Pour over coffee vs espresso

Pour over coffee can be considered the complete opposite of espresso in terms of both their brewing method and flavor profile. Even before brewing, the coffee beans are prepared differently – espresso tends to use a darker roast and the beans are rested for longer after roasting, so as to give a pleasant result when brewed.

Latte art is made with steamed milk used to cut espresso drinks.

Latte art is made with steamed milk used to cut espresso drinks.


Brewing Process

Pour over coffee is extremely simple – hot water poured over a bed of grounds and filtered. In fact, its simplicity is the reason why pour over coffee has become so popular, especially at home.

Espresso, on the other hand, involves highly pressurized hot water forced through a precisely measured amount of powder-fine coffee grounds to give a small, super-concentrated shot. Because of the complex machinery involved, espresso machines are more cost prohibitive and less common in homes. Few home espresso machines have the power and mechanisms that a commercial machine has to allow you to pull that superb shot. In that sense, espresso should be reserved for when you’re having your coffee outside.



In stark contrast to the clean flavors of pour over coffee, espresso is usually bold and strong with chocolate, caramel, and nutty notes being more common. It’s the typical morning wake-up drink that so many people are addicted to, simply because the strength of an espresso will wake you up. Since it’s so rich and concentrated, few people take espresso as is, cutting it with water or milk to produce popular café drinks like the cappuccino, Americano, and café latte.

espresso cremaIf you really want to explore the wealth of aromas and tastes that a fine coffee harvest has to offer, then pour over coffee is the better choice. Not only can you brew the coffee in small batches and experiment with different temperatures or extraction times, you can also do a tasting of various different coffees and still be able to detect the subtle differences in fruitiness, floral notes, and acidity.

That’s not to say that espresso isn’t as good – with such different flavor profiles, espresso coffee is a great alternative for when you want to try something different from pour over coffee. In fact, the crema from an espresso adds a whole new dimension of flavor to the coffee. A coffee brewed using the two different methods can yield surprisingly different results and is extremely fun.