Is Espresso Stronger Than Coffee? – A Complete Explanation

Coffee and espresso play a significant role in modern life and help fuel us throughout our days. Many coffee addicts are wondering whether espresso is stronger than coffee or not. I think the answer depends on how much of each beverage you’re drinking. In this article, I will provide readers with detailed information about espresso and coffee; so, therefore, people can later choose a more suitable drink.

What Is Espresso?

Firstly, to know which is stronger, you must understand what coffee and espresso are. Maybe regular coffee is too familiar to you, so I mentioned what espresso exactly is in this paragraph.

Espresso coffee originates from Italy, still made from popular beans in the world, such as Robusta or Arabica. It looks effortless with the familiar black and brown color. However, turning raw coffee beans into standard espresso is a more particular matter than you think.

Espresso is coffee prepared from a pressurized compressor with near-boiling water, creating the original delicious taste of coffee in a short time. To make espresso, one must use a specialized machine, pressuring the layer of coffee beans (grounded) with hot water near boiling (88-95 degrees Celsius). Meanwhile, for coffee, they use a manual filtering method; it takes about 10 minutes for boiling water to penetrate gradually through the layer of ground coffee beans in the filter cup.

The Difference Between Espresso And Regular Coffee

Most specialty coffee drinks – lattes, cappuccinos, macchiato, etc. – use espresso as the “base” ingredient for those coffees. So why can’t they use regular coffee for these drinks? Let’s quickly review all the distinctions between espresso and regular coffee for more information.

Preparation Method

People brew regular coffee by pouring hot water over ground coffee; typical brews are found in home machines, like the American dinner. However, this revival of the traditional brew is revived even in traditional cafes as a hot (sometimes cold) drink. Espresso is created by forcing boiling water or steam under pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. Boiling, pressurized water, and finely ground coffee give the espresso a strong coffee taste.


The most apparent difference between espresso and coffee, in general, is brewing time. Each type will have many different methods and preparation times. For example, to make a cup of AeroPress, we can make it in 2 minutes, but it takes 12-24 hours to complete a cup of Cold Brew. Espresso is a particular case because it only needs to be brewed within 30 seconds.

Espresso machines were born centuries ago in Europe, mainly focusing on speed and power. The first espresso drinkers were Italians during the Industrial Revolution. They needed fast dispensers to sip espresso during their lunch break and quickly return to work at the factories.

Coffee Bean Size When Grinding

Usually, we are advised to grind when needed because the coarse grains help balance out the delicious flavors without wasting the dissolution of the seeds. More fine particles in the preparation will make the taste more bitter.

However, espresso is different. The most important requirement when making espresso is that the seeds must be finely ground and smooth. The hot water pressure will not get all the essence if the grain is too coarse. On the other hand, too fine particles lead to blockage or slow down the permeation process.

So, to get a great espresso, we need to grind the beans so that they are just the right size, not too coarse or too fine.

Nutritional Value

Nutritionally, both filter coffee and espresso, without adding other ingredients, have similar nutritional values, and both contain trace amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese.

According to studies, coffee has the effect of helping to reduce the risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, preventing liver disease, and some types of cancer.

No matter what coffee you use, the recommendation should be followed: no more than 400mg of caffeine a day. In addition, do not add too much syrup, sugar, milk, or cream to coffee.


Perhaps most people will also recognize the difference in taste between these two coffees. 

Outside of an espresso shot, espresso is available in various forms. Because some people find the espresso flavor excessively intense or bitter, it is frequently included in coffee drinks.

The following are common espresso preparations:

  • Caffe latte: Espresso and two parts of hot milk are combined to make a caffe latte, which is then topped with a thin foam coating.
  • Caffe macchiato: Also known as an espresso macchiato, this drink combines a shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk and foam.
  • Cappuccino: to make a cappuccino, espresso, hot milk, and milk foam are all combined in equal amounts.
  • Americano: One or two shots of espresso are combined with hot water.
  • Flat white: a cappuccino-like beverage with more espresso and no milk foam.

People think that espresso tends to have a richer, fuller flavor. In contrast, regular coffee has a milder flavor.

Does Espresso Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Generally, caffeine is found in all types of coffee, and rightly so; caffeine plays an integral part in why many people choose to drink coffee.

The most common misconception about espresso is that it contains the most caffeine. Drip, filtered, or steeped coffee tends to have more caffeine than espresso.

Why so? Because drip or filter brews extract more of the natural oils and sugars. Therefore caffeine is removed more slowly, meaning you’ll get a cup of coffee that’s more nuanced but that contains a higher amount of caffeine. When espresso is crushed to an extreme degree of fineness to extract everything the grind has to give, it contains more caffeine. Espresso contains more caffeine per ounce since it is brewed under high pressure.

Read more: What Is The Difference Between Coffee And Espresso? – Things You Might Not Know

What Makes Espresso Stronger Than Coffee?

Levels Of Roasting

The first factor that makes espresso stronger than coffee is – the level of roasting. Depending on your roast, it will give a stronger and more bitter flavor but won’t increase the caffeine. There are three primary roast levels, including:

  • Light roast:

Light roast is also known by other names such as Cinnamon, New England, and American. At this roast level, the coffee is removed as soon as the first crack appears (first bang) at a temperature of 195 degrees C to 205 degrees C (385 degrees F to 400 degrees F).

Coffee beans at this roast level are not yet highly acidic, light in texture, and not yet well-formed, but rich in flavor. Coffee will have the taste of fruits, and beans, favoring sour, sweet, and less bitter.

  • Medium Roast

Medium roast is the broad period between two bursts of coffee

Suppose the coffee beans are removed next to the second explosion (according to Rao Scoot – 2008). In that case, it will be called Full city, and the upper surface of the beans will be slightly oily.

With this second roasting level, the sugar will be caramelized; the acidity begins to decrease. There is a balance between acidity, sweetness, and bitterness; the taste will bring the smell of ripe fruit or chocolate.

  • Dark Roast

At this stage, coffee beans will be roasted at a temperature of 230 degrees Celsius to 240 degrees Celsius and begin when the second crack (second explosion) appears after 30 – 60 seconds. At this level, more oil will be spilled on the surface of the seed; the physicality will decrease, and the color of the grain will become darker. When the caramelization is over, the seeds begin to burn. With this roasting, the coffee will have a high bitterness, most notably the taste of smoke or tobacco; the sweetness and acidity will gradually disappear. The thickness of the body also will prevail.

This phase starts when the 2nd crack (second explosion) appears within 30 – 60 seconds.

With this roasting degree, the coffee will have a high bitterness, prominently the taste of smoke or tobacco, and the sweetness and acidity will be lost. The thickness of the body also will prevail. This roast is usually not used for Arabica beans, but mainly Robusta beans used to make filters.

Coffee Type

The coffee industry has two main types of coffee, Robusta, and Arabica. The beans will partly determine the coffee’s flavor, strength, and caffeine level.

  •  Arabica

Of the two types, Arabica is the more expensive because it is grown at very high altitudes and is difficult to harvest. In addition, the price of this coffee bean is high because this coffee bean tends to have a sweeter, more aromatic flavor and a smoother texture. It is considered the highest quality and most popular coffee bean.

  •  Robusta

Contrary to Arabica, this coffee bean will be easier to grow and harvest because of its high resistance to pests and diseases. Although it is cheaper than Arabica, Robusta beans contain more caffeine per bean. Robusta has a rougher and more grainy taste. However, it is widely incorporated in the color espresso blends because it produces a better crema.


The optimum temperature to extract espresso is from 90 to 96 ° C. If the high temperature increases the coffee extraction yield, the taste will be more bitter at this time. When using water with a lower temperature, it will favor a sweet and sour taste. At this time, the brewing capacity will decrease.

Using boiling water for extraction will make the coffee taste bitter, acrid, and burnt. On the other hand, too low a temperature will not dissolve all the compounds in the coffee and make your cup of coffee pale and lack taste.

Is Espresso Coffee Healthy?

Espresso has more health benefits than harm; just like regular coffee, espresso contains antioxidants and is low in calories which offers many obvious benefits such as:

  • Good for memory
  • Improve immune system
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease 
  • Prevention of many diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, cancer, etc.
  • Increase metabolism, burn fat better
  • Improve the digestive system
  • Against aging

Although it brings many health benefits, you should not abuse it if you are a person with blood pressure problems.

How To Drink Espresso?

Espresso is not the type of coffee you drink while driving to work. Instead, how espresso is prepared, served, and enjoyed has a certain authenticity.

You take a slow sip of espresso and let the flavors entice your palate. A little sugar to sweeten the taste is good, but adding too much sugar could change the flavor.

Espresso Or Regular Coffee, Which Is Better?

There is no correct answer to this question.

Regular coffee is a precise way to taste the different flavors of coffee, especially those characteristics that are not evident in an espresso. The preparation process is gentle and gradual.

However, it is not comparable to espresso when set in time. An espresso created through a very different method is speedy to score with the required amount of caffeine.

Another consideration is how often you like your coffee. The dense espresso tends to blend into the milk in a sweet, firm feel. The creaminess of steamed milk often carries a lot of espresso sweetness that you will see in cappuccinos, flat whites, and lattes.

Regular coffee has a more transparent, pleasant, less acidic taste and is usually drunk black. It allows you to appreciate the apparent character of the coffee.

Focus on preference, but remember that each approach produces different results with different types of coffee. Depending on the origin of the coffee, how it is roasted, and more.


In short, despite their relative differences in many aspects, regular coffee and espresso still have distinct characteristics ready to please all coffee enthusiasts. You should spend one time trying to enjoy both types to know your coffee taste and feel the exciting difference between these two cups of coffee. I hope through this article, you already know “is espresso stronger than coffee”.

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