Espresso Beans Vs Coffee Beans? (The Key Difference!)

espresso beans and coffee mug
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Hardcore coffee lovers know their coffee beans, preferred roasts, and favorite coffee recipes.

However, people newly exploring the coffee world might wonder about the coffee beans they see sitting in the grocery store.

If you also need help to choose between espresso and coffee beans, you must learn how they differ. Despite the similarities between the two types of beans, there’s much more to consider beyond just their appearance.

Both espresso and coffee beans are derived from Arabica and Robusta trees. However, their roasting, grinding, and brewing methods differ. 

Whether you are preparing drip coffee or espresso shot, the beans you use affect the texture and flavor notes of the coffee.

Almost all types of coffee beans can be used for espresso, just like all roasts can be used to make regular coffee. The reason why coffee beans are labeled differently: they’re best suited to a particular brew method.

This guide will further clear the fog regarding which coffee beans you must use to prepare your favorite cup of coffee.

coffee beans in grinding

Espresso Beans Vs. Coffee Beans: At a Glance.

Let’s take a glance at how espresso beans and coffee beans differ:

ConsiderationsEspresso BeansCoffee Beans
Roast LevelDark RoastLight to Dark Roast
Caffeine Content68 mg170-220 mg
Coffee QualityRicher TasteLighter Taste
Grind SizeFine GrindCoarse Grind
Brewing Temperature92-96 °C91-98 °C
AromaStrong nutty and burnt aromaMilder aroma with earthy tones
Natural OilsMore oilyLess oily

What are Espresso Beans?

Espresso beans are dark-roasted coffee beans, typically a blend of Arabica and Robusta. It has the perfect balance of smooth taste and low acidity of Arabica and bold flavor with high caffeine content from Arabica.

These types of beans have a higher natural oil content. The emulsification of these oils and other compounds results in a full-bodied finish with a thicker layer of crema.

The next time you see a bag of coffee labeled espresso beans, know it’s a dark roast with an ultra-fine grind. Espresso beans are the perfect choice for preparing a flavorful espresso shot that is hard to achieve using regular coffee beans.

What are Coffee Beans?

Depending on the bean variety, origin, and roast, coffee beans can be roasted at any level and have a variety of flavor profiles.

Coffee beans produce various flavor profiles, such as nutty and citrusy. Depending on your coffee preference, you can choose a light roast, medium, or dark roast. Light roasts are ideal for pour-over coffee and cold brew.

On the other hand, medium to dark roasts are great for preparing coffee using different brewing methods and especially making espresso.

different types of coffee beans

Are Espresso Beans and Coffee Beans The Same?

There is no significant difference between espresso and coffee beans, as both come from Arabica and Robusta trees. The difference lies in how they are roasted and their coffee type.

Espresso beans are processed in a way that makes them ideal for authentic espresso. Espresso beans are roasted longer than other types of coffee beans.

Because of the longer roasting process, espresso beans have low acidity. As a result, your espresso has a bitter, bold, and intense flavor. Espresso beans are finely ground and are primarily used in espresso machines.

Coffee beans can be roasted in various ways, from light to dark. The different types of coffee roasts produce distinct flavors and are preferred for different brewing methods. 

Depending on your coffee brewing method, you can choose any coffee roast and enjoy your coffee. When you use a drip coffee machine or French press to extract the coffee beans, they are usually medium to coarse ground.

Espresso vs. Coffee Beans: An In-Depth Discussion of The Differences!

You can use espresso beans or coffee beans as you like. However, there are some considerations you need to know so you can make your perfect brew.

The next time you stand in the grocery store wondering which coffee beans you should get, keep the following points in mind:

dark roasted espresso beans


Roasting means how much the coffee beans change during the heating process. The duration of roasting depends on the type of coffee that will be prepared.

 Espresso beans are roasted longer and at higher temperatures. As a result, espresso beans have a more rich and bolder flavor.

On the other hand, regular coffee beans are roasted for a shorter time. Due to the shorter roasting time, they have a less intense and bitter flavor than espresso beans.

Coffee Taste

Your coffee’s overall taste and texture depend on the roast you use. Dark roast coffee beans, like espresso beans, produce a more robust coffee cup than light roast beans.

Espresso beans will give your coffee a rich taste with an intense finish, while light roast coffee beans have a subtle flavor. You must go for dark roast coffee beans if you prefer a more concentrated coffee and light roasts if you don’t like bitter coffee.

Brewing Method

To make the most out of coffee beans, you must choose the one best suited for your brewing method.

The best way to use espresso beans is in an espresso machine. These beans are most delicious when finely ground, so flavors get slowly extracted when water passes through them. You will get a strong and rich cup since espresso machines use high-pressure water to extract coffee grounds.

On the other hand, you can use coarsely ground regular coffee beans for various brewing techniques. These coffee beans can be used in drip coffee machines, pour-over brewers, or French presses. You can use regular coffee beans if you prefer a balanced cup of coffee that is not too bold and bitter.

espresso shot with espresso beans

Grind Size

The grind size refers to how finely or coarsely you grind your coffee beans. Different coffee brewing methods require different grind sizes to make an authentic brew.

As espresso beans are sensitive to heat, so grind them finely. A coarse grind espresso will taste bland since the water will pass through quickly without extracting its full flavor.

On the other hand, to prepare coffee in a drip coffee maker or French press, you must use coarsely ground coffee beans. If you grind regular coffee beans too finely, they will be over-extracted, resulting in better-tasting coffee.


What is good tasting without the pleasing aroma when it comes to coffee? A cup of coffee is only as good as its aroma. The smell of espresso beans is just as strong as its taste.

When you use dark-roasted espresso beans, your coffee will have a nutty and chocolatey aroma. Meanwhile, lightly roasted coffee beans produce a milder aroma with earthy notes. 


The acidity level of coffee depends on the coffee beans you use. The acidity of coffee beans varies according to the plant they are made from. The coffee beans made from Arabica plants have lower acidity.

In contrast, coffee beans prepared from Robusta plants are more acidic. As espresso beans are a mixture of arabica and robust plants, they have lower acidity than coffee beans.

Caffeine Content

As espresso has a bolder flavor than other coffee types, people assume it also has a higher caffeine content. The truth is that espresso beans have a longer roasting time, giving your espresso a robust flavor but losing caffeine.

So, the longer the beans are roasted, the less caffeine they have. For people who prefer something other than highly caffeinated drinks, espresso shots are the best fit.

An espresso shot has 68 mg of caffeine, while a regular cup of coffee has 170 to 220 mg of caffeine.

Natural Oils Richness

It is the natural oils present in coffee beans that contribute to the texture of your coffee.

All types of coffee beans have natural oils, no matter what roast. However, espresso beans are rich with natural oils that give your espresso a thick crema on the top. 

Meanwhile, your regular coffee doesn’t have a heavy layer of crema because of the low content of natural oils.

coffee beans and coffee cup

Can You Use Espresso Beans For Making Regular Coffee?

You can choose any coffee beans to prepare espresso, just like any coffee beans to prepare a regular cup of coffee. It all comes down to your preference for coffee taste and quality.

Even though coffee beans can prepare various coffee drinks, some choices can improve your coffee. To make espresso, espresso beans are a suitable choice. When you use regular coffee beans to make espresso, your coffee will not be as strong and bold as expected.

Regular coffee beans are lightly roasted, so your espresso will not taste authentic. Similarly, when you use espresso beans for making a regular cup of coffee, the coffee might be too bitter for your liking. It is because espresso beans are roasted longer and are made to prepare a strong, more concentrated coffee.

There is no hard and fast rule about using certain types of coffee beans for your coffee. You can always adjust the grind size, coffee beans quantity, and water-to-coffee ratio until you achieve the most delicious cup of coffee.

What Are the Best Beans For Espresso?

It is better to use medium to dark roasted espresso beans to enjoy the authentic espresso taste. These beans are specifically roasted longer and at high temperatures to give your espresso a bold and bitter taste.

As espresso beans are a mix of Robusta and Arabica beans, they provide the best complex flavors to your espresso shot. Also, use finely ground espresso beans to extract the strength and flavors into your cup.

What is the Difference Between Arabica and Robusta Beans?

Arabica beans have a sweet taste with hints of chocolate and earthy flavors. On the other hand, Robusta coffee beans have a bitter taste because Robusta plants grow in harsh weather conditions.

Robusta beans are also cheaper than arabica beans.

Furthermore, Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content, so they are usually combined with Arabica beans.

closure look to dark roast coffee beans


Next time you see a bag of coffee beans labeled “espresso beans,” know they are dark-roasted coffee beans.

The regular coffee beans you find in the market are light to medium-roasted. You can use espresso beans and regular coffee beans as you like. The difference lies in their grind size, brewing technique, and roast level. The coffee roast influences the overall taste and strength of the coffee. 


Can you use coffee beans for making espresso?

You can use any coffee beans to prepare espresso. However, light-roasted coffee beans will not make a bold and robust espresso.

What coffee beans are best for pour-over coffee?

The pour-over brewing technique takes longer to extract coffee from the grounds, so it’s better to use medium to coarse grind. You can use Guatemalan and Hawaiian beans; they are neither sweet nor bitter.

Are Espresso beans stronger than coffee beans?

As espresso beans have a more extended roasting period and intense and bold flavors, they make a more robust coffee cup.

Is it OK to drink straight espresso beans?

Yes, you can enjoy espresso straight for the perfect caffeine fix. An espresso shot gives you an instant energy boost and will keep you awake on lazy mornings.

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