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Difference Between Espresso Roast and Regular Roast

The Difference Between Espresso Roast and Regular Roast

Fresh Coffee Beans

September 15, 2023

a hand holding a cup of espresso while the other pours milk into it showing the Difference Between Espresso Roast and Regular Roast

When customers ask us what’s the difference between espresso roast and regular roast, we have a very simple response:

“There isn’t one.” Aaaaaand scene! 

Our coffee purists at Cooper’s Cask Coffee do have a longer answer, if not a particularly complicated one. You can reach out to us and we’ll share online, or call us. We’d love to talk about java! 

Read on to understand how espresso roast and regular roast kind of mean the same thing.

A Roast by Any Other Name

The term “espresso roast” is used by roasters to inform customers that this bean is suitable for the espresso grinding and brewing process. Are you accustomed to espresso having a powerfully rich and boldly dark flavor? The “espresso roast” moniker usually implies that the beans will deliver this traditional taste.

However, espresso itself is not a roast level. Espresso is a style of brewing, and any “regular roast” can still be used for an espresso. The difference is understanding that not every roast will make a good espresso.

What makes a good espresso good?

There are a number of different judging criterias for good espresso, but we usually boil it down to 3 main qualities.


A well-made cup or shot of espresso usually has a creamy, caramel-colored foam on top. This is the “crema.” It’s made by the hot water being forced through the coffee grounds. The water emulsifies the oils in the coffee while forcing out carbon dioxide. The two mix, making this creamy and flavor-infused layer floating on top of the espresso. 

Many people notice the difference between coffee that’s been brewed using a paper filter and coffee that’s brewed using a metal mesh filter. Paper filters have a tendency to soak up and retain those oils, while the mesh filter lets the oil pass into the cup. 

Coffee that retains the oils has a strong flavor profile with a fuller body/mouthfeel. A paper-filtered coffee has less of the micro-fines in it (the silty/gritty texture of some coffee—especially in the last few sips), plus the removal of the oils makes it a brighter cup.


When you’re talking about the body of a cup of coffee, you’re describing the way it feels on the tongue. Some coffees might have a heavier body, which coats the tongue with a more oily feel. If it’s lighter, it may feel watery. 

The dissolved coffee solids create the body, and the brewing process decides the amount of those solids that make it into your cup.

The best espressos have a roundness and richness, with a denser mouth-feel.


Flavor is so subjective! The espresso your best friend likes may hit your pallet and make your taste buds wave the white flag. Or your favorite espresso could make your buds grit their teeth at every sip.

Great espresso flavor should involve a balance of acidity, bitterness, and sweetness. The flavor should be deep and rich without being overtly bitter. Each sip should leave a sweetness on the tongue. This isn’t an intense sugary sweet, but a light sweetness that hints at it. Acidity refers to the crispness, zinginess, and or liveliness of the taste.

Related topic: how to make an espresso.

Bridging the Difference Between Espresso Roast and Regular Roast

Roasting coffee beans is what brings out their unique flavors. 

Under-roasted coffee will have a grassy, “green” flavor with savory overtones. The bean hasn’t roasted all the way through, leaving some of the green coffee bean to flavor the brew.

Over-roasted coffee delivers what you’d expect: a burnt flavor. If the beans are an extremely dark brown color or even a black color, they’re probably over-roasted. Over-roasting disguises the bean’s authentic flavors, making for a big, bitter taste. We would point out some big coffee companies that we think over-roast their beans, but we like mermaids too much to do that.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee offers all roast levels, ranging from our light roast Ethiopian all the way to our dark roast Sumatra and everything in between. We offer light, medium light, medium, medium dark, and dark roast coffee beans from different regions all over the world!

Which Cooper’s Cask Coffee roast makes the best espresso?

The simple fact is: All of our coffee beans are suitable for espresso. Because espresso is a brewing method and not a roast, you can choose the intensity of roast to achieve the richness of flavor that you desire.

All our different roast levels and profiles are chosen to bring out the maximum flavor profile of the bean. After intense cupping (flavor testing) we do by hand, we pick the best roast to bring out and enhance the bean’s flavor. 

This means each bean delivers a different tasting espresso. While most people prefer a medium to dark roast for the smooth and heavy flavor of an espresso, you may also want the light, clean flavors of a light roast. 

The choice is 100% yours. If you enjoy more traditional espressos, start with a darker roast. But if you’re already familiar with delicious espresso brewing and want to explore more taste options, try the lighter roasts and our barrel aged coffee choices!

Related topic: ways you can cook with coffee.

home espresso machine on kitchen counter showing Difference Between Espresso Roast and Regular Roast

How do I make espresso that’s unique to me?

Since there’s no real difference between espresso roast and regular roast coffee, the espresso brewing process can greatly alter the flavor, mouthfeel, and overall espresso experience.

Use an Electric Espresso Machine

For easy espresso-making that’s also consistent in quality, invest in an electric espresso machine. Many have programmable settings that can be saved—so when you’re in the mood for a very rich, bold espresso, pull up that brew setting. Or when you want an espresso shot that’s perhaps a little lighter in taste and mouthfeel, pull up that brew setting.

Electric espresso makers—even the least expensive ones that only force hot water through the grounds and nothing else—provide simplicity with any added complexity that you wish, and they deliver overall even consistency of the final cup.

Try a Moka Pot

This hybrid of pressurized coffee making and percolation also creates a great shot of espresso, crema included!

Your Moka Pot will require your sustained attention to create a good espresso. However, it costs much less than an electric espresso machine and gives you a more invested, DIY feel to your espresso experience. Plus, they look kind of industrial-chic. We dig ’em.

Impress With Your AeroPress

This super cost-effective way to make espresso-style coffee still includes pressure—but you’re what makes the pressure. An AeroPress brewer acts almost like a coffee syringe, involving a water and coffee grounds chamber, a screw-on paper filter holder, and a plunger. 

When your coffee has brewed and is ready, you push down the plunger, which forces the brew to go through the filter and into your cup. Benefits are the speed and ease of this coffee brewer, both in use and in cleanup.

The downside is you can’t do it without the paper filter. So, you lose the crema because the oils are mostly caught by the filter, and you get less of a rich, thick mouthfeel. 

You do still get a great-tasting, espresso-style cup!

answering how long does coffee last by showing peruvian cold brew coffee which doesn't last as long when brewed as just coffee beans

Make the Most of Your Roast

There’s no difference between espresso roast and regular roast, but every difference in how you brew it and what you enjoy in your cup.

Cooper’s Cask Coffee offers amazing single origin coffees from around the world, as whole beans or in custom grind levels to match how you like to brew it. Either way, you get the freshest roasted coffee available when you order from our website. 

Reorder your favorites or try something new. Our 100% money back guarantee ensures that if within 30 days of your purchase the beans don’t satisfy your expectations, you can send them back for a full refund or exchange them for a different coffee. 

Espresso Yourself With Cooper’s

Cooper’s Cask Coffee helps you make great coffee, including espresso. That might be why we have over 7,000 4- and 5-star Amazon reviews about our products. 

From our gear page with personally curated coffee making tools and brewing systems, to bags of the best single origin coffees on the market, we’ll help you do a brew that’s all you any day and everyday.

Small batch, big satisfaction. Cooper’s Cask Coffee.