How to Make Espresso without an Espresso Machine

Simon Calvin
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Method 1 – Brewing an Espresso with a French Press

If you have a drip coffee maker, you can still make a decent cup of espresso. There are a few certain precautions, so it’s important to consider some of the points before you pour your coffee grounds into the French press for the first time.

You’ll need to measure out the coffee and water quantities and also the coffee grind size. You’ll want to have a somewhat coarser grind for this process than you would usually use for drip coffee, so you will need a set of coffee grinders specifically for espresso.

Put about three tablespoons of coffee grounds into the bottom of the French press and pour in about a half-cup of hot water.

Allow the grounds to infuse into the water, pressing the plunger partway down with your finger.

A few moments later, the grounds will have settled in the French press, and you will fill the rest of the chamber with hot water.

Let the plunger rest to allow a few more minutes for the grounds to settle.

Before settling on this method of making the perfect cup of espresso, read How to Make Espresso without an Espresso Machine.

Step 1: Grind your coffee

If you want your coffee to be fresh, grind it just before you use it. If you have a lot of coffee on hand, grind only what you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Step 2: Boil Water

Once you have your espresso grounds measured out, the next step is to measure out your water. The ratio for the best cup of espresso is between 9:1 and 10:1. For this step, you’ll need 7 oz. of water.

While this may seem like a small amount, the volume will increase once the water boils and the steam expands. So make sure the pot is big enough to make enough room for the expansion.

Once the water and the grounds are ready, you’re ready to start the brewing process.

Start by pouring the water into the pot and then set the heat to high. Allow the water to boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This step is called a pre-boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and allow the pot to cool.

Step 3: Add the coffee grounds into the press


A press pot is usually made of glass or plastic and is composed of two chambers: one that will hold the water and the other (on top) that will hold the grounds. While pressing the pot with your hand, add your freshly ground coffee to the empty chamber.

Use about two tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water. Don’t put the lid on top of the pot … yet.

Step 4: Fill the press with the remaining water and stir

For 30 seconds.

Step 5: Let the coffee steep

Let the coffee and grounds steep for between 3 minutes and 12 minutes. There are certain recipes that recommend a time for melting the chocolate. If that is the case, do it now.

Step 6: Press the piston/plunger

After the shot has been properly prepared, you will want to plunge/press the coffee grounds to the bottom of the filter.

This is done in order to collect the liquid espresso from the grounds into a preparation receptacle.

The best and most efficient way to do this is to gently press the piston down.

Remember to go slow and steady.

You do not want to drill your beans into the bottom filter.

Be gentle, as you do not want to damage the filter or the grounds inside.

Method 2 – Brewing an Espresso with a Moka pot

This is not for the faint of heart.

The Moka Pot (also known as the Bialetti) is a stove top espresso maker that creates espresso without the help of electricity. It looks like a small kettle and the concept is surprisingly simple – you fill it with water, put coffee into the bottom portion then put it on the stove and heat it up.

The result is a strong espresso-like coffee which is perfect for people who love strong espresso or who have moved to a different area and discovered that the espresso is too weak.

The output is not the same as a professional espresso machine and the grounds can end up floating around in the espresso, but it’s a very acceptable brew with the right amount of grounds.

Step 1: Grind your coffee

If you want your coffee to be fresh, grind it just before you use it. If you have a lot of coffee on hand, grind only what you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Step 2: Fill the lower chamber with water

The brewing chamber doesn’t need to be filled with water up to the max fill line. Only fill it about 1/3 of the way up.

You want to get the right proportion between the espresso and milk. If you fill up the chamber with too much water, it will overflow when you add the milk.

If you don’t fill it enough, there won’t be enough water to create a sufficient pressure.

Step 3: Fill the coffee basket with the grounds

One of the first steps to making espresso is to make sure that the espresso basket is filled with enough grounds.

You can estimate the amount of grounds needed by using a measuring spoon. Scoop a level or slightly heaped spoonful of the coffee and check the accuracy.

If you’ve over-measured or under-measured, add a little more or remove what you’ve got.

Hold the espresso basket into the portafilter and press down just enough to pack the coffee tightly, but not so much that you end up with an overly compacted puck.

Many people hope to save money by purchasing a knockoff version of an expensive espresso maker. This is a risk that trusty old Bean Counter has taken many times… The bottom line is that, when it comes to espresso, you generally get what you pay for.

Step 4: Screw the pot together

Once you have decided what type of tamper to use, just insert it into the bottom of the pot and screw the pot together. This also applies for those of you who plan to use a hand-held electric tamper instead of a Bamix or KitchenAid stand mixer. The hand-held tamper will have to be screwed on at the bottom of the pot.

Step 5: Place the pot on low heat

And make a double batch.

Step 6: Remove the Moka pot from heat

And wear oven mitts to lift it. Slowly increase the gas to high until it blows as strong as possible.

Step 7: Clean the pot

Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the inside of the plunger and the coffee pot.

You can also soak them in warm, soapy water.

Make sure you even the inside of the filter. You can gently brush it off with a toothbrush.

Rinse the filter completely underneath running water or soak it in soapy water.

Wait until all the water has flowed through the plunger before you dump out the coffee grounds.

This will ensure that any coffee grounds left in the pot go into the filter and not down the drain.

Method 3 – Brewing an Espresso with an Aeropress

The Aeropress uses the same coffee grounds and process of brewing as a French Press, just with a slightly different device.

Add about 2 tablespoons of finely ground espresso grounds to the bottom chamber of the Aeropress. Then, add the hot water from your kettle, making sure to keep your eye on the water level. Don’t use boiling water; it will scald the coffee.

Add your preferred amount of hot water, be it about 10 oz or 8 oz. Pour the water from your kettle until you reach the fill line on your Aeropress. Most coffee makers have lines showing exactly how many ounces or into the water goes.

Next, stir your espresso grounds with a spoon. You want to ensure the grounds are immersed in the water.

Insert the plunger into the chamber.

Put your cup on an end table and secure it with a coaster or a nearby empty cup.

Press the end of the plunger with your hand. As you press, move the plunger down to create a vacuum and force some of the water through the metal filter. This will mix in with the espresso and release air from the Aeropress.

Once you have moved the plunger down about 1 inch, stop. You do not want to push down all the way. There should be a few inches left for you to continue pressing.

Step 1: Grind your coffee

If you want your coffee to be fresh, grind it just before you use it. If you have a lot of coffee on hand, grind only what you need and store the rest in an airtight container.

Step 2: Put the grounds in the Aeropress

The Aeropress is a coffee maker that’s a cross between a French press and a standard drip coffee maker. You put it together just like a French press, but what you’re making is not coffee but espresso. You finish by using an espresso filter to bring out that rich taste.

Fill the Aeropress with water. For a 12-ounce brew, add about 250 ml or half a liter. Also, by filling it less, you will make a stronger brew.

Place the plunger into the cylinder and screw it in very tightly.

Add a scoop of ground espresso. The scoop will depend on the size of the Aeropress.

Put the Aeropress on the stove and heat up to 200 degrees and no more. If the temperature is too high, you got a strong brew, if it is too low, you have a weak one (around 190 degrees is good).

Let the coffee steep in the barrel for about a minute, but no more. Maintain the heat by putting a towel around the top of the cylinder.

Turn off the heat and let the coffee drip into a cup. The whole brew should take three to four minutes.

Optional: Run a drop of coffee over an espresso filter to bring out the final taste.

Step 3: Press the plunger

Press down on the plunger slowly and steadily. If you do this too quickly, you will risk a volcano effect that can result in grounds being spit out. You can do this slowly with a steady hand, or you can get a hand-crank espresso maker. These are a lot of fun, and you can get a good workout as you make up to 18 ounces of espresso at a time.

Step 4: Add hot water and press again

This will push the coffee grounds to the bottom. Now, all the water will be saturated with coffee and a rich, strong espresso will remain in the metal filter.

What Makes a Great Espresso?

There is no one recipe for a good cup of espresso. Instead, it’s the transformation: the subtle water, which is acidic, to bean, which is acidity contested. The grandness of the process that makes the more.

An espresso imparts the strength of the worst of Italy. It is a product of sugar and skim. It is the capacity to add up, and using a small dose of coffee can keep the engine in the sweetness.

This is a time of baristas, who are skilled and not, properly. The needed preparation over, the person is also addressed. There is no point in the process of not having already the most at the least.