What is the Difference Between Espresso Ground Coffee and Ordinary Coffee?

By Ann Hills / 5 years ago

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between espresso ground coffee and ordinary coffee? Well, I have. So, I tried to research on the internet and find more information about espresso and ordinary coffee. Coffee and espresso are more similar than many people think. It’s the same as scrambled and sunny side up eggs; you use the same ingredients but the difference in method provides very different effects.

The coffee beans used for each can be the same and these can be roasted in the same method, however, those used for espresso are better in quality, since the intense and undiluted nature of the coffee makes low quality beans more difficult to ignore.

The difference then is in the process, with espresso being brewed faster under high pressure and consumed immediately, and coffee being brewed and drank more gradually. These differences give each drink a distinct quality and while many people have a preference, they can be and often are enjoyed together for the best of both worlds.

Espresso Ground Coffee vs. Ordinary Coffee

We have broken down the differences between espresso ground coffee and ordinary coffee:

Espresso Ground Coffee

Ordinary Coffee



Brewing Methods

Espresso uses compacted finely ground beans, made into a disk-shaped ‘puck’. The puck is placed into a machine which forces near boiling water through it at a pressure of up to 15 atmospheres, the process lasts around 25-30 seconds and the final effect is thicker, dark and strong tasting, with a frothy layer on top called crema.

The method of brewing ordinary coffee is different. Most machines use the drip method where hot water is dripped through the grounds and then filtered. The alternative is the French press method, percolating the coffee often by hand-pressing a filter through the mixture.

Making regular coffee involves combining ground coffee beans with hot water. The beans are normally ground to medium coarseness and the brewing time is short, being left to steep briefly before the grounds are filtered out and the coffee drink stays.

Serving Size

The serving size differs significantly, approximately one and a half ounces for espresso. This small serving size makes espresso a versatile drink though, and it serves as the basis for other drinks such as the mocha, latte and cappuccino just to name a few.

It is sometimes served up to three or four servings (called ‘shots’) at a time, which gives a much more intense coffee experience. Other people combine espresso with hot water to make an Americano, which is a very close cousin to drip coffee, where the intensity can easily be controlled by the amount of hot water put into the espresso shot.

The serving size for an ordinary coffee is around six ounces.

Caffeine Content

Both regular coffee and espresso are stimulating drinks but the ordinary coffee has more caffeine, between 80-185mg compared to the espresso which has about 40-75mg.

The difference in serving size means that the caffeine is more concentrated in espresso, but overall a serving of coffee has twice as much.

Considering the intense taste of the espresso, and the fact that people often report side effects to espresso, it is a surprise to some that ordinary coffee has more caffeine.

All this is most likely has to do with the speed of drinking though, with espresso normally drank all at once and coffee much more gradually. The caffeine is thus drank all at once too, and it can have an effect on anyone sensitive to it.

How To Make Espresso Without Using an Espresso Machine

Don’t have an espresso machine? No problem. You can make an espresso without an espresso machine. You can use any strongly brewed espresso from a home espresso or a capsule machine like a Nespresso will suffice. Here are easy steps for you to have a cup of espresso:

Step 1: Make your espresso or strongly brewed coffee

As mentioned above, any strongly brewed espresso from a home espresso maker or a capsule machine will suffice. Or use strongly brewed coffee from an Aeropress, not diluted with any water. I normally begin with about 1/3 cup espresso, but it depends on you.

Step 2: Froth the milk

Put milk into the jar. Fill no more than halfway. Twist the lid on tightly, and shake the jar as much as you can until the milk becomes frothy and has about doubled in volume for 30 to 60 seconds.

Step 3: Heat the milk in a microwave

Remove the lid off the jar and microwave uncovered for 30 seconds. The foam will rise to the top of the milk and the heat from the microwave will help stabilize it.

Step 4: Put warm milk into the espresso

Pour the espresso or coffee into a wide, shallow coffee mug. Use a big spoon to hold back the milk foam, and put as much warm milk as you would want into the espresso.

Step 5: Add foam

Spoon as much milk foam as you would want onto your espresso (or perhaps it's a latte at this point!). Put some garnish, if preferred, with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or whipped cream on top of the foam. Enjoy your espresso!


So, there you have it, it’s the technical subtleties that give every drink its own appeal and quality, but there is no reason to pick one of them. Rather, the difference in method gives two very different beverages which both lend themselves well to new techniques and combinations. To stick to just one type of coffee is okay, but this is a world of experimentation and it would be a shame to waste all that variety and versatility, after all no one drinks coffee to stay still.

So, which type do you prefer? Have you tried both? Please feel free to share your coffee experience through our comments section below and like our Facebook page.

About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

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