Pour Over Vs. Espresso (Complete Guide)

Last Updated on September 20, 2021 by John Moretti

Coffee drinkers have their peculiarities, tastes, and ways of consuming their favorite beverage. You, of course, have your personal favorite. I’ll discuss distinctions between pour-over and espresso.

At first look, the difference between espresso and a pour-over coffee is noticeable: espresso is extracted through a pressured machine, whereas a pour-over depends solely on force and timing to drain the coffee out via a filter. 

  • A pour-over uses more coffee and water than espresso and extracts more acidity and aroma lost during the espresso brew process.
  • Espresso is denser, thicker, and more concentraded than pour over coffee
  • Espresso has crema. It is the fine golden-brown foam that rises to the top of the presso shot when it finishes.
  • Pour over equipment is far less expensive than an espresso machine

However, we’ll also discuss the distinctions in flavor, nuances, and subtleties that each brewing technique produces, as well as the many ways to manufacture each type.

Pour Over Coffee

The pour-over is a new and rapidly developing coffee trend that is sweeping the nation’s coffee establishments. A pour-over produces a mild extract using boiling water, a filter, gravity, and about two minutes of processing.

A pour-over uses more coffee and water than espresso and extracts more acidity and aroma lost during the espresso brew process. Because the tastes of the origin can be tasted and relished, a pour-over is an ideal way to enjoy single-origin coffees.

Whether you’re using a filter cone or a pour-over brewer, you’ll need different brewing equipment. A filter cone or dripper, a filter, a scale (if you’re a nerd like me), and a hot water kettle are the most basic setups. 

We can utilize the scale and boiled water kettle for other tasks in your kitchen, and then pour-over device is more compact than some espresso makers. 

Espresso 

Espresso production comes about by putting fine coffee grounds into a metal basket that is perforated using the pressure of hot water, practically boiling, through the coffee under high pressure.

The coffee grounds become a filter in the extraction, yielding a small amount of rich, potent coffee extract. Espresso is a type of coffee produced quickly and intended to consume soon, giving the drinker a caffeine boost.

As a result of the process, we got some nice crema created. It is the fine golden-brown foam that rises to the top of the espresso shot when it finishes, and we often use that as a mark of excellence. It consists of proteins, oils, sugar, and amino acids in coffee.

It’s denser, thicker, and more concentrated than pour over coffee, and we can serve it in a demitasse cup. Still, it’s frequently cut with steamed milk or cream to form the other coffee drinks we’re familiar with: lattes, cappuccinos, americanos, mochas, and so on.

Espresso can bring out some original tastes, but it should also have a lot of body. We can make pour-overs in various ways, and manual equipment is far less expensive than an espresso machine. 

However, some models contain a valve that lets you soak your coffee for a specific period inside the filter before pouring it into your mug.

To make pour-over coffee at home, you’ll need a kettle for water, a coffee dripper like the ones seen above, dripper filters, and, of course, coffee. You can use a scale (which I use), but if you know how much coffee to add, you can also use a scoop.

Various automatic coffee machines generate pour-over coffee if you don’t want to boil your coffee manually. Here’s a link to our review of them. They’re an excellent choice for individuals who enjoy great-tasting pour-over coffee but don’t want to deal with the intricacies of manual pour-overs. Let’s look at the coffee makers.

Espresso Machines

Prices for home espresso machines vary, but you can get a decent one for between 150 and 500 dollars. The DeLonghi EC702 is a budget-friendly machine, while the Breville Infuser BES840XL is more dependable.

When brewing espresso at home, a coffee grinder that’s able to grind espresso is required too. For those looking for a more economical espresso option, the Italians have been producing espresso at home for years using a manual stovetop espresso maker such as the Bialetti.

The Bialetti works by forcing water from the reservoir below through the coffee in the basket and bubbling up into the pourable reservoir above, using the pressure created by boiling water.

Although it does not require froth milk, you can purchase an additional milk frother for a nominal fee to make lattes.

How To Make Pour-Over Coffee Manually

Step 1: Bring your water to a boil and fill your coffee filter

  1. Bring your water to a boil and fill your coffee filter
  2. Calculate how much water you’ll need.
  3. In your kettle, bring the water to a boil.
  4. In your cone, set up your filter.
  5. Calculate the right amount of coffee for your dripper and brew size.

Allow the water to cool for a few minutes after it has been boiling. The ideal temperature is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Pour your water over your coffee and stir it in

Each pour-over comes with detailed instructions for precise pouring, so check the manufacturer’s website for specific dripper instructions. In general, you’ll need to pour a little water into the drippers without valves to off-gas the coffee for 20-30 seconds. 

It is known as a pre-immersion because it permits the coffee to release carbon dioxide before being immersed. Following the pre-immersion, steadily pour circularly until all of the pre-measured water pours out. 

Pour a little water in for pre-immersion on models with a valve, then distribute the remainder of the water and set your timer for whatever your pour-over instructions indicate. After 1 minute, stir the coffee grinds, and when the timer goes off, open the valve and allow the coffee to trickle into your mug.

As you can see, making pour-over coffee isn’t difficult; it’s just a little time-consuming but highly satisfying.

Espresso-making Instructions

You’ll need espresso machine to brew an authentic Italian espresso at home that rivals what you’d get in a coffee shop. Manual devices (where users tamp and prepare everything manually) to automatic and capsule machines are available (where you press a button, and the machine does the rest). 

While coffee specialists favor manual machines because they allow them more control over their espresso, we discovered that automated, super-automatic, and capsule devices such as Nespresso VertuoPlus or Breville Barista Pro are the most user-friendly and produce consistent results.

If you’re not using pods or a device with an installed grinder, you’ll need the following:

  • To get a smooth espresso grind, you’ll need a decent coffee grinder. For espresso, we prefer the Breville Smart Grinder Pro because the most refined setting gives fine, even results that don’t clump. Use only high-quality, dark-roasted coffee.
  • If you want to prepare a latte or other specialized drink with milk, you’ll need a milk frother.
  • A scale for the kitchen. If you’re keen to understand the ideal dose of espresso, you’ll need to have one handy to measure your grounds.
  • How to use an espresso machine to produce espresso
  • Prepare your beans by grinding and measuring them. Grind enough dark roast coffee beans to make one or two espresso shots using a good grinder and dark roast coffee beans. The amount of coffee grounds needed for a single espresso shot is usually between 6 and 8 grams. However, the measurement varies. About 15 grams for a double shot. 
  • Use the most refined setting on your grinder because your grounds should be powdered and fine. 
  • You can weigh your grinds on a kitchen scale if you want to be sure you got the measurements right — make sure you tear out the portafilter first.
  • Distribute your shot and tamp it down. Once you’ve reached the desired number of grounds in the portafilter, evenly distribute the grounds with a finger, lay the portafilter on a tabletop or other flat surface, and tamp down on the grounds with the tamper. In the portafilter, you’ll have a compact disk of espresso.
  • Pull the trigger on your shot. 
  • Before you begin, run the machine without the portafilter in place for a few minutes to empty the ground head. 

After that, secure the portafilter in the machine, place your demitasse glass or any other vessel beneath it, and begin your shot. The espresso ought to be ready in about 30 seconds, but getting the shots you want will take some practice with your machine and a lot of taste testing. 

(Some machines require manual timing, while others have a variety of options.) The final result should not be too light or dark in color, have a thick coating of caramel-colored crema on top, and not taste too acidic or harsh.

If using milk, prepare it now and savor your espresso. If you want to prepare a latte or another milk-based beverage, you’ll need to steam your milk first. If not, drink your espresso as normal! When you’ve completed the process, be sure to wash and wipe the portafilter, and flush and clean up the milk frothing wand.

The Bottom Line

Pour-Over and Espresso coffee are two very distinct coffee brewing processes, but they both have a place in coffee culture. Everyone has their tastes, but I hope that this article has clarified the differences between the two and shown you how to prepare them at home.

Coffee creation is for us to enjoy, and each culture has infused it with its traditions. It’s no wonder that discussion and sharing of life continue to bring people together, at least to argue about the best coffee-making techniques.