If you know coffee you know that there is a big difference between espresso and drip coffee, but few know exactly what about the drinks make them so different from one another.
We know you are eager to learn what is so unique about each of the coffee methods, but let us begin by evaluating the ways in which drip coffee and espresso are similar.
Both drinks are made from coffee beans, and espresso and drip coffee are both coffee drinks. Well, for some it sounds like basic information but not for everyone! Yes, espresso is coffee but not all coffee is espresso. Espresso is another way to prepare coffee, like French Press, cold brew, etc. Other than their overall classification as coffee, the drinks are very different.
Drip coffee, or brewed coffee, is made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds. Unlike with espresso, the water moves through the grounds without pressure. As the hot water seeps through the grounds, it absorbs the flavors and chemicals (like caffeine) from the beans that turn the hot water into coffee.
Drip coffee requires the use of a filter to ensure that the grounds do not go into the final coffee drink. All one needs to make drip coffee is a filter of sorts, a liquid container (like a mug or pot), and hot water—so easy! This drink is the most traditional American beverage, as it was the first coffee drink that became popularized in the US.
Contrary to popular belief, drip coffee actually has more caffeine than espresso! It is also a great coffee choice for those trying to taste the nuances of the beans. Especially with light roast beans, the many flavors of the beans and its origin can come out more than in an espresso drink.
One downside worth mentioning about drip coffee is that it takes longer than espresso to brew, however, it does not require any intense machinery to produce. Most at home coffee makers make a mug of coffee within 8-10 minutes, which is way longer than the 30 seconds or 1 minute it takes to make espresso or instant coffee.
The end result of drip coffee is very similar if not identical to other coffee brewing methods like French Press, instant coffee machines, and instant coffee powder. In fact, using instant coffee powder can yield a cup of coffee that tastes very similar to drip coffee. Waka Coffee’s premium instant coffee ensures a delicious and high-quality cup of coffee that is as good as if not better than a traditional brewed cup of coffee minus the hassle of making it. Wow… the coffee making possibilities are endless!
Pros of drip coffee:
- Relatively simple to make
- More caffeine than espresso
- Has more developed flavors
- Classic option
- Can be drank on its own
- Good base to add sweeteners
- Can be iced
Cons of drip coffee:
- Takes longer than espresso
- Has less option for making creative drinks
- Requires a coffeemaker or filter and other tools
Espresso is, very simply, a stronger version of drip coffee. It is made with an espresso machine and requires such machinery for one reason: pressure. Pressure is the most important aspect of brewing up espresso. An espresso machine forces very hot water through tightly compact ground coffee.
The pressurized water quickly forces the thick and concentrated coffee out of the grounds. This technique leads to a richer flavor that contains more oils from the coffee bean and produces a light layer of crema on top of the “shot” of espresso. Crema is the foamy layer that sits on top of an espresso shot that is made from those fats and oils in the grounds that are pushed out so quickly and therefor suspended at the top of the beverage.
Unlike the drip coffee, espresso was born a little bit later on in history. Because it requires electricity and specific equipment to be made, it came about in the 19th century. In 1884, Angelo Moriodo patented the first espresso machine, which was made to expedite the coffee brewing process. The machines did not make their way to the US until 1927 when it was first installed in New York. Since its arrival all those years ago, espresso has been gaining popularity and making its way into other espresso-based drinks, like cappuccino, flat white, latte, americano, and so many more! We all have espresso to thank for the vast menus in coffee shops.
Pros of espresso:
- Super speedy brew time
- Is the base for tons of fun and delicious drinks
- Rich in flavor
- Super strong taste
Cons of espresso:
- Requires expensive and hefty espresso machine
- More technical to make than brewed coffee
- Yields less coffee
- Less caffeine than brewed coffee
- Hard to drink on its own for some
- Cannot be iced without changing the drink
Espresso vs. Drip Coffee
Both espresso and drip coffee are incredibly amazing options. They both offer us the much needed caffeine and delicious coffee flavors. When you compare the caffeine content in both methods, you will find out the brewed Coffee has 70 – 140 mg caffeine in 8 oz. cup compared to espresso that has about 63 mg caffeine in a shot (which also equals to about 1 - 1.75 oz.). Other espresso-based drinks include about 63 mg caffeine in a small cup and 125 mg in a larger cups.
Espresso’s main strengths are that it is very versatile, strong, and relatively quick to make. On the other hand, it requires expensive machinery and yield a small portion of coffee (and we all love lot's of coffee!!).
If you look at the drip coffee method, you will find a classic American coffee option with more easily recognized flavors and characteristics. When you compare it to espresso, you will need additional tools to make it (coffeemaker + filter) and it takes longer time to make than espresso.
If you loved this article, consider exploring more about the differences between instant coffee and instant espresso (it is the powder-based equivalent battle).
Make your coffee experience easier without any machines, complicated tools, or long wait time -- switch to instant coffee today.