. There is no special espresso variety of coffee that is different than what ends up in your average cup of joe. Some brands do label their darker roasts as espresso to refer to the darker and richer taste, but there's no standard.

The Espresso Grinding and Brewing Process

The way you grind your coffee does make a difference when it comes to espresso. When you use a coffee maker, a French press, or a pour-over method of making a cup of joe, your beans end up with a coarse texture. An espresso machine grinds the beans very finely.

The brewing process for espresso is also unique. With a standard coffee machine, the water passes through the beans slowly. With a French press, the coffee beans can sit in the water for some time. An espresso machine pushes the water through quickly and with high pressure. That's why it's important to grind the beans so finely. This brewing process creates the distinctive, strong taste of espresso and the thin layer of brownish crema at the top.

If you have an espresso maker at home and want to brew your own, start with quality coffee. If you’re concentrating the flavor by making an espresso, you’ll appreciate the higher quality and better taste.

Find Your Perfect Blend at Real Good Coffee Co

At Real Good Coffee Company, we sell coffee pods and whole beans so you can make your brew however you want. Grind your beans coarsely for a classic cup of drip coffee or extra fine for the perfect shot of espresso. With 100% Arabica beans, you're sure to love the result either way.