Espresso vs Coffee Bean

"Espresso" is not a term given to a type of bean, or even to a kind of roast process. Rather Espresso relates to a type of coffee drink- a bevage made using a particular type of machine which extracts the coffee in a certain period of time (around 25 seconds) under pressure. Many retailers advertise they sell "espresso blends"... which by definition are the blended coffee beans they use for their espressos. There is not such a thing as a true general espresso blend... for instance I have seen espresso's roasted from very light, to very dark. The blend itself can be variable. In many parts of Europe the blend is almost entirely robusta, while in the states, Australia and Asia it can be anywhere from a high % of robusta to an Arabica rich blend. The important thing is how the espresso looks, tastes and smells once it has been prepared. As the SCAA says- it should "have the viscosity of warm honey and the resulting beverage will exhibit a thick dark golden red cream-foam ("crema")." The taste will vary, but as OE alluded to in Espressoforums... it should not be bitter or hard on the pallate....rather mellow, pleasant, nutty.....
Indeed you are right. The preperation method for espresso (the grind and the fact that pressure extracts the flavour...and caffiene from the grind) means that per serving there would be more caffiene in a shot of espresso vs. a cup of brewed coffee. However this is not a hard and fast rule....because the darkness of the roast can also be a factor in caffiene can the blend of bean used. The lighter the roast...the higher the caffiene level. Also, as we all know, robusta has a higher caffiene content than arabica...

Here is an interesting table relating to % of caffiene in particular varieties of beans (from

Brazil Bourbons 1.20%
Celebes Kalossi 1.22
Colombia Excelso 1.37
Colombia Supremo 1.37
Ethiopian Harrar-Moka 1.13
Guatemala Antigua 1.32
Indian Mysore 1.37
Jamaican Blue Mtn/Wallensford Estate 1.24
Java Estate Kuyumas 1.20
Kenya AA 1.36
Kona Extra Prime 1.32
Mexico Pluma Altura 1.17
Mocha Mattari (Yemen) 1.01
New Guinea 1.30
Panama Organic 1.34
Sumatra Mandheling-Lintong 1.30
Tanzania Peaberry 1.42
Zimbabwe 1.10

Colombia Supremo Dark 1.37%
Espresso Roast 1.32
French Roast 1.22
Vienna Roast 1.27
Mocha-Java 1.17

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
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I agree, and I'll even go one step further to say, that depending on the beans you use in your blends can also effect the caf content in your espresso. Depends on how much of a buzz you want to add. But one has to be careful, because not all beans work well when blended together. :shock:
Good point. Espresso machines require a finer grind in order to allow correct extraction. If the grind is too will under extract the a fast extraction time (say under 18 secs) will produce a flat, thin and crema less cup.... whilst if the coffee is ground too fine you will over extract the espresso...resulting in a bitter cup. You are right in assuming that pre-ground espresso blends should (theoretically) be OK for your machine. However preground means 2 things...1/. the beans are not going to be fresh and 2/. you are not custom grinding for your particular type of espresso machine. It would be much better to buy the beans from your local roaster and grind them yourself. Playing around with the grind and the tamp you should be able to achieve the perfect espresso! :-D

Caffe Latte

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May 10, 2004
New York City
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notmuffy said:
So can I just pack in normal coffee grounds into my espresso machine, or are espresso blends ground more finely or something?


I tired that at home once or twice.

took regular beans (or what constitutes beans as regular I guess) and ground them for about twice the time as normal. It was ok, it came out espresso-y, but not as good as using beans labled espresso. I guess it's how they roast them that I can taste the difference of.

You can definatly use regular coffee beans, but the taste and even the texture (amount of creme [or is it cream??] ) of the coffee.

at least, that's what I found. Your results may differ :)


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Feb 16, 2004
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This is a little info found on a web site previously mentioned. I bet you all get a kick out of it.
Caffeine-Induced Organic Mental Disorder 305.90 Caffeine Intoxication

Recent consumption of caffeine, usually in excess of 250 mg.
At least five of the following signs:
restlessness :)
nervousness :lol:
excitement :D
insomnia :shock:
flushed face :oops:
diuresis :!:
gastrointestinal disturbance :?
muscle twitching :-D
rambling flow of thought and speech :p
tachycardia or cardiac arrhythmia
periods of inexhaustibility
psychomotor agitation :)
Not due to any physical or other mental disorder, such as an Anxiety Disorder.
Basically, overdosing on caffeine will probably be very very unpleasant but not kill or deliver permanent damage. However, People do die from it.

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