Sipping on an exceptional shot  of espresso or cup of coffee can turn any dull moment into one worth savoring. There are those days when a well-made  latte hits the spot, while some mornings scream black coffee.

Drip coffee  and espresso are among the most popular drinks globally. We’re here to highlight the key differences between them. Espresso is  concentrated coffee with an intense, bold flavor and thick, creamy texture, while drip coffee is not concentrated, and as such is much smoother and milder. Here's a comprehensive outline of the two drinks.

Are Espresso Beans Different From Coffee Beans?

Many coffee lovers ask if espresso beans are different from coffee beans.  While any “espresso” roast can be used as drip coffee and any coffee, not marked as “espresso,” can be pulled as espresso, roast level can make a difference subjectively in the final flavor profile.

You can technically use coffee beans to make espresso and vice versa. However, the result may not be optimal depending on the flavor profile you are looking for — using beans roasted specifically for espresso to make drip coffee can result in an overly strong or bitter brew if the espresso roast profile is darker. Consequently, using beans not roasted specifically for espresso  to make espresso may result in a shot lacking the intensity or boldness typically associated with espresso.

Various factors go into pulling espresso, and using the right beans specifically tailored to your specific taste preferences usually yields the best results. The same applies for regular coffee.

Does Espresso Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

A big factor that influences caffeine is the serving size. Typically, espresso has more caffeine per ounce compared to coffee because it is more concentrated than drip coffee. Espresso has an estimated 63 milligrams of caffeine per ounce compared to the 12-16 milligrams of caffeine per ounce found in coffee. But very few people, if any, take 1 ounce of coffee. In fact, most coffee drinkers on average consume  at least eight times that amount.

Therefore, depending on the coffee beans and extraction method,, an 236.6 mL (8 oz) coffee cup could contain between 96 and 128 milligrams of caffeine. Drinking  a second cup of coffee could easily mean intaking up to three times the caffeine in an espresso shot, depending also on dose size.

How Is Espresso Different From Coffee?

So, what's the difference between coffee and espresso? This segment highlights the more pronounced differences, including brewing method, flavor, roast level, and serving size of espresso and coffee drip.

Brewing Method

Most people are familiar with the coffee making process. There are a few ways home brewers can go about it, with the more popular options including French press or drip coffee.

Home espresso machines are also becoming more affordable and are imperative to making espresso at home. True espresso can't be prepared with a regular coffee pot because of the high pressure required to push the water through the grounds in order to extract flavor and create espresso texture. You also need a grinder that can achieve a fine enough grind for espresso, typically much finer than standard grind settings used for drip coffee or other lower pressure brew methods.


Another difference between espresso and coffee lies in flavor and texture. A shot of espresso produces a richer, bolder flavor and a thicker texture than a cup of drip coffee because espresso is pulled (brewed) at higher pressure and generally pulled through a metal filter instead of a paper or cloth filter. Therefore, none of the espresso beans' flavor-filled oils are soaked up by the filter. In contrast, drip coffee is less intense, and the paper filter used in brewing coffee soaks up  some of the oils, resulting in a difference in taste.

Roast Level

Espresso and coffee beans can differ in roast level. Typically, coffees marked with “espresso” in the name or on the bag tend to be roasted slightly darker for a more rich, bold flavor profile. Again, it is not required to use “espresso” roasts to pull espresso!

Serving Size

Another difference between espresso and coffee beans is the serving size. An average drip coffee cup is 236.6 mL (8 oz), while a typical espresso shot is only 29.6 mL (1 oz) because it has a more concentrated flavor than brewed coffee. Because of its small serving size, espresso is often mixed with steamed milk in drinks like lattes or cappuccinos. While drip coffee and milk are also a great combination (cafe au lait, anyone?), the ratio of milk to drip coffee vs. milk to espresso in espresso-based drinks is very different.

What Type of Equipment Do You Need for Coffee vs. Espresso?

Pulling  delicious t espresso or brewing great coffee is an art form that requires the right equipment and techniques. It’s important that home brewers have the appropriate equipment to enjoy a well-brewed cup of coffee or a flavorful, balanced espresso shot.

Below, we outline the necessary equipment needed for coffee and espresso brewing to help home brewers craft their favorite brews with precision and enjoyment.

Coffee Equipment

Here are just some of the coffee equipment you might need to brew the perfect cup:

  • Precision coffee maker
  • Quality coffee beans
  • French press
  • Coffee storage
  • Milk steamer or frother
  • Kettle
  • Coffee filters
  • Coffee scale
  • Espresso Equipment

    For those who enjoy rich, intense espresso flavors, the right equipment can help you achieve a café-quality experience at home.

  • Espresso machine
  • Grinder
  • Coffee
  • Tamper
  • Portafilter
  • Espresso towel
  • Timer
  • Steam wand
  • Coffee scale
  • Most coffee brewing equipment tends to be more straightforward and varied in methods. However, espresso equipment requires more precision and specialized machinery because of the higher pressure involved in the brewing process.

    Still, brewers can explore and savor the nuances of their favorite drip coffee vs. espresso beverages, creating drinks tailored to their preferences.

    Is Espresso Better Than Coffee?

    Espresso vs drip coffee is  more a matter of personal preference. Some coffee drinkers prefer the more powerful jolt that an espresso shot delivers, while others find greater pleasure in sipping a higher volume cup of drip coffee. Ultimately,  the choice between the two is subjective as they’re quite different but deliver similar amounts of caffeine.