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Espresso and Coffee: What’s the Difference

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While both espresso and coffee have their similarities – they both have caffeine and both taste delicious – they are some notable differences. Despite what you may think, there are no separate plants or beans that produce espresso. The beans used to make espresso are either a specific type of coffee bean or a blend of multiple different coffee beans.

The main difference of the two comes from how each is prepared. Also, espresso is served in a small serving size, has a higher caffeine level and has a more full-bodied flavor than drip coffee. Here we dive further into how each is prepared and consumed.

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is a basic brewing method that is easy to understand. You measure out coffee (drip makers require a medium size ground) according to the brew pot size. After placing the grounds in the filter, hot water is pulsated over the grounds to extract the flavor of the beans. When all the water runs through the filter, a pot of coffee awaits you.

While espresso shots are made to drink immediately after, coffee made from drip machines can last up to two hours in the pot. Just make sure the burner is still on to ensure that your morning cup of joe is at the perfect temperature.

Those who drink drip coffee usually add some combination of milk, cream and sugar to their mug. However, there are some individuals who prefer to drink the coffee black. Unlike shots of espresso, people do linger over their brew.

Espresso

As you can probably assume by the name, espresso is coffee that is prepared for immediate consumption. Unlike drip coffee, you prepare this cup on the spot, rather than making a pot (or multiple cups) at a time.What sets it apart from other types of coffee, is that espresso in a complex drink with distinct flavors and aromas.Since it is made to be consumed one shot or ounce at a time, many people believe espresso is the purest way to enjoy the flavors and aroma of coffee.

Espresso is made by forcing hot water under high pressure through very finely ground coffee. The hot water travels through the ground coffee extremely fast, at around 15 to 20 seconds. Any longer and the shot will lose its taste and look. There are three main parts of a good espresso shot – the heart is the bottom, which is always the darkest part of the shot.  The middle layer is referred to as the body and the top layer is the crema. This is a creamy layer that floats on top of the shot that is created from the high pressure.

How Do You Take Your Espresso

Making a great espresso is no easy task. It requires patience, effort and a quality espresso machine. But that’s not to say it can’t be done! To hone in on your skill for crafting the perfect espresso drink, try brewing some of these popular drinks below:

  1. Cappuccino – Easily one of the most popular espresso drinks. Constructed correctly, the cup should be equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk.
  1. Café Au Lait – The French sure know how to dress up a regular cup of coffee. This simple yet delicious drink just adds steamed, hot milk instead of cold to a regular ol cup of joe.
  1. Mocha – If you have a sweet tooth this one is for you! With half espresso, half chocolate, and 1 ounce of steamed milk makes this drink velvety smooth.
  1. Macchiato – A traditional macchiato consists of a shot or two of espresso with a dollop of foamed milk. At big coffee chains, you will most likely receive regular milk in the drink and an assortment of sweet flavors to chose from.
  1. Latte – Latte, translated, means milk, and that is because the popular drink if full of it! Its three parts – one shot of espresso, 10 ounces of steamed milk, and slightly less than an ounce of foamed milk.
  1. The Noisette – The hybrid child of the macchiato and latte, this drink is half shot of espresso and half hot milk.
  1. Americano – This is the espresso drink for those who want to savor the flavor. It’s just a shot of espresso with about twice the amount of water added to it.
  1. Shot of Espresso – A small shot of caffeine, usually about an ounce. You can opt to add a shot to coffee drinks, but the traditional way is to drink the shot out of a small cup. Some people also double up on the shots of espresso.
  1. Doppio – A double shot of espresso. That’s right about 2 ounces of caffeine.
  1. Ristretto – Extremely concentrated espresso shot.
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