Coffee Beans Vs Espresso Beans: What’s The Difference?

When you go shopping for coffee beans, have you noticed coffee beans and some others labeled as espresso beans? Ever wondered what’s the difference between coffee beans and espresso beans? In this post, we try to answer all your burning questions regarding the topic.

Espresso beans and coffee beans are either Arabica or Robusta coffee beans. Espresso beans come with a dark roast whereas regular coffee beans can be light, medium, or dark roasted. All espresso beans are coffee beans but not all coffee beans are espresso beans.

Are Espresso Beans the Same as Coffee Beans?

Yes, espresso beans and coffee beans are the same. To obtain espresso beans, regular coffee beans are roasted dark.

An espresso bean can be an Arabica or a Robusta bean which is true for any other coffee bean as well. 

Coffee Beans Vs Espresso Beans: What’s the Difference?

It’s time for us to discuss the intricate details. 

We’ve already told you that both beans are the same, and yet some factors separate the two. Let’s take a look at them.


When it comes to the beans, there is not much of a difference.

Yes, both Arabica and Robusta beans are used as regular coffee beans and espresso beans. Some people assume that espresso beans and coffee beans are different, but that’s not the case.

But here’s the catch. Robusta beans come with more caffeine content than Arabica beans. So if you want your espresso shot to have more caffeine content, then your espresso beans must be of Robusta type.

Having said that, the Arabica bean is generally better in terms of quality and a lot prefer their espresso beans made from those beans.

But from a technical perspective, your coffee beans or espresso beans can be from either coffee plant. There is no differentiator here.

Both plants are grown and harvested the same way. Only after that, we separate the beans into regular coffee beans and espresso beans (through various processes).

Roasting Process

The roasting process is the game changer when it comes to finding the difference between coffee beans and espresso beans.

The regular coffee beans are mostly light and medium roast. But espresso beans fall in the darker roast category. Espresso beans are known for their strong flavor which is something you can get from dark roasted coffee beans. 

When is the dark roast (espresso roast) achieved? The beans are roasted at around 480 Fahrenheit. When you reach the stage of the second crack (an audible sound that denotes the breaking down of the beans), the roasters stop the process and remove the beans from the roaster. 

When you roast your coffee beans dark, it is common for them to develop an oily look. Oily coffee beans are not a problem if you know what you’re going to do with them. If you’re planning to grind your own beans, then do seek someone who knows how to handle oily beans.

Why are espresso beans roasted dark?

Great question. We answer this in more detail in the coming sections, but here’s the thing.

While making an espresso, hot pressurized water (around 9 bar) is passed through the finely ground coffee grounds. This method ensures that all the caffeine and flavor you need are extracted in a super quick time. Dark roasted beans are the best bet for this method.

Light and medium roasted beans don’t fare well in such a high-pressure situation. Those beans are usually reserved for other methods like French Press, Pour-over, drip coffee, and the cold brew method. 

Also Read: Coffee vs Espresso Drinks!

Caffeine Content

There is a common misconception that an espresso shot contains more caffeine than a regular cup of caffeine. This could be because of the way it looks or the fact that it comes in a shot glass.

But the fact is that a shot of espresso comes with less caffeine when compared to a regular cup of brewed coffee. 

On average, an espresso shot comes with 60mg of caffeine. On the other hand, a regular cup of coffee comes with at least 180mg of caffeine. Though the espresso drink is strong in terms of flavor, the caffeine content is still lower in comparison.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a shot of espresso doesn’t match up to a regular cup of joe in terms of volume. An espresso shot is only 30ml while a normal cup of coffee will be anywhere from 180 to 250ml (or more) depending on your coffee needs. 

So if you’re going to match drop by drop, espresso beans will come with flying colors.

Brewing Method

We have discussed this briefly, but let’s take a look at this in more detail.

To make a shot of espresso, you’re going to grind your espresso beans to a fine powder, pack it tightly, and push high-pressure water into that coffee powder to extract caffeine and flavor.

When using high pressure, it is better to use ground coffee made from dark roasted beans. If you try the same process with ground coffee from light or medium roasted beans, then you might end up with an under-extracted coffee.

Only as a result of this process and the use of a dark roast, do you get the resulting espresso shot that is thick, rich, and has crema on top.

If you’re planning to purchase a bag of espresso coffee beans, then be advised that you’re going to need an espresso machine at home. Not to mention, that an espresso machine is expensive especially when considering how much it would cost for you to buy a shot of espresso in a local coffee shop.

Coffee beans do not impose any brewing conditions. You can buy regular coffee beans and brew them as you wish. Whether it is French press or cold brew or drip coffee, you can make the best out of your beans.

Taste Profile

If you’re looking for an intense taste profile, then you should pick a bag of espresso beans or simply opt for an espresso shot.

An espresso is smooth, rich, and as dark as the roast it comes from. The crema on top gives it a nice finish. It is so concentrated you can feel it without even taking a sip.

Depending on how the beans are roasted, you might even find a nice smoky, caramelized flavor in your espresso shot.

When you take a journey with regular coffee beans, the flavors are less intense. But it’s not a bad thing. In fact, you don’t have to stop with a shot of regular coffee, you can gulp an entire cup without feeling overwhelmed. 

With regular beans, you also get the freedom of choosing the brewing method. This flexibility is handy as you can try different methods with the same batch of coffee beans. 

Can You Use Espresso Beans for Regular Coffee?

Yes, you can.

A lot of people prefer dark-roasted coffee beans for their regular coffee. We know that espresso beans hit this criterion, so what stops us from proceeding in this direction?

Take home your bag of espresso beans, pick your favorite brewing method, and make your cup of paradise. 

Be a tad careful about the oily coffee beans as one can expect that in dark roasted coffee beans. If you grind your own beans, make sure the beans don’t clog your inexpensive coffee grinder.

Also Read: Best Coffee Grinder Under $50

Coffee Beans vs Espresso Beans – Wrap Up

Well, we hope your doubts are cleared. 

Coffee beans and espresso beans come from the same beans. The roasting process is where they take different paths.

The dark roasted ones are labeled as espresso beans while the light and medium roasted beans are labeled as regular coffee beans.

Espresso beans are great for delivering an intense and rich drink while regular coffee beans are great for pretty much everything else. With normal coffee beans, you get a ton of flexibility concerning the brewing methods(whether it is drip coffee or french press).

If you have any more questions, you know how to get in touch with us.

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