Battle of the Brew Methods: Espresso vs. Drip Coffee

The world of coffee is huge and exciting- there always seems to be a viral “next best thing” whether it's on the menu at Starbucks, on Tik Tok or by your favorite coffee guru or roaster. No matter how you keep up with coffee culture, you should always take a step back to the basics and learn where it all started- drip coffee and espresso. So, what’s the difference?

Brew Methods- What's the Difference?

The difference is not in the coffee itself, but in the brew method. Drip coffee and espresso can also be enjoyed in different ways, depending on your preferences. It can be argued that certain coffees are made for espresso, normally called espresso roasts. These coffees are usually darker and brewed for the purpose of making espresso, but that doesn’t mean it also can’t be used for drip coffee. There are different taste preferences for espresso roasts- some prefer dark espresso, while others gravitate towards a lighter or medium espresso roast (sometimes called “blonde”). Espresso roasts tend to be less acidic.


In short, espresso is a more concentrated form of drip coffee brewed using pressure. It uses a lower water to coffee ratio than drip coffee to give it a thicker consistency and is brewed over a shorter period of time. Espresso can be enjoyed on its own (mmm, crema) or can be a base for your favorite latte or americano. The bold, balanced profile of espresso can hold its own in a milk-based drink better than traditional drip. Sounds great everyday, right? Well, brewing espresso is a temperamental art and not for the faint of heart- most coffee lovers stick to espresso when they visit their favorite cafe, but some venture into making it at home. The equipment is expensive and the brew method is tricky, but if you master it, it is so rewarding.

Drip Coffee

Drip coffee utilizes a larger water to coffee ratio and can be brewed using a variety of methods including the Clever Dripper, traditional coffee pots, French Press, etc- the list goes on! The water is dripped over the coffee grounds through a filter during extraction for a less concentrated brew. The grind size is not as fine as it is with espresso and there is no pressure involved in brewing drip coffee- just gravity. Because the water and coffee have a longer contact time versus espresso, there is more caffeine in drip coffee. Drip coffee can be enjoyed on its own or with your favorite cream and/or sweetener. Drip coffee usually has a simpler, rounder flavor profile and is super easy to make at home. It is definitely the more user-friendly method out of the two because of the simple process and plethora of brewing options available. It is less versatile than espresso but oh, so good.

Final verdict: They are both delicious. What works for you is dependent on your lifestyle. Most of us at Sable Brew fall somewhere in the middle, brewing drip coffee at home using our Clever Dripper and enjoying an espresso every once in a while when we visit our favorite local coffee joint. If you’re a total coffee lover with some time and money to blow, having a home espresso setup is a beautiful thing. If you can’t be bothered, drip coffee is totally delicious, easy to brew and customizable. Either way, get brewing!

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