How to make espresso without a machine | 5 best methods

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Espresso is a popular drink that coffee lovers would love to enjoy. There are many ways that you can prepare an espresso. The most common method is by using an espresso machine. This can be either a semi-automatic or super-automatic espresso machine. However, if you love to enjoy espresso you are not limited to an espresso machine. You can also simply prepare espresso with your coffee maker. Find out how to make espresso without a machine by reading this article.

Important: Authentic espresso cannot be achieved by a drip coffee maker. It requires a certain amount of pressure and skill to prepare a quality shot of espresso. Drip coffee maker is only used to give a sense of espresso and for the people without an espresso machine.

What is espresso?

In making espresso it is important to have fine ground beans where steaming hot water is forced with high-pressure through these beans to obtain an espresso therefore it is highly concentrated. 

Espresso beans can vary from roast time compared to regular beans. Espresso beans are roasted for long periods of time which allows them to have a strong flavor with less acidity and more oily beans. This allows you to create fullness when enjoying an espresso.

How to make espresso without a machine


Although it is not ideal to make an espresso without an espresso machine or Aeropress and the results of making espresso with a drip coffee maker is not an authentic cup of espresso. The intensity of an espresso or the crema an espresso machine created will not be present either as drip coffee machines do not produce the necessary pressure required for espresso. 

However, making espresso in a drip coffee maker will not be entirely wasteful as it will give you a good taste, and done with the proper method you will be able to produce an espresso that you can settle for.

Tips for making espresso without a machine

Choose an espresso blend

In terms of the ingredients, using coffee beans that are espresso blends will help in getting a good flavor and intensity. For dark roast lovers, it will give a strong flavor and for light roast lovers, it will give a splendid espresso. You are not limited to using a specific roast but using a roast that is more in sync with espresso maximizes your taste.

Use hot water

The water used to make the espresso with a drip coffee maker might need to be hot than usual. This is because the pressure and the temperature required to brew espresso in a coffee maker cannot be achieved and using hot water will assist the drip coffee maker to get the temperature much higher when brewing. The optimal temperature required for an espresso is 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get a fine grind

The grind size is crucial when brewing any sort of coffee beverage, depending on how uniform the grind is the end result of the coffee will change. When making espresso in the drip coffee maker a fine grind will do a lot of good rather than coarse or too fine grinds. Although measurements such as (GS, a.u.) = 1.3–2.3 depending on the coffee selected exists, it is better to get a judgment visually or after a few tries.

Water to coffee ratio can largely vary and a few tries to get the exact preference is required however, in our testing we used 3 ounces of water with 3 tablespoons of coffee for 2 fluid ounce glass capacity. This can largely vary according to the preference and it is essential to get in a few tries before fixing the necessary measurement.

After getting all the extra tips right it’s time to make the espresso in your drip coffee maker. Here we simply complete the process with three simple steps.

How to make espresso without a machine

Step – 1

Put the uniformly ground coffee (3 tbsp in our case) into the coffee filter and slightly press the coffee grounds to create a uniform pressure on the surface. The pressure is applied to achieve a sense of tamping and to help the coffee maker in creating a near pressure suited for espresso.  

Step – 2

Turn over to the reservoir and add the necessary amount of water (3oz in our case). Once again make sure the water is warm to help the drip coffee maker to achieve the necessary temperature.

Step – 3

Next, it’s time for your drip coffee maker to do the work. Press the brew option or concentrated brew (preferred) and after the coffee maker has done its job you can enjoy a warm espresso.

How to use an espresso machine

In order to understand how to make an espresso in a drip coffee maker, it is essential to know how espresso is made originally. This will give you a better understanding of the boundaries of espresso making and what is actually required for a quality espresso. It will also allow you to enhance your ability to prepare espresso according to your taste under any method.

Espresso is a method of making coffee. Fine ground beans are used to make espresso and tamped to obtain a solid pressure through the grounds. 

Coffee beans

The freshness of the beans for espresso counts. The ideal espresso beans are sorted from 4 days – 3 weeks after the roast process. The freshness of the coffee beans is crucial therefore buying in small batches will give you more fresh beans. 

It is ideal to select coffee beans depending on the roast date rather than the traditional expiry date. Mostly it is hard to find espresso beans from the local supermarket, therefore it is advised to do online research on where local shops sell or specific coffee bean providers to rely on fresh beans.

Roast level

The roast is the next element in coffee that brings in the flavor. The dark roast will accompany hints of dark chocolate or strong coffee and the light roast may have subtle hints and flavor though for espresso it’s a mostly dark roast that the majority chooses. The grind settings will also be based on the roast level and a darker roast may accompany a coarse grind setting while a light roast will have a fine grind size.

Coffee bean sorting is a rich process therefore the territories that farm coffee beans tend to have different tastes. The altitude and the region can be found on most coffee packaging and this will give you the freedom to try coffee beans from different regions. The more details you find in a coffee packaging is a good sign that your coffee provider has an idea of coffee is processed.

Dose of the coffee

The recommended dose for coffee can be different from one filter to another. Most espresso machine filters come in different dose sizes. Therefore look for the dose before getting the process started. Measurement is key in making perfect espresso and weighing your filter basket with coffee will provide you with an idea for dialing the espresso later. Mind that you need an accurate scale to ‘0’ the weight of the filter basket before putting coffee.

Changing the dose of coffee will not make a difference when espresso is dripping slowly instead it is the grind that should be adjusted and the filter only decides the amount of espresso you need in return. Filter sizes will come such as double and single depending on the espresso quantity.


Tamping is mostly the compression of the does in the filter. This gives a uniform pressure allowing resistance to build up for the water to pull through. This is not about pressing as the tamper hard, it’s about achieving consistent pressure. There are tools that can help you even out the coffee grounds such as a distribution tool to tamp uniformly and the pressure that is generated evenly is good regardless of measurement.

The grind

Here is the most important element of the process. The grinder is directly related to how your end result will be and you can observe the filter to know what sort of channeling is required for the grind. If the coffee is dripping faster then a finer setting is needed and if it is slow the coarser setting is needed. A visual measurement for good grind is table salt and accordingly, adjustments can be done according to the speed of the drip. The tamping process will also play an important role here. Therefore proper adjustment should be done before going through the process.

Tip: Use a bottomless portafilter to observe a uniform drip.                   

Shot duration

It is recommended to get a 2:1 ratio of coffee in an espresso shot within 25-30 seconds. Modern-day semi-automatic espresso machines have the feature to program the time so that the machine will automatically stop the shot.  However, if you do not get the feature stopping the shot should be done manually. 

Temperature and pressure

Temperature is as mentioned above 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. However, note that going above the boiling point of water is not recommended as it will damage the flavor of the coffee. Temperature is directly related to how dense the beans are and the altitude is directly proportional to the altitude of coffee beans sorted. You may also get good results with light roast coffee at a higher temperature.

Most semi-automatic espresso machines will allow u to adjust the temperature by 2-3 degrees however if your espresso machine does not have a temperature control then a PID can be put in to control the temperature. However as a visual guide if any steam cannot be seen when you let water flow from the brew head, then it can be most suited for espresso.

Pressure is straight-way 9 bars for espresso if your espresso machine has a pressure gauge.


Brewing an espresso as mentioned above can be a difficult process and that is why e believe that getting an espresso shot in your drip coffee maker is not exactly espresso. There are many variables at play when brewing a perfect espresso even when all the settings are spot on still you may end with bitter or sour espresso and this may be because of the bean quality or finer or coarser grind settings.

Here we have covered the answer to your question about how to make espresso with a coffee maker and how to make espresso with an espresso machine as well. This will allow any coffee lover to brew their own espresso by knowing the full process. Our aim is to provide you with an authentic espresso after going through our article.