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Espresso Alternatives - Two Ways to Make Espresso Coffee without a Machine

Jul 10

If you’re the type who likes their coffee dark and strong, then you’ll love espresso. Espresso is a type of brewed coffee that is very strong and flavorful. There are two types of espresso: manual and machine-brewed. The machine made espresso is what we buy in a coffee shop, wheter it is a plain espresso, or as a latte, or cappuccino.

However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot have great espresso without a machine. In fact, there are many ways to get delicious espresso without a machine. In this article, we will discuss two methods for making great tasting espresso without a machine: the Moka pot, and the AeroPress. Both methods require some practice and preparation but the end result is well worth it! Here we go... But first, let's see what the difference between espresso and coffee is. 

Espresso vs. Coffee

Espresso is a brewed coffee that is made with an espresso machine. It is stronger and more concentrated than regular coffee, but it doesn't necesarily contain more caffeine per serving.

It is darker in color than regular coffee because of the concetration. The coffee beans for espresso, are also differently roasted, and this contributes to the dark color. The main feature of an espresso machine is the pressure applied to the coffee grounds to extract caffeine and other soluble solids. This process is unique for the espresso method.

On the other hand, drip coffee is brewed using regular ground beans which are mixed with hot water, and passed through a filter. During the brewing process, oils from the ground beans are released and extracted into the water. This makes for a lighter-colored, less intense taste. 

What Is Special about Espresso?

Espresso is a brewed coffee that has been extracted with approximately 9 bars of pressure. This high level of pressure pushes the water through a compacted coffee puck, forcing a fast release of the flavor into the coffee cup. This give the espresso shot more flavor than other types of coffee, which is why people usually prefer espresso over other methods for making coffee.

But what about if you don’t have an espresso maker? Not to worry, there are still plenty of ways to make your own delicious espresso without a machine!

Make Espresso with a Moka Pot

The Moka pot is a stovetop espresso maker that produces a concentrated espresso. To use the Moka pot, you fill it with water up to the bottom of the cone-shaped filter and then add ground coffee. The top of the filter creates an even stream of vapor that creates pressure similarly to espresso, but at aproximately 1.5bars only. Water pushed through the coffee puck will extract solubles and caffeine, but slower. 

This method has some drawbacks; it doesn't have a timer and can’t be programmed so you may need to use visual and auditive cues to stop brewing.

To make great espresso with a Moka, start by heating up your water and making sure all of your ingredients are ready. First, pour enough hot water into the bottom chamber of the Moka pot so that it comes up about halfway up the cone-shaped filter. Then fill the filter funnel with coffee grounds, and do not press it as you would do with espresso, otherwise the steam won't be able to get through the coffee puck.

Screw the Moka pot chambers togethe, and then place on heat. The coffee will start bubbling out in the top recipient, which functions as a collector.

Stop brewing when you hear a gurgling sound, this means the water in the lower chamber is all gone. 

Pour in cups and serve. 

Make Espresso with the AeroPress

The AeroPress is an excellent choice for people who want to make espresso on their own. It’s a single-serving coffee maker that features an innovative yet simple design.

Keeping things simple so we can make perfect coffee. The right water temperature, the right level of air pressure and the right size grind to produce an excellent tasting cup of coffee in minutes. It is one of the fastest coffee makers and AeroPress lovers say it brews the best coffee they’ve ever tasted.

An AeroPress is a simple 2 piece tool that will allow you to create awesome coffee with minimal effort. The best thing about it is, it can make a lot of recipes so the coffee you get will traste differently, depending on your needs. It can even make almost-espresso coffee.

AeroPress can create a little more pressure than the Moka pot, but the pressure is obtain by fprcing the AeroPress piston inside the brewing chamber, so there is a bit more manual work involved. This AeroPress brewing tutorial should help you regardless of your skill level. 

Does French Press Make Espresso?

A common question that people often ask is whether a French press makes espresso. The answer: it depends on the grind size and fineness of the beans. A typical French press will produce a slightly less intense brew than an espresso machine, thus making it suitable for people with lower caffeine needs.


If you want the real stuff, that tastes like in the coffee shop, you might want to buy an espresso machine. Choosing a quality espresso machine is the better way to go about it, but you could survive with a cheap espresso machine as well. But if the budget is tight, an espresso alternative is also an acceptable way to get caffeinated. A cheaper way to make espresso, if you don't have the budget for a full espresso machine setup, is a pod espresso coffee maker, such as Nespresso, or illy iPerespresso. 

This article appeared firstly here: Espresso Alternatives - Two Ways to Make Espresso Coffee without a Machine