What is the difference between coffee and espresso beans?
About four of my friends are really curious to know.
Before we continue, I want to admit the interest is real.
And also want to admit, I do have four friends.
What Is The Difference Between Coffee And Espresso Beans?
Coffee beans used for espresso are roasted for a longer period of time compared to coffee beans used for drip coffee. They are roasted longer and come in a finer grind.
That’s what I call the luxury bean.
You can brew coffee with espresso beans and espresso with regular coffee beans. I have done the latter.
If I attempted that now, unsure if I would be happy with the end result. This was done when I was new to the coffee world and didn’t know any better.
Brewing Espresso With Regular Coffee Beans
Back when we purchased our inexpensive and reliable Breville espresso machine, I was excited to get beans for it. After all, this was our first espresso machine.
So right away went to Costco and purchased a bag of Starbucks Pike Place coffee beans.
I figured since Starbucks beans are expensive they must be good, right?
I poured them into my cheap grinder and pushed the button. Next the fresh grind was placed into the machine and espresso was brewed. It was delicious. But the bag did take us a while to get through since it was a large one.
Once that was done, guess what happened next?
We were in Montreal for a long weekend and ended up at one of their Costco’s. At that location I did find another huge bag of coffee beans. Can’t remember the brand but I do know it was one I never heard of.
Of course we purchased that and brewed espressos for a very long time.
When I say “very long time” I certainly mean that.
The moment we finished using those beans, which was 11-12 months later, I said “enough is enough” and it was time to start making real espresso – with my bare hands!
Finally Brewing Espresso The Right Way
I may have over-exaggerated just a tiny bit. I didn’t start making espresso with my bare hands like a barbaric superhero or something, but I did begin using real espresso beans.
Use espresso beans for espresso and coffee beans for coffee.
You would think that is common sense, right?
Took me a long time until I gave that a try.
Me and common sense don’t make a good match.
My Wild Search For Espresso Beans
Digging deep in coffee sections of grocery stores all over the area and checking online I wasn’t able to find anything that made me think the three letters O-M-G.
So I ended up doing something completely unexpected – went to another Costco.
What else is new..
And I saw this
Truth is it did not make me go O-M-G but I was tired of searching for espresso beans. This was the fine grind version. I felt this was an amazing choice just because it was found at Costco.
(Hardcore Costco fans reading this right now are either nodding proudly or saying “YEAH THAT’S RIGHT!”)
After opening the container for the first time the strong smell made me go W-O-W (instead of O-M-G) and the grind was very fine, powdery like.
Quality was much better than regular coffee grind.
After brewing my first real espresso, I noticed it seemed a little thicker, syrupy like. Definitely a difference in quality with espresso beans compared to coffee beans.
How Do Espresso Machines Brew Espresso
Now that’s a good question. But unsure if I’m the right guy to try explaining how it’s done.
Let’s give it a shot.
Espresso machines force hot water through finely ground coffee.
When buying an espresso machine you will read or hear about how many bars of pressure the machine has. Years ago I purchased an inexpensive Breville machine which brews a pretty good espresso. The machine came with a 15 bar pump.
The more bars the more powerful it is.
But that is not the only thing which creates the ‘perfect’ espresso. Another is the quality of your coffee grind.
For me I just use a regular grinder which can be purchased at any retail store. But check this out.
My parents had an expensive espresso machine which lasted over 20 years. It was one of those high end machines from an Italian retail store. Recently they got a replacement and this new machine has a gauge which shows the quality of your espresso grind.
The sales person mentioned quality of grind is important for brewing the best espresso. They sold a coffee grinder which grinds the beans perfectly for any coffee or espresso. And the blades on this machine will never have to be replaced.
Only problem with this grinder. Retail price was $1,200 CDN.
If you are American, British, from a European country using the Euro dollar or any other country with a currency valued higher than the Canadian dollar, $1,200 CDN is a lot of money even for you!
At the time of this post;
$1,200 Canadian = 904.17 USD, 733.41 GBP, 828.19 EURO.
Now that is a lot of money!
So my parents said “no” and are sticking with their regular affordable grinder.
Funny thing is prior to brewing an espresso, they have always showed me the gauge which indicated the grind quality could be better.
Every cup of espresso I had from their machine was delicious. I wonder how much better it could possibly be with the perfect grind.
Do you think the grind would really make that much of a difference, or it would be nothing more than a placebo effect?
Thanks For Taking The Time To Read My Post
Thanks for reading my post on the difference between coffee and espresso beans.
With the large selection of coffee and espresso beans out there, it will be difficult to review all of them. But if any really stand out, I will try to review them here on this website.
Please feel free to leave a question or comment below.