Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans
In Espresso Machine?

You can, but you shouldn't put normal coffee in an espresso machine.

In order to get the desired flavor, taste, and strength, espresso machines are intended to use pressure and finer grinds.

When deciding what blends and procedures to utilize in your espresso machine, there are other variables to keep in mind.

For espresso, it's not so much about a particular grind or type of coffee bean, but rather how it's prepared.

Most importantly, espresso is not a type of coffee or a type of coffee bean. It is a distinct beverage. It isn't anything close to a roast.

To prepare espresso, hot, pressurized water is used to liquefy finely ground coffee.

Roasting is alpha and omega for all coffee beans. This affects taste, flavor, and brewing process. Light roasts perform best with slower extraction methods, including filter coffee. Darker roasts use for espresso.

  • Beans for making coffee

Coffee beans are any roasted bean that is ready to be brewed. If you want to taste the full flavor of your bean, which can be different depending on where it came from, you can choose a light roast.

Lightly roasted beans don't have an oily sheen and are best for white coffee and brewing methods like pour-over or cold brew that don't use pressure.

  • Medium Roast

The flavor of medium-roasted beans is different, and depending on where the beans come from, they can be used for many different kinds of brewing.

On the other hand, dark-roasted beans stand out because they are shiny and dark brown. Most of the time, espresso is made with dark roasts.

It's common for espresso machines to utilize a finer grind of coffee than you'd use for a cup of brewed coffee. 

Espresso machines can be used for any sort of bean, however the type of bean you choose can produce a bitter taste if the coffee is not specifically designed for espresso.

  • Espresso Beans

Espresso coffee beans are usually dark roasted because this is when the beans have the least acidity and the most body. You will still be able to taste the beans in small amounts. Here are the best beans for making coffee.

Espresso beans with a dark roast have the most natural oils, which you can see in the shiny sheen on the beans. The so-called "espresso crema" is made with the help of emulsification of these oils and other parts of coffee. But you should be careful not to use beans that have been roasted too darkly, because the extra oil can clog grinders, especially in super-automatic machines.

Even if the beans are good, using them to make espresso might not give you what you expect from a "perfect shot." Some are too light, while others may be too dark or charred.

Making a nice cup of espresso is not rocket science, but neither is it as simple as adding coffee grounds and boiling water to the espresso machine.

  • Here is a brief summary of why you must use the proper beans for good espresso:

Espresso coffee beans will give your shot the appropriate consistency, body, and flavor. Additionally, it can be used to make espresso powder for baking.

They contribute to the creation of a rich crema, which enriches the entire beverage.

Espresso coffee beans are ideally suited for high-pressure brewing methods. Regular coffee beans are suitable for a range of brewing methods.

  • Caffeine infused with cream, or espresso crema

When discussing espresso, the term "crema" is frequently used in a reverent manner. During the extraction process, a light-colored layer forms on top of the brewed coffee, which is known as the crema.

Espresso's signature "bubbles" develop when carbon dioxide from crushed fresh grounds meets hot, pressured water during brewing.

There are, however, a variety of hues within Crema. These small variations can indicate a variety of things, including the type of roast used, the length of the espresso shot, or even an issue with the quality of your coffee grounds themselves.

You may have under-extracted your espresso if the bubbles are greater than usual. Over-extraction or the use of a darker roast can result in a coffee that is too dark (which also usually produces less crema). A bitter cup of coffee can be caused by over-extraction.

  • Using Regular Coffee in a Espresso Machine

You can use regular coffee in an espresso machine, but it won't taste as good. Don't expect your coffee to taste like a high-pressure shot of espresso if you use the wrong kind of grind.

A drip coffee maker or French press uses too coarsely ground coffee to work well with an espresso machine.

On the other hand, if you use a fine, powdery grind of espresso coffee in your regular drip coffee machine, the coffee will taste bitter and burnt.

The grounds could also get stuck in the filter, which would make a mess and leave grounds in your coffee. You don't want your cup of drip coffee to taste sour.

The answer is to use a different grind for your espresso machine than you do for your drip machine. It's really that easy!

  • Different Beans

But coffee beans are a little bit different. As long as you grind the beans in a way that works with your machine, the coffee you make should be good. But there are some differences between espresso beans and coffee beans that you should know.

  • Espresso Beans

Espresso beans are made so that they can stand up to the high pressure and hotter water of an espresso machine and still taste great. This is what makes espresso beans different from other types of coffee beans. It has been tried and tested that making espresso with coffee beans makes them taste better.

Espresso beans can cost a little more than regular coffee beans. This is because espresso beans are better quality and won't break or get worse when put under a lot of heat and pressure.

Espresso beans are usually darker roasted beans with a fuller body, stronger flavor, and just enough acidity to keep the strong espresso from tasting bitter.

Most espresso beans are oily, much more so than regular coffee beans. In fact, your coffee beans should have a shine to them before you grind them. Make sure to clean your grinder well so that the oils don't get stuck in it and make a mess.

  • The Best Way to Roast Coffee

What roast makes the best espresso shot or cup of coffee?

Most coffee lovers will say that you should use a dark roast.

People say that dark roast beans make the best espresso. Also, dark roast beans tend to make a cup of coffee that has a good balance of acidity and sweetness.

The truth is that the best thing to do is to go with what you like. Keep doing what you enjoy.

  • Regrinding and Grind Size

It's never a good idea to regrind ground coffee to make it better for espresso.

For a shot of espresso, you should grind the beans about a minute before you brew it. This will give you the best taste and smell, and the best coffee in your cup.

Every minute that the ground coffee sits, it loses freshness and flavor, and you'll lose a lot more if you grind it again.

Another reason you shouldn't re-grind coffee is that you could clog your coffee grinder. This can get very messy. 

For your shot of espresso, only grind the beans once, and start with fresh beans.

It's not a good idea to re-grind your ground coffee for espresso.

Now you know why it's best to use espresso beans in your espresso machine instead of regular pre-ground coffee or even regular coffee beans you have in your kitchen cabinet.

Using regular coffee grounds to make a shot of espresso isn't illegal, but you shouldn't do it too often. Your machine is made to work with the right amount of espresso grind to make the best tasting coffee.

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These methods are featured in our coffee courses

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About US | OCM Profile

OCM ( was started in 2007 with the first webpage about coffee machines. And for a number of years, we focused on helping people find their desired coffee machine (we still are helping folks with that! So, if you are looking for coffee machines for office or restaurants - check out the link). 

In 2010, we started getting enquiries on restaurant marketing and we start to help food and beverage brands with their marketing. Below are campaigns and events that we have done over the years: 

OCM's campaigns: F&B Marketing Ideas by OCM 

OCM's Events: F&B Industry events by or with OCM

Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

Since then, we have also created many marketing workshops and classes for the F&B industry. Many of these modules are still running in tertiary institutions such as Temasek Polytechnic Skillsfuture Academy and also ITE College East COC classes, below are some snippets of our lectures and workshops: 

OCM’s F&B workshops: Food and Beverage Marketing Lectures | Workshops - click to watch classes on customer journey map, JTBD and more. 

So, if you are looking for industry practitioners to help you scale your coffee or F&B businesses, do drop us a message or book an appointment. Do also check out our various social media platforms on regular F&B and coffee market updates: 

For regular coffee (F&B) related videos: OCM Youtube

For Daily Coffee Inspiration (fun coffee content): OCM IG

For insights into the coffee (F&B) industry: OCM LinkedIN 

PS: For the coffee lovers, we continue to share coffee articles (and videos) and have also started a free coffee class section (with free online coffee training supported by coffee partners).

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