Demystifying Coffee: The Truth About Espresso and Coffee Beans

What's up with espresso beans? What's the difference from regular beans? Help!

By Chris Ali


January 8, 2024

Coffee Blog

Coffee enthusiasts often find themselves caught up in debates about the differences between coffee beans and espresso beans. While it's true that there are various types of coffee beans with distinct flavors and characteristics, the truth is that coffee beans and espresso beans are essentially the same thing. In this blog post, we'll explore the common misconceptions surrounding these terms and shed light on the shared origins of the beans that fuel our favorite caffeinated beverages.

The Bean Basics

To begin with, it's crucial to understand that both coffee and espresso are brewed using the seeds of the Coffea plant. These seeds are commonly referred to as coffee beans. These beans are grown in different regions worldwide, contributing to the diverse range of coffee flavors we experience.

Misconception #1: Different Beans for Coffee and Espresso

One of the most widespread misconceptions is that there are specific "espresso beans" distinct from regular coffee beans. In reality, the term "espresso bean" is a misnomer. Espresso is a brewing method, not a type of bean.

Misconception #2: Espresso Beans Are Darker Roasted

Another common belief is that espresso beans are always darkly roasted compared to coffee beans. While it's true that espresso blends often include darker roasted beans for their rich and robust flavors, the roast level itself is not exclusive to espresso. Coffee enthusiasts can find light, medium, and dark roasted beans for both regular drip coffee and espresso. Our coffees are roasted on the lighter side of medium: The Mix being a perfect balance while Homestar Espresso is slightly deeper to bring out those chocolate and caramel notes. Both make a delightful espresso, drip or anything in between!

The Brewing Process

The key difference between brewing regular coffee and espresso lies in the brewing process. Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure, resulting in a concentrated and flavorful coffee emulsion (a shot). On the other hand, traditional drip coffee is made by steeping coarser coffee grounds in hot water for a longer duration.

In conclusion, the terms "coffee beans" and "espresso beans" refer to the same beans derived from the Coffea plant. The confusion arises from the various brewing methods and the diverse flavor profiles offered by different coffee bean varieties. Whether you enjoy a classic cup of coffee or a bold shot of espresso, the key lies in selecting high-quality fresh beans that align with your taste preferences. Understanding the shared foundation of coffee and espresso beans can empower you to explore and appreciate the vast world of coffee without unnecessary misconceptions. So, the next time you find yourself in a coffee-related debate, rest assured that your favorite brew is rooted in the same humble coffee bean.

Check out Tony's take on espresso as well as some pro tips here.



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