Sometimes, you might not want to get out of your pajamas just to go for an espresso. Or maybe it’s raining, and today is a good day to stay in. Still, you want a great espresso instead of plain coffee.
You may have thought about buying one of the many different types of home espresso machines available on the market, but you don’t want to splurge for one just yet. Luckily, there are ways you can brew delicious espresso without a machine.
People who are passionate about coffee love to collect all sorts of home brewing devices (guilty). It’s likely you already have something at home you can use to brew an espresso-like cup of coffee (keep those fuzzy slippers on).
So, grab some espresso beans, and let’s learn how to make espresso without a machine!
What is Espresso Coffee?
Espresso is an Italian coffee made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely ground dark roasted coffee beans. This procedure results in a beverage that has high caffeine levels and dark brown with rich flavors. Let’s not forget about that velvety crema!
Espresso dates back to the early 20th century and was invented by Luigi Bezzera. What makes espresso unique is how you brew it. Unlike any other brewing method, true espresso requires 9 bars of pressure and boiling water that passes through finely ground coffee in roughly 20 to 30 seconds.
This means you need special equipment that takes up a lot of space and is not always budget-friendly. However, a high-end dedicated espresso machine makes it much easier since you won’t need to know how to grind and brew coffee (like those found in a coffee shop). All of this is done for you by the fancy espresso machine!
If you want to learn how to make espresso without a machine, read on!
How to Make Espresso with a French Press
The French Press is quite versatile. Not only can you use it for everyday brewing, you can also use it to froth milk for Lattes. With some adjustments to brewing ratios, the French Press can make strong, flavorful espresso. If you already have a French Press in your kitchen cabinet, let’s give it a shot!
What You’ll Need
- French Press
- Coffee Beans (30 grams)
- Burr Grinder
- Water Kettle
- Filtered water (200 mL)
Steps to Brew with French Press
Heat 200 mL of water in a kettle. The ideal temperature for making espresso is somewhat lower than a standard brew with a French Press. To make espresso, brew at 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit).
Place 30 grams of dark roast coffee beans in a burr grinder on a fine setting. The uniformity should resemble the consistency of table salt. A standard French Press grind is much more coarse.
Scoop your coffee grounds into the main chamber of the French press.
Add enough water to moisten all the coffee grounds. You can stir the mixture for even saturation. Let this bloom for 45 seconds.
Pour in the rest of your water into the French Press and give it a final stir.
Cover the French Ppress with the lid and let it sit for 4 minutes to allow coffee to brew. This is an important step since letting your espresso sit for a few minutes before you push down the plunger will result in a stronger, bolder flavor that is characteristic of espresso. You can adjust this time depending on your preference.
Once the time is up, push down the plunger slowly and pour your espresso into a cup. Voila! You just made a flavorful cup of espresso coffee without an espresso machine.
How to Make Espresso with an AeroPress
This fantastic little device was created to make espresso-like coffee. The Aeropress is a home coffee brewing device that Alan Adler created with the goal of providing a sweet, smooth, and concentrated burst of coffee that is easy to use and travel-friendly.
What You’ll Need
- AeroPress Device
- AeroPress Paper Filters
- Fresh Beans (30 grams)
- Filtered water (50 mL)
- Electric Kettle
- Burr Grinder
Steps to Brew with AeroPress
Grind the dark roast coffee beans. You’ll want a fine grind consistency (a little finer than table salt). The brew time is so brief that an espresso grind will fully extract the coffee. For a single cup of coffee, use 20 grams of coffee.
For optimum results, heat the water to 80 degrees Celsius (175 degrees Fahrenheit).
Take a single paper filter and place it in the AeroPress cap. Sometimes the thin filters stick together, so make sure you only grab one. Rinse the filter paper to remove any fibers that may be leftover from the manufacturing process. Finally, screw the filter cap onto the end.
Pour in your coffee grounds. I suggest using the funnel that comes with your kit to prevent making a big mess. Do not tamp the coffee grounds. You’ll want to leave them nice and loose to assist in the immersion brewing method.
Set the AeroPress coffee maker onto a nice sturdy mug (a cup with a narrow base may tip over). Grab your kettle and gently pour hot water into the main chamber. Add water until it is above the number 1 mark for a single serving. I prefer looking down through the center of the brewing chamber to verify the water level rather than from the outside.
Using the paddle, stir the mixture for 10 seconds. The paddle is built to gently mix the hot water and coffee grounds without scraping the paper filter.
Fit the plunger into the main chamber. I find it’s easier to insert the plunger at a slight angle.
Ok. This step is a bit optional. The inventor, Alan Adlar, says that right after he stirs for 10 seconds, he immediately begins to plunge his brew. I have found that if you wait about a minute (including your stirring time), you can pull out more of the nuanced flavors from your beans to create that perfect cup.
Hold the chamber firmly with one hand and slowly press down on the plunger with the other. Make sure to place your mug on a flat, sturdy surface. It should take about 30 seconds to press all the water through your grounds.
When you hear a hissing sound, it’s time to stop plunging. You don’t need to press down until you smash the grounds. Lift the AeroPress and set it to the side. You did it!
Finishing touches! Now you have to make some decisions. You can drink the amazing coffee straight (like an espresso shot) or add some ingredients to make it fancy. I like to add 240 mL (1 cup) of hot water for an Americano or add milk to create a creamy Latte.
How to Make Espresso with a Moka Pot
What You’ll Need to Brew
- Fresh Coffee Beans (13 grams per cup)
- Filtered water (170 mL per cup)
- Stovetop Espresso Maker (3 Cup Moka Pot)
- Stovetop Heat Source (Gas or Electric)
- Burr Coffee Grinder
Steps to Brew with a Moka Pot
Grind your fresh dark roast coffee beans. You want your grounds to be finer than drip coffee but not as fine as needed for making espresso.
Preheat your filtered water. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot until it is level with the bottom of the release valve. Some Moka Pot espresso makers will have a fill line to make it easier.
Place the filter basket into the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot and fill it with your grounds. Use your finger (or a knife) to level off the top. Do not tamp the grounds. I find tapping the sides before you level it off can help the grounds lay more even.
Wipe off any extra grounds that may be on the rim. This will ensure a solid seal, which is necessary to build pressure.
Screw on the top chamber. Make sure it is on tight, but don’t strain yourself here.
Place your assembled Moka Pot on your heat source over medium heat and lift the lid. For a gas stove, make sure the flames do not go past the edge of the bottom of the pot. If your electric stove only has large heating elements, place the pot near the edge to prevent the handle from getting hot.
Wait patiently, but don’t walk away. You will hear a hissing sound when the coffee starts coming out of the spout.
Close the lid and remove from the heat when the coffee stream turns the color of honey and makes gurgling sounds.
Stop the brewing process by running the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot under cool water or wrap it with a cold, wet towel. This process prevents bitter flavors from being extracted into your brew.
Serve your espresso shot and make sure to enjoy your achievement. You deserve it!
How to Make Espresso with a Pour Over
Making stronger coffee with a pour over means you will need a finer grind than normal along with a smaller portion of water. This method will produce the least concentrated version of coffee, but it’s still a great way to create simple Lattes and Cortados at home.
What You’ll Need
- Pour Over Brewing Device
- Coffee Beans (10 grams)
- Pour Over Filter (can use paper filters or stainless steel filter)
- Burr Coffee Grinder
- Electric Gooseneck Kettle (for more control)
Steps to Brew with a Pour Over
Preheat your water to 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit). If you don’t have an electric kettle, wait for your water to boil, remove it from the heat, and wait 2 minutes for it to cool down to achieve the proper temperature.
While you wait for your water to heat up, go ahead and grind 10 grams (0.8 tablespoons) of coffee beans for each serving you intend to brew. A medium-fine grind (finer than sea salt) is the perfect grind size for espresso roast coffee.
If you are using a paper filter, you will notice that one edge has been pressed together. To allow the filter to be fully inserted into your pour over device, crease this paper along the edge where it has been pressed, then insert it into the cone.
Rinse your filter paper. Place your pour over device, with the paper filter inserted, on top of your coffee mug. Grab your kettle and pour hot water around the filter until it is fully moistened. This will remove any paper fibers that may be leftover from the manufacturing process. Make sure to pour out the water in your mug before moving on to the next step.
Add your fresh grounds into the filter. Pour 20 mL of water and wait 45 seconds to complete the coffee bloom. Start by pouring a slow and steady stream of water over your fresh coffee beans at the center, then swirling outwards.
It’s time for the final pour. Start by gently pouring from the middle and working your way outwards in a spiral pattern. When you stop pouring, the total amount of water poured for a single “shot” will be 150 mL (5 oz.).
Remove the spent grounds and dispose of them (I hear coffee grounds are good for your garden). This stronger brew will do a great job creating any espresso-like drink in your arsenal.
If you’re looking for how to make espresso without a machine, it’s good to know you have options. With these methods, you’ll be able to enjoy espresso-like drinks in your own kitchen!