Can you make regular coffee with espresso beans? Read on to learn more.
You walk into your favorite local coffee shop to purchase some coffee beans and realize everything on the shelf is an espresso blend. But can you use espresso beans to make a great cup of drip or pour-over coffee? Does the coffee bean type matter when making different types of coffee?
You can use espresso beans to make coffee and regular coffee beans to make espresso drinks. The difference between black coffee and espresso isn’t the beans themselves but how they are used to prepare the two different styles. Learn more about the difference between espresso and coffee beans.
The Differences Between Espresso Beans And Regular Coffee Beans
The term “espresso” refers not only to a specific type of coffee preparation but also traditionally to the type of roast and blend of the beans. The distinction between espresso and regular beans is quite subtle, primarily lying in how the whole beans are prepared rather than in the beans themselves.
Espresso beans are roasted longer and ground into finer powder than regular beans. Traditional coffee beans can be light or medium roast beans of a single origin, while the best espressos are blends of darker roast beans. They’re often labeled as Italian roast and are the most common type of bean used by baristas.
If you grind coffee beans correctly and use the right gear, you can use any beans for drip, pour-over, or espresso brewing. The right gear in this case means using an espresso machine or a coffee maker depending on the drink you are brewing. Labeling the beans as espresso or regular is simply a recommendation for the best flavors achieved by using the specific bean. However, depending on how the ground coffee beans are used you can end up with either espresso as a drink or regular coffee. Let us dive into the difference between these two drinks.
There are two main kinds of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. Unroasted Robusta beans are said to have a peanut scent and, after roasting, they contain a nuttier flavor. The Arabica bean flavor, on the other hand, has a blueberry scent when unroasted and it gives off fruity and sugar flavors after roasting. It has flavors ranging from sweet to tangy.
Either Robusta or Arabica beans can be used for brewing. However, whether you use Robust or Arabica, the beans should have a dark and bold flavor for espresso. Drip coffee makers do not necessarily pay attention to the darkness or strength of the coffee; some people prefer light roast while others think the best coffee from a drip machine should be very dark. Read our guide Robusta vs Arabica coffee
Another difference between the two drinks is in the process in which they are made. Espresso is made by forcing extremely hot water through tightly packed grounds. This process results in layers that include the crema at the top and a shot of coffee at the bottom. This is the distinct look of a cup of espresso; to achieve it you will need the right espresso machine.
On the other hand, regular coffee can be made through drip coffee or pour-over brewing methods. Alternatively, you can use an immersion process like the French Press, whatever floats your boat.
Whichever brewing process you settle for, the grounds used are usually coarser than those of espresso are and the coffee has a mild flavor as compared to espresso. It also does not have a crema layer. Previously it was rare for one to brew espresso from the comfort of their home. The high cost of an espresso machine fueled this. Brewing espresso at home is becoming less alien since the machine is becoming affordable. However, it has always been possible to brew regular coffee at home with a coffee machine.
Amount Of Caffeine
Espresso is assumed to contain more caffeine than regular coffee. It is true espresso has a higher concentration of caffeine per ounce than a cup of regular coffee. However, a cup of coffee has more caffeine than a shot of caffeine.
A cup of coffee typically refers to about 8 oz. of liquid, which has between 85-185 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, a shot of espresso is about 1 oz., containing between 40- 74 mg of caffeine.
As you can see if you take a cup of coffee and your friend takes a shot of espresso, you have consumed more caffeine. That is unless your friend overdrinks the recommended amount of espresso shots, which is 5 shots.
Espresso has a bolder, well-rounded, roasted flavor compared to drip coffee. Many coffee junkies believe that the paper filter used for brewing coffee traps most of the strong coffee flavor, resulting in a mild flavor. Learn more in our under-extracted espresso explainer.
How To Make Regular Coffee With Espresso Beans
Brewing regular coffee from espresso beans is similar to brewing coffee with regular beans. The machine and how you prepare or ground the coffee beans vary, though.
- Pour-over coffee maker like a Chemex
- a coffee grinder
- kitchen scale
- a kettle (electric or stove)
- a good coffee mug or cup
1. Measure Coffee and Water: Use a scale to measure your coffee and water, maintaining a ratio of 18 grams of water per gram of coffee. The more coffee you use, the stronger the flavor.
2. Grind the Coffee Beans: Grind your espresso beans. Opt for a medium grind size for pour-over coffee, a coarser grind for a milder flavor, and a finer grind for a stronger flavor.
3. Rinse the Filter Paper: Fit the filter paper into the brewer and rinse it with hot water until thoroughly rinsed. Once done, discard the rinse water from the brewer.
4. Add Coffee to the Filter: Pour your freshly ground coffee into the rinsed filter.
5. Heat the Water: Bring your water to a temperature between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a thermometer to let the water reach boiling point.
6. Let the Water Rest: Once the water has boiled, let it sit for around 30 seconds before using.
7. Prepare for Brewing: Place your cup on the scale and reset it to zero. This helps you monitor the amount of water you pour in.
8. Bloom the Coffee: Wet the coffee grounds evenly with just enough water to saturate them and let them bloom for about a minute.
9. Pour the Water: Around 30 seconds after blooming, pour the water in a circular motion over the grounds.
10. Taste Your Coffee: As soon as your coffee is ready, taste it to gauge its flavor and note any adjustments you may want to make for future brews.
11. Customize Your Coffee: Add any extras to your taste, and enjoy your freshly brewed cup of coffee made from espresso beans.
How To Brew Espresso With An Espresso Machine
If you want to enjoy authentic espresso flavors, you must use an espresso machine to brew your shot. The following is a step-by-step procedure for brewing espresso with an espresso machine.
1. Preheat the Espresso Machine: For a rich and robust ounce of espresso, it’s essential to preheat your espresso machine for approximately 25 minutes.
2. Measure and Grind the Espresso Beans: Adjust your grinder to the fine grind setting. Place your portafilter on the scale and reset the scale to zero. Fill your portafilter with 20 grams of finely ground espresso beans. For consistency in your brews, keep track of the quantities used. Please note, the amount of grounds can be adjusted based on the size of your filter or personal preference. If your espresso machine has an in-built grinder, directly grind your beans into the portafilter.
3. Tamp the Grounds: The process of tamping involves pressing down evenly on your grounds. This ensures uniformity in the grounds, promoting consistent extraction of flavors during brewing.
4. Pull the First Shot: Time the process of pulling the first shot. Aim to extract 2 ounces of espresso within a 20-30 seconds. If successful, you’ve brewed your first shot of espresso! If the extraction takes longer, consider using a finer grind size for your next brew.
Related Article: Can You Make Pour Over Coffee With Espresso Beans?
FAQs About Making Regular Coffee With Espresso Beans
Can I use a coffee maker to brew Espresso?
Sadly, your drip coffee maker cannot brew real espresso because espresso is made by forcing water through tightly packed grounds of coffee under the pressure of about 9 atmospheres. If you are using a drip coffee maker, it operates under 1 atmosphere and is not built for a pressure of 9 atmospheres.
However, if purchasing an espresso maker is out of your budget you can modify your regular coffee pot to produce an espresso-like drink. For instance, for a drip coffee maker, you can use it with a concentrate brew setting.
Also, you can use the following method. Pour just enough water to moisten the coffee grounds. Let them rest for about 30 seconds then pour in more water. Remove the filter as soon as two ounces are collected.
You will brew a drink with intense flavors and heavier than espresso, but it will not be an authentic espresso. This is because the drink will not have the distinct qualities of espresso like the crema layer on top. It will make a delicious cappuccino or latte, though.
Can I use any Coffee to brew espresso?
Any roast coffee beans, ground correctly and used in an espresso machine, can brew espresso.
However, those coffee grounds recommended for espresso, have the best and strongest espresso flavors. Espresso roast uses a higher temperature and longer roasting time to increase the body and decrease acidity. Cold brew coffee can also be made with any type of coffee beans.
Can you make espresso with green coffee beans?
Yes, you can make espresso with green coffee beans. However, green coffee beans can have various acidity levels, processing approaches, and other factors that can affect the quality of your final coffee.