Coffee comes in a variety of preparations, the most common being espresso, and regular drip coffee. The main difference between drip coffee and espresso is the way the beverages are brewed. Aside from this main difference, there are still a few other details to consider that you should be aware of before ordering your morning cuppa. Both will give you a jolt of much-needed caffeine to get you started on your day, but if you are wondering what the differences are, we can help.
How is Drip Coffee Made?
Drip coffee is the most common form of coffee consumed. You can find it everywhere, even in your own kitchen. Drip coffee is simply hot water poured over coffee grounds and allowed to filter through at a moderate pace. In other words, regular coffee. The result is water and coffee mixed together in a less concentrated form. Flavor and strength variations of drip coffee vary much more than espresso. The beans, age of the grounds, and even the amount of water used for the brew will dictate how strong or weak the coffee will be.
It is best to use a recipe when making your own drip coffee at home. This will allow you to get the flavor and strength you desire every time you brew. Most coffee machines will have a specific ratio of water to coffee listed on the instructions, which can be customized according to your preference.
Coffee houses and specialty coffee shops will use the same method to brew their drip coffee, but they will often use their own special blend of coffee grounds and a set recipe. This is the main reason they are able to produce identical cups of drip brew day in and day out.
How is Espresso Made?
Espresso is basically coffee grounds brewed through a method of applying steam and pressure over the coffee grounds. This will result in a highly concentrated, albeit small cup of coffee. These shots will deliver a punch of caffeine all within a few sips. Espresso roast is the same as a regular espresso, but it mainly has to do with what beans a particular barista will use for the espresso preparation.
The process of creating espresso is simple and complicated at the same time. Barista’s use a special machine that applies both pressure and force to create the perfect shot. Espresso machines have a small container in which 8 grams of coffee grounds are placed. Then, hot water will be heated to around 200 degrees and forced with pressure through the grinds.
The whole process of an espresso brew takes about 30 seconds from start to finish. This high heat and high-pressure method produce dark golden colored crema that is thick and flavorful. It is intended to be served and consumed immediately following brewing for the best flavor and effect.
Are The Same Beans Used For Drip Coffee and Espresso?
The same coffee beans are used in drip coffee preparation and espresso preparation. However, in most coffee shops, those used for espresso will be roasted darker. Darker espresso roast leads to a more balanced brew that has less acidity and a more palatable flavor. If you have ever tasted an espresso then you already know that along with being very strong, they are often quite bitter. If an espresso shot is too bitter, it will be almost impossible to drink.
Most espresso grinds come from medium or dark-roasted coffee. Dark roast is much easier to brew and result in a balanced espresso that has an equal amount of acid, bitterness, and sweetness. Light roast also results in delicious brews, but they are harder to grind down. When it comes to drip coffee, acidity is a desired trait since the brew will be diluted with a higher amount of water. This means that a light or medium roast will often be used for drip brews, though they can also be made with a dark roast.
What Kind of Coffee Grounds Can You Make? Fine? Coarse?
There are five types of grinds you can produce to make a variety of coffee drinks. The type of grind will depend on your planned brewing method as well as your desired flavor profile.
- Course Grind- This type of grind is very chunky. It is mainly used for cold brews and coffee made using a French press.
- Medium Course Grind- This type of grind is less chunky than coarse ground coffee, but not by much. It is most often used for the pour-over method of coffee brewing.
- Medium Grind – This type of grind is the most common and results in coffee grounds that are about the size of sea salt grains. It is most often used for machine drip brewing and siphon brewing.
- Fine Grind- This type of grind is about as fine as table salt. It is mostly used for espresso shots and Moka pot brewing.
- Extra Fine- This is the most finely ground coffee available. It is used for creating a perfect cup of Turkish coffee.
Coffee Flavors In Drip vs Espresso?
Your cuppa will have a different taste and flavor profile depending on how it was prepared. Espresso in general is always going to be stronger due to the concentration. This can easily transform what would be mellow in a cup of drip into a bitter bite in an espresso. Concentration will make the flavor profile of any coffee recipe more pronounced, so keep that in mind when making or ordering your morning caffeine fix.
Acidity is a desired trait in drip coffee where the effects are diluted, in espresso, however, it needs to be muted. Light roast is avoided for espresso drinks mainly because of their high acidity levels, whereas a light roast is one of the best options for a delicious drip-brew.
All coffee is bitter, that is simply the nature of the bean. If you don’t like bitterness, then it is better to stick to drip coffees that have added cream and flavorings. Espresso is more bitter than even a regular drip brew, again due to its concentration.
Which Roast Produces The Best Coffee Brew? Dark or Light?
The roasting style will affect the flavor of the final coffee brew. So the question is not so much which is better, but what will most suit your drinking preferences. A light or medium roast will have a light brown color with little to no oil on the surface of the drink.
A dark brew will have a much deeper color and much more oil on the surface of the drink. Most coffee houses and baristas will use their preferred roast which is typically whatever flavor is most popular in a particular area.
Espresso and drip-brewed coffee both have their advantages and their cult followings. The one you choose will mainly depend on how much time you have on hand and your personal taste. A light roast will offer you a vibrant flavor profile that is perfect for drip brews while medium and darker roast will generate the perfect shot of espresso.
If you are making your own espresso, make sure that you invest in a great grinder if you plan to use light roast, or stick to medium or dark roast to avoid bitterness. When using a drip brew, make sure to use a recipe and fresh grounds for every batch of coffee. This will ensure that you get the caffeine content you are looking for and a smooth flavor with every sip.