How To Make Espresso With Keurig Like A Boss

How To Make Espresso With Keurig Like A Boss

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 17:45

Learn how to make espresso with Keurig coffee machine and make any espresso based coffee beverage that you wish.

This article is for you if you are wondering how to make a shot of espresso with your single serve coffee maker or are struggling to get that perfect espresso shot.

Keep reading for the low down on pulling espresso with your Keurig!

How To Make Espresso With Keurig – Keurig Coffee Machine Vs Espresso Machine

It may appear that every coffee beverage has a fabulous and fancy name from a foreign land, but what does all that mean?

Coffee is, well…coffee, right?

No, not exactly.

Even the most average coffee drinker is familiar with the different ways of brewing coffee and the different tastes produced. A drip coffee is not an espresso shot, no matter how strong you make it.

Espresso is a focused and dense shot of coffee that is brewed by forcing heated water under a pressure of 130 PSI (9 bars) through a bed of very finely-ground coffee beans. A perfectly pulled espresso shot has a thick rich crema on top.

The crema is a caramel-colored, creamy foam that is the result of the fresh coffee beans and their tasty coffee oils and the pressure used to create the shot of coffee.

An espresso coffee is produced using the same robusta and arabica coffee beans or a blend of them as a typical drip coffee.


the machine and method to make these two coffees are different, very different. So the question arises, can you make an espresso using a Keurig coffee maker?

We’ll get to that in a second.

How To Make Espresso With Keurig
An Espresso Made With A Keurig

Read: Keurig iced coffee settings

Is A Keurig An Espresso Machine?

No, no matter how well you dress it up, or which model you look at a Keurig coffee machine is not a home espresso machine.

Even the single serve coffee makers.

A Keurig coffee makers uses minimal pressure and gravity to force a jet of hot water through grounds coffee to brew a coffee.

An espresso machine works, as mentioned by forcing hot water that is pressurized to 9 bars of pressure (130 PSI) through very finely-ground coffee beans.

Clearly, a Keurig is not an espresso machine which raises questions if you can make a legitimate shot of espresso with it or a very strong version of regular coffee.

Does Keurig Have K-Cup Espresso Pods?

Yes, there are many different options of espresso K-Cup coffee pods that you will find and can be used to brew a strong concentrated coffee that is espresso like.

The K-cups that you will find being marketed as espresso pods are a dark roast blend with an additional caffeine content. This allows you to imitate a cup of espresso and the rich flavor and have a similar caffeine kick but the rich thick crema on top is not as good as an authentic espresso from an espresso machine.

The espresso K-Cups still produce a good strong coffee.

Keurig K-Cup Espresso Pods
Keurig K-Cup Espresso Pods

Read: How to make iced coffee with a Keurig

How To Use Espresso Pods In A Keurig?

Using a Keurig espresso pod is the same as you would use a normal K-Cup coffee pods. There is nothing more to it, nothing different that needs to be done. Put your espresso pod in the pod holder, close the lid and press the brew button to brew and espresso.

In order to emulate a shot of espresso, select the smallest cup size as possible. For most Keurig machines this is a 4 oz (120 ml), unfortunately a true espresso is 1 ounce (30 ml). If you select a larger size, your espresso coffee will be more like a typical drip coffee.

If you are lucky enough to own a Keurig coffee maker with a button marked “Shot”, this is the button to press for brewing a shot of espresso.

Can You Make An Espresso Coffee With A Keurig Coffee Maker Without An Espresso Pod?

If you opt not to use an espresso K-Cup you have two options to make a shot of espresso with your Keurig coffee maker.

The first way is to select a K-Cup that has dark roasted coffee grinds or one that is marked as extra strong, French roast or Italian roast and brew a cup of coffee that is as small as permitted by your machine. Best results are obtained when you press the shot button.

The second option is to use a reusable K-cup coffee pod and use your own dark roast coffee grounds. A reusable K-cup coffee pod required a medium-coarse grind size and 9-12 grams of coffee.

This is where you have room for experimentation and use a slightly smaller grind size. Be careful of using a smaller grind size as it will likely block and clog your needles and machine. It’s not an issue if you clean and unclog the needles frequently.

You can also try using varying amounts of coffee grounds. The result of using a slightly smaller grind size is the surface area in which the hot water is in contact with increases, and thus you will get a stronger shot.

Obviously, using a greater amount of coffee by weight makes a more concentrated coffee as the coffee to water ratio is more focused.

It’s a matter of experimenting and getting that Keurig espresso coffee matching your exact requirements.

Brew your reusable Keurig coffee pod using the smallest drink size as possible. If it has a shot button, select this option.

Reusable Keurig K Cup Coffee Pod
Reusable Keurig K Cup Coffee Pod

What Keurig Machines Have A Shot Option?

At this moment in time there are 4 Keurig coffee machines that have a shot button.

  • K-Latte Single Serve Coffee And Latte Maker.
  • K-Cafe Special Edition Single Serve Coffee, Latte And Cappuccino Maker.
  • K-Cafe Essentials.
  • K-Cafe Single Serve Coffee, Latte And Cappuccino Maker.

How To Make Espresso With Keurig

This is easy, incredibly easy. The brewing process to make a shot of espresso using the shot button on your Keurig is very easy.

Start by selecting a Keurig K-Cup and putting it in the K-Cup holder and close the lid. Instead of selecting a brew option as you would normally do for regular coffee, press the shot button. This will brew a 60 ml (2 oz) shot of strong coffee that is espresso like.

The shot option lacks the pressure that you need for a perfect espresso. What is produced is similar, very similar but is clearly lacking the rich, thick crema on top.

While it is not a perfect shot, it is most certainly good enough as the base for making the type of coffee drink that you see at Starbucks.

It’s a great shot for making Latte’s, cortados, flat whites, cappuccinos, mochas, macchiatos and more.

The built-in milk frother that comes with the K-Cafe is good for making barista style coffees.

All you need to do is fill your automatic frother with fresh milk and press a button to start it frothing. When your milk is ready, simply pour it over or into your shot of coffee.

If your Keurig coffee maker does not have a milk frother you can purchase one separately.

The type of milk that you use to froth will impact the structure of your coffee drink. Whole fat milk is the type that is most recommended as it is easiest to froth and produces a very rich tasting foam.

Skimmed milk is the second-best choice, as, like whole milk, it is easy to froth but is light and airy instead of being a rich-tasting foam.

Non-dairy milk is an option too, but I strongly advise that you use the Barista brand as their plant and nut based milks are adjusted to be specially for steaming and frothing and don’t curdle as easily as regular alternative milks.

With a quality Keurig machine you can make anything you want, it just lacks the water pressure that is needed to make a true espresso.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Espresso With Keurig

Single serve coffee makers be it a Keurig or a Nespresso don’t make perfect espresso shots or espresso shots as such but make “espresso like coffee”. The manner of producing the shot is different and the crema is not true crema it’s more like aerated crema.

A Keurig coffee machine doesn’t have the correct pressure to make a coffee shop quality espresso.  Some coffee lovers and espresso enthusiasts call what is produced as strong and short drip coffee, which is a bit harsh, but it is an accurate reflection of the process used by the machine to make one.

I prefer to say that is espresso like.

The Shot button on your Keurig is for brewing a full-flavored shot of coffee that you can use for making a cappuccino, latte and more. The Strong button is for brewing a bolder tasting cup of coffee. The cold button is for cold frothed milk for your lattes, cappuccinos and iced cappuccinos.

The Keurig machine for making espresso is the K-Café. This coffee maker is similar to the Keurig K-Cup coffee maker but adds a shot mode and a milk frother. The shot mode brews 2 Oz (60 ml) shots of focused espresso style shots for making cappuccinos, lattes flat whites and more. 

2 shots of espresso or a double espresso (doppio) has approximately the same amount of caffeine as a 12 ounce (360 ml) cup of brewed coffee.

The strong button on a Keurig allows you to brew a stronger and bolder tasting coffee. It increases the strength of your brew by changing the coffee to water ratio, making it more focused and more intense.

If you use the same K-cup twice you will end up with a weak and watery brew. A K-Cup is designed to be a single serve coffee pod. All the flavor is in the first cup of coffee with nothing left for a second cup. Anything brewed is likely to overtly sour or bitter.

Final Thoughts – How To Make Espresso With Keurig

If you have read this far, you should know how to make espresso with Keurig coffee maker as best as you can and be able to make great espresso based coffee beverages. 

Just to reiterate, if you are going to use the milk frother with plant based milk, use the Barista brand otherwise you’ll experience problems with your milk curdling. 

Take part in our coffee community by sharing your Keurig coffee creations, recipes, inspiring quotes, coffee memes and jokes. Find us on Facebook/Meta. 

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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