Difference between Espresso and Coffee Beans

Updated on July 8, 2017

In the food and drink section, “espresso beans” and “coffee beans” are terms typically used interchangeably. Basically, there is no distinct difference between the two since all coffee variants, including espresso, are made from coffee beans.

Definitions

Coffee Beans
Coffee beans

Coffee beans, also called espresso beans, are seeds from a coffee plant. Brewed to produce a variety of coffee drinks, coffee beans are the pits located inside the purple or red coffee plant fruits, which are also known as cherries.

Even though bags of coffee beans and espresso beans are labelled differently, there is no difference between the two. The main goal behind labeling is to identify the brewing methods used to extract the flavors from the coffee beans. Basically, the term “espresso bean” refers to coffee beans that undergo a pressurized brewing process.

Coffee beans are available in two main variants: Arabica and Robusta. Accounting for roughly 75% to 80% of coffee products around the world, Arabica is the most popular coffee plant variant exported globally. The coffee beans from the Arabica plant contain around 0.8% to 1.4% caffeine. Robusta, on the other hand, accounts for approximately 20% of coffee beans produced and exported globally. As compared to Arabica, Robusta has a higher caffeine level, ranging from 1.7% to 4%.

Coffee beans are roasted and blended to produce a variety of coffee drinks, including standard brewed coffee and espresso. The flavor profile of coffee beans changes depending on the roasting process used in the production of a coffee variant. The roasting process exists in 3 levels: light, medium and dark. Standard brewed coffee belongs to the light and medium roast category, while espresso falls under the dark roast category.

As a rule of thumb, the darker the roast is, the more intense the flavor profile is. It follows, therefore, that pressurized coffee beans, which are labelled “espresso beans,” are more concentrated as compared to other variants. The high caffeine level and bolder flavor profile of an espresso shot make it an ideal base for other coffee-based drinks like cappuccino, caffè latte, flat white, and caffè macchiato. Regularly brewed coffee beans, on the other hand, produce coffee variants that are less intense in flavor.

Lastly, the caffeine level per serving depends on two factors: the degree of roasting and the serving size. For instance, an 8-ounce brewed coffee contains around 80 to 185 mg. of caffeine, while an espresso shot contains 40 to 75 mg. of caffeine.

Coffee Beans vs Espresso Beans

So what’s the difference between coffee beans and espresso beans? There is no difference between the two. All coffee variants, including espresso, are made from the same coffee beans. The flavor profile of coffee beans only changes depending on the roasting process used in the production of a coffee variant.

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