Have there been times when you wished you could get a fresh cup of espresso but just didn’t want to leave your house? What if we told you that you could enjoy espresso right at home?
All you have to do is get yourself an espresso maker! But do you want to spend that much money on a machine (an excellent automated espresso machine sells for $450–$1,200)? Possibly not!
In reality, you can’t make actual espresso without a machine. That’s because espresso is made by passing hot water under great pressure, through finely grounded coffee beans.
The process leaves a rich layer of light-colored foam on top of the cup, resulting from the water’s pressure. That foam is called Crema.
However, we have good news. You can still make your coffee “espresso-style”, without using an espresso machine.
All you will need is finely ground coffee beans and hot water. Below, we’ll look at the methods you can use to get your espresso-style coffee.
What Makes a Great Espresso?
What makes you get the best results from your homemade espresso is the quality of the beans, the type of roast, and the temperature of the water.
Your beans should be freshly ground, and the roast should be light, although this depends on how strong you want your cup. If you can’t grind your beans yourself, try to get the best quality ground beans.
Also, the more pressure you can get, the better because the quality of espresso depends heavily on the pressure.
You should aim for a pressure of at least 9 bars, or your drink wouldn’t look or taste like authentic espresso.
Finally, make sure your water is hot enough to extract the oils and flavor, but not too hot. If your water reaches boiling point, your beans may be scarred, leaving a bitter taste.
Since we won’t be using a machine for our homemade espresso, we’ll show you how to improvise to get that rich, intense taste that espresso gives. For this article, we’ll consider four methods.
We’ll use the portable espresso maker, the French press, a Moka pot, and an Aeropress. All four methods have procedures that must be followed to get the best results. So, let’s get brewing!
Portable Espresso Maker
Portable espresso makers are simple to operate and many different brands make them. Each model has different specifications, but a portable espresso maker is designed for travelers who still want to be able to make their espresso on the go.
As expected, it won’t give the same quality as a standard espresso machine, but a portable espresso maker, for its price, still delivers enough goods.
You must scoop ground coffee into the filter basket and level it by applying some pressure. It doesn’t heat water, so you must manually add boiled water to the tank.
Then, manually add pressure through the piston by pumping. The pressure that manually forces the water through the coffee grounds into the cup is required to extract the necessary aroma and flavor in espresso.
The coffee may not be as rich as it is from a standard machine, but the portable espresso maker still manages to give a reasonably rich crema.
The portable espresso maker is made for travelers, but if you own one, it’s a perfect way to make espresso at home without a machine.
There are different portable espresso makers, but the most popular ones include WACACO Minipresso, The Flair Signature, 9Barista, and Cafflano Kompresso.
They all have different specifications, but it’s best to follow the individual instructions to get the best results.
Almost every coffee lover owns a French press. If you do, you can prepare a cup of espresso, but just like every method without a machine, it has flaws.
For example, you won’t get that foamy crema that is a signature feature of the espresso, and its procedure also leads to the formation of some sediments.
However, in terms of flavor, this is a fantastic method.
- Grind your coffee beans with a Burr grinder. As always, freshly ground coffee is always best. A medium-fine ground will do.
- Heat your water to just under boiling point.
- Pour two tablespoons of ground coffee into the bottom of the glass cylinder of the French press and add hot water. Let it soak the coffee for about half a minute, after which, pour the rest of the water to let it steep for about four minutes. Let it stay for longer if you want it to be stronger.
- Place the lid on the press and apply pressure by pressing the plunger to the middle.
- Pour into a mug for your homemade espresso, French press style!
You won’t get a frothy crema and you may have sediments, but this method’s product is rich in flavor.
The secret of a moka pot is the pressure, which makes the espresso unique.
If you’ve tried the French press and didn’t get what you wanted because the pressure wasn’t enough, this will blow you off your feet!
If you want something that’s closest to a perfect espresso, then the moka pot is what you need.
The moka pot was not initially designed for espresso, but it can be used to perfectly produce a great cup.
You will need finely ground beans for greater extraction. Unlike the French press, the coffee must be very well ground. Of course, it should be fresh too.
- Fill the pot chamber with water and ensure it doesn’t exceed the mark set by the valve.
- Pour the freshly ground coffee into the coffee basket. Don’t apply pressure to the grounds, so water can pass through easily.
- Screw the pot together after ensuring that the edges are correctly cleaned. You are using a pressure pot, so you should ensure it is properly cleaned.
- Place the pot on a stove, and apply low heat. If the heat is too high, the pressure will be too much, and you won’t be able to collect coffee in the chamber.
- Once the water in the lower chamber boils, the pressure pushes the filter through the upper chamber.
- Your coffee is done once you notice foam beginning to form. The moka pot should be removed from the stove once the top is full of coffee.
- Stir the coffee and serve in cups.
The last method we’re considering is the AeroPress method. If you’re unfamiliar with it, an AeroPress is a plastic cylinder used to make coffee.
This method is not a favorite for many espresso lovers and is often used as a last resort because it falls short on flavor and crema.
It also produces more bitter coffee than most other methods.
However, it is cheap and easy to use and is not as stressful as using a moka pot.
- Grind your coffee beans to a fine grind. It doesn’t need to be too fine.
- Heat the water to near boiling point
- Next, place the filter into the drain. Place the press on a mug. You may wet the filter as well. You should then screw the basket to the end of the AeroPress.
- Pour the coffee grounds into the AeroPress, and stir it as you add the hot water. Make sure the water reaches the mark indicated in the press.
- After about a minute, insert the plunger into the AeroPress and apply pressure until the plunger reaches the very bottom. It will take some time to get to the bottom and then you will hear the hissing sound of air being let out. It is the pressure that produces the espresso. It takes half a minute to press all the way down.
- Your espresso is ready to be enjoyed!
Enjoying great espresso takes some effort. Espresso is all about pressure. That’s why all the methods involved apply some form of pressure.
While the Moka pot provides the most pressure of all the methods we have considered, it is also the most difficult.
But we’re sure you can use any of the methods highlighted to get something great if the Moka pot isn’t your favorite.
The best espresso can only be enjoyed when made with an espresso machine. But not everyone has one.
These improvised methods can give you espresso, it just won’t be as rich as you may want. The advantage is that they are effortless and can be used at home.
Last Updated on August 29, 2022 by Ashok Parmar