Coffee Beans vs Espresso Beans – How To Distinguish Them?

Coffee beans and espresso beans may be similar, but they’re not the same. Coffee beans are roasted for a long period to create that rich, full-bodied coffee flavor. At the same time, espresso is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans at high pressure. 

If you want to know how to distinguish between them, keep reading! This article will discuss how to distinguish between the two types of beans: coffee beans vs espresso beans. With this knowledge in hand, you can enjoy your favorite beverage without worrying about making a mistake! Let’s scroll down!

What Are Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are a type of bean that can be roasted and brewed into coffee. Coffee beans come in many different flavors and textures. Some are light, medium, or dark roasted for a particular preference or taste desired by the consumer. 

Roasting varies from mild to intense, giving you an even more robust flavor profile depending on what kind of brews you are looking forward to!

If you like your coffee light and mild, the best way to go about it is with medium roast beans. Medium-roast coffees with medium-brown color will give you rich flavors for any drink. If low flavored brews are what you’re craving, then dark roasts will suit that need perfectly well because they are less acidic.

What Are Espresso Beans?

Espresso is a type of coffee that has been roasted for an extended period, resulting in the grounds being more caffeinated than other types. The longer they roast it and press down on these beans while bringing them almost to burnish brown levels before cooling again. This produces what we know as espresso – an ultra-fine ground dark roast!

The Differences Between Espresso And Coffee 

Coffee and espresso don’t have a lot of differences, but it is important to be aware that the two beverages are different. Here are some key features to tell them apart.


The difference between coffee and espresso is often mistaken to begin with their key similarity. Many people think the core of these drinks is found in beans, but this isn’t quite accurate.

Many people think espresso is different from regular coffee due to its texture, taste, and caffeine content. But what sets it apart? The process by which this beverage is made!

Coffee and espresso are two very different beverages, but if you take away the difference in taste, they come from the same origin: coffee beans. It originates from two different types of beans: Robusta and Arabica, which are used to make commercial coffees on a large scale for consumption by many people worldwide!

When roasted, Robusta coffee beans are considered to have a nuttier flavor, similar to oatmeal. Robusta beans that have not been roasted have a more “peanut-like” aroma. 

Arabica beans are hard to identify since their flavor can range from sweet, tangy, and floral. Roasted Arabics have a sweeter, fruitier taste than Robusta with more sugar tones. Whereas un-roasted ones emit an earthy scent of blueberries.

“Espresso” is not the type of bean used to make it. It’s just a drink name, not to be confused with its origin.  Espressos are made from Robusta or Arabica beans which have been crushed and expressed according to your preference during preparation.


The Espresso rich taste comes from roasting different beans than regular coffee does. This process brings out bitter flavors as well as thick drinks with just enough foam on top.

Roast levels in coffee can have a huge impact on taste. Espresso is typically a darker, toasted flavor that some may prefer when compared with the lighter roast flavors for drip-brewed drinks. 

The longer time spent roasting espresso beans results in more intense aromas and tastes due to increased oiliness from being heated up past the second crack. 

When you see a whole coffee bean bag labeled “espresso”, likely these were roasted down enough toward dark/even quite strong roasts, so they’ll give off more flavor.  


Espresso grinds need to be very fine for hot water to come into contact with them. The shorter time means they’ll pack more surface area and absorb many times their weight through percolation. So espresso is typically much finer than other types of coffee grounds.


You can use a French press, drip, or percolator for regular brew methods. However, you need a machine specially designed for high pressure to get the most out of your espresso. Any regular coffee pot will not work! It requires specific methods of brewing which involve either an Aeropress or an espresso machine. 

Espresso is a challenging and time-consuming endeavor. To master it, you’ll need some quality equipment as well as the know-how to use them properly. But this doesn’t mean that homebrewers can’t get their fix! Once they figure out what works for them, anyone could make café worthy espresso right from their kitchen table.


Espresso has a unique flavor that’s bolder and less acidic than drip coffee. The roasting process brings more oils in beans, so it often feels heavier on your tongue, with stronger flavors coming through the cup.

Natural Oils Richness

A true espresso has a rich crema, which can only be produced through the emulsification of natural oils with other compounds in coffee. If you don’t have this oily sheen on your beans, they won’t make for an authentic brew!

Caffeine Content

Espresso beans have a strong flavor because of their long roasting time. Yet, the caffeine content in espresso is much lower than that of regular coffee beans due to the high heat level required for Espressos.

Size And Density

Roasting coffee beans makes them lose weight because they will evaporate most of their water content through roasting. The fibers inside of the bean seem larger than usual due to this evaporation. This accounts for why espresso-roasted blends tend towards large size and lower density when compared with regular coffees.

Can I Use Espresso Beans To Make Regular Coffee And Vice Versa?

Espresso beans may be used to produce any type of coffee. Similarly, no one is prohibiting you from making espresso with ordinary coffee beans. Different types of coffee beans are only designed to be better at making specific flavors. 

For example, espresso is made more bitter, and french press brews have a stronger flavor overall. This is because it’s brewed by finer grounds that filter out quickly through the mesh filter into your mug. It also gives off an excellent aroma when brewing with conical or flat-bottom filters respectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Espresso And Americano?

A Caffè Americano contains espresso but is not as strong and bitter tasting. It has a similar strength to drip coffee because it’s diluted with water before being topped off in your mug or cup for you to enjoy. 

A long black usually consists of putting the brewed shot first into a tumbler glass then adding more hot liquid until it’s just below body temperature so that both taste profiles are properly balanced out. This results in an overall smoother finished product with less acidity!

What Is The Difference Between Espresso And Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a coffee drink that has espresso mixed with hot milk and topped off with homemade foam. It may also have cinnamon or cocoa powder for an extra treat! 

It is made by first pouring one or two shots of Espresso in the bottom of a cup, then adding steamy warm milk to mix before topping it all off. Hence, you get those sweet flavors bursting at your mouth when you take your first bite into this yummy goodness.

Coffee Beans Vs Espresso Beans – Which One Is The Best? 

There is a lot of debate about what tastes better: espresso or coffee beans. 

The taste of coffee is a personal preference and each person has their own opinion.  What tastes good to me may not taste as satisfying or even palatable for someone else. It all depends on your preferences and how you take in nourishment. 

If you are new to the world of brewing, experimenting with both espresso beans and regular roasted beans will allow for an even greater chance of finding your favorite brews!

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a little more clarity on the difference between coffee beans vs espresso beans, we’ve got your back. Espresso beans are different from coffee beans, but the two can be used interchangeably in recipes. The differences between espresso and coffee aren’t too difficult to understand. 

The main difference between these two types of beans is the process used to extract their oils, which determines how they’re roasted and flavored. We hope you found this blog post insightful and helpful.

Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).