Can You Use Regular Coffee In An Espresso Machine?
You might not realize how important it is to get the right equipment. This includes both the beans and the machine.
Can you use regular coffee in an espresso machine? Sure, you can.
But should you? Now, that’s a different story.
This article will explain why using regular coffee in an espresso machine is not recommended.
What Is The Difference Between Espresso And Regular Coffee?
Some say that regular coffee is just watered-down espresso. Americano is a watered-down espresso, but regular coffee isn’t.
Regular coffee and espresso are two different things.
Espresso is a type or form of coffee that’s just made differently. Simply put, espresso is a really concentrated coffee brew.
The main difference between espresso coffee and regular coffee relies on three things – the roasting, grinding, and brewing process.
Espresso beans are roaster darker and longer, usually passing the second crack.
Regular coffee beans are roasted to be light to medium-dark roast.
Most coffee beans are made from Robusta or Arabica beans, even espresso grinds.
So, the main difference between an espresso grind and regular ground coffee is the roasting process.
Even though they are made from virtually the same type of bean, the grind size of an espresso bean and regular coffee bean varies.
Espresso beans are ground finer than regular coffee grounds.
The espresso grind needs to be finer as they are packed tightly to get the signature concentrated and strong espresso coffee. Also, water passes through them faster compared to regular brewing, so packing the grinds in tightly ensures more flavor in a short period of brewing.
There are many devices, equipment, and methods you can use to make regular coffee like drip, French press, and even just straight up boiling the normal coffee grounds in a pot, aka Cowboy coffee.
Regular coffee is usually brewed by leaving the grounds to sit and steep in hot water until they release their oils and flavors.
However, for an espresso, you can only use an espresso machine or AeroPress.
There is a specific type of brewing process that needs high pressure for the espresso to be effectively extracted.
Even a Moka Pot that produces a strong coffee brew is still weaker than classic espresso.
So, basically, espresso is a type of coffee made from finer grinds of dark roast beans. They are made specifically by passing fast pressurized hot water through tightly packed finely-ground coffee beans to extract a strong concentrated coffee in a shorter period of time.
And regular coffee uses lighter roaster beans and coarse grinds. They also have a slower brewing process that involves dripping, percolation, pressing, and many more.
Using Ground Coffee In An Espresso Machine
It is not recommended, but in a pinch, sure, you can use regular ground coffee in your espresso machine.
It’s not that it will ruin your machine; you just won’t get an espresso.
If you only have light roast to medium roast or coarse grinds, you can try grinding those larger-sized coffee beans as fine as you can so the espresso brewing process can at least be effective.
Even if you do, you’ll still be left with a weaker cup of “espresso,” but hey, it’s still coffee, right?
How About Espresso Grind in a Regular Coffee Maker?
So, it’s basically “fine” to use a regular coffee grind in an espresso machine; how about an espresso grind in a regular coffee maker?
The answer is still the same, you can, but it’s not recommended.
An espresso bean or grind is much oilier than other types of coffee beans or grounds and, as mentioned, much finer.
Using an espresso grind in a regular coffee maker will give you an overly bitter coffee brew.
Does Espresso Have More Caffeine Than Regular Coffee?
Per ounce, yes. Espresso has more caffeine than regular coffee.
In fact, there are major differences in the caffeine levels of the two.
Regular coffee has around 12 to 16 mg of caffeine content per ounce.
A shot of espresso (around 1 ounce), by contrast, has 63 mg of caffeine.
What Is Crema In Espresso?
Crema is the foam that forms at the top of espresso drinks. It’s made when the pressurized hot water passes through coffee beans, releasing oils and creating bubbles.
When crema forms, it creates a foamy layer of liquid that floats on top of the shot. The foam helps keep the drink hot longer, and it also adds flavor.
The crema will dissolve into the shot after a while.
Some say it’s best to drink your shot while the crema is still afloat; some like to mix in the crema in the shot.
How To Drink Espresso?
The method of drinking espresso differs from one coffee enthusiast to another, and there’s really no right answer to this. As long as you enjoy your shot, that’ll do.
However, if you’re a beginner coffee drinker that wants to learn how to enjoy espresso, here’s what you can do.
1. Smell the espresso. Like a glass of wine, smelling your shot of espresso adds to the experience and the flavor.
2. Try having some of the crema. You can sip it straight and stir in the remaining. If the bitter taste is too much for you, you can either stir it in or skim it off the shot.
Some traditionalists or coffee purist may disagree with the last option, but the more even-textured drink that is resulted from skimming off the crema may be more palatable for “beginners.”
3. Gulp VS Sip
The flavor of espresso will change pretty soon after its extraction, and the crema will dissolve in the shot. Because of this, some people prefer to gulp the shot to drink the espresso fast before the flavor changes. Always test the temperature before doing this to avoid being burned.
Espresso is a really interesting drink.
Because of the crema, the nuances of flavor throughout the small cup change. So, to experience this, you may want to sip the drink slowly. Stir your shot before sipping if you want a more even and consistent taste.
Just as how you can add espresso to make many blends of coffee, you can also add or drink different things with an espresso shot.
You can add sugar, chocolate, or even alcohol to your espresso.
You can also try drinking it with sparkling water or chocolate on the side.
Whichever method to decide to go with, just enjoy!
Experiment with your coffee.
Aside from the standard process and flavor, there’s nothing really holding you back from trying to brew with espresso beans on a regular coffee maker or regular coffee beans in an espresso maker.
Making coffee is part of the experience, so it’s okay even if you experiment with it.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find your perfect cup of coffee unexpectedly!