The main difference between espresso coffee and coffee bean are the fineness of the grind and the brewing time. The brewing time fore espresso coffee is much shorter, made possibly by espresso machines that generate up to 15 atmospheres (ATM) of pressure to force the water through the coffee. A shot of espresso is forcing 1.5 ounces of nearly boiling water through tightly packed, finely ground espresso coffee. When all goes well, it should come out to be a dark brown, with thick liquid with a small amount of crema on top.
No. Espresso is made with a normal coffee bean, and many types of roasts can be considered legitimate espresso. Espresso deals with the way that the coffee is brewed – using finely ground coffee, water is forced through at high temperature and pressure which leads to a different consistency than coffee, with different amounts of solids and oils rendered in the beverage.
getwithrico and jchang14 are both correct. There are a few other small differences. Sometimes espresso can be a blend of several different types of coffee beans and those beans are roasted until they are dark and oily-looking. Espresso beans are also ground much more finely than for drip coffee. Many espresso devotees experiment with the grinds and how long the water takes to pass through the blend. Making drip coffee is also a slower process and the water is in contact with the grounds for a much longer period of time. This is a very suprising difference which will matter to all coffee drinkers: a cp of drip coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso!
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