How to make espresso coffee at home
For espresso lovers, the complexity of the flavours and the intensity of it, is to die for. You’ve decided that the thing you want to do is to be able to make decent espressos at home. This is an article on how to make espresso coffee at home.
You want the convenience of making it at home, the question is whether you want to be bothered with complexity of a barista style espresso machine? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. So, listed here are the different ways to get a decent espresso coffee at home.
What is the definition of an espresso?
If you want to know how an espresso is defined, then read our article on what is an espresso.
1. The easiest way to make espresso at home – Coffee pod machine
Coffee snobs and purists will tell you that a proper espresso is only if its made via a barista style machine with coffee grounds subject to pressure of 9 bar or more. Well, the thing is if you are looking for convenience and consistency of your espressos at home, you should consider a coffee pod machine.
Coffee pod machines let you put in a pod which contains ground coffee. The pod is then subject to pressure higher than 9 bars to create your variety of coffees.
The best coffee pod machines
Today, there is such a variety of coffee pods on the market for the variety of machines. Read our article on the best pod coffee machines to see which one might work for you.
Final assessment of coffee pod machines for home espressos
All you need to do is put in a coffee pod to get your espresso instantly. Its therefore the easiest way to get used to making espresso coffees at home. There are several budget options and if you have two cups of espresso a day at a coffee shop, a coffee pod machine that’s close to £200 will pay for itself in under six months.
Here are some more how to make espresso at home options. For these, you’ll need espresso roast coffee beans that have been ground for an espresso. The exception is if you have a bean to cup coffee machine.
What's an espresso roast?
An espresso roast is where the coffee beans are roasted for longer and on a higher temperature. This creates a dark roast. Read our article on common coffee questions to know the difference between roast types. The dark roast increases the effect of roasting on the flavour of the coffee and reduces the caffeine content as well as the acidity.
What's an espresso grind?
An espresso grind is a dark roast that’s been ground very fine. This is the finest grind that you’ll use for any type of coffee at home. The grind should feel almost like talcum powder when you rub it between your fingers. However, too fine a grind and it will block the filter through which the coffee has to be pressed and you’ll find coffee doesn’t get extracted easily.
2. Create Italian style home espresso – Moka pot
No Italian household is complete without their Moka pot which creates rich and dark coffee. The Moka pot is also known as the stove top espresso maker. If you want to know how the moka pot works, read this article.
The pressure that’s created in Moka pot is usually only around 1.5 bar, so for while its strong and intense coffee, it’s not a proper espresso.
Read our article on how to make moka pot coffee to look at how easy it is to make.
Assessment of moka pots for home espressos
The moka pot requires fresh ground coffee and a simple gadget. There is some skill to making good espressos in a moka pot, but nothing like as complex as a proper espresso machine. So, this is an easy budget option to create home espresso. Surely, if its good enough for the Italians, it’s good enough for the rest of us?
3. Another manual coffee maker – Aeropress maker
The Aeropress is a new kid on the block when it comes to manual coffee makers. Introduced to the market in 2005, this coffee maker has primarily been used to make American style filter coffee. If you want to make an espresso with this, what you’ll get is a decent concentrated coffee, but it may not quite have the espresso taste.
Using an espresso grind coffee in the Aeropress with reduced hot water compared to a normal coffee and steeping for less time is how you’d create the espresso type strength coffee with an Aeropress.
An Aeropress uses pressure, but it's pressure is only between 0.35 to 0.75 bars of pressure, which is even less than that of the Moka pot. So while this is not the definition of an espresso, it gives you strong coffee.
YOU CAN ONLY MAKE AN ESPRESSO WITH A MACHINE
While options 2 and 3 listed above give you strong coffees, these are not espressos because they are not created by pressurised hot water flowing through coffee grounds. You need a machine that sends hot water with pressure through coffee grounds.
4. The authentic barista way to make espresso at home – Espresso machine
An espresso machine is a sophisticated and complex machine. Decent home use espresso machines come with dual boilers, one for the coffee and another for the milk steaming. You’ll have to learn to get the right grind for your espresso which you can buy from a shop to begin with. But to get the best of your espresso machine, and you aren’t getting a bean to coffee machine, you must invest in a good quality grinder. Read our article on how to choose a good home coffee grinder.
The espresso machine needs proficiency and expertise – there’s skill in tamping and pulling a great shot of espresso. Then there's the latte art. Read our article on bean to cup machines to choose one to help you make espresso at home.
How come there’s no French press mentioned here for an espresso?
Are you wondering why you don’t see a French press or cafetiere coffee as a way of creating an espresso?
This is because a French press only refers to the fact that there’s a plunger, the coffee itself is made by filtering technique.
The coffee is brewed in a French press, which is hot water mixed with coffee grounds. The plunger action is only to remove or filter the coffee grounds.
How to make espresso at home - what's your answer?
In this article at multiple ways on how to make espresso at home. The easiest way and without cleaning out your bank balance is to use a capsule or pod coffee machine.
Then there were the two manual budget options of the Italian moka pot and the Aeropress. The moka pot creates more authentic home style Italian espresso.
Then there’s the big daddy of them all – a proper barista style espresso machine.
There are handful one or two bean-to-cup machines which behave like a pod coffee machine in that there isn’t much for you to do and the machine takes care of it all. But that comes from a hefty price tag. Some people prefer the quality coffee without the effort.
Others, prefer to truly practice their barista skills on a more authentic machine on which you must pull an espresso shot.
If you do choose to make espressos at home, you can then carry it with you and save on your coffee shop expenses by using a travel mug.