Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans: What’s the Difference?

Confused about the difference between espresso beans vs coffee beans?

Many people ask the same question when they see coffee bags labeled as espresso beans.

Technically, an espresso bean is also a coffee bean. Both come from the same source but may be processed differently.

To help you know what’s the difference between coffee and espresso beans, let’s talk about each one in detail.

What Are Espresso Beans?

Espresso beans belong to the dark roast variety of the coffee beans because they are roasted longer. They also have smaller and finer ground particles.

So, what are espresso beans used for? Because of their unique characteristics, espresso beans are used to make an espresso shot using a machine designed for that method.

These dark-roasted beans have rich natural oils showing on its surface but with low acid levels and fuller bodies that you can feel on your tongue.

Espresso beans produce a creamy foam or espresso crema that is lighter in color on top of the dark java drink.

You can bring out the maximum flavor and aroma of an espresso bean using the high-pressure brewing method.

What Are Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are the same beans that are roasted in preparation for brewing. It is generally divided into four categories—light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.

Light roast has a mild smell and taste and a matte finish, while the darker ones have more potent flavor and aroma with a shiny surface.

How Are They Prepared?

We have established that these beans originated from the same source. Even though that’s the case, is there a difference between espresso and coffee beans?

The actual difference between espresso beans vs coffee beans is how they are prepared.

Roasting Time

Espresso beans are darker and oily due to the longer time they are under high heat, which allows them to produce a more profound smell and taste.

Longer roasting time removes most of the acid from the beans while releasing their natural oils, usually taking around 20 minutes.

Coffee beans refer to all types of beans and usually roasted from light to medium-dark to highlight their unique flavors.

The typical coffee bean roasting time is around 13 minutes or less.

Ground Particles

The ground particle size is vital to the coffee’s overall flavor, as it helps in the extraction process.

Espresso grounds have finer particles than ordinary coffee grounds. The sand-like texture is essential to the way espresso is processed.

On the other hand, coffee grounds have coarser particles suitable for numerous brewing methods in creating a hot or cold coffee drink.

Brewing Method

Another difference between espresso and coffee is the brewing method. This is another crucial aspect in bringing out the flavor and aroma of the beans.

You can prepare a regular cup of coffee using different brewing methods and devices. There’s the drip, French press, percolator, and other preparation methods.

Generally, coffee lovers say that the best way to get the full taste and smell of light roast is through slow extraction, such as filter coffee.

An espresso shot uses a different brewing method and an espresso machine to get the right flavor and consistency.

A real espresso shot is drawn out using high pressure. Additionally, specific tools and skills are also required in creating this brew.

It produces a rich crema found on top of the dark espresso, indicating that the right brewing procedure is observed.

Flavor and Aroma

Since espresso is roasted longer, have finer grounds, and uses a particular machine for brewing, its unique flavor and aroma are different from a regular brewed coffee.

Espresso has less acid but with a bolder and richer coffee flavor. Its full-bodied finish is due to the natural oils released during the longer roasting time.

Caffeine Content

When it comes to caffeine content, the regular cup of drip coffee is more caffeinated than espresso.

A coffee bean’s caffeine content is burned away when it is roasted longer like the espresso beans.

espresso beans vs coffee beans

Brewing Methods for Regular Coffee

There are different ways to brew and prepare ordinary beans. Here are some common ways to do it.


One of the simplest ways to brew regular coffee is through the pour-over method. It’s a typical process usually done at home.

You only need a filter holder with a filter, coffee grounds, and hot water. You then pour hot water onto the coffee grounds inside the filter.


The AeroPress is quite similar to an espresso machine, as it also needs pressure to create a flavorful coffee shot.

The only difference is that an AeroPress needs human power to complete the job, which may not provide enough pressure to extract the flavor.

Cold Brew

Interestingly, the cold brew process uses regular coffee beans by slowly extracting the flavor using an immersion method.

To do this, you simply put the coffee grounds inside the filter and submerge it into room-temperature water for one day.

This process creates a smooth coffee concentrate perfect for hot days. You can prepare a cup by diluting it with milk or water.

French Press

The French press is the universal way of brewing a regular coffee cup using the immersion method and ordinary coffee beans.

Here, coffee grounds and hot water are placed inside the carafe. As the coffee particles drop to the bottom of the pitcher and separate from the liquid, an intense brew is created.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

In reality, the only difference between espresso vs coffee beans is how they are roasted and brewed; it has nothing to do with the beans.

A coffee pack with an espresso label is just the manufacturer’s way of informing the consumers how to prepare that particular pack.

When you put dark-roasted beans under high pressure, they produce a more intense flavor profile.

On the other hand, brewing coffee using the standard drip or pour-over method creates a milder coffee flavor. Brewing coffee through these methods allows you to control the taste better.


Generally speaking, espresso vs coffee beans only differ in their roasting time and brewing process.

Espresso beans are mostly dark-colored with a shiny and oily surface. Their flavor and aroma are more distinct compared to coffee beans.

However, coffee beans with a lighter roast have more caffeine content because they are not exposed to high heat for a long time.

More than knowing what’s the difference between coffee and espresso beans, you should also follow the right practices when brewing a cup.

Know more about good coffee and make the perfect cup by following these five easy steps.

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