We’re all guilty of needing a little morning pick me up, and coffee is the most popular drink of choice for that. But sometimes you need something with a little more kick, and espresso has exactly that.
Let’s say you wake up and are ready to make the perfect cup of espresso, but you only have ground coffee beans. Can you use ground coffee in your espresso machine?
Technically, You Can
From a technical standpoint, you can put ground coffee in your espresso machine. Some espresso machines actually require pre-ground coffee beans because they’re not capable of grinding the beans themselves. But speaking about espresso machines that grind beans for you, you can use them but it’s not the best idea.
Now, are you going to be happy with the outcome when using ground coffee in your espresso machine? That’s an entirely different question and based on your personal preference. Although, most people don’t enjoy the taste of watery or sour espresso.
The grind size of traditional ground coffee usually isn’t as fine as the grind size for making a delicious cup of espresso. This could result in your espresso tasting off, sour, or watery.
Is It Safe For Your Espresso Machine?
For the most part, using ground coffee in your espresso machine shouldn’t cause any issues for your equipment. If you have an espresso machine that grinds the beans, putting ground coffee in it could cause the machine to clog.
Most ground coffee is ground to a medium coarse fineness. Placing these beans into the machine may not flow through as whole beans would. Clogging isn’t always going to happen, but it’s important to keep it in mind because it can happen.
How to Use Ground Coffee in Your Espresso Machine
While ground coffee isn’t the best choice for using in your espresso machine, it is possible to use ground coffee. Here are some things you can do to make sure your beverage tastes good when using ground coffee in your espresso machine.
One way to make espresso taste delicious with ground coffee is to press down on the coffee grind with more force than you normally would while it’s in the portafilter. This will make the ground coffee flat and compact. Doing this with unground coffee beans could cause it to become too bitter
With ground coffee, you need to do this because it will make it harder for water to pass through the grounds. In theory, this should result in more coffee oil mixing with the water. IN turn, you should have a less sour-tasting espresso.
Another option to reduce the sour or watery taste of your espresso made with ground coffee is to use water at a hotter temperature than normal. You’ll want to use water that is between 195 and 200 degrees fahrenheit.
Using hotter water will allow more water to mix with the coffee, making it less sour. If you choose this approach, you need to be careful not to burn the grounds. No one likes the taste of burnt espresso.
The third option you have is to make a ristretto. A ristretto is essentially espresso that was made using less water than you would normally use for espresso. Making a ristretto will usually taste stronger than espresso due to the smaller amount of water.
If you make a ristretto with ground coffee, there’s a good chance that it will come out tasting more like the cup of espresso you’re craving. Keep in mind that it will be a smaller up of espresso.
Pros of Using Ground Coffee in Your Espresso Machine
There aren’t many pros to using ground coffee in your espresso machine. One pro of using ground coffee in your espresso machine is that, if you can do it correctly, you’ll have a cup of espresso without having to leave your house.
Another pro to using ground coffee in your espresso machine is that you can use ground coffee for more than just coffee. If you’re able to master making espresso with ground coffee, you’ll never have to worry about going without espresso.
Cons of Using Ground Coffee in Your Espresso Machine
Unfortunately, there are more cons to using ground coffee in your espresso machine than there are pros. If you use ground coffee to make a cup of espresso in your espresso machine, you run the risk of having a cup that is burnt or even sour.
Nothing will ruin your morning quicker than your espresso tasting terrible. If you choose to use ground coffee in your espresso machine, regrinding the beans can cause them to lose their robust flavor and their freshness.
Alternatives to Using Ground Coffee in Your Espresso Machine
While you can use ground coffee in your espresso machine, it may not come out tasting how you want, even if you follow one of the three options for making espresso with ground coffee. If you don’t want to risk a terrible cup of espresso, here are a few alternatives to consider.
Use Your Coffee Machine
The best alternative to putting ground coffee into your espresso machine is to go without espresso and make a traditional cup of coffee. There is less risk of your caffeinated beverage coming out tasting bad if you use the ground coffee in your regular coffee machine.
Purchase Espresso at a Cafe
If you really can’t shake the craving for a cup of espresso, a local coffee shop is another alternative. It may not be the most ideal because of not having time to stop or not wanting to leave the house, but it’s better than a sour tasting cup made with ground coffee at home.
Use a Coffee Grinder to Grind the Coffee Finer
Using a coffee grinder on your ground coffee is a great alternative to just throwing the ground coffee into your machine. You can use the coffee grinder to grind the medium coarse beans into a finer powder, which will work better in an espresso machine.