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Whether you’re a long-term coffee drink fan or just taking your first steps into the world of coffee, you may have questions about these delectable beverages.

One common question people have is, “What is espresso?” You may also be wondering, when it comes to espresso vs. regular coffee, is there really that much of a difference?

If you want to make café-quality drinks at home or order at a coffee shop like a champ, here’s what you need to know about espresso.

If you’re trying to figure out if espresso and coffee are the same things, the answer depends on the angle. Technically, they are both made from Robusta or Arabica coffee beans from a coffee plant, making them the same in that regard. However, the preparation of the beans, the grind, and the brewing processes differ.

So, what exactly is espresso coffee? In the simplest sense, espresso is almost like a coffee concentrate. When brewed, you get a small amount – usually about one ounce – of bold coffee that’s highly flavored and caffeine-packed.

As mentioned above, the answer to “what is espresso coffee made of” is technically coffee beans. The main difference is that they’re usually roasted longer, giving them a stronger flavor. The grind for espresso beans is finer. This lets you compress the grounds into a cake, making it easier to extract a rich flavor when brewed using a high-pressure approach as you get with an espresso machine.

In many cases, espresso is used as a base for coffee drinks, including some of the best iced coffee drinks or a tasty espresso martini. Thanks to its strong flavor profile, espresso can be diluted with milk, syrups, and other substances while still imbuing a beverage with a noticeable coffee flavor.

However, some people do drink espresso straight. When brewed properly, espresso – while strong – is incredibly smooth. Plus, there’s a lovely crema after brewing, something that many espresso fans adore.

There are actually many different kinds of espresso, too. Each option has a unique flavor profile. As a result, by learning about each version, you can find one that best suits your taste.

If you’re wondering, “What coffee do you use for espresso?” you can technically use any kind of coffee. The primary difference between espresso and coffee beans is the roast and grind.

Classic espresso beans are dark roasted and finely ground, allowing you to get a strong flavor in a single shot. However, you can use lighter roasts or coarser grinds for a milder flavor. The choice really is yours.

Parts of an Espresso Machine

  1. Hot Water Knob: Use the hot water knob to activate the hot water outlet to dispense hot water. 
  2. Brewing Controls: Found on automatic and super-automatic espresso machines, brewing controls are pre-programmed to pull the perfect shot of espresso.
  3. Steam Knob: Use the steam knob to activate the steam wand to dispense steamed milk.
  4. Grouphead: The grouphead dispenses water from the machine and into the portafilter basket.
  5. Portafilter: The portafilter is a metal filter basket that holds the ground and compressed coffee to be brewed. It features a handle that allows the user to secure the filter to the grouphead.
  6. Steam Wand: A steam wand is used to produce steamed milk for adding milk foam to beverages and creating latte art.
  7. Drip Tray: The drip tray provides a place to put your cup under the portafilter before brewing. It has grates to catch water, steamed milk, and coffee grounds and is removable for easy cleaning.
  8. Sight Glass: Found on the front side of the espresso machine, the sight glass shows the water level in the boiler.
  9. Steam Pressure Gauge: Located on the front side of the machine, the steam pressure gauge monitors both the boiler and pump pressure to indicate to users when the unit is working properly and when there is an issue. 
  10. Water Pressure Gauge: Located on the front side of the machine, the water pressure gauge monitors both the boiler and pump pressure. It can indicate if there needs to be adjustments made to the grind size, dosage, or pressure while brewing as well as if the unit needs a pump replacement.
  11. Hot Water Outlet: The hot water will dispense from the hot water outlet.
  12. Heat Exchanger Boiler: The boiler heats and holds the water coming from the pump. The heat exchanger ensures there is water to dispense at two temperatures, allowing you to pull shots and steam milk with the same unit.
  13. Cup Rack: Holds clean, ready-to-use cups and mugs on the cup rack to streamline the drink-making process.

What Is Single-Origin Coffee?

Single-origin coffee beans come from a specific part of the planet, usually a particular country or a coffee-growing region. Essentially, it means all of the beans in that individual bag or can, or used to create a single cup of coffee at a café, come from the same place.

However, other unique characteristics of single-origin coffees can differ. For example, you can find a variety of roasts if you’re shopping for single-origin coffee beans. Additionally, you might find unique flavor options, such as the addition of spices. The only trait inherently defined by the term “single-origin” is that the coffee beans themselves are from the stated area. Anything about the coffee doesn’t alter the fact that it’s single-origin.


An espresso drink is a specialty coffee drink that includes one or more shots of espresso that are “pulled” on an espresso machine (espresso maker) that uses pressurized extraction in order to force very hot water under very high pressure through a compressed (e.g., compacted, tamped) bed of roasted, ground coffee



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