The only difference between espresso beans vs coffee beans is the way they are prepared for coffee drinks. The misconception is that espresso is its own bean or is a heavier caffeinated bean. The bitterness of espresso doesn't resemble your average cup of coffee so it has to be something different, right? Wrong. Espresso is simply a blend of coffee beans and nothing more.
The term espresso has largely become a misnomer by an uneducated public misled by marketing techniques of popular coffee houses. The difference between a coffee drink and an espresso coffee drink is in the grind and the brewing process.
Regular coffee has a larger grind than espresso and uses a drip system of hot water that steeps the coffee beans over several minutes to produce what we know as coffee.
Espresso is a more concentrated effort of forcing 1.5 ounces of hot water (not quite boiling) through a tightly packed, finer grind of coffee beans in a matter of 25 to 30 seconds. What comes out is that thicker, bitterer ounce or two of highly concentrated dark brown coffee with the orangey-yellowy head of foam around the brim of the cup called the crema.
Misconceptions Of Coffee Beans Vs Espresso Beans
Another misconception of espresso is that coffee beans used for espresso are slow roasted until they attain that dark oily appearance. While some are, others are not. It's a preference determined by the barista or the coffee house in choosing the best coffee beans for espresso and as to what kind of roast is used.
Further, many people think that because of its denser nature, a shot of espresso has more caffeine than a cup of coffee. This is also untrue. To a point. By volume, meaning ounce to ounce, yes, espresso has more caffeine.
But people drink coffee by the cup. A standard cup is 6 ounces. Most people use 8 ounce cups or larger. By serving, a 6 ounce cup of coffee has about two thirds more caffeine than espresso.
The Origin Of Espresso
The idea for espresso started with Angelo Moriondo, an Italian entrepreneur in the hotel and chocolate business who wanted an instant way to offer customers coffee. In 1884, his vision came to be and the first espresso machine was developed and patented.
In 1901 the espresso coffee machine was improved on as a steam driven model by Luigi Bezzera and again by Desidero Pavoni in 1905.
However these espresso machines were for mass producing coffee drinks and were not tailored to individuals as they are today.
Achille Gaggia is responsible for revolutionizing the espresso frontier with his Crema Caffe device in 1938. It was a piston driven machine that could attain very high pressures and produced the crema in what is today's sign of a quality espresso.
The skill and equipment required to produce an ounce and a half of espresso kept the drinks largely in cafes and specialty shops, but today the process has been nailed down to a science and affordable home espresso machines give the average coffee drinker access to espresso whenever the mood strikes.
So the differences in a espresso bean vs coffee bean are there, but they are relegated to brewing techniques. You can still get a caffeine buzz from espresso; it just may take you longer and be more expensive than getting it from the house cup.