Yes, espresso is coffee. It’s made from the same “beans” which are really the pits or seeds of cherries that develop on shrub-like coffea plants. Because of the environmental conditions necessary for the coffea plant to grow, the majority of all coffee beans come from land near the equator bounded on the north by the Tropic of Cancer and the south by the Tropic of Capricorn. This area has been referred to as the Coffee Belt or Bean Belt and includes countries such as Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Mexico and Ethiopia. While beans from each region, farm and crop have a unique flavor profile, there is no specific “espresso bean.” Coffee beans labeled “espresso” on their packaging may be ones that the roaster believes will provide a more enjoyable taste when used for espresso, but any coffee bean could be used to make espresso.
Ex5 Podcast Episode 8: Coffee
The difference between espresso and standard coffee: pressure. In both espresso and standard coffee preparation, coffee seeds are roasted to become the beans we typically think of and then they are ground. With standard coffee, those ground beans are placed in a filter and hot water is either dripped onto or poured over them utilizing gravity to extract the oils, flavors and caffeine from the beans. That slow extraction process ends up as coffee in your pot or mug. Espresso, on the other hand, requires the use of a machine where the ground coffee can be packed tightly into a small area and near-boiling water can be forced through the grounds under tremendous pressure. The result is a thicker, more concentrated version of standard coffee that includes more of the oils from within the ground beans.
Espresso tends to be thicker and stronger in flavor than standard coffee, but it serves as the base for many popular coffee-shop preparations such as caffè latte, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, cappuccino, flat white, or caffè Americano.