While brewing espresso in a coffee maker isn’t the easiest brewing method for your favorite espresso roast, it is possible. You can still have that strong, smooth taste without having an expensive espresso machine on hand.
There is a different brewing process available to you, so long as you know how to maximize the roast, grind and pressure needed for brewing espresso. Once you have those aspects nailed, then you can make espresso without the shiny espresso machine.
In this article we explore three ways to brew espresso in a coffee maker.
While regular coffee beans are used for espresso, choosing a roast specifically for espresso helps with the flavor profile. Using a traditional roast with a dark finish gives espresso its strong, potent taste.
Using a dark roasted coffee bean means that those coffee solubles that are so tasty can be easily extracted. The dark roast beans have been roasted longer than others, so they are more porous which then increases the flavor compounds.
Once you have the dark roast, then using an espresso grind is benificial as well. An espresso coffee should be ground very finely. By creating a fine grind, the water penetration is slowed.
This in turn increases the needed pressure to push the water through so you get a good shot of espresso. You need to find a balance though – if the grind is overly fine, then the filter can be blocked. Using a burr grinder can help with this precise grind.
Because espresso needs pressure to force hot water through the fine grounds you need to find a way to mimic that pressure without having the special espresso machine.
Making an Espresso with a Coffee Maker
Now that you have the right beans and grinder, you can make espresso at home with much less expensive equipment compared to the full espresso machine.
1. Use an AeroPress
This is a great way to use a coffee maker to get an espresso. All you need is your AeroPress, freshly roasted beans and a good coffee grinder.
- Heat a water (1 cup) to between 185 and 205F. You want it just under boiling. Feel free to experiment with various temperatures within this range to see what you prefer.
- Grind the beans finely for 2 tbsp or 28.3g/1 oz.
- Put the filter in the AeroPress and use hot water to rinse it.
- Place the drain cap in place and put it on your mug.
- Put the grounds into the AeroPress.
- Tamp them down so the puck is tight.
- Pour a ½ cup of hot water into the press and stir.
- Wait half a minute then plunge.
- Push steady against the resistance and then take off the press and put in a cup to enjoy.
2. Use a Moka Pot
This is a preferred way to make coffee in Europe and Latin America. It uses water pressure to create that espresso taste.
- Grind beans to give you 4-4 ½ tsp of fine coffee.
- Put water in the Moka pot up to the fill line. Don’t overfill as it will negatively affect the coffee.
- Put grounds in the filter basket.
- Put on the pot’s top.
- Put the pot on the stove burner on medium heat. When the water boils in the chamber then the steam pressure will force coffee through the filter to the upper part of the pot. You will hear a hissing sound.
- When you see brown foam then the espresso will be close to done.
- When the upper chamber is full then take the pot off the burner.
- The coffee just needs a small stir and it's ready for serving.
3. Use a French Press
Most coffee lovers have a French press on hand so it's easy to access and make an espresso.
- Fine grind you bean that are dark roast. Grind enough for 2 tablespoons or 1 oz/28.3 g for each cup of water you are going to use.
- Use a kettle and boil water then let it sit for at least 30 seconds. Then use it for your brew.
- Put the coffee grounds into the French Press. Note that you are going to use close to two times the amount you would use for regular coffee. This will offer a stronger flavor profile and dark brew.
- Put a couple of dashes of water into the press and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This will let the coffee bloom. It will release the oil and aromatics.
- Then pour the remainder of the water in. It is important NOT to stir it since this will take the grind from suspension and change the flavor and richness.
- Shut the lid of the press and let the coffee steep for 4 minutes. You can leave it for longer if you want a stronger espresso. Don’t go too long though as it will lead to an overly bitter flavor.
- Press the plunger down on the press slowly and evenly. Go halfway then bring it back up. Finally plunge it fully down to complete the press.
- Pour the espresso out to stop the process and then enjoy.
Can You Brew Espresso in a Coffee Maker? The Final Word
You can create a great espresso if you remember to follow the general guidelines. Use a dark roast bean as a basis for your espresso. Make sure that the bean is ground finely but not so fine it clogs up the process, and then follow the steps for extraction so the pressure through the fine grounds is consistent and strong.
It will probably take a few tries to get it exact but with a little bit of practice, your barista skills will be top-notch.