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Espresso pulling from coffee machine

The difference between Espresso and Filter Coffee

What is the difference between Espresso and Filter Coffee

There are many ways to prepare your ideal cup of coffee, but espresso and filter are the two most common brewing methods. While both come from the same coffee beans, the end cup of coffee is quite different. How so and which one is better suited to your taste buds? Keep reading to find out… 

From taste to preparation, there are differentiating factors to an espresso or filter coffee. When prepared properly, both have nuances that make them enjoyable in different ways. The main difference between the two is the brewing method, as well as the coarseness of the grind, the amount of water used in the process and the brewing time. All of these factors lead towards two very different coffee experiences.  

What’s an espresso?

An espresso is the answer to your immediate caffeine needs as it’s quick to make and quick to consume. Water at a high pressure creates a short, sharp shot of coffee.  

High-temperature, pressurized water runs through finely ground coffee beans. The high pressure causes the water to extract sugar, oils, solids and other compounds from the coffee grounds, resulting in a flavour dense shot of espresso. The amount of pressure created by the espresso machine cannot be recreated manually by human hands alone. In order to extract the flavour, espresso uses a very fine ground and is exposed to hot water for a short period of time. Brewing only takes about 30 seconds.  

The end coffee result is crisp acidity, sweetness and a syrup feeling. Espresso is more concentrated than filter coffee and acts as a base for different drinks, like cappuccinos and flat whites. Due to the thicker nature of the espresso, it mixes in a smooth and consistent manner with milk.  

What’s filter coffee?

Filter coffee also known as pour over coffee or drip coffee, produces a clean brew that brings out coffee’s complexities.  

The difference between filter and espresso is the brewing process with water. With espresso, the hot water is being pushed through the coffee grounds by high pressure. For filter coffee, water instead runs through the coffee grounds because of gravity. That is why this method takes slightly longer at a lower temperature and uses coarser ground coffee.  

The end cup of coffee tends to draw less acidity and accentuates more of the intricate flavours of the coffee. For this reason, it is often drunk black and is a popular choice for single origin coffees. The cleaner, smoother taste of filter coffee allows you to appreciate all the flavours and aromas of your coffee.

What equipment will I need? 

Kettling pouring hot water onto ground coffee to make filter coffee using a v60

Most basic filter coffee equipment is cheaper than investing in an espresso machine. For filter coffee, the best method is to go manual rather than automatic brewers, as you can control the brewing process and get the most out of the flavours of your coffee beans. All you need to get started is a dripper, filter paper and a cup. Our favourite drippers are the Chemex and V60 or you could alternatively use a French Press We have a filter starter bundle here with everything you need to ditch the tin of instant coffee and start your coffee brewing journey.  


Espresso machines can set you back a few hundred or thousand depending on what you are looking for from your machine. You will need to take into consideration counter space and electricity usage. We have a variety of bean to cup machines to provide you with everything you need to make any variety of coffee. Our favourite is the Bambino Plus as it packs a punch, is compact and won’t take up too much kitchen space.

Which one is for me?

The answer boils down to your lifestyle and taste preferences.  

If you want to truly taste the different intricate flavours of a coffee, then filter coffee is the one for you. Although it takes longer, the brewing process can become a therapeutic part of your morning ritual. When placed in the hands of time, an espresso machine is a faster way to get your caffeine fix and is a better option if you want to enjoy your coffee with steamed milk.  

Whichever method you choose, pair it with one of our premium coffee blends and you’ll be sure to enjoy a lovely cup of coffee every time!