The 5 Best Methods to Make Espresso at Home

How to make espresso at home in an easier and less expensive way? In this guide, I will show 5 methods that you can use to make great espresso at home.

With the modern automatic machines, it is possible to make espresso in an easy and quick way.

But these machines are usually very expensive and they can take too much space in the kitchen at home.

Back in the days in Italy, the method that I used most to make espresso was the Moka Pot. Every Italian family has or had at least one Moka Pot at home and this was the best method to make espresso, similar to the one of the coffee bar.

But what are other methods to make an espresso?

In the article, I will show you the 5 best methods that you can use to make espresso at home.


Introduction to espresso

First of all, it is better to specify that the espresso is not a kind of coffee bean, but a brewing method.

In 1884, the Italians invented espresso. Angelo Moriondo, the inventor, devised the machine that could prepare coffee using a steam-driven mechanism.

From that moment, other inventors started to patent new methods to improve the original process to make espresso.

Today, more and more espresso machines are present in the market and that can help you to easily make it at home, without buying expensive machines.

The espresso’s brewing method distinguishes it from other methods. Espresso is brewed faster than other coffees, which rely on the slow filtering of hot water through the coffee grounds.

This method produces a subtle, fragrant, and caffeine-rich shot of espresso in just thirty seconds.

What is the best grind to make espresso?

Any aspiring barista or coffee lover understands the necessity of utilizing the proper coffee grind size for your brew method, which leads us to the topic of what is the ideal espresso grind size. 

Use a fine grind setting for espresso brewing; the ground particles should be roughly 1/32 of an inch, or 0.8 mm. 

Although the exact value varies depending on the type of coffee bean used and the type of espresso machine used. I suggest you start with a medium-fine setting and adjust your grinder according to the quality of espresso you’re producing.

This size of coffee grind provides a vast surface area, allowing all of the delicious coffee flavors to permeate the hot water. Your coffee should have the consistency of finely ground table salt.

5 methods to make espresso at home

Contrary to common opinion, there are a variety of methods to enjoy espresso — you don’t need to invest in a high-end manual machine or master the art of dialing in the perfect shot.

Of course, to make an espresso that can rival the one that you drink in coffee shops, you should buy an espresso machine.

But I don’t want to suggest doing it straightaway. Instead, I want to first show you the other 5 methods that you can use to make espresso at home without spending too much and having a pretty good cup of espresso to enjoy.

Make espresso with Moka Pot

With its simplicity, making espresso in a Moka Pot is both elegant and efficient. The roots of the Moka Pot can be traced back to Italy. It is a classic and refined form of brewing that functions simply and is simple to use. Not to mention that it’s a lot of fun to do.

This is the method that I used at home back in Italy, and that my family in Italy still uses to make espresso every morning.

Below, I will show you the steps to make a perfect espresso with the Moka.

Step 1 – Fill the Moka pot with water

Just below the valve, fill the lower chamber with cold water. Overfilling will cause the coffee to waterlog and alter the flavor, so be careful.

Step 2 – Grind coffee beans

As explained before, use a fine size to grind the coffee beans. You can use an automatic or manual grinder.

Step 3 – Add coffee grounds to the Moka

Fill the funnel halfway with ground coffee. Do not overfill the strainer with coffee and do not tamp the coffee (this will cause the Moka Pot to overheat). Remove any coffee grounds from the funnel’s edge.

Step 4 – Close the Moka pot

Screw the upper half of the pot to the base firmly. When tightening the pot, make sure you grasp the pot rather than the handle, as the pressure from tightening the pot could shatter the handle.

Step 5 – Heat up the Moka

Choose a burner that will fit in the Moka Pot’s bottom. If you’re using a gas burner, make sure the flame doesn’t extend beyond the bottom of the pot. Place the Moka Pot on the stovetop until the water boils and the center post begins to spew coffee.

Step 6 – Serve the espresso shot

Pour your coffee into a nice cup. You’ll get a cup of robustly flavored, robust, heavy-bodied coffee if done right.

Remember to clean the Moka pot after using it to avoid stains of coffee. Wash it with warm water and dry it with a towel.

You can also add milk to the espresso to make the taste lighter. Check the article about macchiato to learn more about the process.

Make espresso with AeroPress

I want to be clear on this method. Unfortunately, the Aeropress does not produce authentic espresso. The brewer, as capable and varied as it is, simply cannot provide enough pressure to brew true espresso.

But with the steps below, you will be able to enjoy a cup of espresso close to the real taste.

First of all, what is an AeroPress?

Alan Adler, the founder of AeroPress, Inc., invented AeroPress, a manual coffeemaker. It resembles a syringe in that it has a cylindrical chamber and a plunger with an airtight silicone seal. 

Ground coffee beans and water are steeped inside the chamber before being forced through a filter by pushing the plunger through the chamber.

It can brew a highly concentrated coffee, that is why I added it as a method to make espresso.

Step 1 – Grind your coffee beans

Grind the beans as you would for espresso. A fine size will be perfect to use with AeroPress.

Step 2 – Prepare the AeroPress and add coffee grounds

The next step is to get your AeroPress ready. To warm up the filter and remove any paper tastes, place one of the paper filters into the filter cap and pour a little hot water through it. After that, place the cap on the bottom of the AeroPress chamber and add your coffee grounds.

Step 3 – Tamp coffee grounds and add another filter

You’ll want to lay a second filter on top of the grounds inside the chamber once you’ve fitted the filter cap. Wet the filter with warm water and press it gently into the bottom of your improvised espresso tamper.

Step 4 – Add hot water

Next, heat your water to a temperature between 200 and 208 degrees Fahrenheit (93 and 97 degrees celsius). Slowly pour the water over the puck of grounds in the chamber once it has reached the proper temperature.

Step 5 – Press to make the espresso shot

Place the chamber on your mug and insert the plunger as soon as you’ve finished pouring in the water. Push the plunger all the way down into the ground that has accumulated at the bottom. If it is too hard to press, don’t force it. In this way, you will avoid cleaning all the coffee from your table!

Make espresso with French press

 A French press is a coffee brewing appliance that can also be used for other purposes. It is also known as a cafetière, press pot, coffee press, or coffee plunger. Ugo Paolini, an Italian, filed a patent for a tomato juice separator in 1923, and he later refined the idea for a coffee pot with a press action and a filter.

It is a tool used more and more by coffee lovers around the world, and it can also be used to make espresso at home. Below I show you the steps.

Step 1 – Grind coffee beans
For the French press, you need coarsely fine ground coffee. 

Step 2 – Heat up water

One cup of water should be heated to 185-205 degrees F (96 degrees C) or very hot. The water should almost boil.

Step 3 – Add coffee grounds to the French press

Add the coffee grounds and be careful about the amount. Because the grind is significantly finer, you’ll need to use twice as much coffee as you would for a French press. The ratio of 2 to 1 (2 tablespoons of coffee for every 1 cup of water used).

Step 4 – Add water to the French press

Normally, you would half-fill your French press at this time to begin brewing. To get your espresso to “bloom,” you’ll only need to add a splash of water. Coffee releases all of its natural oils throughout this procedure, resulting in a more flavored cup.

Step 5 – Once the coffee is blooming, add the rest of the water and stir

Step 6 – Add lid and wait for three minutes

Give it more time if you want it to be stronger, and vice versa. The lid ensures that heat does not leave your French press while it is brewing. This is, once again, critical for producing high-quality espresso.

Step 7 – Slowly press down the plunger and enjoy your espresso!

Make espresso with manual machine

The manual espresso machine has been around since 1884, when Angelo Moriondo, a Turin-based inventor, patented it. Since then, the machine has been adjusted and improved, and modern machines come in a variety of sizes and designs.

If you’re an espresso purist, you might want to use a manual machine, also known as a piston machine, to make your shot. This approach necessitates some finesse and elbow grease, but some claim it’s the only way to create truly outstanding espresso without using an automatic machine.

Step 1 – Fill the machine with water
Fill the machine’s water reservoir halfway with two to three cups of water and let it heat for five or six minutes.

Step 2 – Add ground coffee

Lightly press 20 grams (1.25 ounces) of ground coffee into the portafilter.

Step 3 – Tap the portafilter

Tap the portafilter gently on the counter and tamp it once more.

Step 4 – Attach portafilter to the brew head

Step 5 – Slowly lower the level and pour the espresso into the cup

In the video below, you can see the process with the manual machine.

Make espresso with portable espresso maker

A hand espresso machine is a basic and lightweight device that consists of a pod for coffee grounds and a hot water-filled arm. Pumping the arm, similar to a bicycle pump, creates the pressure needed to pull a shot of espresso.

Outdoor enthusiasts favor the use of a hand espresso machine. It’s even smaller than the AeroPress and has fewer pieces to keep track of. Prepackaged coffee pods can be used in the hand espresso machine, but freshly ground beans produce considerably superior espresso.

Step 1 – Ground coffee beans

Step 2 – Fill the espresso pod filter with finely ground coffee after unscrewing it

Step 3 – Boil the water in a kettle and pour it into the water cavity

Step 4 – Pump the bottom pump to 16 psi while securely gripping the upper half of the machine

Step 5 – Once the pressure is reached, press the extraction button and pour coffee into a cup

In the video, you can see the Wacaco Minipresso GR in action.


Making espresso at home requires some tools and more effort than using an automatic machine, but the result can be very similar to the espresso that you drink at the cafe.

Read more about espresso in the article below:

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