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Coffee And Espresso

Espresso is a type of coffee, while all coffee need not be espresso. Coffee is a wider term that includes all types of coffee including espresso. But usually the term coffee is used to denote ordinary drip coffee. The difference between coffee and espresso lies in the time it takes to brew and the fineness of the coffee powder which is used for brewing.

Espresso is an Italian word which means fast. This is an apt word because espresso needs lesser time for brewing compared to drip coffee. Drip coffee as the name suggests uses gravity for the water to percolate through the powder and form the brew. For making espresso, pressure is used to force the hot water through the powder to get a brew quickly.

Another major difference while making coffee and espresso is the temperature of water. Espresso needs water to be much below the boiling temperature, while for coffee even very hot boiling water will do. The temperature and brewing time has a big impact on the taste as we shall see. When boiling water percolates through the powder it extracts an extra amount of bitterness and does not preserve the delicate flavors. Whereas when water with a lesser temperature is quickly passed under pressure it will absorb less bitterness and retain more of the flavors and aroma.

Coffee and Espresso also differ in their serving size. The serving size of espresso is usually referred to as a "shot" and will be around 2 ounces. Coffee on the other hand has a much larger serving size ranging between 7 to 12 ounces. While preparing espresso the fine powder is tightly packed together by tamping, while it is not so for coffee. So although the serving size of espresso is much smaller it will have the same amount of caffeine as the serving size of coffee.

The level of roasting of the beans also will differ between coffee and espresso. Espresso will need a much darker roast than coffee. As the method of preparation is different for coffee and espresso, so will be the machines used to prepare them. You can prepare coffee in an ordinary drip percolator or a French press, whereas an espresso needs a specialized machine which has a pump mechanism and the ability to control the temperature precisely. Due to the pressure a shot of espresso will have a layer of foam called crema on top when it is freshly drawn, whereas coffee will not have any foam.