How to make espresso with regular coffee is a question and tutorial that gets asked and searched for time and time again. While it is entirely possible, and without an espresso machine, to get that brown foam that we know as crema on top, we need espresso beans and 9 bars of pressure to achieve that.
By the time you have finished this article, you will be able to make a reasonably good semi-authentic espresso shot with regular coffee using a wide range of techniques and equipment such as a French press, Aeropress, pour over, and a Moka pot, to name a few.
Are you ready to learn how to make espresso with regular coffee?
Then keep reading!
Can You Make Espresso With Regular Coffee?
it is completely and technically possible for you to make an espresso coffee with regular coffee beans, both with a regular home espresso machine or without an espresso machine. Obviously without a home or professional espresso machine you will not have the 9 bars of atmospheric pressure to get that long-lasting rich tasting crema on top.
Something that is more difficult to achieve if you are using regular coffee grounds that are not of a dark roast profile is that rich, thick crema. Keep in mind you won’t have a full on distinctive espresso taste nor an amazing coffee, but you will, if done right, still have a fairly decent cup of coffee.
Read: How much caffeine in espresso beans?
Can You Make Espresso Without A Machine?
The answer to this is yes, and with a caveat – I am assuming that the question is referring to not using an espresso machine but using some kind of coffee brewing method and equipment such as a moka pot, French press, Aeropress and not brewing it raw and naked with no equipment at all.
None of these machines mentioned are at all expensive nor difficult to operate.
There are machines that simulate and achieve the required water pressure for brewing espresso shots.
With that said – let’s crack on with the first of the machine-free espresso brewing methods.
Read: How to tell if coffee is bad.
How To Make Espresso With French Press
If you love specialty coffee and single origin coffee, it is likely that you already own a French press. You can use this to make your favorite milk-based espresso drinks. It’s not at all going to make an enjoyable espresso itself, but a latte, flat white, cappuccino, cortado and other espresso-based drinks are certainly within its realm – and of high quality and fully enjoyable.
What you will need:
- A French press.
- A digital coffee scale for coffee measuring.
- A stovetop kettle or electric gooseneck kettle.
- Burr coffee grinder.
- Fresh, roasted coffee beans.
Let’s push forward with the technique and what you need to do in an easy step by step format.
Step 1: Get Grinding
Grind your coffee beans to a very fine powder like grind, if your regular coffee beans are freshly roasted and of a dark roast or espresso roast, then all the much better. The finest grind setting on your grinder is perfect.
You will need to grind one ounce (30 grams) of beans per cup of water used.
Pro Tip: Weigh your whole beans prior to grinding – the weight and density of unground and ground beans are the same. Doing this for every time you are brewing means you can keep your grinder’s hopper empty and your beans at the absolute freshest possible state by storing them in perfect conditions. The added bonus is a nice clear, easy to maintain grinder!
Step 2: Boil Your Water
Using your kettle or electric gooseneck kettle, heat your water to the correct water temperature for your cup of coffee. The ideal temperature for all coffee drinks is 195F to 205F (92C to 96C) For a French press and making espresso, a temperature of 200F to 205F (94C to 96C) is more ideal.
If you have a manual water heating kettle, then simply boil your water, then let the boiled hot water cool for 20 to 30 seconds
Step 3: Prepare Your Grounds
Prepare your coffee grounds and put them in your French press. Give your French press a light shake to ensure even distribution. Note that you will be using a lot more grounds that you would normally use in your French press, nearly twice as much. This is to get that strong distinctive espresso taste.
Step 4: Bloom Your Grounds
Using the hot water from your kettle, add a few drops of water to just cover your coffee grounds and let them there for a few moments. This permits your coffee grounds to expand and bloom. You will notice they bubble a little and degas. Your coffee at this point releases excess carbon dioxide, aromas and coffee oils.
Step 5: Pour The Rest Of Your Water
Pour the rest of your water slowly into your French press. Don’t stir it. If you stir it, you will pull the grounds and cause them to become unsuspended and ruin the extraction process and spoil the delicious and tasty coffee flavors and aromas of your grounds.
Step 6: Close The Lid Of Your French Press
Close the lid, do not stir and do not yet push your plunger down yet. You can press your plunger to just below the water level. Then let it sit there for up to 4 minutes to brew and extract your coffee. You can adjust this by a minute or so on either side depending on how strong a taste you want your coffee to be.
Step 7: Taking The Plunge!
Push down on your plunger slowly with an even pressure. Push it halfway down, then raise it to the top again, slowly and then plunge all the way down to the bottom to complete the press.
Step 8: Pour Your Coffee And Enjoy
Even if you have made an excess amount of coffee, it is important to decant your coffee as it will continue to extract.
As I have indicated, the French press is not really designed to make an espresso but will get you a decent shot of coffee and is good for making espresso based milk drinks and does a fairly good job at it – not perfect, but a decent job.
How To Make Espresso With Pour Over
Let’s crack on with brewing technique number 2 – making espresso with the pour-over method.
- A coffee filter, a regular coffee filter is fine. Metal filter basket, paper or cotton is good too.
- Hario V60, Chemex or other pour over coffee brewing system.
- A kettle. An electric gooseneck kettle is best.
- A manual or automatic coffee grinder.
- 10 grams of dark roasted coffee beans.
- A digital coffee scale.
Method And Technique Step By Step
Step 1: Grind It!
Weigh and grind your dark roasted coffee beans. As above and as always get into the habit of weighing the whole beans rather than storing them in your coffee grinder hopper, grinding and then weighing them. This is not only fresher and cleaner, it causes less waste of coffee beans.
You are going to use a coffee to water ratio of 1:8, 10 grams of coffee grounds and 80 grams of water.
The best type of grinder to use is an automatic ceramic conical burr grinder. It does not necessarily have to be a high-powered coffee grinder. You can also go old school by using a manual grinder.
Step 2: Prepare Your Filter
Prepare your filter. A little word on filter choices. The type of filter you use will affect the end result and flavor. For all coffee drinks I prefer a metal filter as this allows all the coffee oils to make their way into your drink.
This type will work best for a pour over method of brewing an espresso shot. The next best is a cotton filter as this will filter some of the oils while a paper filter, which is still a great choice for the pour over method when you want a good, clean, fresh and crisp taste to your coffee. A paper filter will filter out all the coffee oils.
Put your grounds in to your filter and shake it slightly to ensure an even distribution.
Step 3: Prepare Your Hot Water
Boil your water to 200F (96C) to extract the best high temperature flavors associated with a shot of espresso. It is best to use a digital electronic gooseneck kettle as you can control the temperature much better.
Step 4: Bloom Your Grounds
Pour a little amount of your hot water over your coffee grounds and wait for a few moments to allow your grounds to bloom. Then slowly pour the rest of your water in stages without flooding your grounds.
While pouring, ensure a pencil thin stream of water and pour in a circular fashion to ensure an even distribution of the water. This is very important to get an even extraction of all the flavor compounds.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Cup Of Coffee
When you have finished pouring your hot water. Remove the brewer and enjoy your cup of coffee. Like the French press, this is good for milk based espresso drinks and is a good but not exact replication of them.
As an espresso, you are completely missing that rich crema on top.
How To Make Espresso With Aeropress
An Aeropress is the latest brewing technique and can get you a very good, almost perfect espresso style coffee.
- Aeropress filter
- Dark roasted espresso beans.
- A coffee grinder.
- A Coffee tamper.
- A digital thermometer.
- A digital scale for coffee measuring and weighing.
I am a big fan of the AeroPress – especially when I travel around. It is so small and easily portable. Once you have your gear ready and your dark roasted beans at hand. Get making your AeroPress espresso.
This will make a nice double shot.
Step 1: Boil Your Water
Heat up one cup of water 240 ml (8 ounces) to a water temperature of 96C (200F) which is right in the middle of the ideal coffee brewing temperature. Take the time and effort to use a thermometer as the taste does vary depending on the temperature.
If you are not using a digital kettle with a temperature control, you can, of course, simply boil your water and then let it cool down to the required temperature.
Step 2: Grind Your Beans
Grind your dark roasted coffee beans to a very fine powder, as fine as you can get it. Grind 30 grams, (one ounce).
Step 3: Filter It!
Put your filter in your Aeropress drain cap. Remember to rinse it well with warm water. Put the cap back on and then put your AeroPress on top of the mug that you are going to use.
Step 4: Prepare Your Grounds
Simply put your grounds in your AeroPress and shake slightly until they are even. Tamp your grounds to get a nice tight puck of coffee. Tamping is an important skill in getting a great espresso. Ensure it is nice and flat. Both too tight and too loose are bad.
Step 5: Pour Your Water
Take half of your water, 4 Oz (120 ml) of your warm water and pour into your AeroPress. Give it a quick stir for a few seconds. Wait for approximately 30 seconds after stirring.
Step 6: Take The Plunge!
Press down on the plunger with the weight of your hand. Sure, add pressure, but don’t force it. Keep a steady, even pressure as you press down on the plunger.
Step 7: Enjoy Your Cuppa Joe
Decant and pour into a mug and enjoy. An AeroPress does make a great espresso, and you can enjoy a good quality espresso shot as it is with the rich crema on top, or make any of the many milk based drinks.
I’m a big coffee lover and enthusiast. Life begins after coffee for me. An AeroPress is a great tool to have if you are a fan of coffee and enjoy a good coffee at home and a great tool in your coffee arsenal if you travel frequently on business or for pleasure.
How To Make Espresso With Moka Pot
Making an espresso using your Moka pot is something that most Spaniards, Italians, Portuguese do the world over. You will be hard pushed to find an Italian or Spanish household that does not have one of these coffee brewers.
Its functionality is thanks to heat and pressure. To be more exact, the heat creates steam pressure which makes its way from the bottom chamber and up and over the finely ground coffee, and brewing a very strong espresso-like shot of coffee.
- Coffee Beans
- A Moka Pot.
- Coffee Grinder.
- Dark Roasted Coffee Beans.
- A Stove.
Step 1: Fill Your Moka Pot
Fill your moka pot with water to below the water line. Never fill above this line. Overfilling will have a water logging effect and spoil your coffee.
Step 2: Grind It!
Grind your coffee beans to a very fine powder-like grind. For the best, freshest possible tasting coffee, grind them immediately before you use them.
Step 3: Add Your Grounds
Put the funnel in place and fill it with your ground coffee. Don’t overfill your strainer and resist the temptation to tamp the grounds.
Tamping will cause excess pressure to build up in your moka pot.
Step 4: Screw It!
Screw your moka pot tightly together with all the right parts in the right places. Screw it by holding the pot and not the handle. If you screw it together using the handle, you might end up breaking the handle.
Step 5: Heat Up Your Moka Pot
Put your moka pot on your stovetop and select a low to medium heat until the water boils. Coffee will start to flow out of the center post.
You will hear a distinctive gargling sound while your coffee is brewing away. Do not rush the process. Allow your pot to properly extract the full flavor from your grounds.
When you pour your shot it may splutter a little. This is nothing to worry about. A moka pot espresso does come with a light and quickly disappearing crema on top.
Like the French press and drip coffee, this is very good for the milk based coffee drinks. It also makes an acceptable home espresso without a machine.
How To Make Espresso In A Pan – How To Make Espresso On The Stove
This is pretty old school and requires no equipment at all if you have no back up for a bust or broken home espresso machine, this is how to make espresso in a pan.
- Dark Roasted Coffee Grounds.
The Method Step By Step
Assuming you have all 3 of the required items above let’s get on with what is required of you to get an espresso with a pot.
Step 1: Pour Your Water
Pour a cup or two of water into your pot. The actual amount depends on how many espresso that you want to make. If you are making for a lot of people you will need to use more.
Step 2: Heat Your Water
Heat your water and bring it to the boil. Once your water is boiled, add in your ground coffee grounds. The grind size should be slightly finer than your drip coffee grind size. By getting the size correct you will avoid your coffee from being overtly bitter and over extracted.
Step 3: Remove The Heat Source
As soon as you have added your coffee grounds, remove the heat source. If you over boil your water and brew with your coffee grounds added, it will become too acidic.
Step 4: Brew Your Coffee
This step requires you to do exactly nothing at all. Just let your grounds sit for 4 to 5 minutes. Once your coffee is brewed, simply pour it and enjoy, well-brewed, unfiltered old-school espresso.
How To Make Espresso With A Manual Lever Machine
This is a pretty traditional method of making an espresso; technically speaking it is making an espresso with an espresso machine – a non-automatic one.
- Fresh dark roasted coffee beans.
- A coffee grinder.
- A manual lever espresso machine.
- A digital scale for coffee measuring.
The technique of how to make an espresso using a manual lever espresso maker.
Step 1: Pour Your Water
Pour 2 to 3 ounce cups of water into your manual espresso machine’s water tank and wait a few minutes for it to heat up.
Step 2: Add Your Grounds
Put 20 grams (0.67 ounces) of very finely ground power like coffee grounds into your portafilter. Ensure they are perfectly flat, and then tamp your grounds. Tap your grounds and tamp again.
Step 3: Get Your Head On
Connect your portafilter to the brew head and slowly raise the level. When the level is at the top, wait 10 seconds and then slowly lower the lever. While lowering the lever, be conscious of the time taken. It should take you 20 seconds to 25 seconds depending on which machine.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Espresso Shot
I really like the manual lever method of espresso making as it does produce a perfect espresso shot. It is not for beginners and does take time to get used to and master the skill of manually pulling shots. It is a perfect way of pulling perfect shots.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Espresso With Regular Coffee
Can You Make Espresso With A Keurig?
I have intentionally missed out the use of Keurig or Nespresso as pods and K-cups are, and despite being legitimate viable alternative espresso-making methods, the espresso shot is not quite an espresso.
It looks like one, has the rich crema on top but true coffee enthusiasts and espresso lovers notice that even the best made espresso does not quite taste the same or have the same texture.
If you are not fussed about quality, then yes, a Keurig can make an espresso, but it is not anywhere near what is possible with a manual or automatic espresso machine.
Do You Need Special Coffee For Espresso?
An espresso can only truly be made with an espresso roast, which is a dark roasted coffee beans. Any coffee bean can be roasted to an espresso roast. However, certain select Starbucks outlets do have a blond espresso, which is an espresso made with blond roasted coffee beans.
This is one of the top things about an espresso shot – all the normal rules can be broken.
What Is The Difference Between Regular And Blonde Espresso?
The difference between a regular espresso and blond espresso is the roast profile. One has been roasted to a dark roast profile, the other to a light roast profile. The shorter roasting profile of a blond espresso brings out a smoother, lighter and slightly sweeter taste. It also brings out the flavors of the origin of the coffee beans.
A dark roast has all the flavors of origin roasted out.
Can You Make Espresso With Normal Coffee?
It is best that you use a dark roasted coffee bean or a medium-dark roast due to the need for oily beans to produce the thick rich crema on top.
However, you can still make an espresso with much lighter roasts like a blond roast, but the brewing process needs a little refinement to get great results.
Can Espresso Be Made Manually?
Yes, originally an espresso was Brewed manually using pump machines that created the pressure needed to brew an espresso. The steam-powered espresso machine did not come until later. Today, the manual espresso machines are much more compact and great when you want to make exotic.
Do You Need Espresso Beans For Espresso?
Espresso beans are a specific roast, mostly a French roast, which is perfect for brewing espresso due to the high amount of oil on the surface of the beans.
They are best, but not absolutely required.
Frappé-Ing It All Up! – How To Make Espresso With Regular Coffee
There are many ways to make coffee with regular coffee beans. It is best done with Espreso beans or dark roasted beans as this is an absolute requirement to get that rich, thick creama on top. If you have been searching how to make espresso with regular coffee I have presented several ways in which you can achieve that goal – and without the use of a machine!
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