Why Some People Think Coffee Is More Popular Than Espresso In The US

To some people, coffee and espresso are interchangeable, but brewing connoisseurs know that the two are very different in nature, and some prefer one over the other. As examined in The Spruce Eats, many of your favorite drinks, whether it be a cappuccino or syrup-laden latte, feature espresso as the star of the show. But you won't find that when you're sipping on something like a cold brew, cafe au lait, or even your favorite diner's house drip — that's because this is where coffee makes an appearance.

If you taste some similarities — or to the untrained palette (aka most of us) taste no difference at all between the two — it makes sense. Both are made of coffee beans, after all. Their nuances boil down to how they're made and prepared. In simplified terms, espresso beans take longer to roast and they're ground to a much finer consistency (via My Recipes). 

But differences aside, there is also major contrast between continents and what their citizens prefer to drink. In the United States, it seems many people believe coffee is the go-to preference, rather than espresso. While it could simply be a qualitative observation, there is some truth behind it.

Why Americans prefer coffee to espresso

While most coffee shops all across the globe go heavy on espresso-based drinks, it seems that Americans prefer (or at least talk about) coffee more than espresso in comparison to Europeans. Why is this? While there are a few reasons, Perfect Daily Grind breaks it down to the preference for ease and accessibility in the States. Everything from drive-thrus to quick convenience shops are American strongholds, so it makes sense that coffee — the quicker drink to prepare — would gain more popularity.

Several Reddit users also took to a forum to confer about why there's such a big cultural difference. They ended up coming to the conclusion that cost was also an important factor. Stopping by your local cafe for a macchiato or purchasing an at-home espresso maker is far more expensive than whipping up a cup of joe with a classic drip coffee maker or a pour over set from the comfort of your kitchen. It's not just these things, though, the setting in which we enjoy our caffeinated drink of choice matters, too. 

Umeko Motoyoshim of Umeshiso explained to Perfect Daily Grind, "There's usually an emphasis on coffee at home and in the office in the US. In Europe, however, we see a culture of heavily enjoying coffee at cafes." So depending where you grew up, you may have a very different mindset when it comes to sipping on a cappuccino or cold brew than your friend across the pond.