Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans: What’s the Difference?

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Coffee is sometimes labeled espresso beans and coffee beans on the packaging so it can be confusing. Are they the same or different? Read on find out.

Whole and ground coffee beans.

Espresso Beans vs. Coffee Beans

Caffeine lovers know that espresso tastes richer and more concentrated, while coffee has a lighter flavor and aroma. While espresso and coffee each have unique qualities, it might be surprising to learn that espresso beans and coffee beans are the same thing.

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Coffee beans used to make espresso are the same beans used to make brewed coffee in a coffee machine. Espresso beans are coffee beans to be used to make espresso.


Espresso beans: Coffee beans to make espresso are be finely ground.

Coffee Beans: Coffee beans for a coffee machine are ground to a medium-coarse texture.


Espresso Beans: Coffee beans to make espresso are typically dark roasted. The longer roasting time makes these beans bitter and less acidic with more natural oils. When brewed, it creates a classic espresso flavor.

While standard espresso beans are basically dark roast coffee beans, espresso can also be made from other roasts like decaf or blonde.

Coffee Beans: Coffee beans can be any roast, including light (blonde), medium, or dark.

Natural Oils

Espresso Beans: Standard espresso beans, or dark-roasted coffee beans, have a more oily sheen than lighter roast beans because of the longer roasting time. The greater amount of natural oils makes dark roast beans ideal for making a rich crema, the froth that sits on top of brewed espresso.

Coffee Beans: Coffee beans that are light or medium roasted are less oily than dark roast.

Brewing Method

Espresso Beans: Espresso bean grinds undergo a high-pressure method using an espresso machine. The machine forces hot water through the finely ground beans, creating a thicker, more syrupy texture and crema.

Coffee Beans: Coffee beans are brewed through a gravity filter method (drip coffee machine and pour-over) where water flows through the coarse grinds slowly. The resulting coffee is a larger, lighter, and less concentrated beverage than an espresso.

What are Espresso Beans?

Espresso beans are dark roast coffee beans that have been finely ground. Espresso grounds must be ultra-fine so that hot water can easily run through the grinds at high pressure.

“Espresso roast” refers to dark roast coffee beans because they are ideal for creating a classic espresso with a crema layer on top. Dark roast beans are richer in oils and have a bitter, more concentrated, and less acidic taste than lighter roasted beans.

While dark roast is commonly used for espresso, espresso can be made from any type of roast, like blonde, medium, or decaf beans.

Popular espresso-based drinks:

What are Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are beans that are roasted to any level (light, medium, or dark). All coffee beans can be used to make espresso, but standard espresso is made with dark roast beans.

To make coffee, the beans are ground to a medium-coarse texture and brewed in a coffee machine or a pour-over. The resulting caffeinated beverage is lighter, more balanced, and has more liquid than espresso.

Coffee drinks:

Questions You May Have

Are espresso beans and coffee beans the same?

Yes, espresso beans and coffee beans are the same. What makes them different is the way they are prepared.

Can you use coffee beans to make espresso?

Yes, you can use coffee beans to make espresso as long as you prepare them correctly. Coffee beans must be finely ground so they can undergo a high-pressure brewing method in an espresso machine.

Is it safe to eat coffee or espresso beans?

Yes, it is safe to eat coffee and espresso beans, but you should not consume a lot of them at once because they are high in caffeine. They are also known to be high in antioxidants.


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