How To Make Espresso Without An Espresso Maker

An espresso machine and a demitasse

If you are an espresso lover, you will want to taste this powerful brew whenever and wherever you can. Enjoying espresso usually requires an expensive espresso machine or a trip to a local coffee shop. The problem is that you can easily find yourself in a situation—you don’t have extra time or money for these options. We are happy to let you know that you can learn how to make espresso without an espresso maker.

No matter which method you choose (AeroPress, Moka pot, or French press), you can prepare espresso without breaking the bank.

If you want to know how to make espresso, the three most important aspects to master are roasting, grinding, and the pressure used to brew the coffee. Once you get the hang of these three, you will be able to craft a great espresso even if you don’t have access to hundreds of dollars worth of shiny Italian machine.

For a premium coffee to use for espresso, we recommend using a medium to dark roasted coffee. This is because a longer roasting time will give the coffee beans more porosity and increase the available flavor compounds. Once the coffee beans are ground, they can be extracted faster.

After roasting, the espresso is ground into a very fine powder. Finely ground coffee slows the water penetration rate, increasing the pressure necessary to push the water through the filter and produce the espresso coffee. However, if the grind is too fine, it may clog the coffee filter and ruin your coffee. If you want to grind coffee beans at home, you can use a burr coffee grinder to get a finer and more precise grind.

The crucial part of making espresso coffee is brewing under high pressure and high speed. The machine-made espresso has to withstand a pressure of about 9 bar (1 standard atmospheric pressure bar represents 14.7 pounds per square inch), equivalent to 130 pounds per square inch.

You can’t generate this power by hand without specialized equipment. Still, you can mimic the pressurization process to make espresso-style coffee, which means to make something pretty close to espresso.

Without further ado, let’s start to make.

How To Make Espresso With An AeroPress

What You Need:

  • AeroPress
  • Dark roasted coffee beans
  • Burr coffee grinder
  • Tablespoon or scale
  • Electric kettle or stovetop kettle
  • Thermometer

Step By Step: How To Make Espresso

  • Prepare 1 cup of water preheated to 175°F (80°C). The ideal temperature of coffee brewing is 205°F (96°C), slightly below the boiling temperature. But, with AeroPress, you can try water temperatures between 175°F and 205°F (80°C and 96°C) until you find the ideal temperature.
  • Grind the beans to a very fine, caster sugar texture until you have two tablespoons(1 oz or 28.3 grams)
  • Put a filter in the AeroPress cap and rinse it with hot water to eliminate any paper flavors. 
  • Twist cap onto AeroPress chamber
  • Stand AeroPress chamber on a sturdy mug. Make sure it is sturdy because you will put pressure on it.
  • Put the fine grind coffee in the chamber.
  • Shake to level 
  • Place another filter on top of the grounds inside the AeroPress chamber and tamp down the grounds. You can use an espresso tamper for this job or use any cylindrical item with a flat bottom that can be inserted into the chamber.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 120 ml) of preheated water. Add the water to on chamber.
  • Stir 10 seconds
  • Insert the plunger and press it down gradually. When you feel the resistance, you can pause for a while. Then continue to push the plunger down steadily until the plunger is fully depressed.
  • Finally, once you have finished extracting every ounce of high-strength caffeine, you can add whatever you want to make your favorite espresso-style beverage. If you like the original espresso, then congratulations, you are done! Transfer it to your favorite cup and enjoy it!

When it is time to clean up, remove the cap from the AeroPress, and then push the plunger to eject the used coffee puck. Rinse the rubber seal, and you are ready to make another cup.

If you think this method is quick and easy, and the brewed espresso-style drink has good taste, there is no reason not to get an AeroPress.

Finally, share a simple demo:

How To Make Espresso With A Moka Pot

The working principle of the Moka pot, including the process of how coffee is formed in the pot

The picture above allows you to understand how Moka pot works easily.

Although the Moka pot can inject hot water into the fine ground coffee powder without using very high air pressure, it cannot be regarded as an espresso-style extraction process. But, the coffee made by a Moka pot still has the concentration and flavor of espresso-style.

Moka pot is also a simple and economical way to get espresso coffee at home. The Moka pot’s biggest concern is over-extraction and tasting of burnt coffee, but you can avoid these two problems with a bit of attention and practice.

What You Need:

  • Moka pot
  • Dark roasted coffee beans
  • Burr coffee grinder
  • Tablespoon or scale
  • Electric kettle or stovetop kettle
  • A small stirring spoon

Step By Step: How To Make Espresso

  • Measure and grind two tablespoons (or 20-22 grams) of coffee. You will need to grind the coffee into a very fine sugar texture as with the AeroPress method.
  • Fill the lower part of the Moka pot chamber with cold filtered water. Do not exceed the safety valve! To ensure that the safety valve can work normally.
  • Fill the filter basket with ground coffee. The coffee should be flush with the top of the filter. You can use a spoon or fingers to lay it flat to make the surface flat gently, but do not press it tightly. This will cause too much pressure and may cause hot coffee to splash everywhere-definitely not what you want.
  • Place the filter basket on top of the lower chamber.
  • Wipe off any excess grounds on the edge of the filter basket.
  •  Screw the upper chamber on well.
  • Place the pot on the stove over medium heat. The water in the lower chamber will boil when heated, and the pressure will push the coffee through the filter and then into the upper chamber.
  • When you hear the hissing, bubbling sound, you know it is done.
  • Remove the pot from the stove.
  • Pour the espresso into your favorite cup and enjoy it.

You may need to try a few times to understand when to remove the pot from the stove. Once you familiarize this process, you will have a classic and simple way to enjoy an espresso experience at home.

If you have any questions about Moka pot coffee, here is a guide on Moka pot brewing tips.

How To Make Espresso With French Press

The French press is a fully immersed brewing utensil with a metal filter attached. Because the water is directly immersed with the coffee powder,  the brewed coffee will have a characteristic that the final coffee oil will be richer and have a thicker and fuller taste. For those who don’t like the taste of coffee grounds or fine powder, a French press may not be suitable for you.

What You Need:

  • French press
  • Dark roasted coffee beans
  • Burr coffee grinder
  • Tablespoon or scale
  • Electric kettle or stovetop kettle
  • A small stirring spoon

Step By Step: How To Make Espresso

  • Preheat the French media, which will prevent temperature fluctuations between cold equipment and hot water during brewing.
  • Grind your coffee to medium-coarse grind on your burr grinder.
  • Measure Your Coffee Grounds. What you measure out depends on the French press’s size and the amount of coffee you need.
  • Please fill up the kettle, heat the water to a boil, then let it sit for 30 seconds before brewing.
  • Measure the water and check the temperature. How much water you weigh depends on how much coffee powder you consider. The core ratio you want to strive for is 1:15. For example, one ounce of coffee powder can add 15 ounces of water. The recommended water temperature is 195°F-205°F (or about 90.5°C-96°C).
  • Add the coffee grounds to the French press and add a small amount of hot water to ensure that the ground is completely wet. After waiting for 30 seconds, add the remaining hot water (the total amount of hot water refers to the previous step ratio).
  • Put the lid on! The standard steeping time is 4 minutes. If you prefer a stronger espresso, you can steep it for an extra minute or two. Make appropriate adjustments according to your preferences.
  • Push the plunger slowly and steadily to the bottom.
  • Pour your coffee into your favorite cup and enjoy it!

If the brewed coffee has not been able to satisfy your taste buds, it is recommended to try all the variables. Brewing coffee should be fun and experimental. Once you brew your favorite coffee, it will make you more motivated to study coffee brewing skills!

If you have any questions about French press coffee, here is a guide on French press coffee brewing tips.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to make espresso without an espresso machine. You never need to worry about the expensive cost of the machine anymore. You can enjoy espresso-style coffee at home anytime.

Regardless of your skill level, you can learn how to make espresso using daily brewing equipment and high-quality coffee beans. You only need to practice more and remember the key elements of roasting, grinding, and pressure.

You can check out our other brewing guides here, which of course, also include roasting and grinding tips.


Many people think that espresso needs espresso beans. This doesn’t seem right.

Espresso is a brewing method by pushing hot water through the coffee grounds under extremely high pressure (9-10 atmospheric bars, a standard atmospheric bar means 14.7 pounds per square inch) and speed.

So you can use regular coffee beans to brew espresso, although the espresso brewed by espresso beans is usually stronger.

If you want to get espresso-style coffee, it is not recommended that you brew with the pour over method.

Espresso is the process of pushing hot water quickly through the coffee grounds under high pressure. On the other hand, pour over coffee uses gravity to flow hot water through the coffee grounds slowly.

You can brew espresso-style coffee in three simple and economical methods: AeroPress, Moka Pot, and French Press. However, you cannot get espresso-style coffee from the pour over coffee.

The critical difference is the brewing method. The espresso brewing process needs pushing hot water through the coffee grounds under high pressure.

In addition, they also differ in taste, roast level, grind size, and serving size. Espresso usually has a stronger flavor, a darker roast, and a finer grind. In terms of serving size, the serving size of a typical espresso shot is 1 ounce, while the average serving size of regular drip coffee is 8 ounces.

In terms of caffeine content, 8 ounces of drip coffee usually contains about 96 mg of caffeine, while 1 ounce of espresso contains about 64 mg of caffeine. Read this article to learn more about the difference between espresso vs coffee.


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