How to Make Espresso Without an Espresso Machine

Last Updated: by: Amanda T

a real espresso shot

Lots of people love espresso. It’s a very common coffee drink to love by itself or in the numerous other cafe drinks made from espresso. Unfortunately, not all of us espresso lovers have the option of buying an espresso machine to enjoy our favorite caffeine punch at home. Don’t you think it’s time to change that? We are giving you three methods to make espresso at home without an espresso machine. After reading all of them, pick your favorite and master that method. Enjoy all your homemade espresso!

Using an AeroPress

The AeroPress method

We recommend this technique the most because it’s easy and fast, and the result is concentrated, espresso-like coffee that tastes a lot like a espresso. The AeroPress method works by using pressure to brew coffee, just like espresso is made with pressure. Here are the steps for brewing espresso in an AeroPress:

  1. Add your filter to the drain cap of the AeroPress before starting. You can use more than one filter if you want to slow the extraction.
  2. Measure two tablespoons of fine coffee grounds and put them into the tube. Then place another filter on top of the grounds.
  3. Use the plunger to press down (tamp) the grounds underneath the second filter.
  4. Add half a cup of hot water (200 degrees F) to the tube on top. Pour it slowly, so the puck of ground coffee at the bottom isn’t disturbed too much.
  5. Let it steep for 20-30 seconds.
  6. Position the tube directly over your mug. Push the plunger down and the espresso-like, concentrated coffee goes straight into your cup. Enjoy!

Using a Moka Pot

moka pots

Stovetop espresso makers are an easy alternative to an espresso machine. They cost much less, and are pretty easy to use. If you’re curious about using one of these, try it! It doesn’t have a lot of steps and can make you strong coffee, similar to espresso, in about 10 minutes:

  1. Separate the parts of the moka pot. The bottom chamber is where the water goes. Fill the bottom reservoir with filtered water.
  2. The middle reservoir with the mesh is for the grounds. Fill it with coffee grounds, always fine grind. Don’t worry about measuring; just fill it to the top. Tamping isn’t necessary.
  3. Put the grounds reservoir onto the water reservoir and screw the top portion on. This is where the coffee will fill after brewing finishes.
  4. Turn your stove on medium heat and place your stovetop espresso maker directly on the burner. When the water gets hot enough, it will force the water through the grounds and collect coffee in the top. Don’t let your water boil! It can give you a bitter-tasting result. You can tell it’s done when you hear air, and sometimes steam, leaking out. The whole process will take about 10 minutes, and then you’re free to drink all the espresso you want!

Using a French Press

french press

This method will work, but we recommend it as a last-resort option. It will get you the least espresso-like result, and it’s the easiest method to mess up. Don’t worry, though, we will walk you through the steps:

  1. Heat one cup of filtered water to 200 degrees F.
  2. Add two tablespoons of coffee grounds to the french press.
  3. Add a splash of your hot water and let it soak for 30 seconds. This helps “bloom” the coffee, or release its flavor.
  4. Pour the rest of the hot water over the grounds. Stir to make sure all the grounds are wet.
  5. Put the lid on the french press without pushing down and let the mixture steep for four minutes.
  6. Now it’s time to plunge. First, push the filter down about halfway to create some extra pressure. Pull it all the way back up. Then push it all the way down, this time with some force. Now you should have a concentrated brew ready to enjoy!

Credit to Abi Porter on Flickr for allowing me to use the AeroPress picture.