Drip Coffee Vs Espresso - The Battle Of The Brew!

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso – The Battle Of The Brew!

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 12:05

In this battle of the brew between Drip coffee Vs Espresso I look at it from all angles to help you decide which is the best coffee for you!

While it is not my prerogative nor pejorative to tell you which of the two is best as your own coffee tastes and preferences may be very different from mine. Coffee is a very personal thing.

You’ll the information below to be honey, open and absolutely factual.

Keep reading for the details of drip brewed coffee vs espresso.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso

Let’s have an overview of Drip Coffee Vs Espresso and get a clear idea of what these two coffee beverages are before I get into the details.

An espresso is not only a coffee drink, it is a brewing process where very fine powder like grind size of 200 microns, hot water 92C to 96C (195F to 205F) and a pressure of 9 bar (130 PSI) of pressure is required.

An espresso absolutely must be made with freshly roasted coffee beans that were roasted no longer than 7 days previously.

Also, the beans used must be of a dark roast, ideally at least a French roast, which is commonly marked and labeled as an espresso roast.

If the coffee beans used are not freshly roasted or of a dark roast, you will not get the thick rich cream on top, which is distinctive of this brew method.

Notably, the thick rich crema produced by an espresso is due to the water pressure; it is a combination of all key components of freshly roasted oily beans and the water pressure.

The name espresso comes from the fast 25 second +/- 5 second brew time. Due to the short 1 Oz (30 ml) size and the focused 1:2 coffee to water ratio, it is thicker, denser and more intense than other coffee drinks.

Due to the pressurized brewing method, only an espresso machine can make an espresso. A home espresso maker like a moka pot or Aeropress lacks the pressure required to make the thick rich crema on top.

Drip coffee is also known as filter coffee and more commonly by the generic term, brewed coffee.

It is common for coffee lovers and enthusiasts to make a distinct difference between drip coffee which is made with drip coffee maker, and automatic electric machine and manual drip coffee which is more commonly referred to as pour over coffee.

Drip coffee is made using medium coarse coffee grounds and a coffee to water ratio of 1:18, a paper filter and hot water in the 195F to 205F (92C to 96C).

Drip coffee is usually made with medium roasted coffee beans and higher and served typically in an 8 ounce (240 ml) cup.

Drip coffee is also used to make iced coffee with simply ice being added to chill the drink. It is common for the better coffee shops to double brew when using drip coffee for iced coffee.

Specialty coffee is good with drip coffee machines but is better with other coffee brewing methods. You can get the best out of your specialty coffee beans by altering the type of coffee filter used.

Cotton cloth filters and metal mesh filters provide a bolder and deeper tasting cup of coffee with your drip machine.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso
Drip Coffee Vs Espresso

Read: Coffee dripping slowly

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Flavor Profile

This is usually the first thing a coffee lover will talk about when comparing two different coffee drinks and brewing methods is the flavor, the taste.

Let’s start with an espresso.

An espresso brings in a whole range of different flavors and will have notes of both sweet and bitter at the same time.

The majority of coffee lovers would describe an espresso as bitter, but the bitter notes are due to the brewing process and the coffee bean used. When an espresso is perfectly brewed the flavor should express a wide range and well-balanced flavors of chocolate, nuts and be very smooth.

Only a poorly pulled shot or a shot with low-quality beans will taste bitter.

Drip coffee is probably the most balanced, clean and crisp tasting coffee that you will find. A good drip brewed coffee will have prominent notes of chocolate and will bring out the earthier flavors. The lighter and brighter notes are hidden with the fruity and floral notes more difficult to extract.

For this reason, well-balanced blends work well with a drip coffee maker.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Caffeine

Let’s get to the details of the caffeine content of these two beverages.

Check the table below to see how much caffeine is in both drip coffee and espresso coffee for all drink sizes.

Drink Size Espresso Drip Coffee
Short 8 Oz (240 ml) Solo (Single Shot) 75 mg 155 mg
Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) Doppio (Double Shot) 150 mg. 235 mg
Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) N/A 310 mg
Venti 20 Oz (600 ml) N/A 410 mg

It is clear to see that there is more caffeine in drip coffee than there is espresso for all drink sizes. Even the smallest drink size, the Short 8 Oz (240 ml) has 5 mg more than a doppio, a double espresso.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Acidity

An average drip coffee has a pH of 4.5 to 5 while an espresso shot has an average pH of 5.5 to 6 which means both brewing techniques produce a coffee that is acidic, with an espresso having a reduced acidity than a drip coffee.

This makes an espresso easier on your stomach than a drip brewed coffee.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Health

Both drip coffee and espresso are healthy; in fact, despite many claims to the contrary, all coffee drinks are healthy.

Don’t take my word for it! Take the word of thousands of peer-reviewed studies that you can find on the NIH and PubMed websites and articles by respected journals like the Lancet and New England Medical Journal and HealthLine and Web MD.

Which of these two coffee drinks is the healthiest or better put, which provides the most health benefits.

In my opinion the answer is clear: an espresso is the healthier of the two as it is a focused and concentrated shot that provides a greater concentration of nutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds.

Being lower in acidity is a bonus as it is easier on your digestive system.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Health
Espresso Is Healthier

Read: Drip coffee

Which Is Stronger Drip Coffee Or Espresso?

Clearly the stronger coffee between these two drinks depends on how you define stronger.

Clearly the strongest, the bolder and more intense tasting of the two coffee drinks is an espresso.


in terms of caffeine kick, it is drip coffee that is the stronger of the two by far as a Short 8 Oz (240 ml) dripped coffee has 155 mg of caffeine compared to 75 mg of a single shot of espresso.

Drip Coffee Vs Espresso Machine

Both these machines are different, very different and required different grind size, preparation and are vastly different in the way in which they function.

A drip coffee brewing method is very forgiving as you can make a few mistakes and still get a great coffee. Unfortunately, an espresso machine is not so forgiving. An error, a slight error and it will be noticed.

It is because espresso brewing requires precision. Get the dose, the weight, wrong by just a gram or two, and you will note a stronger or weaker flavor.

Even if you brew time is out by a couple of seconds, you’ll notice that in your final shot.

Even something that you may think of having an effect on your coffee brewing and your espresso shot will affect it. I’m particularly referring to tamping and temperature.

Poor tamping will lead to channeling and an unbalanced flavor.

Too low and too high a temperature, and you’ll end up with under brewed or over brewed shots that is either sour or too bitter.

Despite all that, pulling the perfect shot is easy. It just requires good technique and a little practice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Drip Coffee Vs Espresso

Is Drip Coffee Better Than Espresso?

An espresso is a condensed coffee with a more pronounced flavor and greater concentration of healthy antioxidants, nutrients, phenolic compounds and flavonoids than a drip coffee and thus in my opinion, makes an espresso a better coffee.

An espresso is much more versatile and can be used to make dozens and dozens and dozens of different coffee drinks from a breve to a cappuccino, latte, mocha, cortado, macchiato and more.

A drip coffee is fairly limited to enjoying it black, with ice or with milk (café au lait).

How Much Stronger Is Espresso Than Drip Coffee?

A typical Short 8 Oz (240 ml) drip coffee has 155 mg of caffeine, which is 12.91 mg per fluid ounce or 64.5 Oz per 100 ml.

A shot of espresso has 75 mg per shot, which is 75 mg per fluid ounce.

75 mg / 12.91 = 5.8.

An espresso is 5.8x stronger than drip coffee on caffeine per fluid ounce or per 100 ml basis.

How Much Drip Coffee Equals A Shot Of Espresso?

Each shot of espresso has the caffeine equivalent of 4 ounces of brewed coffee. The volume of coffee plays a large role in the total caffeine content.

Why Do People Prefer Drip Coffee?

The reason why many people prefer drip coffee is due to their own personal coffee taste, preference and likes.

An automatic drip coffee maker does make good coffee and has the great convenience of being very affordable and requiring very little effort. You can program them to make a coffee when your alarm clock goes off or set it up so that it brews a cup of coffee while you are in the shower. By the time you are out, a hot fresh cup of coffee is waiting for you.

Is Espresso Easier On Stomach Than Drip Coffee?

When your espresso is brewed, your hot water flows past the finely ground coffee for only 25 seconds and less of the compounds that may irritate your stomach are extracted, making it a brewing method that is easier on your stomach than drip coffee.


It is not the brewing method that is easiest on your stomach. That title belongs to cold brew coffee as the brewing method extracts the low temperature compounds and produces a cup of coffee that has 60% less acidity and thus is easier on your stomach and better for you if you suffer from acid reflux.

Why Does My Drip Coffee Taste Weak?

Your drip coffee may be tasing weak due to a lack of contact time between your coffee grounds and your hot water.

The result of this with an automatic drip coffee machine is not using enough coffee grounds. Use more coffee to increase your coffee to water ratio. This makes your drip coffee stronger as it also increases the contact time for the hot water running through your coffee from top to bottom.

Another problem may be the grind size being too large. Larger grind sizes need a longer contact time with your hot water to extract the flavor compounds. Use a slightly smaller grind size.

Too low a temperature of your water can cause a weak and under extracted cup of coffee. Check the temperature of your water. It should be between 195F and 205F (92C to 96C).

Is 2 Shots Of Espresso A Lot?

In my opinion 2 shots of espresso is not a lot as it contains 150 mg of caffeine, which is less than the maximum suggested daily intake for pregnant women and less than half the maximum intake for healthy adults.

Why Does Espresso Taste Better Than Drip?

Espresso tastes better than drip coffee due to the depth of flavor and intensity. It’s a concentrated coffee that is almost 6x stronger than drip, which means that small shot has 6x the flavor compounds all focused in that small shot of coffee.

Final Thoughts – Drip Coffee Vs Espresso

In the brew battle of drip coffee vs espresso, I hope, I sincerely hope that all your questions have been answered.

If I have missed anything or if you have any questions about these two coffee brewing techniques, ask, and I will be more than happy to answer them for you.

Join our cool coffee community and share your own thoughts and experiences with drip and espresso brewing. Find us on Facebook/Meta.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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