Running out to your local coffee shop or cafe isn’t always an option when you are yearning for a cup of espresso, black coffee or white one.
Making great espresso at home is not a dream and does not require to be a world barista champion.
The good news is that there are a few ways in which you can easily make espresso at home, and enjoy it with a small investment and just a few minutes of your time. So, fair enough if you own your espresso machine and you do not care about making espresso differently.
But if you are curious enough, you should consider continuing this read. One thing to take note of before we get started is that medium, medium-light roast coffee along with a fine grind is typically the most suitable option to make espresso at home.
Before you get started, there are a few tools you will need to become familiar with to obtain a balanced cup of coffee.
Here’s what you need to make espresso at home:
- high-quality coffee Choosing the proper type of coffee, a medium, medium-light roast, will go great in producing the flavourful espresso you’re looking for. While you can opt for a pre-ground product, whole coffee beans are highly recommended for the freshest experience. You can find anything from fancy beans grown in volcanic soil, anaerobic fermentation coffee, lactic fermentation, tartaric fermentation to barrel-aged ones, depending on your personal taste. Just avoid any groceries’ shelf and start buying to local shops or by purchasing through their websites (supporting independent coffee shops is always great for the industry).
- A proper kettle There are a wide variety of kettles available, from the most basic stainless steel model to smart selections with temperature control and timers. If you are an individual who appreciates a simple lifestyle, your average Kitchenaid kettle will do the trick perfectly. A standard pot may also be used on a stovetop, in place of a kettle – just ensure you keep an eye on it. We anyway recommend a professional kettle if you’re aiming to improve your coffee experience at home.
- Burr Grinder Read it twice: all coffee grinders were not created equal. While it’s not impossible to utilize an electric blade grinder, you will be more likely to produce nonuniform grounds, with whole beans scattered throughout. When a coffee bean is not ground properly, the coffee will not taste right, and there will be significant wastage over time. Such brand as Hario or Rhinoware to name a few, produces a good selection of burr grinders, with a variety of price points to choose from. But the same goes here: if you want to raise your level, invest in an electric grinder. I suggest you the Niche Zero grinder (you can check here my review of this great tool) which is being designed for making great espresso at home.
- Electronic Scale Tablespoon sized coffee scoops have continued to grow in popularity over the years, and they’re the OG of measuring coffee. Many stores carry a wide range of scoops, created with materials ranging from stainless steel to bamboo, hand-carved wood, and more. The most reliable tool for measuring ground coffee, however, is actually an electronic scale, which delivers much more consistency with each brew. If you do not want to spend too much, consider the Hario V60 drip scale. Excellent value for the money.
- The proper water The market offers you a great amount of different water. The only advice is to give a taste to the softest you can find. But stick to some that are rich in potassium and magnesium and are low in calcium. It’s time to skip your tap water by choosing the right water. You will see straight away how your espresso at home will become much tastier. By the time you’re becoming a coffee geek, you’ll take into consideration to install a water softener to lift your game even more. But for now, especially if you’re lazy, go to your nearest grocery and take some Waitrose Essential, Tesco Ashbeck or Volvic.
Now that you have everything you need, you can have a look at the different ways to make espresso at home. Just bear in mind that we can only move closer to what is an espresso made with a commercial coffee machine as we will never get the same amount of pressure which, ideally, should be around 9 bars.
Different ways to make espresso at home
French Press Espresso
This brewer has grown in popularity over the last few years thanks to its reliability and user-friendliness. It’s easily purchased through retailers such as Selfridges, John Lewis, Currys, and more. The downside with a French press is that it doesn’t quite produce as rich as an espresso compared to other methods. Regardless, for those of you who already own a French press, continue through the following steps for a delicious cup of espresso.
- Heat 200g of water in your kettle, keeping it around 89-93 C°;
- Grind 12g of a medium, medium-light roast coffee, by utilizing a fine setting on your coffee grinder (this brewer works with both, fine and coarse size, it’s just down to you);
- Release the hidden flavour notes of your chosen beans, by blooming your grounds or simply pouring all the water;
- Wait from 3 to 5 minutes;
- Once the timer is finished, take 30 seconds to slowly push the plunger down. That’s all it takes to enjoy a cup of hot, fresh espresso. Get your favourite mug and enjoy.
This is probably the easiest way to make espresso at home.
The Moka pot is a tool that’s been around for a little while, having been invented by an Italian engineer in 1933. Although there have been a few changes, overall the Moka pot has remained the same. You can purchase an aluminium Moka pot quite easily online, however, if you have an induction stove you will need to locate a stainless steel version. This method is quite easy to follow, and soon you will be enjoying a hot espresso-like coffee without even leaving your house.
- Grind around 7g of coffee (this amount of coffee is suitable for most of the 1-cup Moka pot);
- Add enough (warm) water to the bottom of your Moka pot just until below the valve. Add coffee grounds to the built-in filter, and try to distribute it with your index to settle it properly (do not press the grounds). Don’t forget to keep the top part of your Moka pot open and place it onto a burner over low heat;
- Now hurry up and wait. At this point, you’ll be waiting to hear a noise similar to that of a tea kettle whistling. As the coffee expands, foam reaches the pot’s upper level, while hot water creates the necessary pressure to produce a coffee concentrate.
The espresso made with the Moka Pot comes closest to the espresso made with a commercial coffee machine. If you want more details, head on this link to get the most out of your Moka pot.
Espresso on the Go with an AeroPress
The AeroPress is an ingenious invention, which provides the perfect shot of espresso with the right amount of pressure. This simple machine works on the go as well, for espresso on the road, in the office, or just about anywhere, really. Although the texture will still differ from that of a commercial coffee machine, you can’t mistake that flavour or jolt of caffeine.
Here’s the step:
- Assemble the AeroPress according to the directions included with your machine – rinsing the necessary parts;
- Add 15g of freshly fine ground coffee. Whichever method you use, we will need to grind just a bit coarser than we would do with the V60 method.
- Pour 200g of water at 95°C, and stir it three times. Steep for a minute or so and then stir again as before;
- Gently press until the hiss. It should take around 30 seconds so press slowly.
Those of you who appreciate a fine shot of espresso may also enjoy these easy at-home alternatives.
I get you covered with more details in a previous article that you can find here.
Making espresso at home should not be difficult. Here’s above I share 3 different ways to have fun trying to give you some basics.
Anyway, these are simply some advice to make it easier for you but, once you become more skilled, you can play around (especially with the Aeropress) and make your own recipes.
Let me know if you come up with something great. Just share it below and I will give it a try.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.