We already know that there are more varieties of coffee beverages than just black coffee and the one with milk, but few people know the difference between espresso and pour-over coffee. However, baristas have been brewing different drinks for a long time, and each of them tastes different. I’m going to explain the difference between them to you.
So, baristas brew an espresso shot in coffee machines, using finely-ground and dark-roasted coffee. The portafilter with ground coffee is locked in its place and the water supply is activated. Due to the pressure and a short brewing time, you get a concentrated drink with an intense taste. The extraction time is limited and amounts to 25-30 seconds in its classic Italian version.
With this brewing method, on the coffee surface, a layer of foam is formed, which is called crema. Crema comes with characteristic bitterness created by oils, sugars, proteins, and other organic coffee compounds. Under the crema, there is a drink itself. This layer has a dark color; it is more liquid and less concentrated. Before drinking this coffee, stir it to mix the layers and make the taste even.
Espresso is served both as a solo drink and as a base for milk-based drinks (flat white, cappuccino, latte, etc.).
The only thing this type of coffee has in common with espresso is that the water goes through a layer of ground beans. However, in pour-over coffee, there is no pressure applied similar to that created by coffee machines. The water flows only due to its weight and gravity. This makes the drink taste completely different. It’s really amazing that this small nuance totally changes the final product.
Water pressure is not the only difference, though. For pour-over coffee, we use light-roasted beans to create a fine flavor, and we also extend the brewing time. This coffee is brewed within 2-7 minutes, and extraction takes longer. Also, this method requires larger amounts of coffee and water.
The process begins with wetting the paper filter with hot water to make the utensils and the filter warm. This is done to eliminate temperature fluctuations and exclude the chances of passing a paper flavor to the coffee. Then, we put ground coffee into the pot (again, the coffee grind should be coarse enough). We pre-wet the coffee for 30 seconds to intensify the degassing process and ensure the subsequent extraction goes smoothly. After that, we pour the remaining water into the pot. Getting heated on its way, the water seeps into the pot within a few minutes. Due to prolonged contact with the ground coffee, the water extracts more oils and aromatic substances. We get a less acidic and smooth beverage with a palette of flavors. Compared to espresso, it leaves a softer aftertaste.
What Do You Need for Brewing?
Espresso can only be brewed with the help of a coffee machine. This limits most users because these devices are too pricey to be acquired for home use. In addition, they are intended for coffee houses where coffee is brewed all day long.
So, pour-over coffee makers turn out to be a more budget option, especially if you make coffee only for yourself. All you need is a funnel, a filter, ground coffee, and maybe a scale for accuracy. All these utensils will fit in the corner of the kitchen cabinet. These coffee makers are manufactured in multiple modifications, made from different materials, with different pots and different sizes of drip holes.
The process of making pour-over coffee is relaxing, and coffee connoisseurs will like the drink for multiple taste variations and aromas. The taste of pour-over coffee (it is pure, smooth, and slightly acidic) is conducive to drinking it without additives. However, espresso has no rivals when we need to brew a quick coffee or make a base for other coffee drinks. This beverage has a thick consistency; it can be quickly brewed and it goes well with milk.
You’ll get a different flavor with each brewing method, so continue experimenting. This makes coffee a unique beverage because the same ground coffee can taste different if brewed in different ways.