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Tammy

Difference between coffee and espresso?

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I hope this isn't an idiot question.  But I have no idea what the differences are.  Please teach me.


Edited by Smithy Corrected title spelling (log)

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Many differences.The roast. The grind.

But what defines espresso is the brewing method.

I typical cup of coffee is brewed at about 200° with the water slowly passed through the grounds.

Espresso uses a smaller amount of water, at similar temps that is quickly pushed through finely ground coffee.


Edited by Paul Fink (log)
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There are many different ways to prepare coffee. Espresso is just one preparation. Coffee is an ingredient. Espresso is a preparation from that ingredient.

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First, it is eSpresso.  No x,( just so some fanatic in a coffee shop will not spend five minutes lecturing you.)  (happened to someone I know)

Espresso is brewed by using pressure to force water though coffee that has been roasted very dark, ground very fine so the components can be quickly extracted.

 

There are several threads on coffee, espresso, brewing, roasting, accessories and etc.  

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What andiesenji (and everyone else) said. However, although a typical commercial "espresso roast" is indeed very dark, an excellent espresso can be made from lighter roasts (and often is). Here's a good web page to start with, from Seattle Coffee Gear.

 

BTW, I included that espresso/expresso confusion in a "writing pitfalls" handout I used to give to my students.

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1 minute ago, Alex said:

What andiesenji (and everyone else) said. However, although a typical commercial "espresso roast" is indeed very dark, an excellent espresso can be made from lighter roasts (and often is). Here's a good web page to start with, from Seattle Coffee Gear.

 

BTW, I included that espresso/expresso confusion in a "writing pitfalls" handout I used to give to my students.

I witnessed a bordering on brutal lecture by one customer to another in a local independent coffee place. I felt so bad for the young lady who was getting bullied that I had to step in and tell the obnoxious person to cool it.  She turned and said, "I suppose YOU are an expert!" 

Then the manager (who has purchased several vintage coffee brewers from me) piped up and said, "YES SHE IS!"  

The bully scurried out the door.  

I told Wayne that I am not an expert.  He said it didn't matter as long as that woman doesn't come back  in here. 

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20 hours ago, andiesenji said:

I witnessed a bordering on brutal lecture by one customer to another in a local independent coffee place. I felt so bad for the young lady who was getting bullied that I had to step in and tell the obnoxious person to cool it.  She turned and said, "I suppose YOU are an expert!" 

Then the manager (who has purchased several vintage coffee brewers from me) piped up and said, "YES SHE IS!"  

The bully scurried out the door.  

I told Wayne that I am not an expert.  He said it didn't matter as long as that woman doesn't come back  in here. 

That is a great story.  I'm glad you were willing to step in.  So many people aren't.

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Three cheers for @andiesenji

 

And the only idiot question is one that hasn't been asked.

 

Given my level of coffee knowledge is low-to-medium, am I correct that espresso is generally made from a more finely ground coffee?

 

 

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

Three cheers for @andiesenji

 

And the only idiot question is one that hasn't been asked.

 

Given my level of coffee knowledge is low-to-medium, am I correct that espresso is generally made from a more finely ground coffee?

 

 

 

Yes, very finely ground. A press pot takes a moderatly coarse grind. Drip is somewhere inbetween. Here's a YouTube video from Seattle Coffe Gear that demonstrates the differences.


Edited by Alex to add information (log)

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In the late '60s, through the '70s, I lived next door to an Italian family - actually their extended family owned three houses on my block.  They had moka pots on every stovetop and this was consumed throughout the day.

Mama and Papa did have an espresso machine, one of the elaborate, copper and brass monsters that hissed and bubbled and was reserved for SPECIAL evenings.

When I first met them, there were hand cranked grinders but about 1970 Mama got a KitchenAid mixer (she had admired the one I had) and saw the KA coffee grinder and insisted on getting that also.  

They taught me how to use a moka pot and then how to operate the espresso machine.  I never really got very adept at "dosing" and "tamping" the portafilter, but I tried.  

Later I bought a much smaller and more modern espresso machine. I practiced a lot but I was simply not skilled enough to be truly successful.  I still bought coffee brewers, both vintage and modern and I tried every way of brewing coffee that I could find.

In about 2004 I got a "superautomatic" espresso machine and it was wonderful.  It did all the hard work.

And I used it for several years but less and less and finally gave it away to friends who entertain a lot and they truly appreciate it.

If I were starting out today, I would not spend money on one of the simpler machines, I would save until I had enough for one of the superautomatics.  Friends have them and they love them and they produce a great espresso cup every time.  

And you don't have that STEEP LEARNING CURVE of how to dose and tamp the right grind of coffee in a portafilter.  

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if you just consider the final ' Cup':

 

coffee is a solution made with ground rousted coffee beans.  you can make it with cold water, it just takes longer to extract.

 

it can be made with any roasted coffee  ;  lgithly roasted , medium roasted , and dark roasted   understanding these the terms

 

are relative.  it can also be made with varying degrees of ' fine-ness of grind .  coast ground just takes longer to extract.

 

espresso  is  1)  not 'strong coffee ( as above )'  its an emulsion.  ( ground roasted coffee and water  that can only be created with very hot water

 

~ 200 F - 205 F , depending   forced through ground roasted coffee beans at high pressure   ~ 6 - 9 atmospheres.

 

it generally has something called crema  on top of that emulsion  or should have.

 

if you let a good cup of espresso sit for a while and cool down    the emulation dissipates  and you get strong coffee.

 

its the emulsion that separates espresso from coffee.;

 

starbucks and Peet's   serve  very strong coffee in little cups  , usually paper or styrofoam , not espresso.

 

so you have to go somewhere else to try it other than those two coffee shops.

 

espresso is imposible to really make w/o  understanding that the emulsion is only created under high pressure.

 

great espresso can be made at home once you have the emulsion understood then concentrate on the details

 

to get it just right.

 

a few finer points :  both are personal beverages , and you get to pick what you like.  no emulstison no espresso.

 

uniform grind is very important with espresso.  to coarse you get under extraction  and too fine you get over extraction

 

over extraction leads to bitterness.   Good quality green beans roasted for espresso , given a single Personal

 

Taate  are about roasted 5 degrees  < than for ' coffee'   this simple fact took me about a year to realize

 

I would not like ' coffee ' made with my espresso roast nor would I like espresso roast made in the Espresso Machine

 

even using the same green beans as sa started

 

the unifier in this study is I like coffee and and I have one palate.  two palates complicated this study


Edited by rotuts (log)
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That's very interesting. @rotuts

I never heard that before.

I always thought that espresso was brewed at a higher temp that drip coffee.

But its not. Its the grind & the pressure not the temp.


Edited by Paul Fink (log)

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few people know this simply because they don't make real espresso at home so they don't get a chance to figure this out.

 

sort though this site :

 

https://www.sweetmarias.com

 

you can learn a lot.  its a green coffee distributor in Oakland CA   I get my green beans from them and

 

in the past visited them in Oakland.   its not a store and you can't go there to buy green coffee.

 

they used to have a section called Coffee University .  Tom  one of the owners  pointed out early that espresso roast was lighter than dark

 

i huffed and puffed for a year w very good equipment until I tried this myself .  Nothing thinking like you know more than you do !

 

its very true.

 

also the degree of roast varies from, country to country :  Spainish in Span like a very dark roast  , and Iitalians a lighter roast.

 

SpanishDSark  is almost ' burnt ' compared to Italian roast in Italy for espresso.

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temperature is very important to espresso.

 

some palates finer than mine  vary the extraction temp within a 5 degree range  :  200 - 205 based on the green bean blend

 

dry processed vs wet processed   

 

Ive tried this and I can't taste the difference  so all mine are done at about 200 f  I have a PID Alexia for the temp is very finely comtrolled

 

by the machine not me.

 

time from first ' drip' to end iof the extraction s also very important   too fast  : under extraction  too slow  over extraction.

 

If you read various coffee forums etc   this degree of detail might seem

 

dis-ingenous   and for im sure a lot of HuffPuff's it is.

 

but most of it is not if you've event the time working this our for yourself.

 

I have worked to the point that any more Fine Control would escape my palate.

 

one important point :  your home grinder has to match the ' level of precision  ' of your espresso machine.

 

or you buy a cheaper machine  as thou are loosing the potential benefit of the more expensive machine

 

its a series that ' adds up ' A + B + C + D = espresso.   you have to look at the lowest common denomitaton

 

as you cannot get great espresso out of DunkunDonuts coffee beans with 

 

this  :

 

https://www.chriscoffee.com/GS3-Volumetric-Espresso-Machine-p/gs3-1g-avnw.htm

 

and

 

https://www.chriscoffee.com/La-Marzocco-Swift-Espresso-Grinder-p/swift.htm

 

if you made DD's  ' coffee'  at home w their beans you would get DD's coffee ' at home '

 

the grinder above has one benefit :  you can have two different espresso blends of beans on hand at the same time !

 

suprise.gif.374268be4b06ac5f793e7d1b179c4e97.gif

 

green beans  ->  roasting -> grinding -> extraction .   as well as the cup.  why would you can't to drink The Real Deal out of plastic ?

 

as @weinoo   has suggested :

 

don't forget your water quality !


Edited by rotuts (log)
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and then two of the Ultimate Big Questions :

 

1 )   what's the difference between   good coffee and  great coffee

 

and

 

2 )  what's the difference between   good espresso and  great espresso

 

o.O

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Great description and explanation.   To your last question, the answer is that it varies greatly with each person.  What is great to me may be something quite different to another.  However, I am extremely fussy about my coffee and/or espresso. There is a local independent café that produces an exceptional cup - in pre-heated porcelain cups and saucers.  

I'm a supertaster (I was part of one of the clinical studies at UCLA because the neurologist who share our office in the '80s was involved in the study, which was interesting and at times confusing.)

I can sense flavors in liquids that many others can't - one of the reasons I have used a Berkey water purifier for decades and rarely drink water at restaurants.  

To me "great" coffee is when I take a sip and a burst of flavors hit me.  I'm using a coffee now, Koffee Kult Dark Roast #2, which is very much to my taste.  They say: cupping notes; heavy body, smooth, cinnamon, bright with a long finish.

This is my review, posted to Amazon.

Koffee Kult DARK ROAST COFFEE BEANS (2 Pounds Whole Bean) Highest Quality Delicious Organically Sourced Fair Trade - Whole Bean Coffee - Fresh Coffee Beans (Grocery)
I tried it, brewed with my Senseo. It is not as dark as some dark roasts but is robust with plenty of body. There are obvious chocolate notes, more so than cinnamon and definite hint of citrus. If you have ever tasted the dark chocolate "orange sticks" (orange jelly coated with simi-sweet chocolate) - the aftertaste of that is what I sense. Great for starting the day, carry on into the afternoon. It does have a long finish, crisp and bright and is also ideal for an after dinner cup.
I use a Senseo, make my own pods.
I ground it medium-fine, filled a double pod with a full measure plus 3/4.
This morning I brewed 4 cups in a vacuum brewer, using 4 standard coffee measures and 4.5 cups of filtered water.
Excellent flavor, body and nicely robust. I am very pleased.
 
With the first couple of sips, I tasted dark chocolate with orange - which, since I became allergic to chocolate, I have not tasted for 30+ years but it was distinct and quite pleasant.  
I also like that it is organic and fair trade.  
To me it is quite inexpensive at two pounds for 25.99 - I have paid more than that for a pound OR LESS of many coffees.  
One was 38.00 for 12 ounces it was good but this is much better FOR ME!
 
I have found that selecting coffee is very much personal preference.
 
And I can't stand "stale" coffee and for me, it begins to stale within half an hour of brewing so I brew small amounts unless several people are going to be drinking it.  

 

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There will be some differences, what I know is the espresso is not  with sugar and milk, it's pure coffee, and ordinary coffee will put sugar and milk.

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On 28/04/2017 at 3:25 PM, ginagreen said:
There will be some differences, what I know is the espresso is not  with sugar and milk, it's pure coffee, and ordinary coffee will put sugar and milk.

 

It's not so simple.

 

Espresso is served without milk or sugar, but that's not what makes it "espresso". Other 'black coffees' are available, but aren't espressos.

Espresso is a technique for extracting flavor from coffee using pressurised steam, as explained above.

 

You could add milk and sugar or anything else, but it will still, technically, be 'espresso'. You'd have to be crazy, though.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Yep. I drink what you are calling "ordinary" coffee and wouldn't dream of putting sugar or milk/cream  in it. What @liuzhou said. It's a method of extracting flavour from the beans. 

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In Italy it's quite common to add sugar to little cups of espresso.

The artisan boutique-roast espresso culture of the US is different.


Edited by LivingMCM (log)

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I always add sugar to my espresso...

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