I’ve always been a big fan of coffee over espresso because of difference in the volume of liquid between the two. A double-shot of espresso for instance is only 3.5-4oz compared to my standard 6-cup brew of coffee I tend to make every morning.
What I’ve found to be a great middle ground between the two is the common Americano (pictured left) which is espresso mixed with hot water. Sure you could call it watered down espresso but I prefer to call it fancy coffee because it rivals the volume I’d get out of y coffee maker but the drink itself is just better.
My wife in fact has come to a point where she won’t drink coffee at all. If she’s not drinking Earl Grey she’s drinking an Americano. It’s espresso or nothing for her.
This all got me inspired to find an economical way of making good espresso from home so that we both could enjoy a cup together and this is what I came across.
How I Make Espresso Without An Espresso Machine
The best way to get espresso at home is to use freshly roasted beans from a local company. People that I trust have convinced me that local (small) roasters tend to be the best places to get freshly roasted beans.
Then, the exact time you are ready to make your espresso you grind your beans. You don’t do it at the market or days in advance, you do it on the spot with a conical burr grinder. This ensures the best flavor possible.
Yeah, you can easily overspend on burr coffee grinders but I like simple products and they tend to be the cheapest. A simple hand crank grinder like this one is awesome if you have the patience to use it.
Using a slightly coarser grind than espresso grind you then put your ground beans into one of these super affordable stovetop espresso pots (small, medium, large) and bring it to a boil slowly. Let the boiling action of the water work it’s magic. The steam forms the pressure needed to make good espresso.
It’s amazing that this contraption is so simple and cheap yet people readily spend hundreds for a fancy machine that’s typically far more complicated to use, keep clean, or service. The stovetop unit wont froth milk but for straight espresso, americano’s and some after-dinner coffee drinks all you need is the classic stovetop pot shown above.
You can see more top rated stovetop espresso pots in the store.
What’s great about making your espresso this way is that you have full control over the water, grind, beans, and ratio of espresso to hot water that is used. No longer do you have to settle for a 4:1 ratio at a coffee bar using regular tap water. You can bust out your bottled water and take whatever steps you need to to make the best cup possible for your own tastes.