How to make espresso without an espresso machine

Table of Contents

To get the best brew, you might frequent your local artisan coffee house each morning on the commute to work. Or perhaps you’re skipping the queue altogether by using a professional coffee machine at home?

But if you are a coffee lover, without a coffee machine at home there is still a way for you to make the perfect cup of joe without having to head out to the local coffee house.

We, at Bushy Beard, have the solution to your coffee making problems. Here are a few ways for you to make the perfect at-home espresso without an espresso machine.

Also check out:

  1. How to make a cold brew coffee at home
  2. How to brew strong coffee
  3. French press vs coffee maker
  4. Espresso vs latte

Method 1: Making an espresso using a french press

Don’t worry if you don’t have a coffee machine at home. This shouldn’t stop you from making the best coffee espresso at home.

What you’ll need:

  • Coffee beans/ Pre-ground coffee
  • Coffee grinder (best practice but optional)
  • French Press coffee maker
  • Kettle

The french press is a manual coffee maker that is really cheap to buy and simple to oporate. This coffee maker allows you to vary the strength of your coffee and is therefore ideal for making a concentrated espresso

Step 1: Preperation

Grinding the coffee beans

The first thing you need to do is grind the coffee beans. If you are using pre-ground coffee ensure that you buy a fine blend. What is great about buying fresh coffee beans, is that you retain a lot of the original flavour of the beans and you can create varied sizes of coffee grounds to suit each style of coffee you enjoy.

For example, if you were to make cold brew coffee at home, you will need to use coarsely ground coffee beans, whereas the espresso requires the coffee beans to be finely ground. Buying whole coffee beans gives you the flexibility to experiment with your brews.

To grind the beans you will need a decent coffee grinder. At busy beard, we recommend using a burr coffee grinder. This is the prefferred coffee grinder of professional baristas.

Check out:

  1. Choosing the best coffee grinder
  2. Best burr coffee grinder
  3. What is a conical grinder

Preheat your French Press

Before you start brewing you should preheat your french press by adding some hot water. Pour out the water and add 2 tablespons of your prepared coffee grounds to the french press.

Step 2: Coffee Brewing

Getting the right temperature

The secret to making an exceptional cup of joe using a french press is to ensure the water is not too hot when it interacts with the coffee grounds. If the water is too hot it will over-extract the coffee grounds and this will cause them to become bitter.

The required temperature to make the perfect espresso is somewhere between 90-96°C (195-205°F). When water boils in the kettle it reaches almost 100°C so it a minute to cool off before pouring it into the french press.

Pouring technique

Only pour a small amount of water into begin with. When hot water is added to the coffee grounds, they begin relasing their natural coffee oils which add to the flavour of your coffee cup.

Dont rush the brewing process. The extra effort will pay off.

Once the coffee grounds are “blooming” and have released their oils add the rest of the water and stir gently.

Step 3: Steep your brew

Now you’ll need to steep your brew. Add the lid on top of the french press, but DON’T push down the plunger. The lid will stop the heat from escaping. the steeping process is important because it enhances the flavour of your coffee. Just leave your brew for about 5 minutes for an aromatic flavour. If you like your coffee strong both in flavour and caffeine then increase this time. This will get you a nice strong espresso shot.

Method 2: Moka pot Method

Moka pot coffee maker is an old-style coffee maker that heats up on the stove. Most households would have used a variation of this to make tea and coffee in the 1900s before kettles became a popular household item.

The moka pot will provide you with enough espresso shots for a small crowd, plus it is a much more affordable alternative to a coffee machine. What’s more, it will produce a really delicious tasting espresso, along with other styles of coffee.

So let’s take a look at how you can make an espresso using a moka pot.

What you will need:

  • Coffee beans / Pre-ground coffee
  • Coffee grinder (optional)
  • Moka pot

Firstly you will need to grind your coffee beans, or if you are using pre-ground coffee the work is already done for you. Use medium size coffee grounds, or standard ‘drip’ coffee grounds, as finer coffee grounds can cause clogging in your moka pot. Disassemble your moka pot and add two tablespoons (roughly 22g in weight) to your the funnel of your Moka pot.

Step: 2
Pour hot water into the bottom part of your moka pot until it reaches the bottom of the release valve. Do not cover the release valve and piece your moka pot back together.

Step: 3
Turn on your stove at a medium heat and place your coffee pot on top. keep the lid open so you can watch the magic happen. The heat will push the hot water up through the coffee grounds and escape through the valve. It should make a whistling noise before the coffee appears. If the coffee is spitting out at you then lower the heat. The coffee should pour out slowly.

Step: 4

Your espresso is ready. Fill your coffee cup and enjoy.

Method 3: The Aeropress

Using an aeropress is a great way to achieve a delicious tasting espresso because of the pressing method used to create it. The aeropress uses pressure to force the coffee through a coffee filter. You’ll find that a lot of the preperation and brewing techniques used to produce espresso with a french press are also applicable to the aero press.

What you will need:

  • Coffee beans/ Coffee grounds
  • Coffee grinder (optional)
  • AeroPress & coffee filters
  • Kettle

Step 1:
The first step as always is to grind your fresh coffee beans or prepare two tablespoons of your pre-ground coffee. Assemble your aeropress by insrting the plunger until it reaches the 4th circle inside the brew chamber and set the areopress upside down. Add the coffee grounds into the aeropress brew chamber.

Step 2:

Then, add a small amount of water to the coffee grounds and let it sit for 30 seconds to allow the coffee grounds ‘bloom’ before giving it a stir and adding the rest of the water.

Step 3:
Now you’ll need to place the coffee filter inside the AeroPress’s plastic cap which is detachable. Wet the filter and attach the cap to the areopress brew chamber. Wait a minute and a half to allow for extraction.

Step 4:

Once this is done, take your coffee cup and sit it upside down on top of the coffee maker. Then holding the coffee cup, brew chamber, and plunger at the same time you need to flip the aeropress so that the cup is now sitting upright on the counter and the coffee maker is balanced on top. Now you can slowly push down the plunger which will force the coffee through the filter using air pressure. Now you have a full cup of coffee. This is too much for a single shot espresso, so just divide it up into smaller portions. If you decide you want a stronger brew, add more coffee grounds, or lengthen the time of extraction.

Method 4: Hand Espresso Gadget

This is the portable, hand-held espresso maker that you can use to make delicious espresso from literally anywhere. This option is a bit more expensive but if you’re a coffee lover who can get enough espressos and you’re always on the go, this could be the best option for your espresso making needs. And lets face it, this portable coffee maker gadget is pretty cool.

What you will need:

  • Coffee beans/ pre-ground coffee
  • Coffee grinder (optional)
  • Kettle

Step: 1

Firstly, as always, grind your coffee beans using a coffee grinder. If you dont have a coffee grinder, you can use pre-ground coffee, but the flavour wont be as good.

Step: 2

Disassemble your espresso gadget into its smaller pieces and fill the coffee basket with your coffee grounds using the provided coffee ground measuring scoop. This will ensure your proportions are correct. When the basket is full make sure the coffee grounds are compacted flat inside, you don’t want a heaped basket. Use the bottom of the measuring scoop to flatten the coffee grounds inside the basket.

Step: 3

Reassemble the coffee maker parts. Mount the basket of coffee grounds into the middle section of the machine. Screw the spout unit on top and add hot water to the base section. The water should be between 90-96°C (195-205°F). Fill the base component until the water reaches the maximum line.

Step: 4

Now that your espresso coffee maker has been prepared and reasembled it is ready to brew. Unlock the pressure component in the middle section of your hand-held coffee maker and turn it upsidedown over your coffee cup. Start slowly pressing in the pump until coffee begins to pour out. You’ll need to do this repeatedly as it creates pressure so that the water is pushed through the coffee grounds, just as an espresso machine would do.

Once your coffee cup is full, it is ready to be enjoyed. But dont orget to clean your coffee maker after use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Do you need espresso coffee beans to make an espresso?

Yes and no. You don’t really need to use specialist espresso beans to make a nice espresso, although it might not taste as good as if you were to buy espresso coffee beans. However, at Bushy Beard, we recommend that you try to use fresh coffee beans and grind them yourself as this really does have a big impact on the kind of flavour you will be able to extract from the coffee grounds. pre-ground coffee just isn’t as good.

Is espresso just really strong coffee?

Why is espresso stronger? Well, the caffeine content in espresso is much more concentrated. Espresso shots are the base of many other coffees, such as coffee latte, cappuccino, and more so when you think about the strength of those types of coffee you can see why espresso is much stronger in taste. It is pure coffee, without milk or other additives and it has a lot less water to dilute the flavor.

What espresso machine does Starbucks use?

Starbucks uses a fantastic espresso coffee machine. The coffee machine is from a swiss based company called Thermoplan and the machine they use is called Mastrena. It is a fully automatic coffee machine, exclusively found in Starbucks.

Is one espresso a day bad for you?

This coffee is extremely concentrated. The level of caffeine in a shot of espresso is roughly 60mg and the daily recommended dose of caffeine is about 300 mg. We recommend that you dont exceed a daily limit of 300mg . To find out more about the health benefits of coffee and the best time to drink coffee check out the following blogs:

  1. The health benefits of drinking coffee
  2. What is the best time to drink coffee

Which espresso machine should I buy?

There are plenty of high-quality espresso machines avaiable online. In deciding which one is best for you, you should think about your coffee making needs. Is the espresso machine for business? If so you will need more compact features and chambers. If you are looking for a coffee machine for home use your priorities and epectations will be completely different. Perhaps you would prefer an automatic machine or one that uses capsules or maybe you are a slow, methodical experamentalist brewer who would prefer a manual coffee maker that can have multiple uses.

Which coffee beans does Starbucks use?

Starbucks have their own coffee bean brands that you can buy in-store or online. They use Arabica beans, which is the most popular coffee bean. It gives off floral and fruity notes and is much softer than its alternative, the Robusta bean. Most coffee houses and specialist coffee brewers use Arabica beans or sometimes, to achieve a darker, richer flavor, a blend of both.

Is Espresso bad for your kidneys?

Many studies have shown that regular coffee consumption has some health benefits. The only concern here is caffeine intake which if too much is consumed, can increase blood pressure. Just make sure you do not exceed the recommended daily dose of caffeine, 300 mg.

Does Espresso help you lose weight?

Drinking coffee coupled with a healthy diet and exercise can speed up weight loss. The secret of espresso coffee in particular is low in calories and decreases your tendency to eat more. Avoid adding sugar, cream, and coffee syrup to your coffee cup. Black coffee is the best coffee for weight loss and general health. If you are a regular coffee drinker who drinks multiple coffees a day be aware of the additives in your coffee and try replacing sugar with sweeteners or even a teaspoon of honey. It’s a good idea to have a coffee before you hit the gym. To find out why, read: The health benefits of drinking coffee

Final Words

We at Busy Beard hope you found a method above that will help you brew better espresso at home. It’s up to you which method will suit you best and it’s even better if you already have one of the above-mentioned coffee makers to get started straight away.

Let us know how your home made espresso’s turn out in the comments section.

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About the author

The more refined, sensible (and slight less hirsute) half of BushyBeard Coffee. Ben loves fine roasts, strong dark coffee and quiet time spent with a good book.

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