Coffee is the most popular drink in America. It’s also one of the most complex beverages to make. There are many different ways to brew coffee, and each way brings out a different flavor profile. Espresso vs. drip coffee? Which method do you prefer? Let’s explore the differences between espresso and drip coffee, as well as some tips on how to make each one of them!
Espresso Coffee: The process for making an espresso starts with finely ground beans that are tamped into a portafilter basket atop a metal tube called a group head which is mounted on top of an espresso machine boiler. Hot water at nearly boiling temperature (usually 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit) is forced through the tightly packed mound of coffee grounds under a pressure of roughly 9 bars (130 pounds per square inch), which pushes the water through the coffee and out a spout into a demitasse cup. The beverage that results from espresso is called “espresso”, short for “pressed-out”. This style of brewing yields a full-flavored yet smooth brew.
Drip Coffee: Drip coffee is a method of using gravity to brew a large amount of coffee through a very fine filter – usually a paper filter, though some people use a gold filter. This method also uses near-boiling water (~200 degrees Fahrenheit or ~93 degrees Celsius), but does not run it through the grounds as quickly as espresso machines do – instead, the water filters through the coffee over a period of time. Drip coffee is convenient compared to other methods because it uses a paper filter that can be thrown away after each use.
Tips for Espresso:
1) If you are looking to make an espresso and aren’t sure how much pressure you should use, ask your barista to recommend a pressure amount that will yield the sweet spot of flavor.
2)Use the right grind! If you do not have a grinder (if you can’t buy pre-ground coffee), ask your skilled barista which grind is right for your espresso machine. A finer grind will allow the water to flow through more quickly, while a courser grind will slow down the flow.
3)Tamp down your coffee grounds! When making espresso, you should be tamping the grounds down. The easiest way to do this is to press them down with your index finger using about 20 pounds of pressure.
Make sure you tamp down the edges as well. The tamper that usually comes with your machine is simply a guide, so feel free to use anything else – a measuring cup or a book should work perfectly fine!
4)If you’re wondering whether or not water quality makes a difference in what kind of coffee you should be making, the answer is yes! If you are looking to make an espresso, use fresh water that doesn’t have any impurities.
5)For an optimal shot of espresso, your machine should be set at around 9 bars of pressure. When the water starts to flow out of the spout into your demitasse cup, observe how it
Tips for Drip Coffee:
1) If you are looking to make drip coffee at home, use filtered water, not distilled! All this does is remove excess mineral content in the water – these minerals actually help extract more flavor from your coffee as it brews.
2) When brewing drip coffee at home, use a filter that removes the flavor oils. This will prevent your grinds from becoming too bitter!
3) If you are looking to make a lot of drip coffee at once, consider using a Keurig machine. The pods used sort of work like espresso – the grinds are pressed tightly against the filter by water pressure, which essentially makes them an individual serving!
4) Aeropress coffee is good for drip coffee because it allows more oils and flavor out of the grinds than a typical coffee maker would.
5)For optimal drip coffee flavor, try a 1:16 ratio between your grinds and water. If you have a tablespoon of grounds, use just under two tablespoons of water!