Black Coffee vs. Espresso: Read This First!

Some people believe there is no difference between Black Coffee vs. Espresso. That isn’t entirely true.

black coffee vs. espresso
Black coffee vs. Espresso

There are differences, although subtle, that make each type of coffee worth making and drinking at home. To help you prepare the beverage that you prefer to drink, we’ve created this helpful guide for you to refer to often. You’ll know instantly whether you’ve brewed a cup of Black Coffee or Espresso.

What is Black Coffee? Simply put, it’s coffee that is black with no milk, cream, or plant-based milk added to it. What is Espresso? Known as Black Coffee’s stronger, thicker, and more potent cousin, it serves as the base for many specialty coffee drinks. A good cup of coffee is satisfying.

It hits the spot and gives you a boost in energy. If you’re new to making coffee at home, there is a lot to learn. The first is what makes Black Coffee and Espresso similar, as well as what makes the two beverages vastly different.

We’ll start by giving you a more in-depth description of the drinks, the way that you prepare them, and how to serve them. That way, you can recreate your favorite coffeehouse Black Coffee or Espresso drinks at home.

What is Black Coffee?

A close up of a coffee cup with black coffee.
Black Coffee

Black Coffee comes from either whole beans or ground coffee. It comes in every variety imaginable from light roast to dark roast, caffeinated and decaffeinated, and from regions worldwide. It isn’t unusual to drink Columbian coffee in the United States or an American-branded coffee manufacturer such as Starbucks overseas.

What is Espresso?

A close up of an Espresso machine.

The Italian way of making coffee, Espresso, takes very little water. It also uses very finely ground coffee beans which resemble a dust or powder. You make Espresso using dark roasted beans in most cases, which adds to its robust flavor.

How to Make Black Coffee

There are many ways to make Black Coffee with the easiest to prepare in a coffee machine. Traditional drip coffee makers use a coffee pot to collect the mixture of water and filtered coffee. There are also pod-style coffeemakers that aim to eliminate the steps of placing a coffee filter in the machine, adding coffee, and disposing of the filter full of grounds once the coffeemaking process completes.

Some come with reusable filters, while others are disposable like the Keurig variety. To make things as simple as possible, we’ve highlighted the steps necessary to make Black Coffee in a traditional drip coffeemaker.

Step One: Pull out everything you need to make the coffee

You’ll need ground coffee, a coffee filter, and filtered water. A coffee cup of your desired size is necessary, too. That way, when the machine stops brewing the Black Coffee, you can pour yourself a cup right away.

Step Two: Put the filter into the machine

It strains the coffee so that you don’t have grounds in the pot or cup. There are many different types of filters that you can purchase, including recycled ones that don’t take a toll on the planet as much as traditional varieties.

Step Three: Measure the desired amount of coffee needed to fill the pot and place it into the filter.

You’ll learn the perfect ratio of coffee to water quickly. After all, you want your favorite beverage to be black.

Step Four: Close the filter section of the coffeemaker

This step ensures that the water runs on top of the coffee and gets filtered into the pot. Many people forget to do this crucial step and wind up with a big mess to clean up.

Step Five: Open the reservoir and fill it full of water

Follow the measured lines to make the amount of coffee you prefer to drink. You may not want to make a full pot because you can’t consume it all before you leave for work.

Step Six: Turn on the machine and let it do the work

It’s among the easiest steps in the process. You can even set the automatic feature on the machine the night before to save yourself the effort of walking through these steps first thing in the morning.

Step Seven: Pour yourself a cup of joe and enjoy!

Hot Black Coffee can be very energizing. It puts a pep in your step and gets you prepared for the day that awaits you.

Black Coffee is impossible to make incorrectly. Espresso takes a little more work to perfect. You’ll learn how to make it below using AeroPress.

How to Make Espresso

There is a precise way to make Espresso. Its method of preparation largely depends on the type of machine you use. If it’s manual, it will require a different set of steps than an automatic Espresso maker like this. Some shortcuts occur with a machine that does most of the work for you.

This method of making Espresso is the easiest. Its steps are listed below for you to follow.

Step One: Pull out all the supplies needed to make Espresso

You’ll need an AeroPress, coffee beans, a grinder, a scale, and filtered water. Once you have the items gathered, you can move on to the next step. Having a glass to transfer the Espresso in is also very important as it allows you to complete the steps in the process faster. Some people may think Aeropress does not make really Espresso. For more you can have a look at this article: DOES THE AEROPRESS MAKE REAL ESPRESSO?

Step Two: Stack the AeroPress

You’ll need to place a rinsed filter into the drain cap before putting it back into the press. You’ll then need to put a cup or mug underneath the AeroPress. That way, you don’t lose any of the Espresso that you’ve just made onto the counter.

Step Three: Grind the beans to a fine powder

It should look similar in appearance to table salt. The key to making a good shot of Espresso is how finely you grind the beans. You can use a manual grinder or an automatic coffee bean grinder with a fine or ultra-fine setting on it.

Step Four: Place two tablespoons into the filter.

You may find that you need to add more to get your desired strength of Espresso. Tweaking the recipe some can help you create the perfect beverage for you to drink. You’ll quickly find that a dark roast coffee bean produces a richer Espresso.

Step Five: Heat the water to 200 degrees and add it to the AeroPress.

Three and a half fluid ounces of water is needed. Pushing down on the plunger hard applies the right amount of pressure required to make a great shot of Espresso. Pressure and the perfect temperature of the water are needed to create the specialty coffee.

Step Six: Transfer into a glass and enjoy

Once you’ve finished all five steps, you can finally sit down and enjoy your Espresso. You can also use it as the base to create other beverages and baked goods that call for a shot of strong coffee. You can even keep Espresso in the fridge to make syrups with for pouring over the top of cakes or pancakes and adding to ice creams or custards.

Now that you understand the process of preparing Espresso, it’s now time to learn how to shop for the best beans money can buy. Having a bag of coffee on hand at all times ensures that you’ll never run out while at home. You won’t need to make a special trip to the local coffeehouse to get your Espresso fix.


How to Make Espresso Using an Espresso Machine

How to Shop for Quality Coffee Beans

As with any other ingredient you elect to buy, some products are higher quality than others. The roast of the coffee beans can affect the overall flavor of the final product. Being mindful to choose the best quality products from brands that you know can help you avoid that problem.

Being selective about the quality of water that you use, too, can help create a perfect cup of Black Coffee or Espresso. Pure, filtered water is best because it removes many of the chemicals used to treat tap water. You can buy the water by the gallon or elect to add a filter to your kitchen faucet.

There are even pitchers you can purchase with built-in filtration capabilities that you can fill and leave on your countertop until you’re ready to make coffee. Working with filtered water helps you remove any odd tastes that may interfere with the flavor of the Black Coffee or Espresso you’ve decided to make for yourself.

Benefits of Drinking Coffee and Espresso

There is an undeniable social urge to drink coffee. It’s something that many cultures have built traditions and ceremonies around in the past. If you travel frequently, you may have participated in a coffee ritual. You’ve undoubtedly drunk coffee and espresso in a coffeehouse or prepared a pot of Black Coffee for houseguests.

If you like the taste of coffee, it becomes part of your morning ritual. You drink it before you go to work or while on your commute. You refill your mug at work before lunchtime and have another cup mid-afternoon to give you a boost of energy. Coffee can even be a big part of your identity as you may identify as a ‘coffee person’ rather than a ‘tea person.’

In addition to forming friendships over a cup of coffee, you likely seek the beverage wherever you go. It’s familiar and satisfying. It picks you up when you’re feeling down. It reminds you of home when you’re far away from yours.

Coffee also has known health benefits. It doesn’t matter if it’s Black Coffee or Espresso, you can experience an increase of brain functioning, a boost of free-radical-fighting antioxidants, and lower instances of many diseases. Too much coffee, like other caffeinated beverages, can cause you to feel nervous and jittery. Using Black Coffee and Espresso as a way to boost your energy during different times of the day can increase productivity and help you power through your to-do list until it’s time for bed.

Related Questions

Can I make Black Coffee and Espresso with the same machine?

Some machines allow you to make different types of coffee, depending on the settings that you choose. Making Black Coffee and Espresso in the same machine isn’t uncommon. It’s a way to save space and money by making your favorite beverage at home.

Is there a specific temperature of water needed to make Espresso?

Yes, there is an ideal temp for making Espresso. The water should be heated to between 91 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit. That way, the Espresso powder dissolves completely, creating a purer product for you to drink.

What do I need to grind my own coffee beans?

Either a manual or automatic coffee bean grinder is needed to prepare your coffee beans to make Black Coffee or Espresso. You create the powder-like texture of Espresso with a grinder with an ultra-fine setting. It’s important to check the specifications of the machine before buying it for the best results.

Is drinking Black Coffee good for you?

Yes, it is. There are many health benefits that Black Coffee provides. Among the most notable is how it provides you with a source of energy thanks to the caffeine it contains. It’s also rich with antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer by fighting free radicals.

Can I prepare Black Coffee in a French Press?

Yes, you can. A French Press is an option if you prefer to make coffee manually. It allows you to be part of the preparation process, rather than relying on an automatic coffeemaker. A built-in filter strains the ground from the Black Coffee.

What is the normal serving size of Espresso?

A single shot of Espresso is one ounce. A double shot of Espresso is two ounces. You’ll find some coffee recipes call for more than two ounces of the beverage base. You can use a standard shot glass with markings to measure the Espresso out accurately.



  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.