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What's the Difference between Coffee and Espresso?

Learn the difference between coffee and espresso from the experts at Third Rail Coffee in this Howcast video.


My name is Mike Jones, and I'm a barista at Third Rail Coffee right by Washington Square Park in New York City. I'm going to teach you some basic coffee-making skills.

So, what is the difference between coffee and espresso anyway? This is a question I get all the time. People will come in and want to buy beans and then not get them because they're espresso beans or want to know, if they have an espresso machine at home, they want to know what beans we have that they can use for that. The interesting thing about that is espresso is just the name of a brew method. It's this machine right behind me. You can take any coffee, grind it up, put it in there and you'll get a brewed cup of coffee. So you could take, whether it be a light-roasted Ethiopian coffee, you could make that as espresso, or like a more traditional darker roasted espresso blend. Historically people have used blends for espresso. They are a little bit darker—at least that's the way that they have been roasted. But recently people have been getting more excited about what's called single-origin espresso, which is just taking coffee from one farm, it's not roasted any differently, it's still pretty light, putting it in a grinder, and you get really exciting results. More flavor balanced, more notes. So basically, it's just a method, a method of brewing. Same as Pour-Over, or Mr. Coffee, or whatever else you can make coffee with, that's what espresso is—just a method.

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