Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

“People say you cannot buy happiness with money; it is wrong. With money you can buy coffee and coffee makes you happy.”

Want to make a coffee cup but stuck in choosing between coffee and espresso beans? I am here to help you! Both beans are different from each other and these differences affect the mouthfeel, finish, flavor, and texture of your drink. So, choose them carefully according to your desired roast level or grind size. Which beans are perfect for brewing a delicious coffee?

Let’s scroll and find out!

What are espresso beans?

Espresso Beans

Espresso beans are the dark roasted coffee beans, offering less acidity, bold flavor, and a fuller body. These beans hit your palate with slight bean flavor while persistent crema gives your drink a nice look. So, whenever you see a bag labeled with espresso beans, just know  that it contains ultra-fine dark-roasted coffee grounds. 

If you use regular beans to brew your espresso shot, you will not get a consistent and flavorful shot as some varieties are too light and some are too dark. So, you should choose the right espresso beans for a perfect shot as these beans:

  • Use a high-pressure brewing method.
  • May contain Robusta or a mixture of Arabica and Robusta beans. 
  • Add consistency, flavor, and body to your drink.
  • Help you to achieve dense crema which enhances the taste of the espresso.

What are coffee beans?

Coffee Beans

Any bean that is roasted and used for brewing is known as coffee bean. Usually coffee beans contain Arabica beans and may undergo light, medium, or dark roasting such as:

Light-roasted coffee beans

Light-roasted coffee beans

They do not have an oily shine and are best for non-pressure brewing styles such as; cold brew or pour over coffee. These beans are roasted for a short time, have light color, and offer mild flavor. 

Medium-roasted coffee beans

Medium-roasted coffee beans

They are roasted slightly longer than the light-roasted beans. They have medium-brown color and varying flavors, depending on the beans’ origin.

Dark-roasted beans

Dark-roasted beans

They are roasted for a long time. They have an oily surface, dark-brown color, and strong notes. They are best for espresso brewing.

Similarities between espresso beans and coffee beans

The similarities between these coffee beans include:

  • These beans undergo a roasting process.
  • Both are ground.

How are espresso beans different from coffee beans?

Let’s study in detail what features set apart espresso beans from coffee beans. These characteristics also help you to choose the best beans for your brewing. Let’s indulge in it! 

1. Size

In the roasting process, the beans lose their water content through evaporation, leading to weight loss. So, espresso beans are larger and less dense than the regular coffee beans due to the long roasting process. 

2. Preparation

Espresso beans are roasted for a long time at a high temperature, leading to extraction of oils in the beans. These beans undergo fine grinding, making them richer, bolder, and more concentrated. Coffee beans are roasted for a short time and vary from light to medium to dark. These beans undergo coarse grinding, revealing rich flavors. 

3. Roasting 

All beans undergo a specific roasting at varying length of time. If you roast the beans for a long time, it will have rich flavors, less acidity, and low caffeine content. Espresso beans are dark roasted at high temperature, offering you a strong coffee cup with dark color and intense notes. The coffee beans can be roasted light, medium, or dark, depending on the type of the drink you want. If you want a coffee with mellow notes and high caffeine, choose light-roast coffee beans. 

4. Grinding

Grind level determines how quickly water will pass through the coffee grounds during extraction. Espresso beans undergo a fine grinding, allowing more oil extraction during a short period of pressurized brewing. Coffee beans undergo a coarse grinding, offering less surface area for water. It will lead to less extraction, offering you less strong coffee with more body. 

5. Amount of natural oil

Espresso beans are rich in oil and have an oily surface. These beans produce dense crema during brewing, resulting from the emulsification of natural oils with other coffee’s compounds. Regular coffee beans do not have rich oils so they produce thin crema

6. Usage

Espresso beans are perfect for espresso brewing as they offer consistency, uniformity, rich flavors, and nice texture. Regular coffee beans are perfect for various brewing methods but not for high-pressure ones. 

7. Concentration 

Espresso beans are more concentrated than coffee beans. The regular coffee beans may have medium or balanced concentration. So, espresso beans offer rich flavors and stronger coffee. 

8. Brewing

Regular coffee beans work with various machines such as drip percolators,_ French Press,_ Moka pot, etc. Espresso beans use high-pressure brewing systems so they work with only espresso machines to extract espresso shots. Regular coffee beans do not work under high pressure as they can lead to over-extraction and bitter taste. 

9. Taste 

Espresso beans offer rich and bold espresso shots with less acidity, heavy mouthfeel, dense crema, and rich flavors. Coffee beans add more acidity, high caffeine content, and mellow notes. 

10. Coffee quality

The factors that determine coffee quality include; aroma, finish, flavor, and body. Espresso beans offer bold aromas, rich taste, and an intense finish, leading to a perfect shot. However, the regular coffee beans offer gentle notes, light finish, and pleasant aromas, offering a well-balanced and delicious coffee. 

11. Caffeine content

Espresso beans offer low caffeine content (68 mg per shot) due to prolonged roasting however, coffee beans offer high caffeine content i.e. 170-220 mg per one coffee cup. So, choose the desired coffee beans according to your needs.

Also read: Complete Guide On Nespresso Caffeine Content

Can you use coffee beans for espresso?

 You can use regular coffee beans to brew an espresso shot but the result may disappoint you. In an espresso shot, the hot water passes through fine coffee grounds at a high pressure. If you use regular coffee beans, you will get a bitter taste. So, it is better to use dark-roasted espresso beans for espresso brewing. 

What does the “espresso” label mean?

Espresso label indicates finely ground dark-roasted beans that are perfect for espresso extraction. These beans will deliver you a strong coffee cup with bold flavors, nice texture, and intense mouthfeel. If you want a mellow coffee, purchase light-roasted coffee beans. 

Best espresso beans for perfect coffee cup

The selection of beans depends on your personal preferences such as:

  • If you love strong coffee with bold flavors, try dark-roasted coffee beans.
  • Choose light-roasted beans, if you love mellow coffee cups with a smooth texture.
  • Select coffee beans according to your preferred taste such as fruity, nutty, floral, chocolatey, etc. 

Besides this, the two main types of coffee beans are used for brewing a perfect coffee cup i.e. Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica beans 

Arabica Beans

They add smoothness and sweetness to your coffee cup. They grow at high altitude so have high acidity.

Robusta beans 

Robusta beans 

They grow in lower altitude, have low acidity, high caffeine content, and strong tastes. 

How to store espresso beans?

The tips for storing coffee beans include:

  • Store coffee beans in an airtight container in a cool and dark place.
  • If you store them in the fridge, the beans will absorb moisture and lose their flavor and aroma. 
  • The long-roasted beans remain fresh for a longer period than the short roasted ones. So, if you want to store the beans for a long time, roast them for a longer period.
  • If you are roasted beans by yourself, wait a few days before brewing them. It will allow the beans to develop their flavors. 

Comparison between espresso beans and coffee beans

The significant difference between these beans include;

Features Espresso beans Coffee beans
Size of beansLarge and less dense Small and denser
Roast level Dark Vary from light to dark 
Grind size Finely groundCoarse grind
Coffee quality Rich, bold, and strongLight
Brewing temperature92-96 degree Celsius91-98 degree Celsius
Caffeine content 68 mg 170-220 mg
Natural oilsHigh Less 
Aroma Intense Gentle or mild
Taste Bold Mellow 
Concentration More Medium or balanced 
Usage Espresso brewingVarious brewing methods

The verdict

Espresso beans are different from the regular coffee beans in many aspects. Which one is best? Its answer depends on your preferred drink type, taste, aroma, texture of the drink etc. if you love strong beverages, choose espresso beans. However, if you want a light coffee cup with subtle notes, try regular coffee beans. What are you waiting for? Purchase your desired coffee beans, brew a fantastic coffee cup, and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many espresso beans are equivalent to a cup of coffee?

For one coffee cup, you need 60 espresso beans. When you grind these beans, you will get two tablespoons of coffee grounds that is enough for a consistent coffee cup. 

Why can you eat espresso beans but not coffee beans?

Can I eat coffee beans? You can eat espresso or coffee beans. These beans have antioxidants and caffeine, boosting your energy and lowering the risk of certain diseases. However, never use them in access as they can cause unpleasant side effects. 

Are espresso beans just dark roast?

Yes, espresso beans are roasted dark at a high temperature. These beans deliver a bold coffee cup with intense aromas, strong body, rich flavors, and bitter finish. However, they have less acidity and caffeine. 

Is espresso stronger than coffee?

Espresso contains less caffeine than the regular coffee cup however, the dark roasting makes the espresso strong. It is concentrated, has a strong body, bold flavors, and intense aromas. 

Why is espresso better than coffee?

Both beverages are beneficial. Espresso contains a wide range of antioxidants that prevent diseases and act as anti-inflammatory. However, the light-medium roasted coffee supports heart, metabolic, cognitive health, and much more. 

How many beans for 1 shot of espresso?

For one espresso shot, use 6-8 grams of ground coffee beans while for a double shot use 15 grams of ground beans. However, you can change the amount according to your preferred taste. 

How much coffee is 2 shots of espresso?

For double espresso shots, use 14-18 grams of coffee grounds. You will get a strong coffee cup. You can adjust the amount according to your personal preferences. 

Why is it called espresso beans?

Espresso beans are dark roasted and undergo a fine grinding. They work at high pressure and are specifically used for espresso brewing. So, their bags are labeled with espresso. 

Are espresso beans unhealthy?

Espresso beans are healthy as they are a good source of antioxidants and improve cognitive function. You can also enjoy chocolate-covered coffee beans. Excessive consumption can lead to serious side effects so consume them in moderation. 

Are all coffee beans espresso beans?

Although espresso beans are dark-roasted coffee beans but both work at different brewing conditions so they are labeled separately. Espresso beans are used for espresso extraction and work at high pressure while coffee beans are best for non-pressure brewing styles such as; cold brew or pour over coffee. 

What coffee is best for espresso?

What type of beans are best for espresso? Arabica beans are best for espresso brewing. Arabica beans are known for their smoothness and sweetness. However, if you want bold flavors and strong coffee, blend it with 40-60% Robusta beans.

Can you use regular coffee instead of espresso for a recipe?

Regular coffee beans are generally lightly roasted and do not work with high-pressure brewing systems. If you use them for espresso you will get bitter taste and a low coffee quality. 

Can I use ground coffee beans instead of espresso powder?

You can grind coffee beans to ultra-fine powder and use it instead of espresso powder. However, you will get weak flavor and you will need to increase the coffee amount. So it is better to use espresso powder for better results. 

Can you regrind coffee to make it finer?

Is it OK to grind coffee twice? Regrinding makes your coffee grounds finer but the coffee grounds will lose freshness and flavors. So, it is better to grind the beans once either fine or coarse. 

Can you make espresso with fresh beans?

Yes, you can make espresso with fresh beans. Finely grind the fresh beans with your grinder and extract and espresso shot. Grinding just before extraction ensures coffee freshness and robust flavors. 

Is it better to grind your own espresso beans?

Grinding just before brewing a coffee ensures coffee freshness. Also it gives you control over your grind size, leading to more robust flavor and rich espresso shots. 

What is the finest way to grind coffee?

The burr grinder is the perfect way to achieve precise grind size. Although blade grinders alo deliver you fine grinds, coffee professionals prefer burr grinders. They give you full control over grind consistency and size, leading to a tasty coffee cup. 

Which country is the biggest producer of coffee?

Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia are the largest producers of coffee in the world. They are producing about 60 kg bags of coffee per year, delivering high quality coffee with rich flavors. 

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