These days a black coffee can mean many different things depending on where in the world you are, but the two main types you’re likely to see in UK coffee shops are filter coffee and espresso. Both types have their hardcore fans, and both are popular for different reasons, but which kind of coffee is best for you? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.
The main differences between the beverages all stem from the way their brewed. Filter coffee can be made in a variety of ways, either using machines or with a simple pour over, but the basic method is the same. Hot water is either poured or dripped over ground coffee in a filter and caught in the cup or jug underneath. Espresso on the other hand uses ground coffee packed into a “puck”, which then has pressurised water pushed through it to make a much smaller, stronger coffee very quickly (hence the name).
While espresso may make coffee much more quickly than filter, it also requires a lot more equipment and skill to produce. Filter may take longer to make, but with machines you can make many cups at once, or even with pour overs the barista can have many brewing at the same time.
In terms of the actual drink itself, the speed and pressure used in making an espresso can drastically alter the flavour. Filter coffee tends to produce a cleaner, more delicate brew, which can be perfect for single origin beans where you really want to taste the subtleties and complexities that set the coffee apart.
Espresso on the other hand is much more intense, with exaggerated acidity and a fuller body. While you may lose some of the subtleties, you’re rewarded with more pronounced sweetness and a longer finish which can sometimes bring out different tasting notes entirely.
This is the one category where there is definitely a clear winner. With filter coffee, your options are usually pretty simple: black or white. True, there will often be a variety of different milks to choose from, and specialist coffee shops will sometimes have a range of different beans, but you have nowhere near the options that are available with espresso.
With espresso there are a whole range of different milk-based drinks to choose from, with a choice of different sizes, strengths and consistencies. You can also alter the intensity and caffeine level by choosing between single or double shots, or even triples/quadruples for the sleep deprived! This versatility is likely one of the main reasons why espresso has become the standard for coffee shops in the UK, with filter coffee being popular in the more niche settings.
Whichever kind of coffee you think is best for you, you’ll need a machine that can get the most out of your beans and produce the best drinks possible for your staff or customers. If espresso is your weapon of choice, take a look at the sleek WMF Espresso, perfectly balancing hand-crafted coffee with the convenience of fully automated grinding and tamping. Or if filter coffee is your favourite, the WMF 1200 F uses freshly ground beans to give you the best tasting beverage, brewing 500ml of coffee in just 65 seconds to make sure you never have to wait too long for your next caffeine hit.
Download a brochure to see the full range of WMF coffee machines and related products.