Espresso & Coffee: Pros & Cons
As for coffee and those who drink it many might wonder what is the actual difference between espresso vs coffee? Is it a particular strain of bean that makes the difference or is it how the two are roasted? When it comes right down to it, it is the blend of the bean that will stand up well under the pressure that is required for espresso extraction.
When it comes to espresso vs coffee most professional baristas say that it is nearly always the blend of beans that make the perfect cup of espresso. So this means that the most basic rule of thumb for espresso is the blending because as compared to coffee, espresso must have the acidity subdued, must always be heavy bodied and sweet enough to be able to balance out the bitter and the acidic flavors that are found in the blend.
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When you look at espresso vs coffee and the beans that are used the most commonly used blend for espresso and not coffee would be two varieties of plants which are the Arabica and Robusta. Both quite different and grown in different areas. The Arabica is a bean that originated in Ethiopia and usually grows in much higher altitudes and actually produces about 80 percent of all the world’s production of coffee beans. Then there is the Robusta and this is a lowland coffee bean that originated in West Africa. It is more pest resistant and usually grows much heartier plants which means it has a higher yield. These beans have a very high content of caffeine and this can produce a very bitter and inferior taste. This is why the two varieties are combined in the making of espresso.
When it comes right down to it it all depends on where the bean comes from, the weather, temperature, the soil and altitude because they all contribute to the flavor of the espresso. How the beans are harvested when it comes to espresso vs coffee makes a big difference as well. There is dry processing and this will take place in areas where there is very limited rain and lots of sun. This process is where they dry the coffee cherry by air on patios before the skin and fruit is removed from the coffee bean. This produces a heavy bodied and sweet taste with subdued acidity which is ideal for making espresso. Espresso also depends upon how it is roasted after the harvest and helps to make it’s difference from coffee quite apparent.
Espresso is brewed quite differently than coffee. It is brewed by forcing steam through coffee beans that are very finely ground and are usually a blend of beans and not just one kind like most coffee is. Regular coffee on the other hand is simply made by pouring water over coffee beans that are coarsely ground that are put in a filter.
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When the two are compared side by side you can see a big difference. When it comes to coffee and its caffeine content, you will find 80-185 mg of caffeine per eight ounces whereas with espresso you will find 40-75 mg of caffeine per ounce.
Brewing methods for coffee generally in a home coffeemaker usually automatic drip where the water drips onto the ground coffee and is extracted through a filter with the grounds discarded after brewing. There is also the French press where the coffee is not filtered through paper but instead allows the coffee to keep its natural oils. With espresso it is brewed under extreme pressure with very hot water and is forced through extremely fine ground and compacted coffee for about 20 to 30 seconds. The end result of this is a beverage that is much thicker than regular coffee with a froth that forms on top of the finished product.
In the end when it comes to espresso vs coffee it all depends upon how strong of bitterness, aroma, body and caffeine content that you are looking for in a brewed coffee. Regular coffee offers much less when it comes to content. Again, it is all a personal choice.