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Espresso and drip coffee are two of the most popular coffee beverages enjoyed around the world.
While they are made from the same basic ingredient – coffee – the two drinks are quite different in taste and preparation.
What is espresso?
Espresso is a very intense, strong coffee with a high dose of caffeine. It is usually consumed as a shot by itself or mixed with foamed milk to make cappuccinos and other beverages.
What is drip coffee?
Drip coffee is the standard coffee we’re used to seeing pretty much everywhere: offices, airplanes, and diners.
Drip coffee is much milder, usually consumed in greater volume, and a little milk or creamer can be added to taste.
Some people prefer good ol’ black coffee, though.
How is espresso prepared?
Espresso is made by forcing water at extremely high pressure through a puck of compressed, fine coffee grounds.
The extreme pressure of the water combined with the compacted grounds extracts an intense flavor in a very short time.
Along with the coffee, if you use the right grounds, a rich crema of oils and air bubbles forms on top of the espresso.
How is dripped coffee prepared?
Drip coffee is prepared using slightly coarser grounds. The grounds are placed in a filter, and hot water is dripped through the filter very gradually.
Instead of using pressure to extract flavor(as in espresso), dripped coffee relies on the pull of gravity to help the water come in contact with the coffee grounds.
The key is to drip the water very slowly, so each drop takes its time to pass through the grounds and into the cup below.
How do you brew espresso?
To get the best espresso, you need an espresso machine. This is because the high amount of pressure required is difficult to generate by hand unless you have a very specific device like an Aeropress.
Espresso machines are more hands-off solutions, since the have heating elements to boil the water and force the steam through the puck of coffee grounds.
To make the puck, you put coffee grounds into the portafilter, and use a tamper to press down on the grounds and really compress them.
You then attach the filter to the machine, and turn it on – the water inside the tank will boil, turn into steam, be forced through the portafilter and puck of grounds, and you’ll get a nice shot of espresso.
Simple, inexpensive espresso machines will brew as much espresso as the amount of water you put in.
Fancier, automatic machines will brew the amount of coffee you select(usually with a button or a dial to indicate how much you want).
Many espresso machines also have frothing wands to steam milk so you can enjoy a nice cappuccino or macchiato.
How do you brew dripped coffee?
Dripped coffee is really simple to brew. If you don’t have a machine, you can just use a filter and funnel. Place the filter inside the funnel, and the funnel inside a jug or mug.
Slowly pour hot water over the grounds. As the water drips through the grounds, it will absorb the flavor of the coffee and you’ll get a nice brewed coffee.
Alternatively, you can use a drip coffee machine – these are quite cheap and do a good job.
The drip machine does the same thing you did by hand – except it does it automatically.
While not technically “dripped” coffee, you can also use a french press to brew a really rich and flavorful coffee.