How To Make Espresso With A Coffee Maker?

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If you are fond of taking espresso, you may even yearn to own your own espresso maker. But with the hundreds and thousands price tags that these machines cost, is it economically viable to own these bean-cup machines? Well, this is not necessary as you can make a delicious espresso with your ordinary coffee maker. The truth about espresso is that it is not a coffee type but rather a style of brewing. The industry standard of espressos is that brewing should be done at a minimum pressure of 9 bars. It is nearly impossible to achieve these pressures using a coffee maker. However, this does not mean that it is impossible to prepare espresso using a coffee maker. Here’s what you need to know about using a coffee maker to prepare espresso:

How To Make Espresso With A Coffee Maker?

Preparing for espresso

Espresso requires three crucial specifications; roasting, grinding and ideal brewing pressure. Well, roasting and grinding is easy to accomplish but the trickiest part is reaching the ideal espresso pressure with a coffee maker.  This is how to make espresso at home. Here are the steps to follow when you want to make delicious and flavorful espresso with a coffee maker:

Roasting the beans

This is the easiest step when you are preparing espresso with a coffee maker. There is a never ending debate on whether you should use dark roasted beans or medium roasted beans. Ideally, the choice of roast to use is purely a personal preference.

However, dark roasted beans are the best choice especially when using a coffee maker. This is because when these beans are roasted for long, they become more porous thereby making it easy to get the best flavors after grinding.

Getting espresso grounds

Once you are done with roasting, the next thing you should do is grind the beans. The best coffee grounds for espresso should be fine and not finer. This is because finer grounds clog the filter thereby making it complicated and time consuming to clean up.

Fine grounds make it hard for water to easily penetrate and hence the need for building up pressure. Consequently, this leads to water being pushed through the grounds to form a dark brown liquid.

You can decide to use a manual grinder or an automated burr grinder. Manual grinders are time consuming and require you to use excessive energy. Also, manual grinding brings about inconsistency in the grinds. An automated burr grinder gives consistent and uniform grounds.

Using a coffee maker to make an espresso

Once the grinds are ready, the next thing you should do is use a coffee maker for making espresso. Here are the different ways of achieving this:

Using a Drip Coffee Maker

If used wisely, a drip coffee maker can help you prepare a refreshing espresso cup.

Ignore the water tank

Drip coffee makers come with a reservoir tank that is designed to hold water. In normal coffee brewing, you just fill the tank, add your grounds and turn the coffee maker on for coffee to drip through the filter into the coffee pot. When you are making espresso, this process will not work as the speed is too low. So, when using a drip coffee maker for espresso, the first thing to do is ignore the tank.

Measure water and coffee grounds accurately

After you are done with the first step, the next thing you need to do is place a coffee filter in the machine and add coffee grounds. Use a regular coffee filter. You can decide to use the grinds you have prepared or opt for store-bought espresso beans. Measure out your beans in a ratio of two coffee grounds tablespoons for two hot water ounces. Heat the water on a stove to almost reach the boiling point but not boil.

Place a coffee mug under the filter

This is the last step in your quest to prepare espresso using a coffee maker. Pour a small amount of hot water onto the coffee grounds and let the water sit for about 30 seconds. This comes in handy for releasing some of the oils in the beans.

Next, the next thing you should do is pour the remaining hot water quickly onto the grounds. Ensure that the lid of the coffee maker remains opened throughout for easy access to the grounds.  Your coffee mug will collect the ‘espresso’ on the other side. While this is not true espresso, it is the closest espresso you can get when using a drip coffee maker.

This method may seem quite straightforward, but even so, it may require some skills and experience. The most common setback with this method is spilling coffee all over the counter. However, after you have mastered it, how to make espresso becomes easy to achieve.

Using a French press

When you want to use a French Press to make espresso, the most important thing to note is that you need larger coffee grounds than the size you would need for an espresso machine. You can utilize a French press and use a few tricks to get an excellently tasting brew. You need a kettle to heat water.

After you have prepared your coffee grounds, the next steps you should take include:

  1. Accurately measure two tablespoons of dark roast grounds for each espresso cup you want to brew using a French Press. So, use this ratio to calculate the amount of coffee grounds to add.
  2. Boil some water using the kettle or on a stovetop.
  3. To get more flavor from the grounds, you should add double the amount of coffee grounds.
  4. Once you have added the coffee, you should pour out a small amount of the hot water in the kettle and allow the water to settle for 30-45 seconds.  This makes it possible for the grounds to bloom and then release the oils and aromas needed for the espresso.
  5. Add more water without stirring as this ruins the flavor extraction.
  6. Close the lid in the French press and allow up to 3-4 minutes for the coffee to absorb. The strength of the espresso gets stronger with long waiting times.  However, avoid waiting for too long as this can easily lead to a bitter taste in your coffee.
  7. This step involves using a plunger. Give it a firm, steady and slow push so that you maintain uniform and even pressure. At first, push the plunger halfway, pull it up and press it down all the way.
  8. After this extraction, you can then pour out the coffee in a pot before serving to the preserve flavor.

Using a French Press to make espresso is a straightforward process that does not require any complex skills and experience. The only trick is using the right ratio for the coffee grounds and water.

What you need to know about making espresso with a coffee maker?

Since coffee makers are not designed for preparing espressos, there are certain aspects worth noting when using these appliances for brewing espresso. These aspects include:

  1. Your espresso will taste delicious and flavorful if you use fresh beans at all times. As such, it is advisable to invest in a premium quality coffee bean grinder. In case you cannot afford this grinder, then you should consider buying recently roasted coffee beans.
  2. The temperature levels and quality of water you will use for the brewing process will have a direct effect on the overall quality of your espresso drink.  Only use filtered water as unfiltered water has minerals which can affect the consistency and taste of your coffee.
  3. Ground your coffee well so that it is neither too fine nor too coarse. Aim for perfect consistency in your coffee grounds for best tasting espresso.
  4. For the extraction to happen properly, it is necessary that the temperature of the water you will pour into the water reservoir should have a 90 degrees Celsius.
  5. Pay keen attention to the ratio of water and coffee grounds to use when brewing espresso. With the wrong ratio, your coffee may be excessively strong or too diluted.
  6. Use a superior quality filter. Dioxin-free or oxygen-bleached paper filters are the best choice for making espresso with a coffee maker. Gold-plated filters also work well. Avoid cheap paper filters as they interfere with the taste of your espresso.

Mistakes to avoid when preparing espresso with a coffee maker

Using the wrong brew ratio

This is the single most common mistake that most people making while brewing espresso at home using a coffee maker. Wrong brew ratios translate to awful tasting espressos. If you are new to using coffee makers for espressos, you can research online on the best brew ratio to follow.

Improper cleaning

After every brewing cycle, you should clean the coffee maker thoroughly. This goes a long way in ensuring that there are no foreign tastes in your coffee. Usually, when you do not clean your coffee maker thoroughly, there is buildup of coffee grounds which can double as breeding grounds for bacteria.

Frequently asked questions

Which is the best grind for espresso?

Espresso requires finely ground beans that are not excessively ground. Grind size affects how water passes through the coffee, which in turn affects the taste of your espresso. Avoid using extremely fine coffee grounds as these grounds cause clogging on the filter thereby making the cleaning process tedious and complicated.

How long should the espresso sit before adding milk?

Espressos can only stay for a maximum of 10 seconds before adding milk. Espresso is susceptible to going bad due to oxidation and temperature loss. Therefore, you need to be swift when preparing espresso for a flavorful and delicious fix.

How does coffee differ from espresso?

While most people are wondering whether can you brew espresso in a coffee maker, the most common idea that gets into their minds is how espresso differs from normal coffee.  The main difference between these two types of beverages is that espressos have a signature foam layer topping referred to as crema. Ordinary coffee does not have any crema at the top.


Even if you do not have an espresso machine, this should not stop you from enjoying your favorite espresso drink. This is because you can use your standard coffee maker to brew espresso. While your brew may not be an authentic espresso, it is still close to what you get when you use an espresso machine. The only catch when using a coffee maker for espresso is that you have to follow the steps consistently. This will eliminate any margin of error.

See also:

  1. 5 Ways To Get Rid Of Mold From Your Coffee Maker
  2. 4 Ways To Clean A Coffee Maker With Vinegar You Can Do At Home
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