Most of us are introduced to coffee through shop bought drinks, from chains like Coffee Bean. However, when you start to make your coffee from scratch at home, you'll quickly learn the differences between things like whole beans and ground coffee. You'll also become aware of terms such as a roasting level and tasting notes. All of this can be a little confusing for coffee novices, but is an integral part of making your own coffee.
When you're perusing the wide selection of coffee beans on offer at your local grocery store, or on the internet, you may notice that espresso beans appear a lot. Most people don't understand the difference between coffee and espresso beans, and a lot of people assume they are mostly the same, but that one is just for making espresso. Although these beans do share a lot of similarities, there are also some subtle differences between the two that give them unique and personal attributes.
We've compiled a nifty guide on the differences between espresso and coffee beans, for those of you who are still struggling to wrap your head around them. Read on to learn about what makes espresso vs coffee so different. Once you're fully informed, then you can use the most appropriate bag of beans to make your perfect cup of coffee.
Which Coffee Beans Are Best For Espresso?
If you're a fan of Italian culture then you'll love the classic Italian espresso drink. When trying to recreate this iconic beverage, it is extremely important to get its authentic taste just right. The best way to make an espresso is by using specially made espresso coffee beans. This is because they have spent far longer on the roaster than other beans in order to get that stronger, more bitter, and fuller-bodied flavor which is common in espresso shots.
Espresso beans are darker in color and usually have a second, more visible crack, which will give them a deeper flavor. They are also extremely oily on the surface, and this helps in creating that classic espresso 'crema' that is visible at the surface of a shot of espresso. Since espresso shots are usually drunk black, without the addition of milk, they need to have an intense flavor that can satisfy the drinker's taste buds.
Although you can use regular coffee beans to make an espresso, it probably won't result in the best tasting drink. This is because light, medium, and other dark roasted beans are created in such a way to release tasting notes that can either be fruity, or of a caramel and chocolate flavor. Since an espresso is all about a rich and intense bitterness, using other roasts can result in you having a disappointing espresso shot, that has too many aromatic flavors. These can distract from the authentic espresso taste.
Many people use ground coffee to make espresso. Although this is perfectly fine, the roast level might affect the final result, so it's important you choose a darker roast if you want to use pre-ground beans. As well as this, you'll never get the same freshness from ground coffee that you'll get with fresh espresso coffee beans. Therefore, it's best to buy specially grown and roasted espresso beans. Then, you can grind them at home yourself in order to make an espresso coffee from scratch.
Can You Use Espresso Beans For Regular Coffee?
So, now that you know it is best to use espresso beans to make a great-tasting espresso drink, this begs the question, can you use espresso beans for other coffee drinks? This is hard to answer since technically you can, but you have to be cautious. An espresso bean will often result in a very rich and intense flavor that might not be suitable for certain coffees.
Lighter roasted beans have a higher level of acidity and an all-around lighter flavor, and these are best for drip coffee or cold brew varieties. This is because they don't require as much pressure to extract the unique aromas and tastes from the bean.
With an espresso bean, the preparation and process of making the coffee is entirely different. To create the perfect espresso shot, steam is aimed through the ground up beans at a high pressure. This releases the intense flavors that come with an espresso, and is much more effective than standard brewing methods.
With regular coffee, hot water is often added over coffee grounds and brewed. Although the flavors and tastes of the bean are released due to mixing with the hot water, you won't get the full experience of a delicious espresso if you simply add hot water to ground espresso.
For the reasons above, it's best to avoid using espresso beans for regular coffees, especially if you make them using a pour over drip coffee method. However, espresso shots are often used in drinks like cappuccinos and lattes. Milk is often added on top of the shot of coffee.
To get the perfect espresso shot, you need to use beans and a proper piece of equipment, like a coffee maker, an automatic espresso machine, or an Italian style moka pot. This will ensure that you get the best end results each time.
Is Espresso Stronger Than Regular Coffee?
Most of us associate espresso with a burst of caffeine. It's true that this shot of coffee has an intense taste and definitely wakes us up first thing in the morning. However when it comes to espresso vs coffee, which is actually the strongest?
In terms of flavor, an espresso shot will win in terms of strength every time. Firstly, espresso beans are roasted for a seriously long time, which gives them an intense yet incredibly bitter and roasted taste.
Secondly, espresso beans often come in blends, meaning they are made with arabica and robusta beans. The robusta bean is famous for having an intense, dark flavor that masks the acidity and sweetness of the arabica bean. For this reason, regular coffee that has been made with single origin roasted beans won't have as intense a flavor as an espresso blend.
Thirdly, when it comes to espresso vs coffee, an espresso is made using high pressure and steam to ensure that the final result has that memorable and impressive flavor. As mentioned earlier, regular coffee can be made in a variety of other ways, through brewing with hot water, or in drip coffee styles.
Since espresso shots are often the base of many other coffee drinks, they need to have a strong flavor that can rip through any other added elements. Take a cappuccino for example. An espresso shot here needs to still stand out through the addition of steamed milk. For this reason, it's fair to say that espresso is stronger than regular coffee with regard to taste.
However, there is a big difference between espresso and coffee in terms of caffeine. Regular coffee is usually a lot stronger with regard to caffeine content. This is because, espresso blends are made up of beans that have been roasted for a long time. The longer that a coffee bean is roasted for, the more its caffeine content is reduced. For this reason, an espresso coffee won't give you as much of a caffeine boost as say, a light roast.
A lightly roasted coffee bean will contain a lot more caffeine than a dark roasted bean. So, if you want your coffee to be strong in terms of how much it will wake you up, then it's best to go for a regular light or medium roasted coffee in the morning and save your espresso shot as an afternoon pick-me-up treat.
How Many Coffee Beans Equal One Shot Of Espresso?
When it comes to the amount of coffee beans in a bag, the number can vary slightly based on the weight of the packet and depending on the size of the beans. However, one thing that is consistent is the amount of coffee beans needed to make an espresso.
Most shots of espresso weigh around 7-8g. If you have an espresso machine, then all you need to do is empty your coffee beans into the device and let the machine do the hard work for you. However, if you only have a coffee grinder, then you may need to count out your coffee beans in order to get the perfect amount for one cup of espresso.
An average shot of espresso will need around 60-70 coffee beans. This is similar to a regular coffee shot, but the difference between espresso and coffee is that an espresso shot of the same size will have more of an intense flavor. So, if you buy a 1kg bag of espresso coffee beans, you'll get around 130 shots of coffee out of it.
When it comes to the price of coffee beans, they may seem expensive at first, but the fact that you can get over a hundred drinks out of it makes it a lot cheaper than buying a drink every day from a coffee chain. Drinking homemade coffee that you've prepared yourself is a little bit more time consuming, but it saves you money and is a lot more satisfying.
If you want to create your own coffee and espresso drinks at home, then make sure to check out our product menu at Chamberlain Coffee. We have a lot of options that include everything from ground coffee to espresso coffee beans, so that you can brew the most intense and delicious tasting drinks. You'll definitely notice the difference in your morning brew when you use one of our products!
Our sustainable products are fairly priced to reflect the high quality and materials used to create them. You'll find that we've put a lot of time and love into selecting and roasting our beans so that you can have a coffee drinking experience like no other!