What’s The Difference Between Normal Coffee and Espresso?

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If you are a caffeine enthusiast with an undying love for its stimulation, then you might have an unsettling nerve on what the difference between normal coffee and espresso is. Many outlets offer the two products without restraint and with dietary concerns and preferential tastes, the concerns on the differences are on the rise.

The fact that the beans used for normal coffee and espresso are the same makes the conversation even more interesting. Most people use coffee as the generic term for both beverages. With more than 65% of people indulging in both muses on a daily basis, we seek to comprehend the differences between normal coffee and espresso.

  Difference Between Coffee and Espresso

1.  The Type of Grind

The biggest difference between normal coffee and espresso lies in the manner in which the products are prepared. Although both normal coffee and espresso can be prepared by the same coffee beans, depending on your choice, the type of grind gives the physical attributes of the two distinct products.  Normal coffee is ground into particles of medium coarseness and takes a few minutes of preparation for a fresh cup of coffee to be made.

Espresso on the other hand uses a lot of pressure for 20-30 seconds for a fine texture.  The rigorous process involved in the making of espresso is of precision as with every change, the impact on the quality of your cup is felt. For the finely ground size, a good grinder is a prerequisite to the making of a magnificent cup of espresso. Consequently, the coffee yielded is a thicker beverage that is authentically rich.

 2. Roasting

In addition to grinding, coffee beans once harvested are still tender for brewing. Although the color changes from green to pale green through the harvest, the beans are subjected to roasting for a more refined and compact texture.  You will be keen to notice the difference between coffee and espresso in terms of roasting. 

Coffee beans for espresso:

  • Are subjected to longer periods of roasting.
  • This brings about a dark appearance that is alluring to the eye.
  • For this dark roast, one should use milk for an immersive experience. 
  • The dark roast leads to low acidity levels evidenced in espresso.

For normal coffee,

  • The roast is lighter
  •  Milk is not a mandatory requirement when making a pour-over.
  •  It is the light roast that showcases the brighter nature of normal coffee that has been prepared.

 3. Brewing

Another major difference between normal coffee and espresso is in the brewing technique employed. For normal coffee,

  • Hot water is used to extract the coffee.
  • Alternatively, one can boil the contents through a percolator, a French press, or a drip coffee maker before serving.
  • For the final beverage, a filter is used with the brewing process taking a few minutes to half an hour.

 For espresso,

  • A special espresso machine is used in its brewing.
  • The brewing normally takes about 20 seconds for one or two shots of espresso.
  • For the resulting beverage, the temperature and pressure have to be maintained by the machine.
  • Espresso forms with froth that is referred to as crema.
  • This brewing method results in the emulsification of oils explaining the dark mahogany color present in espresso.

 4. Depth of Flavor 

Are you keen on choice depending on flavor? Normal coffee is restricted in terms of flavor with phytic and tannic acids eliminating the potential for accentuated flavors. For espresso, the blend of flavors is rich and covers an extensive range of sweetness, subdued acidity, and a thick body. The balance between the acidic composition and the bitter element should be balanced for a smooth beverage.

 Espresso however can only be prepared using unflavored beans. Flavors such as vanilla and raspberry are then used to enhance the taste and bear the different espresso types. For normal coffee, flavored beans can be used. Further, espresso is more concentrated whereas normal coffee has a watered-down effect due to its mellowness.

 5. Content of Caffeine Present

By the fact that espresso appears to be more concentrated at the first glimpse, you will presume that it contains more caffeine. To avoid flimsy tags and judging the book by its cover, let us look into the facts here.  Espresso contains 30-50mg/oz whereas normal coffee contains 8-15 mg/oz. As such, espresso can be seen to contain more caffeine content than normal coffee if judging by ounces.

The conversation takes a sharp twist when the serving suggestion is upheld. The serving for normal coffee is large constituting a cup that contains 80-185mg of caffeine. On the other hand, espresso is served in small servings of 2 ounces and can be lower.  Although the numbers differ based on the brewing method, extraction time and temperatures used, it is safe to say that normal coffee contains more caffeine content per typical serving size.

 6. PH Level and acidity

Did you know that coffee can be earmarked by its acidity levels? Low acidity for coffee is referred to as smooth whereas high acidity is referred to as bright. With the pH of coffee being at level 5, it can be considered to be more acidic than milk but lower in acidity to tomato extracts. 

Normal coffee is considered to be acidic due to the presence of phytic and tannic acids that are natural in coffee beans. For espresso, however, the extraction period is short and therefore the phytic and tannic acids are inhibited from seeping into the beverage. With darker roasts being less acidic, espresso can be termed as a less acidic beverage relative to normal coffee.

  7. Beverage Types 

Espresso has popular tags such as cappuccinos, mochas, and lattes. The serving is usually in a smaller cup than for normal coffee and is made using shots of espresso or foamed milk. You can choose to either have milk or no milk in your beverage type accompanying the espresso.

Normally, coffee is prepared with milk and is known as misto with the addition of milk being largely your choice. This makes coffee to be similar in appearance to espresso when the drink is prepared with milk.

  Final Thoughts;

The difference between normal coffee and espresso is an extensive range of factors that are highly dependent on the taste and preference of an individual. Ultimately, espresso is coffee brewed under high pressure, has darker roasts, and constitutes profiles such as cappuccinos and lattes. To recap, normal coffee is made by a slow filter and is subjected to fewer roasts.

Different caffeine lovers incline to what makes their hearts sing. For some, the vibrant normal coffee speaks to their soul while for others, espresso resonates with every bone of their being.

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