Espresso beans Vs. Coffee Beans- Are They Same or Different?

Be it a warm cup of Coffee with extra cream or a rich-flavored shot of Espresso, both of them work finely for beginning a good day. Coffee aficionados certainly believe that Espresso is the only true form of Coffee, owing to its bitter and earthly taste. 

However, Are both of them prepared from the same coffee beans?

Though coffee beans (1) and espresso beans (2) are labeled and sold differently in supermarkets, the only major difference between them is their roasting temperature and grinding process

To offer you a better insight, we have listed the differences between the roasting, grinding, and brewing procedures of coffee beans and Espresso beans.


The taste of your coffee is influenced by the type of roast you pick. Initially, the harvested coffee beans undergo three major procedures, drying, browning, and roasting.

Drying the beans helps in reducing their humidity. Following is the browning stage, where the aromas start to develop. The Browning process helps the coffee beans’ natural sugar and amino acids to start reacting and developing a distinct color, flavor, and characteristic. Roasters call it the Maillard reaction.

During the browning process, the occurrences of the first crack can be noticed, signifying that the beans have started to expand. It leads to beginning the next process called roasting

There are three types of roasts; light, medium, and dark.

Lightly roasted beans are released into a cooling sieve a couple of minutes after the first crack. Their characteristic involves high acidity levels and oil inside the beans. Lightly roasted beans offer a fruity smell and a toasty, grain-like taste.

Medium roast follows the light roast, where the beans are roasted for a longer period. The beans are released into the cooling sieve right before the second crack. The longer roasts lead to a decrease in acidity in the beans, offering them a balanced sugary-sweet taste over lightly roasted beans. However, the oil remains within the beans.

In the dark roast, beans are roasted longer than the other two variants. The longer roast leads to releasing the oil, forming a shiny sheen over the beans. The flavors of origin get eliminated due to higher temperature and roast duration.

The longer roasting period, however, offers enough time for the beans to caramelize, owing to which it delivers a bitter-sweet and rich taste with bold flavor. Dark roasted beans have low acidity levels compared to the other two variants. 

Most people prefer dark roasted beans to brew their espresso shots. 

Also read: Difference between Dark-roast and medium-roast coffee beans

Grinding process

Compared to other coffee grinds, an espresso grind is typically much finer. This is because Espresso needs hot water getting pushed through tightly packed grounds.

Find espresso grinds

Coming around a bag stating Espresso means the coffee grounds are finely roasted to offer a sand-textured grind. A good espresso is also defined by its grind.

Brewing Process

A regular cup of Coffee can be easily prepared through a French press, percolator, drip, or pour-over methods. However, Espresso needs a specific brewing method that includes Aeropress or an espresso machine. Also, espresso-making needs skills and specific tools to lay its original magic. 


Espresso is mostly compared to drip coffee owing to its unique taste and flavor. Its dark roast and fine grinding offer a non-acidic and well-rounded taste. It is stronger in taste than Coffee and has a heavier coffee-rich flavor.

Which is more caffeinated, Coffee or Espresso?

If you thought Espresso is more caffeinated than drip coffee, then here is the fact to burst the myth. An average cup of drip coffee contains more caffeine than Espresso. Thanks to the extra roast given to the beans, which leads to burning a great amount of caffeine during this process.

At the same time, when comparing the caffeine concentration, one shot of Espresso has an equal amount of caffeine content as one cup of drip coffee, which is around 8-10 ounces. However, 8 ounces of Espresso can lead you to overdose on your daily caffeine.

Using medium roasted coffee beans for Espresso?

Why not?

Dark-roasted coffee beans are mostly preferred to make espresso shots. However, using a medium roast for preparing a shot of Espresso can also work. The coffee roasting range between medium to dark is considered fine for brewing espresso. But compared to the Espresso made with dark roasted beans, the accuracy of taste of medium roasted beans-based Espresso cannot be guaranteed. 

Well, there are no such rules, and experimenting with your beverages is always allowed. However, based on our experience, we found that medium roast does not taste as strong as dark roasted, but it may taste better when grounded with greater consistency. Making an espresso from medium roast, therefore, is possible. However, it may taste less strong than an authentic espresso.   

Nutrition level based on one shot of Espresso and one cup of Coffee

One shot of sugarless Espresso contains 1 calorie, 0.1 grams of fats, and zero carbs.

On the other hand, one serving of sugarless black Coffee contains 2 calories, zero fats, and zero carbs. However, the level of calories, carbs, and fat changes with the additional ingredients, including sugar, milk, cream, and others.

Wrapping it up

So, this is how a coffee bean ends up in a beverage of our liking. It is incredible how the same coffee beans go through different procedures to deliver different beverages. Lightly roasted coffee beans are mostly used for pour-over and drip Coffee. Also, many people like a light roasting of a cold brew as it is said to retain the acidity levels of lightly roasted coffee beans. 

At the same time, medium to dark roasted beans are used for espresso-based drinks and beverages that involve milk and cream.

Hoping this helped you understand the difference between coffee and espresso beans. So, next time while walking the aisle in a supermarket, keep these differences in your mind before questioning why the bags of espresso beans or coffee beans are tagged differently. 

I'm a coffee lover, foodie, and blogger - passionate about coffee and all the things that go with it. I write about coffee, and news, learn about new coffees from across the world, do some home roasting, and share my thoughts on various other topics.