A shot of espresso can help you make a cup of latte. They both have the same amount of caffeine, but the latte tastes lighter.
So, does that make espresso stronger than lattes?
A single espresso shot has a stronger taste because it contains only 1 ounce (29.5 ml) of water. In contrast, a latte is 60% milk, 20% espresso and 20% milk foam, which dilutes the espresso’s flavor. So, their caffeine content is the same, but espresso has a stronger flavor.
Espresso is usually taken in smaller portions as shots, whereas a latte comes in bigger mugs.
If you want to know about the strength and caffeine concentration of the two types, keep reading!
Why Do We Consider an Espresso Stronger Than a Latte?
Let’s first see how to make an espresso. It will make the answer very easy to understand.
One shot of espresso uses 0.24 to 0.32 oz (7 to 9 grams) of coffee and one ounce of water. These quantities give you a ratio of 1:2. I will simplify it for you.
You put in one gram of dry coffee and brew it for 25 to 30 seconds to make two grams of espresso, giving you the 1:2 ratio.
Still confused? One gram yields two grams. So, when you brew 0.24 oz (7 grams) of coffee, you get 0.49 oz (14 grams) of espresso–one espresso shot.
Since the quantity of water is significantly less, it does not dilute the taste of the coffee, giving you a strong flavor.
Moreover, the top foamy layer is crema and not milk foam. Crema does not dilute the flavor.
In comparison, a latte uses espresso as one of the ingredients. As mentioned before, it has milk, milk foam, and one shot of espresso (0.49 oz or 14 grams of espresso if you took .24 oz or 7 grams of coffee).
The milk dilutes the flavor of espresso (consequently the coffee), making the taste milkier and lighter.
So, both have the same caffeine content, but the milk in the latte weakens the coffee flavor, whereas espresso stays strong.
However, different variations of latte and espresso can also impact the caffeine concentration and make one stronger than the other.
Espresso Tastes Stronger Than a Latte
The concentration of caffeine in espresso can be stronger. It happens when you use two different types of coffee for the single shot espresso and the shot you use for the latte.
Here is how the coffee can be different:
- Coffee with light roasting and finer grind size for the single shot.
- Coffee with darker roasting and coarse grind size for the shot used in the latte.
Can a Latte Taste Stronger Than a Single Espresso Shot?
Yes, a latte can be stronger than a single espresso shot too. It can be stronger when you order it with two or more espresso shots.
In this case, the latte has a stronger coffee concentration than a single espresso shot.
Other factors can make your coffee stronger or weaker, such as:
- The grind size.
- Coffee roasting.
- Extraction time.
How Does the Grind Size Make Espresso Stronger?
The grind size itself does not make espresso stronger. It impacts the extraction time, determining how strong or light your espresso will be.
Coffee is not 100% water soluble. Only 28% to 30% of ground beans dissolve in water. Therefore, water extracts flavor only from the soluble part of coffee, and it needs time to do so.
When the grind size is coarse, water passes too quickly through the coffee and does not have enough time to extract flavor.
The bigger chunks of coffee have too many spaces for the water to seep through.
However, a finer grind is denser and leaves little space for water to pass through, giving it more time to extract flavor.
The ideal extraction time for an espresso is 25 to 30 seconds. However, other factors such as roasting, water pressure, and brewing temperature may impact the time.
How Does Coffee Roasting Make a Difference?
Your espresso will be strong if you use a light roast coffee. In contrast, if the espresso shot for the latte uses a darker roast, it will be weaker.
Just as cooking vegetables for too long can kill the nutrients, roasting coffee beans too much can burn caffeine.
Longer roasting time gives you a dark roast with less caffeine.
Therefore, espresso with a light roast will have more caffeine than a dark roast of the same weight.
Espresso variations are more about a change in strength and flavor. You can increase or decrease ingredients but adding extra flavors may take away the original espresso taste.
Strong espresso. Increase the coffee weight and add water accordingly. Keep the grind size fine too.
Lighter Flavor. Use less coffee and add more water. However, adding too much will give you a mess, not espresso.
So, do your calculations correctly.
- When you use 0.24 to 0.32 oz (7 to 9 grams) of coffee but use 2 ounces (59 ml) of water instead of one, you get Lungo.
- When you use 0.24 to 0.32 oz (7 to 9 grams) of coffee but reduce the water by half, you get Ristretto.
- And finally, two shots of espresso in one cup is Doppio.
Latte has a bigger flavor profile than espresso. You can use different syrups, powders, and milk flavors to make different latte types.
Some popular flavors are:
- Vanilla latte.
- Strawberry latte.
- Mocha latte.
- Caramel latte.
- Hazelnut latte.
- Cinnamon latte.
- Pumpkin spice.
Espresso or Latte: Which Is Healthier?
Consuming too much caffeine is not healthy. However, when you take it in the correct quantity, it can have a positive impact.
Espresso has a stronger flavor, no sugar, and no milk. So, the calorie count goes down to zero, making it the healthier option.
Unlike espresso, a latte uses different flavors, milk, and sugar. All these ingredients increase the calorie count. Depending on the size and components, the calorie count can even go over 100.
Therefore, if you want to consume caffeine before a workout, a shot of espresso will be a better option.
Is Espresso the Strongest Coffee?
The coffee variant with the highest caffeine concentration will be the strongest. When you compare a single shot of different types of coffee, espresso has the most caffeine.
When it comes to different variants of espresso, Ristretto has the highest caffeine concentration. Espresso and Lungo follow ristretto.
However, other flavors, such as Latte, cappuccino, Americano, etc., have a stronger taste when they contain more than one shot of espresso.
Robusta and Arabica: Which Coffee Bean Makes Stronger Espresso?
Robusta and Arabica are popular coffee beans in the world. They both yield different flavors, strengths, and tastes.
Arabica beans are more expensive and harder to harvest. It is also fruiter and sweeter–almost exotic in flavor.
Robusta is not as refined as Arabica. It is more bitter, stronger in flavor, and less smooth than Arabica. It also has more caffeine.
Therefore, Robusta espresso will be stronger than Arabica. However, Arabica is more famous for its taste.
Why Is Espresso Served in a Smaller Cup?
There are different reasons for the smaller quantity of espresso:
- The intense flavor. Espresso has a very strong taste and does not have enough water. This makes the drink quite bitter, making it difficult to consume in large quantities.
- Crema. The top foamy layer on the espresso is called crema. It is one of the main highlights of an espresso shot. The layer is thin and dissolves quickly in a larger container. Therefore, to preserve crema, keeping the quantity small is important.
- Unhealthy. Too much caffeine is not suitable for your health. A single espresso shot has a high concentration of caffeine. Therefore, more than one or two shots may cause health problems such as insomnia, anxiety, headache, jitters, palpitations, etc.
Latte has a lighter flavor but the same caffeine concentration. You can change the caffeine concentration through coffee beans, roast, grind size, and extraction time.
However, espresso is considered a stronger option due to its bitterness and richness.
So, espresso is the right choice if you want a quick, intense caffeine hit.
- Barista Institute: Creating the Perfect Espresso Recipe
- Clive Coffee: What is Espresso Crema?
- Coffee Craft Code: Does Grinding Coffee Finer Make it Stronger? Here’s the Truth
- Real Good Coffee Company, LLC: What Is the Coffee Grind Chart?
- Barista Hustle: Espresso Extraction Time: How to Calculate the Extraction Time
- The Spruce Eats: Here’s What You Should Know About Flavored Lattes
- The Darkest Roast: What is a Macchiato Coffee?
- Hopkins Medicine: 9 Reasons Why (the Right Amount of) Coffee Is Good for You