Espresso VS Brewed Coffee (How Do They Differ?)

Every coffee needs to be brewed so espresso is no exception. Espresso is a type of coffee that needs to be brewed, it is also considered a method of brewing, but it is not brewed coffee. Brewed coffee is the product of pouring water over coffee grounds.

No matter who you are or what your profession is, you’re familiar with coffee. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks around the world after tea. And people usually consume coffee for their daily caffeine fix.

This all-natural drink is known to everyone. But what is an espresso? Is brewed coffee entirely new? Hold on. I will explain everything to you in this article.

Let’s find out what’s the deal with espresso and brewed coffee.

What’s The Difference Between Brewed Coffee And Espresso?

Brewed coffee means any coffee that is brewed. Espresso is also brewed, but that doesn’t mean it’s brewed coffee. You need to brew coffee grounds in order to make coffee. Plus, espresso has been referred to as a whole another brewing method that is not used for any other coffee.

There are many methods to make a fresh cuppa. Each method entails its own unique flavor and taste of coffee. Every coffee needs to be brewed. I talked about the different methods of brewing in my other article that you can check out after this.

Brewed means that the coffee grounds need to steep, boil, or get poured over hot or cold water on it. The duration in which the water is withdrawing the soluble coffee compounds is called brewing.

And the final product after this process is your fresh brewed coffee. So, there is no difference in these things. Espresso as a coffee is a product of brewing. Therefore, every coffee needs to be brewed. And espresso is no exception.  If we talk about espresso as a coffee, it’s one of the strongest forms of coffee.

The way it is made is also very unlikely. As the name suggests it’s an EXPRESS way of drinking no time-wasting coffee. The finer grounds of coffee are pressurized with hot water’s steam for about 20 to 30 seconds.

This allows every coffee soluble compound to get extracted. Espresso is a more concentrated form of regular black coffee.

So, in conclusion, every coffee is brewed coffee and espresso is a product of brewing coffee in a very unique way. But if we talk about espresso as a brewing method, it yields an entirely different kind of coffee.

Here let’s discuss the major difference between the two.

  • Grind Size
  • Water
  • Pressure
  • Crema
  • Flavor
  • Caffeine

Grind Size

In order to make coffee, roasted coffee beans are freshly ground for brewing coffee. Espresso uses a very finer version of coffee grounds to make a potent coffee. Whereas, brewed coffee usually uses a medium grind of coffee to allow balanced flavors to peep through.

Pressure

Brewed coffee doesn’t need any pressure. Here, gravity does the work. The water is poured onto the coffee grounds. The coffee machine uses the pressure of the steam made by the water, to extract the coffee grounds. Then once done, it gets dripped in the vessel or cup put down below.

a coffee machine is brewing espresso and the final brew is dripp in the mug

Water Contact

For brewed coffee, the coffee grounds are in contact with water for a long period of time. The standard brewing time is around 4 minutes. But for immersion brewing, it can take up to 12 hours. But when it comes to espresso, the water gets in contact with the coffee grounds only for about 20 to 30 seconds. That’s it.

Crema

The espresso has a layer of foam on top of it while any other brewed coffee doesn’t have that layer. High-pressured water causes more carbon dioxide to dissolve in espresso, which is produced during roasting. As soon as the extracted coffee hits the cup and the liquid comes back to normal pressure, all the gas leaves the liquid, so it is seen as small bubbles on top of the liquid which is our crema.

Flavor

The flavor notes of espresso are more nuanced than any brewed coffee. It’s because the extraction process pulls all of the flavors out from the coffee grounds, making a strong and bitter shot of concentrated coffee with acidity shining through. Brewed coffees don’t have that. They have more subtle flavors with a well-rounded flavor profile and hints of bitterness.

Caffeine

Espresso contains more caffeine content than brewed coffee. But the thing is espresso is just added in the form of a 1 oz shot and brewed coffee is not consumed in shots like espresso. But if we were to compare them in 1 oz shots, espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine whereas brewed coffee would have 10 to 12 mg of caffeine.

What Exactly Is Brewed Coffee?

​​Brewing coffee consists of pouring hot water over the grounds and letting it permeate through them. On one end, the water is combined with the coffee grounds, while the other end contains the coffee grounds.

As time has gone on, coffee has evolved from being a luxury drink to an everyday beverage available in most homes. To give themselves that much-needed boost of caffeine, most people brew a fresh cup of coffee in the morning.

Coffee also contains significant amounts of antioxidants. As a result, the continuous evolution of coffee throughout the years has created many different ways of making it. Brewed coffee? What does that even mean?

This means adding hot water to the coffee grounds. “Brewed Coffee” does not refer to mixing hot water and coffee grounds. It simply states that a few minutes have passed after the hot water was poured over the coffee grounds without stirring or mixing.

This is an awesome video I found out about brewed coffee:

Brewed Coffee Methods

 However, there are many ways that coffee is brewed that are:

  • Espresso (that we are discussing already)
  • Immersion
  • Pour over (Drip Brew)
a barista is brewing coffee using the drip brew method.

Pour Over ( Drip Brew)

This is also one of the brewing methods to make brewed coffee. But here coffee grounds are not steep in water. In this method, the coffee grounds sit on top of a vessel with a paper filter, and water is slowly and steadily poured on top of them.

The extracted coffee then drips in the empty vessel below and your brewed coffee is ready. This is done for generally 4 minutes but can be extended upon what kind of brew is required.

Immersion Brew

This yields a brewed coffee that can also be brewed with cold water. In this method, coffee grounds are steeped in water whether hot or cold for a long period of time.

Typically, this process is done for 10 to 12 hours. This brewing method to make brewed coffee has gained a massive cult following in recent years.

Here I’ve prepared a table for you for the caffeine content for an 8 oz cup of coffee brewed in all three methods for moderate brew strength.

MethodsQuantity Of The Final ProductCaffeine Content
Immersion Brew Coffee8 oz100 to 110 mg
Cold Brew Immersion8 oz80 to 100 mg
Pour Over ( Drip Brew)8 oz150 to 175 mg
Espresso1 oz63 mg

Is Brewed Coffee The Same As Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is not the same as brewed coffee. Instant coffee is pre-brewed coffee that only needs the addition of water. But for brewed coffee, the extraction/brewing process still needs to take place.

Instant coffee is an all-in-one solution for when you need an instant caffeine fix and don’t have any time at your hands to spare. You know by now, that there is a coffee plant from which raw coffee beans or green coffee beans are harvested.

Then these raw beans are roasted to give them the flavor and aroma that we all are familiar with. Then these are packed and sent out for selling. Or if they need grounds, these roasted coffee beans are crushed and ground as per requirement and sent to sell.

But for instant coffee, another step is added in this process. After the grinding of the coffee beans, giant vats of ground coffee are created by steeping the grounds. These grounds are then reduced into thick coffee concentrate.

In order to create a shelf-stable product, the moisture in this concentrate needs to be removed completely. Then, they are freeze-dried and crushed into powder, which we know as instant coffee.

Brewed coffee is nothing like this. You straight-up grind coffee beans and then brew those fresh grounds of coffee. That’s why they need brewing time and instant coffee doesn’t.

Final Thoughts

a cup of coffee

Espresso and brewed coffee refer to two different kinds of brewing methods, that produce different kinds of coffee. But though these are different the basic concept of both of these methods is the same.

You need hot water, and coffee grounds, and some vessels to catch the final product. Espresso as a coffee is very concentrated and potent. But brewed coffee is a balanced coffee with every note of coffee coming clean.

Also, espresso needs pressure to be brewed and brewed coffee doesn’t in any method. So, you can try both of these as a curious coffee drinker to see which one you like. Because each kind of coffee is catering to every person, so see what you like and enjoy!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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