Everyone loves espresso, it is one of the best-tasting brewing methods out there and it gives you so much room for personalization, but many people wonder: how is it that you can make one without a fancy espresso machine that is far too expensive to be practical?
This topic is a bit up in the air and most sources are a bit confusing and contradictory. But, here at Gamble Bay Coffee, we are intent on being the most reliable and steadfast source for coffee information that you can find anywhere on the web.
Never fear, it is possible to make espresso without an espresso machine. Quite a few ways, in fact. So let’s take a look at some of these and then go more in-depth on each of them.
What Ways are There to Make an Espresso Without a Machine?
All three of these methods have slightly varied results and do require a bit of work to “mimic” the espresso method, but that does not mean it’s not possible.
You can make an espresso with:
- Moka pot
- French press.
The reason it is specifically these three things is that an espresso machine works with pressure. It uses high pressure to push hot water through tightly packed grounds at a high speed. These three methods have a pressing function which can mimic the results of an espresso machine.
These methods vary in degrees of success and mimicry, some argue that the moka pot version is different enough that they name it “Moka Express”. Since all of these methods have varying processes, let’s take a look.
How to Make Espresso With a Moka Pot.
One of the more classic ways to make espresso without an espresso machine is with the moka pot. This elegant, European device can truly make an impressive cup of espresso thanks to the water pressure it generates (and as we know, the pressure is a key ingredient to an espresso-like shot of coffee).
The Steps To Making Espresso
- Grind your coffee. You will want about 22 grams of finely ground coffee.
- Next, you just need to add a small amount of water to the bottom of the moka pot.
- Place the ground coffee into the moka pot’s filter.
- Attach the top of the moka pot.
- Put your stove to about medium heat and place the moka pot on the burner.
- Monitor the level of the coffee. It wouldn’t hurt to stir it, as well. Once the water starts to boil, the pressure from the boiling will push a stream of coffee through the top chamber. You will know that it’s completed by the hissing sound the pot will make.
- Remove the pot from the burner and it is ready to serve.
Moka pots are a nicely designed tool. As such, this can take some time to really get it right, but once you do, it is a great way to make espresso at home and will get close enough to regular espresso that it will be hard to tell the difference.
The moka pot is the best of the three, as the moka pot has the ability to get closer to the minimum nine-bar pressure needed to make an espresso.
If you don’t have a moka pot and are looking into getting one, I would recommend the Bialetti Moka Pot.
How to make an Espresso from an Aeropress.
The Aeropress is a neat tool, it can do several things, one of these includes making fantastic espresso.
This is the average method for making espresso. However, it makes a double shot. If you only want a single shot of espresso, cut the water and coffee levels to about half.
- The first step is to heat up the water, outside the Aeropress, obviously. You’ll want to heat the water to around 85 degrees Celcius. The temperature can vary slightly, but this will get you the ideal result. You’ll also want to make more water than what’s called for, as it will equal out later.
- You’ll want about 39 grams of ground coffee. You can do this manually or buy it, but it will be much better if you grind it to a personal consistency. A burr grinder is the best way to grind coffee to a precise consistency. You can always go to the coffee shop and get them ground for you, although the coffee won’t be as fresh as if you ground it yourself.
- Set up the Aeropress and prepare it for brewing. You’ll want to place it in a sturdy container, as the pressure you’ll be putting on it is going to be quite high.
- Fill the Aeropress with the grounds and ensure they are compact.
- Now you just need to stir the coffee and steep it.
- About 30 seconds after stirring, you’ll want to steadily push with the weight of your hand on the plunge.
- Now you just need to serve.
It is important to note that coffee from the Aeropress won’t be as full as the coffee from an espresso machine if you use a paper filter. For this reason, I recommend using a metal filter for this, if at all possible, to get that much closer to espresso.
An Aeropress is a neat tool that is powerful and convenient to have if you make coffee often. While the Aeropress is an effective way to make an espresso, it is not quite on par with the moka pot. I’d take a look at the Aerobie Aeropress, if you want one of these.
Lastly, we will go over how to do this with a French press.
How to Make an Espresso With a French Press.
The French press is not the best of the three methods for making espresso. So we only really recommend it as a last resort, as you won’t get the same effect as you will from the other two methods, let alone an actual espresso machine.
- Grind your coffee, as with all coffee you make in a French press, the grind needs to be as fine as possible to ensure the water goes through right.
- The water needs to be around 85-87 degrees C as with the Aeropress.
- Add the coffee grounds to the French press, use double the amount you would normally for a regular French press cup, this gets it closer to espresso.
- Add some more hot water to the French press, this will coax all of the oils out of the coffee. After a few moments, you will want to add the rest of your water and stir.
- Close the lid, but don’t plunge. Steep for about 4 minutes, depending on the strength of coffee you desire.
- Press the plunger down slowly and steadily. Go about halfway and then raise the plunger back up before you plunge the full length.
As I said, this method should only be a last resort for making espresso-like coffee. It is more of a strong-coffee rather than any sort of espresso, as there is only around 1-bar of pressure
If you are looking into obtaining a French press, take a look at the Cafe Du Chateu.
Which method would be best?
Overall, an Aeropress would be the best method for making espresso without a machine, with a French press being the worst. If nothing else, you can just go to a cafe.
While these methods won’t get you the exact same thing as an actual espresso machine will, you will get close enough to say it’s an espresso.