Can you make espresso with a regular coffee maker?

Making espresso with a regular coffee maker

You have a regular coffee maker. But then you’re also desperately craving for an espresso shot.

Maybe it already crossed your mind—can you make espresso with your regular coffee maker?

With some reservations, we say YES you can.

In this article, we discuss how you can enjoy that shot of espresso even if you only a coffee maker in your home.

Basics of espresso

Before we delve into making that espresso with your trusty coffee maker, a little brush up on the fundamentals of espresso is necessary. (You can skip this and go to the next section if you like, no biggie).

To make espresso, you need finely ground coffee beans. Pressurized hot water is then forced through the ground coffee beans to produce espresso.

How pressurized? Well, about nine bars, which means that it’s nine times the normal atmospheric pressure. It’s more or less twice the pressure in a truck tire.

That’s really huge. As mere mortals, we can’t produce that kind of pressure. But, we can sort of approximate that pressurization process to create a good enough, passable espresso shot (it’s not perfect but hey, if you want a perfect one, you’ll need an espresso machine).

Things you’ll need

Okay, first things first. You’ll need the following to make your espresso:

  • Your coffee maker. I’m assuming you have one since you’re reading this article (check!)
  • A coffee grinder (unless you already have your finely ground coffee)
  • A portafilter to firmly hold your ground coffee. Better if you have a coffee maker that has a filter with two spouts or one that doesn’t have a bottom.
  • Tampers, which should perfectly match your filter.
  • Maybe a digital scale so you can measure the dose of your espresso shot but it’s not really required
  • A timer (your watch or cellphone stopwatch will do)

Making espresso with a regular coffee maker—a step by step process

Alright, after that much ado, it’s time to brew your espresso!!

  • Insert a portafilter into your coffee maker.
  • For 15 minutes, run a blank shot. This heats up your coffee maker to get a better brew.
  • Empty the reservoir of water then refill with a new batch.
  • Using a dry cloth, wipe the portafilter until it’s dry. Excess water will f*** up the scales when weighing ground coffee.
  • To mimic that espresso flavor, you’ll need to put around 7 grams of coffee for a single shot and 14 grams for a double shot into the portafilter. If you don’t have a weighing scale, 7 grams is around 1.5 teaspoons.
  • Tamp the ground coffee into the portafilter by applying pressure.
  • Insert the portafilter into your coffee maker.
  • Start the coffee machine.
  • To make a single shot brew, you’ll need to run your coffee maker for 20 seconds. For a double shot, wait for 30 seconds.
  • Stop the machine once the 20 or 30 seconds are up.

You’ll know when to stop the machine. Just see if the coffee produced is turning into a blonde color. If so, stop the coffee maker immediately.

Some points to consider

  • To get better-tasting coffee, you may want to invest in a coffee grinder. That way, you’ll have freshly ground coffee every time, which, trust me, can result in better-tasting coffee.
  • You have to watch the water temperature closely. Remember, it must be between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit to draw out the best flavor from the ground coffee beans. Anything higher than that and you’ll have a burnt taste. Anything lower, expect bland tasting coffee.
  • Use filtered water if possible. Unfiltered water contains minerals that affect coffee taste. It’s also good to clean your coffee maker once in a while with vinegar to remove mineral residues that may have built up over time.

While espresso requires finely ground coffee beans, you can’t ground them so finely as to produce bitter-tasting coffee.


We have shown you how to make espresso from a regular coffee machine. Sure, the taste might not be the same.

But if you don’t have an espresso machine at home, it will do. I’ve tried this before and it’s not that bad.

It still has the same jolt of energy that one can get only from a powerful espresso shot.

Now, if you really want an authentic espresso shot without going through all the trouble of the process outlined here, by all means, buy one!

You won’t regret it, I swear. Having one at home is just so handy.