What's The Difference: Espresso Vs. Brewed Coffee

Here's why your coffee tastes different from the coffee shop coffee!

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ILLUSTRATOR Roselle Miranda

There's a reason why your coffee at home tastes different! Whether you're at home or at the coffee shop, coffee can be vastly different, and it goes beyond the beans. 

Want to know how coffee made from espresso is different from one that has been brewed? 

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1 Espresso uses finely ground coffee. Brewed coffee uses a medium grind. 

The difference is more than just the kind of coffee beans that are used. The size of the grind is just as important. When you see espresso powder, there's a reason for the term "powder": the coffee beans have been ground so finely that it resembles a powder. This is important because of the way the coffee will be treated in the machine. 

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For brewed coffee, the ideal size of the grind is a medium grind. This is much larger than the finely ground beans that is used in espresso and it too plays a role in how it will be treated in the machine. 

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2 Espresso is made fast. Brewed coffee takes longer.  

You probably already know this: espresso machines are very different from the drip coffee machines that are common in most homes. The machines use different ways to extract the coffee flavors from the beans to infuse the water. 

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For the espresso machine, the process is very quick. For the drip coffee machine, it's much longer. The amount of time that the water is in contact with the grounds is evident here: the espresso machine is super quick while the drip coffee machine lets the water steep into the coffee grounds until it pools and basically submerges the grounds in the water. 

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3 Espresso uses pressure. Brewed coffee uses gravity. 

The espresso machine is quick in extracting those coffee flavors because it uses pressure to do it. Not only is the water pressurized through the grounds, but the grounds themselves are also pressed into a sort of puck before being added to the machine.  

For the drip coffee machine, it's simpler and easier. Just add the grounds into the container designated for the grounds and the water is heated through and then poured over it. Gravity makes the water pass through the grounds at a steady pace and eventually drips out of the bottom where it's collected in the carafe below. 

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4 Espresso creates a strong coffee. Brewed coffee has more water. 

Brewed coffee is collected in a large carafe and it's basically ready to drink as soon as all the water has emptied from the machine. The espresso meanwhile is a little different. These are usually made by the serving or shot so for more than one, you'll need to make more espresso cups.

You might be wondering why those cups are so small. Those espresso cups are tiny because the water that is used for the extraction is just a mere 1 ounce. That's about 29 milliliters of water! However, don't be fooled! That espresso cup packs a punch! It's much stronger and bolder in flavor than a brewed cup of coffee. So, if you want an espresso that is similar to brewed coffee, you'll need to add water to dilute it. 

That's why your Americano is much different in taste than your brewed coffee! 

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