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How to Make Espresso With a Drip Coffee Maker

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a delicous cup of espresso

Most coffee lovers have two things in common: they have a drip coffee maker at home, and they love espresso. These two things may not seem like they go together, but they actually can. Typically, drip coffee makers don’t produce espresso, which is pretty disappointing. However, there is a method for making espresso in a drip coffee maker, and we are going to show you how.

How Close to Espresso Will it Be?

Making espresso in a drip coffee maker can be a challenge. For your brew to be called espresso, it needs to be a concentrated amount of bold coffee. To achieve this, you need a good amount of pressure to force water through fine grounds. Drip coffee makers normally don’t function this way. They have a higher flow rate but lower water pressure than a proper espresso machine. You also won’t get the crema that an espresso machine creates. This is why your result won’t be authentic espresso.

To create your best version of an espresso, modify your brewing method. It also doesn’t hurt to use a drip coffee brewer with a “concentrate” brew setting. Ninja makes a few models with this function, if you already have a Ninja or are looking for a new machine.

Modifications to Make it Work

You’re wondering what simple modifications can make espresso magically come out of a drip coffee maker. As we said earlier, it isn’t technically the same as espresso, but it will taste pretty close to it. We will show you how to modify your brewing methods with a few adjustments to get a strong concentrated brew.

1. Adjust the amount of water you use. You want to use less than you normally would. The correct proportion for brewing espresso in a coffee maker will be somewhere between two ounces of filtered water per tablespoon of ground coffee for each “shot” of espresso you want. You can adjust the amounts after you find what you like best. The final proportion you use is up to you and your coffee preferences.

ground coffee on spoon

2. The grind is important. You don’t want it too coarse, because that will let water percolate through the grounds too easily, which results in a brew that’s not rich in flavors and sometimes weak. On the other hand, if the grind is too fine, the brew will take longer and the coffee will come out bitter. No one wants that! Normally fine grind is best for espresso, but when brewing it in a coffee maker, a medium-fine grind is great.

medium fine grind

3. The filtered water used to brew espresso in a coffee maker might need to be warm when it’s filled to reach the right temperature during brewing. As we mentioned, drip coffee makers don’t always reach the correct temperature needed to brew espresso. Using warm water will help because the machine will heat it more during brewing. You want your water between 190-210 degrees Fahrenheit so that it gets the best flavors as it goes through the grounds.

4. The last thing to modify is the time your coffee maker takes to brew your “espresso.” You want the fusion between the grounds and water to be brief to get a similar result to espresso. This is another reason to only put in a small amount of water. The brewing time will be cut down once there isn’t more water to run through.

Note: You can use a strong coffee blend if you want it to be just as strong as espresso. Some examples of blends that are good for espresso are all dark roasts, like Italian, French, or Espresso. However, you are free to use any roast of coffee you like. Maybe you love light roasts, which actually make pretty impressive espressos. Or maybe you tried a really flavorful medium roast and you want to taste a concentrated version of it; this is the perfect opportunity! Another suggestion is to use Vietnamese coffee or Bustelo coffee. These are international ground coffees that have a very strong taste.

Steps to Brew Espresso In a Coffee Maker

  1. Pull water through the machine before you start, to warm up the machine.
  2. Put one tablespoon+ of medium-fine coffee grounds into the coffee filter. Press the grounds down, to help with the pressure during the brewing process. It isn’t going to be officially like tamping, but it will help the process.
  3. Pour two+ ounces of warm water into the water reservoir.
  4. Now it’s time to press “Brew” and wait. If you have the option of selecting “Concentrate Brew,” do that instead. Enjoy!

We also recently wrote a step-by-step guide on brewing Cafe Bustelo with your drip coffee maker. Definitely worth checking out for some inspiration.


If you only own a drip coffee maker, but still love espresso, this is the method to use at home to get what you love from the equipment you own. While this method can work out if you are a small family in a small apartment, I would strongly recommend getting an espresso machine if you are a larger family.

It might not be truly authentic espresso, but it’s still a strong brew to get you through your day. Try this method to see if it works for your coffee lifestyle!

RELATED READS: What’s our favorite espresso maker of 2020?

Featured image credit: studio tdes,