Espresso is strong black coffee — i.e., no dairy added — that has a unique brewing method. Espresso is made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans. On the other hand, regular drip coffee — a.k.a. filtered coffee or pour-over — is made by pouring water over roasted, ground coffee beans contained in a filter.

This comparison discusses in detail the differences in brewing method, caffeine content and health effects of espresso and drip coffee.

Comparison chart

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Coffee

Espresso

Cultural connotation Fast Paced Tamp
Caffeine Content 80-185 mg per 8 ounce cup depending upon the brew and the type of roasted coffee used 40-75 mg per 1 ounce serving
Types of Consumption Drip Coffee, Espresso, Brewed, Instant, Decaf Brewed, Decaf Instant, Plunger, Filter, Milk-based: macchiato, cappuccino, flat white, cortado, piccolo, galão, latte. Water-based: Americano, long black. Others: red eye, latte macchiato.
Brewing Method Ground coffee beans are placed into a filter and allowed to brew in a machine. The two most commonly brewed coffees at home are the French press method and the automatic drip. Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of very hot water through finely ground and tamped coffee to produce a concentrated beverage.
Origin Period 9th Century AD 16th Century AD
Serving Size 8 fluid ounces 1 fluid ounce
Place of Origin Ethiopia Arabian Peninsula
Properties related to Cancer None of the ingredients in coffee have been associated with fighting disease or enhancing health. Research is still being carried out on whether the high content of caffeine in coffee is a risk factor or not. None of the ingredients in coffee have been associated with fighting disease or enhancing health. Research is still being carried out on whether the high content of caffeine in coffee is a risk factor or not.

edit Brewing Methods

In order to be made into coffee, the whole coffee bean must be ground. Most ground coffee is for brewing in a home coffeemaker. In automatic drip systems, the beans are ground to a medium coarseness. Hot water drips onto the ground coffee and extracts its essence through a filter. The grounds are discarded after use. Coffee can also be boiled or placed in a percolator for brewing, and numerous other brewing methods exist, including single-serve coffee systems, like the Keurig and Nespresso.

Altering the brewing method makes espresso. Very hot water under pressure is forced through finely ground, compacted coffee. The result is a beverage that is thicker than normal coffee. In addition, froth is formed on top of the beverage. This froth is called crema. The crema is the result of emulsifying the oils in the coffee into a colloid.

This video on YouTube provides an overview of espresso vs drip coffee machines and their brewing methods.

In the following video, a barista from Starbucks explains the difference between espresso shots and drip coffee.

edit Serving Size

Brewed Black Coffee
Brewed Black Coffee

The average serving size of a cup of coffee is 8 ounces.

Espresso’s serving size is one ounce. Often, espresso will be added to coffee in shots. It is not uncommon to add up to three or four shots of espresso to a cup of coffee. Of course, espresso may also be drunk alone without mixing it into coffee or with milk.

edit Caffeine Content

Depending on the brew, a cup of coffee contains 80-185mg of caffeine. This makes it a popular beverage in the mornings.

A serving of espresso contains 40-75 mg of caffeine. A serving of espresso is one ounce.

edit Health

The verdict is still out on whether coffee is good or bad for you. Caffeine can aggravate anxiety, for instance, and raise blood pressure, but some of the oils found in coffee are said to be beneficial to the heart. For now, moderation is key.


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"Espresso vs Coffee." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 1 Jul 2015. < >