5 Different Ways To Make Espresso Without A Machine

For most of us, mornings aren’t complete without a cup of coffee. Most of the time, a regular coffee will do but if you want a more stronger type of coffee you will be needing an espresso shot. Espresso is a type of coffee where the method of making uses a high water pressure ground beans to make a incredibly concentrated coffee shot. Espresso shots are available in most coffee shops or you can make your own espresso shot at home. Although not everyone can afford an expresso machine. Not to worry as there are other ways that you can have your very own espresso shot even without an expensive machine. In this post, we will teach you different ways on how to make espresso without a machine.

ProductBrandNamePrice
BAYKABAYKA French Press Coffee Maker, Glass Classic Copper 304 Stainless Steel Coffee Press,Check Price on Amazon
PrimulaPrimula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker, Moka PotCheck Price on Amazon
AeropressAEROPRESS Coffee and Espresso Maker - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without BitternessCheck Price on Amazon
AMEBIBOESSSO Portable Espresso Machine and Coffee Hand Maker, Mini Handheld SizeCheck Price on Amazon
FlairThe NEO, by Flair Espresso - An all manual lever espresso maker for the homeCheck Price on Amazon
KTMAIIFood Processor Blender - Kitchen Food Processor,Blender Food Processor Combo,Coffee Grinder Cup,and Chopper Vegetable Meat Choppers for Puree,Fruit Salad 650WCheck Price on Amazon

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Make Espresso Without A Machine

If you want to make a perfect espresso shot you have to consider a few things: type of coffee beans, consistency of the ground beans, temperature of the water and the pressure level of the machine (if you will be using an espresso machine). Espresso machines pressurized the boiling water in order to make a great espresso. The hot water is forced through the coffee grounds so that the flavor and oils will easily get extracted. For the amount of pressure, nine bars is the minimum pressured required in a espresso machine.

That is why, when making an espresso it usually requires an espresso machine, you cannot make the same pressured when using you hands but it does not necessarily mean you cannot have espresso even without a machine since most espresso machines are not cheap, but rather expensive.

Listed below are some of the ways on how to make espresso without a fancy espresso machine.


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The French Press Method

If you are already a coffee lover, you probably already have a French press at home. But if you do not have one at home, perhaps you are not familiar with how it looks like or what a French press is. A French press is a thermos-like container. It has a piston that is located in the middle of the pot.

The French Press is perhaps one of the cheapest substitute since French press are budget friendly. Although this method will not really result an espresso shot, but the flavor quiet similar to an espresso machine made by espresso machines.

How to make espresso with a French Press

When making an espresso shot using a press press, here’s what you need:

  • French Press: A device that is affordable coffee device that consists of: Glass Cylinder, handle, a lid with mesh filter. (attached to a plunger)
  • Coffee Beans (Freshly Roasted): Dark Roast coffee beans or whole espresso beans
  • Coffee Burr Grinder: Used to grind coffee beans. If you do not have a grinder available, you can use finely ground coffee grounds as an alternative.
  • Scale or a Tablespoon used to measure coffee
  • Stovetop kettle or Electric Gooseneck: used to heat water.

  1. Grind Coffee beans

    Grind very darker roast beans or espresso beans into coarse grind or very fine grind. For 2 cups of espresso shots, you will need at least 4 tablespoons of coffee or 2 tbsp. for every cup of water.

  2. Heat or boil the water

    Fill you kettle with water and heat the water until it boils. Make sure the temperature does not exceed 200 to 205°F. You can use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is below 200°F.

    Make sure the water is hot enough for the French Press device. It will taste bad if the water is not hot enough simply because the extraction of the coffee will not begin.

  3. Add Coffee grounds

    Remove the lid of the French Press then add fine coffee grounds all the way to the bottom of the press. The amount usually doubles the amount of coffee as you would normally use for making average coffee on French Press.

    Pour a small amount of hot water to the French press and let it sit and soak for a few at least 30 seconds, this is what they call “blooming”, allowing the coffee to release its oils and aroma.

  4. Fill French press with water

    Add the remaining hot water to the French Press and stir, gently and not vigorously.

  5. Allow coffee to steep

    Place the lid of the French Press but do not plunge yet. Allow the coffee grounds to steep for at least 4 minutes after closing the lid. For a more stronger espresso, add at least a minute or two. Make sure not to steep coffee grounds for a longer period of time as it will result to a bitter espresso.

  6. Press Plunger

    Slowly and steadily press the plunger all the way down. If at some point you can feel a resistance half way, simply pull plunger up and the press plunger again.

    If plunger is already at the bottom, pour your espresso to a mug then serve.

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The Moka Pot Method

The Moka Pot method is also known as a stovetop espresso maker. If you want your homemade espresso shot to taste closest to the espresso made with an espresso machine, you can try this Moka Pot Method, it can result to a concentrated coffee though it will not result to the signature crema that machine-made espresso shot.

For this method, the coffee ground should be grind as fine as possible. Although the brewing process takes a little longer than that when using French press

Next, fill the Moka pot with filtered water. The level of the water should not exceed the valve located at the water chamber.

Then, pour espresso coffee to the filter basket but make sure not to overfill. Place it into the water.

Next, securely screw the Moka pot together. Using a stove top, place the pot. Make sure heat is on low or medium heat only. This time, the sprout from the pot will over flow. If you are unsure of the temperature, you can easily spot if you are on low heat where the sprout will spit out slowly or even barely to the stove, while if High heat the flow of the sprout will quickly flow.

Lastly, if you hear a gurgle sound on the Moka pot remove from heat source and then pour in a cup or mug and enjoy your espresso.

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The Aeropress Method

An Aeropress is a plastic cylinder used to make coffee. It is similar to the French press device. Both the French press and the Aeropress have the same function (uses pressure) and have the same principles when brewing as well. Another portable device that is usually used when on camping trips.

The Aeropress method of brewing coffee requires are least 2 coffee filters instead of the usual one filter.

Making an espresso shot is made by simply placing coffee grounds at the bottom of the device, then add hot water, and pushed the plunger to create pressure and then the coffee will be filtered to the cup.

  1. Grind Coffee: It is recommended to use extremely fine grounds of coffee. Using a big ground will not result to an expresso since the water will just flow freely.
  2. Place ground to the Aeropress: Before pouring coffee grounds to the Aeropress, make sure filter is placed first at the lower cap. You can also pour a little amount of water to the filter to remove the taste of paper which can be very unpleasant. After pouring ground t the to the tube, shake it a little bit. Add another filter paper on the lower end of the plunger of the Aeropress. So in here, the coffee grounds are now in between the two filters.
  3. Press Plunger: Gently press the plunger, then retract the plunger back up again. This is the first pressing of the brewing process.
  4. Add hot water and press again: The water must be boiled using a separate container and the temperature should be 100°C. Pour the boiling water into the Aeropress. Then press down the plunger again (second press). This will result to a more stronger espresso shots.
  5. To clean Aeropress: Unscrew the basket and remove filters. Throw in the garbage. Press the plunger to remove the grounds. Rinse with water.

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The Hand Espresso Gadget Method

The hand espresso gadget device is designed for outdoor settings like when in camping as it is lightweight and portable. You can easily bring it with your on your camping trips.

There should be a pod, where the coffee grounds can go into and an arm with hot water. The arm will be pumped to create a pressure that is needed to make a shot of espresso.

To make an espresso using the hand espresso gadget method:

  1. Grind the coffee: Finely grind espresso beans is usually recommended
  2. Fill the pod of the hand espresso gadget machine with the coffee grounds up to the level of the line.
  3. Heat water: In a separate container, boil water over a stovetop for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Add water: Once the water is boiling, add it to the water chamber of the device (Completely full)
  5. Securely seal: seal the device and hold it firmly in place.
  6. Pump the arm: this time, pump the arm, the pressure should be at least 16 psi.
  7. Press Extraction button: hold the device over the mug or cup and simply press the extraction button of the device.

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The Lever Machine Method

There are Lever machines that you can use manually to make a delicious espresso shots even without buying the expensive espresso machine, which they function similar to the high end espresso machine available for purchase. Although, it would usually take some time and a little practice to be able to get the perfect espresso shot.

To make an espresso using the lever machine method, follow the steps below:

  1. Grind the beans: grinding the size of the coffee beans according to the tamp pressure of the machine. Grind using a burr grinder to fine ground then scoop the coffee grounds and placed into the portafilter with a gentle press.
  2. Put the portafilter with coffee grounds into the Lever Machine
  3. Place a mug below the Lever machine.
  4. Using a steady and slow but firm press when moving the level up and down. Simply pull lever up, let it stay there for 10 seconds then lower the lever down. You can do it again for about 20-pulls using a 45 pound pressure.

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Different ways to Grind Coffee

As previously mentioned, the type of coffee grounds used is important for making certain types of coffee. Grinding the coffee simply means, breaking them into small pieces according to how you want to use it. If you do not have a coffee grinder at home, or you cannot use one at the moment, listed below are some ways on how to grind a coffee with an electric coffee grinder.

Here are the 7 different grind sizes for different types of coffee:

  • Extra Coarse: it has a similar texture of a peppercorns. Best used for cold brew coffee.
  • Coarse: the texture is similar to a Kosher Salt where chunks of coffee can be easily felt. Best used for French Press machine, cupping or percolator.
  • Medium Coarse: the size is similar to a French press grind but is more chunkier though it is slightly smoother.
  • Medium Grind: this type of grind size is usually used in your favorite coffee shop. The texture is similar to a sea salt.
  • Medium Fine: is a grind size between the sizes used for making drip coffee and espresso. Smaller grains of coffee similar to table salt.
  • Fine Grind: when it comes to its consistency, fine grind coffee ground coffee is a little finer than table salt. Best use for espresso brewing espresso or an Aeropress machine.
  • Extra Fine: the consistency of Extra fine is similar to that of a powdered sugar, very fine coffee grounds best use for making espresso.

Mortar & Pestle

Mortar and Pestle is a handy-kitchen tool that you easily use not just to grind coffee but to crush herbs and spices as well. Although the time it will take to grind coffee beans would take some time, but with using mortar and pestle you will have control on the grinding process. A ceramic Mortar and Pestle is recommended.

To grind coffee beans, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Add at least 2 tbsp. of coffee beans to the mortar
  2. Hold the mortar using one of your hands, usually the non-dominant hand. This will help hold mortar in place.
  3. Hold the Pestle using your dominant hand, press and crush ground beans. Continue with this process until desired texture of coffee grounds is achieved.
  4. If you need more coffee grounds, simply transfer the already-made coffee grounds to the machine used to make coffee and then repeat the same steps above.

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Food Blender

Food Blenders aren’t use just to make delicious drinks, but can also be used to make coffee beans into coffee powder or even espresso powder.

Follow the simple steps below to grind coffee beans using the food blender:

  1. Add small amount of coffee beans to your blender, then cover the blender by putting its lid back.
  2. Blender setting should be at medium-high speed. There are some blenders that have a grinder setting, choose that settings if ever.
  3. Hold the hold with your non-dominant hand, help keep the blender and the lid in place
  4. Start grinding the coffee with the settings set.
  5. Transfer coffee ground as soon as consistency and texture is achieved.

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Rolling Pin

This is probably the most inexpensive way of grinding coffee, using a rolling pin and a ziploc bag. The process of grinding is pretty simple and easy.

  1. Using a ziploc bag, place the amount of coffee beans you want inside. Though make sure not to overfill the bag. Securely close the bag.
  2. Place bag on top of a cutting board or a flat hard surface. Arrange the beans that it will look like it is on a single layer.
  3. Apply gently pressure on the bag (starting from the bottom) using the rolling pin.
  4. Continue to roll the pin all over the bag, make sure to cover entirely everything.
  5. Though it make take some time, depending on the desired texture. Once achieved, transfer to coffee machine.

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Pepper Mill

Pepper mill used for grinding coffee does not require you to use expensive and fancy machine. A plastic pepper mill will do.

It as simple as adding beans to an empty mill. then then start the grinding process. Though most of Pepper mills cannot tolerate and handle large beans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Keurig make Espresso shots?

Although there are ads that says Keurigs can make espresso shots, actually it cannot. It isn’t designed to make espresso drinks since there is not enough pressure for espresso making but that does not mean you cannot get the same concentrated taste similar to that of an espresso.

When using a Keurig to make a coffee similar to an espresso drinks is to make the coffee drink as concentrated as possible. This means, using a dark roast coffee pod. Set Keurig machine to brews the smallest cup (6 oz.) so that it will result to a more concentrated dark coffee. Though not an espresso, but more like an espresso like coffee that none of the regular coffee’s can.

Can you make espresso using a regular coffee maker?

No, you cannot make an espresso shot with your regular coffee maker however you can make some modifications and adjustments to your regular coffee drinks to make it espresso-like.

Here’s a tip:
1. For every tablespoon of ground coffee, use at least 2 oz. of filtered water.
2. The coffee grind size is of utmost importance: medium finely ground beans will definitely result to a delicious brew while a too coarse ground coffee will give you a blunt flavor. A too finely ground beans would make your coffee taste bitter.
3. Warm water should be used when filling the reservoir of the machine, allowing the water to heat to the desired temperature to brew an amazing coffee.

Can you use the pour-over method in making espresso?

Making Espresso is all about using pressure, wherein hot water is being pushed through the ground coffee that brings out the delicious flavor of the grounds. While with pour-over method, from the name itself implies, it is simply pouring water to the coffee grounds and allowing the water to get its way through the coffee. Yes it will still give delicious coffee, but it does not result to an espresso shot.

How long does a grinding process take?

The grinding process varies on the type of coffee grinders used and the type of grind size you want to achieve. Electrical grinders grind coffee beans faster as compared to manually operated grinders.

Also, the type of grind size also affects the grinding process as it would depend if you have already achieved your desired coffee ground consistency and texture for your coffee.

Final Thoughts

Making an espresso at home can still be possible even without a fancy espresso maker. There are different methods that you can use to attain an espresso like coffee at the comfort of home.

The water temperature, coffee roast, the amount of pressure and of course the type of beans used is very important and should always be taken into consideration when making your own espresso coffee at home.

ProductBrandNamePrice
BAYKABAYKA French Press Coffee Maker, Glass Classic Copper 304 Stainless Steel Coffee Press,Check Price on Amazon
PrimulaPrimula Stovetop Espresso and Coffee Maker, Moka PotCheck Price on Amazon
AeropressAEROPRESS Coffee and Espresso Maker - Quickly Makes Delicious Coffee Without BitternessCheck Price on Amazon
AMEBIBOESSSO Portable Espresso Machine and Coffee Hand Maker, Mini Handheld SizeCheck Price on Amazon
FlairThe NEO, by Flair Espresso - An all manual lever espresso maker for the homeCheck Price on Amazon
KTMAIIFood Processor Blender - Kitchen Food Processor,Blender Food Processor Combo,Coffee Grinder Cup,and Chopper Vegetable Meat Choppers for Puree,Fruit Salad 650WCheck Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.