Espresso vs Drip Coffee: All The Differences Explained!

By Evelina •  Updated: 02/06/22 •  7 min read

The Best Answer:

When it comes down to it, there is no right answer between the two: espresso and drip coffee are both delicious and beneficial in their own ways. However, it can be difficult to decide which one you like better. While espresso is tastier, it’s often higher in caffeine and requires more equipment to make. Drip coffee is easier to make but has less caffeine.

There’s a lot of debate about which is better: espresso or drip coffee? And honestly, it can be tough to decide. Both types have their own unique flavors and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore all the differences between these two types of coffee and help you decide which one is right for you. So, let’s get started!

What is Espresso Coffee?

Espresso is a type of coffee beverage that is prepared using steam or pressurized water and finely ground coffee beans. The process requires more pressure than regular drip coffee, as water is forced through the compacted coffee grounds under high heat and velocity. This results in a faster brewing process that produces a higher concentration of flavor compounds, allowing for a thicker consistency and bolder taste. Since the preparation method produces such a strong flavor, espresso is often accompanied by milk and sugar.

How to Make Espresso Coffee

Despite its complicated-sounding process, espresso can be easily made at home with a few simple tools. For the best results, you’ll need an espresso machine, coffee grinder, tamper, milk frother or steamer, and espresso cup(s). With these tools in hand, you’ll be able to take a shot of espresso in just under five minutes.

1) Grind Your Coffee

The first step of the espresso-making process is to grind your coffee. You’ll want to choose a fine grind, similar to table salt. If you don’t own a coffee grinder, you can ask your local coffee shop for some help or buy pre-ground espresso.

2) Fill the Machine

The second step is to fill your espresso machine with water. Right after this, load your coffee grounds into the portafilter and secure them tightly. Then place it back on top of the espresso machine and pull down the handle to lock it in place.

3) Heat Your Water

Next, you’ll need to turn on your espresso machine to let the water heat. You want to make sure that it’s fully heated before you continue, as this step will take about thirty seconds to one minute.

4) Brew Your Espresso

The last step is to start brewing your coffee by pressing down on the brew button (or handle if you’re using an espresso machine). The longer you brew, the stronger your coffee will be. Keep in mind that most espresso machine have a steamer or frother attached, which you can use to heat your milk.

When it’s finished brewing, your espresso will come out in the form of thick liquid with a golden-brown foam on top. You’ll want to discard the first shot of espresso, as it won’t taste good. The remaining shots will contain more caffeine and be stronger in flavor.

What is Drip Coffee?

Drip coffee is a type of brewed coffee that is made using a simple pour-over method. The water, ground coffee beans, and filter are combined in a dripper, which allows the coffee to slowly drip down into your cup. The advantage of drip coffee is that it is easy and fast to make, which is why it’s one of the most popular ways of making coffee in homes and offices.

How to Make Drip Coffee

Drip coffee is simple to make at home. All you’ll need is a coffee dripper, filter, and coffee grounds.

1) Add Coffee Grounds.

The first step of the process is to add your ground coffee beans into your dripper or brewer. The amount you use will depend on how much coffee you want to make, so you’ll want to adjust accordingly.

2) Add Water and Stir.

After this, you’ll need to pour some hot water into your brewer and stir the grounds together. Make sure that all of them are dampened, as they won’t brew evenly if they aren’t soaked in water.

3) Let It Brew.

Lastly, you’ll want to let your coffee brew for a few minutes before removing it from the dripper. The time will vary depending on how strong you want your final product to be but usually takes around four minutes.

Differences Between Espresso And Drip Coffee

Now that you know how to make both espresso and drip coffee, you might be wondering how they’re different.

1) The Taste

The biggest difference between drip coffee and espresso is their taste. Espresso features a rich, strong taste due to the strong filter used. Drip coffee, on the other hand, has a much lighter consistency due to its paper filter, which doesn’t absorb as much flavor or caffeine.

2) The Process

There are also some differences in the processes of making drip coffee and espresso. Both also require hot water, but in drip coffee, it’s added right after the grounds are made wet while in espresso it’s done beforehand through a heating process. This is why drip coffee takes longer to brew, as the water needs more time to pass through the grounds.

3) The Method

Another difference between espresso and drip coffee is the method of brewing each one uses. Drip coffee requires you to simply combine all the ingredients in your brewer, while espresso requires you to grind your beans, heat your water, and brew it individually. This is why espresso is more time-consuming than drip coffee, but it also allows you to adjust the strength of your final product.

4) The Caffeine Content

Another difference between espresso and drip coffee is their caffeine content. Espresso features a higher caffeine content than drip, which is why it’s the preferred choice among many people who need to wake up in the morning or stay awake throughout the day.

5) The Brewing Time

Espresso is a type of coffee that features a much shorter brewing time. This is because it’s made using a machine that heats up the water beforehand to expedite the process. Drip coffee, on the other hand, is brewed without any outside help and takes around four minutes before it’s ready to be consumed.

6) The Coffee Beans

Lastly, there are no differences in the coffee beans used to make espresso and drip coffee. You can use whatever type you want for either one, although some prefer certain brands to others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is espresso better than coffee?

Many people prefer the taste of espresso due to its rich, strong flavor. However, this doesn’t mean that drip coffee is an inferior product. It’s all about personal preference and what you’re looking for in a beverage. Coffee in general is meant to give you energy, so whatever type you drink will work.

Does espresso taste stronger than coffee?

Yes, espresso features a stronger flavor than most types of drip coffee. This is because it’s brewed using a specialized machine that forces the water to pass through the grounds at a high rate, which enhances the flavor and caffeine.

Why does espresso taste better than drip coffee?

Some people prefer the taste that espresso has because it’s stronger than drip coffee. The type of beans you use, and the process can also affect the final flavor, but it’s all about personal preference.

Last Thoughts

Conclusion paragraph: There are many nuances to both espresso and drip coffee, but at the end of the day they all do one thing well – make a cup of joe. If you want an intense flavor with a little kick in it, go for espresso. If you’re looking for something that is more mellow and easy-going, try out your local diner or coffee shop’s brews!

We hope this article helped clear up some misconceptions about these two popular caffeinated drinks. What have been your favorite experiences with either type? Let us know on our social media pages so we can chat with you there too!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.