The Real Difference Between Espresso And Black Coffee

While many people enjoy a nice hot cup of energizing coffee in the morning, not everyone is aware of the many different types of coffee out there. From dark Italian blends to lighter beans with a sweeter, fruity note, the world of coffee is full of variety. But flavor is only one of the ways in which coffee beverages differ from one another. Different types of coffee beans, preparation, and brew methods all change the coffee drinking experience, but perhaps one of the biggest distinctions is the difference between espresso and coffee.

Although both provide an energizing pick-me-up with a wide selection of flavor varieties, espresso and coffee aren't exactly the same thing. However, both espresso and coffee beans do come from the same source, since all coffee beans are products of the Coffea plant, according to Home Grounds. It's the roasting, grinding, preparing, and brewing methods that set an espresso drink apart from a cup of black coffee.

Espresso beans are finely ground and roasted for a longer period of time, and so they tend to have a richer, more intense flavor than drip coffee, according to Eldorado Coffee. It's prepared using highly pressurized hot water, which delivers a stronger, more concentrated flavor when it passes through the ground espresso beans.

Espresso is a richer, more concentrated beverage

Because of its higher concentration, a small amount of espresso also delivers a fairly high energy boost, with a typical 1.5 ounce shot of the drink containing between 60 and 80 milligrams of caffeine, per Home Grounds. A small shot of concentrated espresso is typically used as the main ingredient in foamed milk drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, per All Recipies.

While drip coffee is not as concentrated, it can certainly deliver a caffeinated punch. In fact, an average cup of coffee can deliver as little as 70 to as much as 140 milligrams of caffeine in one eight ounce cup, depending on the type of bean used, according to Home Grounds. Drip coffee also tends to have a mellower flavor, and the preparation method is simpler. To prepare a cup of regular black coffee, hot water is poured over coffee grounds, which are typically roasted for a shorter amount of time, at a lower rate of pressure and speed. The end result is a drink that is lighter, less concentrated, and a little more acidic than an espresso, per Eldorado Coffee.

So if you prefer a darker, richer flavor, then you might prefer to grab an espresso or espresso-based drink, such as a latte or a cappuccino. However, if you just want to enjoy a regular old cup of Joe with a little less intense taste, then drip coffee is probably the way to go.