Filter coffee VS Espresso coffee


Filter coffee is another method of extracting ground coffee.

In Italy it is usually confused with what we call American coffee prepared in classic Italian bars, although it is definitely not the same drink.

We Italians usually use two, three or even four types of coffee extraction: moka pot, espresso, capsules and Neapolitan.

Filter coffee, as already mentioned, is nothing more than a different method to create the drink so loved by all of us.

Before getting into the discussion, I wanted to make a premise that is very important to me. No! Filter coffee is not a watered down drink. No! It is not an elongated coffee. And no! It is not true that it does have no taste

I know, now you'll be putting your hands in your hair and thinking I'm crazy.

Obviously, as a good Italian, I couldn't do without espresso, which has now entered everyone's homes in a similar form, thanks to the capsules. As a good Italian I also appreciate the moka pot coffee and occasionally sip a delicious coffee prepared with the Neapolitan extraction.

I simply think that there are so many different extraction methods, each one bringing some new and very special characteristics to the cup. In the previous paragraph I have already listed four, so why not include a fifth in our habits?

A little general information ...

Filter coffee is one of the oldest and simplest methods of preparing dark drinks.

All you need is a container to collect the liquid, a filter holder, a filter, coarse ground coffee and hot water.

It accounts for approximately 80% of world consumption, making it the most widespread, well-known and drunk coffee-based drink in the world, especially in the United States and Northern Europe. Over time it has become the symbol of the American lifestyle, which is why when you see such a "long" coffee it is usually called American coffee.

But be careful!

The American served in our bars is not a filter coffee! And unfortunately, it is from these misconceptions that the idea that American coffee is a cup of hot water with no taste was born and spread. And unfortunately in this case I agree with these opinions.

The American in Italy is always prepared with an espresso machine: an espresso is extracted from a large cup and then filled with hot water. So yes, this is an elongated espresso.

On the contrary, filter coffee is obtained by percolation: thanks to the force of gravity, the water filters through the coffee powder.

I do not dwell too much on its preparation, as you can see a dedicated video by clicking on this button. WATCH THE VIDEO

In short, I tell you that a dose of coffee powder per person higher than espresso is used, practically double or even triple the grams used.

Then pour the water over the coffee powder. The water filters through the ground much slower than the espresso, managing to extract all the natural aromas of the coffee, as well as more caffeine. The water is at lower temperatures than that used for espresso, making the drink obtained much less bitter.

In summary: filter coffee is a less bodied, more aromatic, less bitter and more caffeinated coffee.

Now the point is not to decide whether it is better or worse than espresso, whether we drink better coffee or the Americans, whether we are true coffee connoisseurs or not.

From my point of view, filter coffee is simply another way of drinking coffee.

It is simply different!

It is much more like tea and for this reason I prefer it in the afternoon or during long study sessions or intense work. I offer it to my guests when we all calmly sit around a table to chat and we have time to sip our mug of coffee.

But not only! This method, as already mentioned, enhances all the natural aromas of the coffee, as well as the defects. So it is perfect to use to analyze the quality of a coffee in more depth or to find any defects.

For the same reason it is also more delicate. It requires the use of a really excellent quality ground coffee, roasted to perfection, possibly medium roasted, that is the roasting that is most able to enhance the aromas. It is a perfect extraction to be used with single origin, to be able to perceive every aromatic nuance that distinguishes them.

In my opinion, to be able to make a good filter coffee you need a minimum of selection at the origin. But for this it is enough to rely on your trusted roaster!

By far my favorite tool for preparing filter coffee is the Chemex, both for practicality, being a unique piece, and for aesthetics.

Alternatively, you can buy automatic machines, certainly more practical and comfortable, which grind the grains on demand for the required dose and automatically extract the drink. This option was also chosen for our cafè in Milan, in Corso Buenos Aires, in order to offer a "real American coffee" to all our customers, varying the single origin used day by day.

My favorite? Among Caffè Ernani's single-origin wines, I really appreciate Colombia Supremo finca la Meseta, very fresh and fruity, with a pleasant acidityFIND OUT MORE

If you want to receive advice to better understand how to prepare filter coffee at home or find out exactly what it is and how to appreciate it, write to me at, I'll wait for you!

Martina Mazzoleni 

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