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How To Make Espresso at Home – 5 Easy Ways

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If you love coffee, it’s likely that at some point you’ve wanted to learn how to make espresso at home whether with a fancy espresso machine or using an alternative method.

Not only that you CAN do so, but making espresso yourself saves money on expensive coffee from cafes and restaurants and it won’t be any less delicious.

With just a few simple steps and the right pieces of equipment, anyone can make barista-style espresso in their own kitchen. That’s how I get caffeinated every day without spending money on expensive lattes in Starbucks or Costa Coffee.

In this blog post, I’ll cover everything you need to know about brewing great-tasting espresso right at home. I’ll even dive into a few methods for making espresso at home without a fancy machine.

How to Make Espresso at Home Infographic
5 Best Ways to Make Espresso at Home. Feel free to share it and give credit to

How To Make Espresso at Home With an Espresso Machine

Making espresso is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. With the right tools and technique, you can make a delicious cup using an espresso machine.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1 – Gather your espresso ingredients:

You’ll need freshly ground espresso beans and filtered water. Make sure the beans are fresh and have been recently roasted.

If you’re using pre-ground coffee, use a high-quality brand that hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for too long.

You will also need a tamper to press down the grounds into the portafilter basket, and milk if making a latte or even a diluted americano version.

Step 2 – Prepare the portafilter:

Take your portafilter and fill it evenly with freshly ground coffee, usually about two tablespoons per shot.

Tap the sides of the portafilter lightly with your hand so that all of the grounds are settled evenly in the bottom before tamping them down with your tamper—it should feel like slightly damp sand when you press down on it.

Once you’ve finished tamping, twist off any excess grinds from around the edges of the basket so that everything is level with zero grinds spilling over onto your countertop.

Preparing Portafilter to Brew Espresso From Home
Preparing Portafilter

Step 3 – Load up your espresso machine:

Load up your espresso machine according to its instructions, making sure that all components are securely in place and that there’s enough water in the reservoir for full extraction.

Some machines may come with additional features like temperature control or pressure gauges, which allow you to fine-tune your extraction even further than what we’ll explain here.

However, these are typically reserved for more advanced baristas or those working in commercial settings.

Step 4 – Begin brewing espresso:

Start brewing by pressing down on either an on/off switch (if available) or by turning a knob to start extracting hot water through your puck of grounds at 9 bars of pressure (or greater).

Depending on your machine, this should take roughly 25 seconds per shot; if yours takes much longer than this then something has gone wrong or needs adjustment—you may need to adjust grind size, tamping pressure, or contact customer service for help troubleshooting!

How to Make Espresso From Home Using Espresso Machine
Brewing Espresso

Step 5 – Stop brewing & clean up:

Once you’ve extracted all of the liquid out of your puck (known as “pulling a shot”), turn off either switch or knob depending on how yours operates.

Remove any excess grounds from around the edges of the portafilter before discarding them into an appropriate waste receptacle (not down the sink!).

Immediately rinse the portafilter under running water as soon as possible after pulling each shot—machines tend to get clogged quickly if not cleaned regularly! Here’s how to clean the espresso machine.

Finally, dry off both portafilters before loading them back onto the machine for the next extraction(s).

Step 6 – Enjoy your espresso at home!:

And finally, enjoy! You just made some amazing espresso!

If you want to make yourself something fancier like cappuccinos and lattes then simply add steamed milk frothed. Check out our list of espresso drinks to learn how to make them.

By the way, if you are an espresso beginner and you don’t own a machine yet, but you would like to, check out our best espresso machines for beginners.

Things You Need To Make Espresso With An Espresso Machine

To make espresso, you will need the following items:

  • Espresso Machine: First and foremost, you will need an espresso machine. There are different types of espresso machines available, including manual, semi-automatic, and automatic machines. Choose one that suits your needs and budget.
  • Espresso Beans: Espresso is made from finely ground coffee beans. You can use any coffee beans, but espresso beans are specially roasted and ground to make a perfect cup of espresso.
  • Coffee Grinder: A coffee grinder is required to grind the coffee beans. Make sure to use a good quality grinder that grinds the beans to a fine consistency.
  • Tamper: A tamper is used to compress the ground coffee into the portafilter. A good tamper should fit the portafilter perfectly and apply even pressure to the coffee.
  • Portafilter: The portafilter is the metal handle that holds the ground coffee. It attaches to the espresso machine and is used to brew the espresso.
  • Shot Glass: A shot glass is used to measure the amount of espresso that is brewed. It should be placed under the portafilter to collect the espresso shot.
  • Milk Frothing Pitcher: If you plan to make milk-based espresso drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, you will need a milk frothing pitcher to steam and froth the milk.
  • Water: Water is used to fill the espresso machine’s water tank, which is used to brew the espresso.
  • Clean Cloth: A clean cloth is used to wipe down the espresso machine and portafilter after use.
  • Espresso Cups: Finally, you will need espresso cups to serve your freshly brewed espresso. Choose cups that are the right size for your shot and that can handle the heat of the espresso.

Can You Make Espresso at Home Without a Fancy Espresso Machine?

While having an expensive espresso machine can certainly help create great cups of coffee quickly and easily – there are plenty of other ways to craft tasty espresso at home without breaking your budget.

This can be accomplished by using a stovetop Moka pot, French Press or an Aeropress.

All of these methods require minimal equipment and minimal effort. The only difference is that you don’t really get the real espresso – but it’s close!

How To Make Espresso at Home Without a Machine

In this section, I’ll take you through my top 4 alternative methods for making espresso at home without a machine. Here’s the list of choices:

  • Moka Pot
  • Aeropress
  • French Press
  • Instant Coffee

Moka Pot Espresso Method

A Moka pot is a traditional Italian way to prepare espresso, and one of my favourites.

It consists of three main parts – the base where water is heated, the funnel-shaped filter basket that contains ground coffee, and the top chamber where brewed coffee accumulates.

Here is how to make espresso using Moka Pot:

  1. Preheat the moka pot by filling it with cold water up to the indicator line on the side of the pot. Place it on the stovetop over a low-medium heat setting.
  2. Measure out 1 heaped tablespoon of freshly ground espresso beans into the filter basket using a spoon or scoop. Make sure to spread out the grounds evenly in order to allow for even extraction later on.
  3. Put the filter basket back in place and screw tighten it onto the bottom part of the moka pot.
  4. Once your water has reached boiling temperature, pour enough hot water into the reservoir of your moka pot until it reaches just below its safety valve (just below is the key).
  5. Carefully insert your filled lower chamber into its upper counterpart and secure it firmly by turning clockwise until tight.
  6. Place your moka pot back onto your preheated stove top over medium heat settings and wait for it to start simmering and hissing gently (this could take around two minutes).
  7. Once you see steam coming through from both sides of its spout, switch off your heat source immediately and carefully rotate your moka pot’s handle back and forth several times before slowly lifting off from its lower part as this will help evenly redistribute all those delicious espressos oils throughout your cup!
  8. Grab yourself a mug or glass, pour in your freshly made home espresso – enjoy!

By the way, if you don’t have a moka pot, you can see our list of best moka pots here.

Moka Pot Method for Making Espresso at Home
Moka Pot

Aeropress Espresso Method

Aeropress is another popular method for making espresso from home without an expensive machine.

The Aeropress consists of two main components – a plunger and cylinder – along with several optional accessories such as filters and stirrers.

Here’s how to brew espresso using the Aeropress method:

  1. To get started, weigh out 17g of fresh whole-bean espresso coffee, then grind it to a very fine setting using your burr grinder – this will take roughly 15 seconds.
  2. After grinding, insert the plunger into the Aeropress chamber and place the paper filter in the cap.
  3. Next, add your ground espresso to the chamber, followed by 200ml of hot water heated to between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place the top onto the Aeropress chamber, then flip it over onto your cup or mug.
  5. Once flipped over, press down slowly on the plunger for about one minute until you hear a hissing sound – that indicates that brewing is complete!
  6. At this point stir briefly before removing the plunger and discarding any used grounds and filter.
  7. Your espresso is ready! Enjoy immediately!
Aeropress Method for Making Espresso at Home

French Press Espresso Method

Making an espresso using a French Press can be quite a satisfying experience.

To start, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the necessary tools: a French press coffeemaker, freshly ground espresso beans, filtered water, and a stovetop or electric kettle.

To make espresso using the French press:

  1. Measure out approximately seven to eight tablespoons of freshly ground espresso beans into the bottom of the French Press pot.
  2. Pour about two ounces (or just enough to cover the grounds) of boiled water into the pot and stir lightly for about 15 seconds with a spoon or knife.
  3. Add more boiled water to the coffee grounds (about 10-12 ounces should be fine).
  4. Place the lid on top and gently press down on it until it rests just above the surface of your coffee mixture. Let this sit for four minutes – this is when your espresso will extract from those delicious grounds!
  5. After four minutes have passed, slowly press down on the plunger all of the way down to separate any remaining grinds from your freshly brewed espresso.
  6. Enjoy your homemade espresso!
French Press Method for Making Espresso at Home
French Press

Instant Coffee Espresso Method

Making an espresso using Instant Coffee is an easy way to enjoy a cup of coffee without having to buy a separate espresso machine.

To start, you’ll need instant coffee, a stovetop or hot plate, water, sugar (optional), and either an electric milk frother or whisk.

  1. To begin, measure approximately 2 tablespoons of instant coffee into a cup or mug of your choice.
  2. Next, pour hot water from the stovetop or hot plate over the instant coffee until it’s about halfway full.
  3. Stir carefully with a spoon until all the grains are dissolved. If desired, sweeten with sugar for added sweetness.
  4. Once all the ingredients have been added and mixed together, wrap your metal whisk or frother in a damp cloth and use it to whisk vigorously for 30-45 seconds until the mixture has thickened up and the foam forms on top.
  5. Finally, spoon some of the foam onto your espresso and enjoy!

There you have it. Now you know how to make espresso with and without a fancy machine right from the comfort of your home.

Instant Coffee Method for Making Espresso at Home
Instant Coffee

Tips for Making Great Espresso at Home

Perfecting a cup of espresso at home can be tricky, and it certainly doesn’t come easy. But with the right equipment, some patience, and a few insider tips, you can make become a master of the skill.

Here are some of the best tips for making espresso at home, as well as a few common mistakes that you should avoid:

First of all, invest in quality equipment

The type of espresso machine you choose will have the biggest impact on the taste of your coffee. Different machines offer different features and abilities; choose an espresso machine based on your budget and needs.

If you want to make espresso at home, I recommend purchasing an automatic or semi-automatic machine with adjustable pressure settings.

This will give you more control over the strength and flavour of your espresso.

Next, grind your beans correctly

Grinding your beans too finely will result in bitter-tasting coffee; too coarsely ground beans will result in weak-tasting espressos.

To get the perfect grind for brewing espresso at home, use a burr grinder rather than a blade grinder—it will provide a more consistent particle size which is ideal for making good espresso.

Use fresh beans whenever possible

Stale coffee grounds won’t extract as much flavour from your cup.

Buy freshly roasted whole beans from local roasters or speciality stores and store them in an airtight container away from heat and light to keep them as fresh as possible for maximum flavour potential.

Tamping is key!

Tamping down the grounds helps create enough pressure within the machine so that hot water can pass through them quickly while still extracting all the delicious flavours they contain.

Use a tamper with an even surface and tamp firmly but not too hard; this will help avoid messy spills or clogging up your portafilter with overly-packed grounds.

Lastly, and most importantly, experiment!

Every machine functions differently when it comes to brewing espresso, so don’t be afraid to adjust things like temperature or grind size until you find what works best for you.

Remember: practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged- With enough practice (and these tips!) you’ll soon be able to make barista-quality espresso right in your own home.

Now You Can Make Espresso at Home

Now that you know how to make espresso at home without a machine, as well as with one, it’s time to get brewing!

As long as you have access to good-quality coffee beans and fresh water, you can brew a delicious espresso right from your home.

And who knows? With enough practice, maybe you’ll be able to perfect your technique and create espresso drinks even better than your local barista.

You may also want to learn how to drink espresso while you are at it.

What to Do Next?

I hope you enjoyed this post about making espresso. I’m sure I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Do you have any more questions about the process? Let me know in the comments below!

Interested in learning more about espresso? We invite you down to the rabbit hole. Check out our top espresso guides and keep on learning!

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Author: Ivan Brozincevic

Ivan fell in love with everything about espresso while he was in college back in 2010, so much so that he decided to quit his education and pursue a career as a barista. Today, Ivan has extensive knowledge about espresso, espresso gear, and everything else related and loves sharing it with others who share his passion.

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