How to Make An Espresso Without a Machine: A Beginner’s Guide

Espresso is a favorite among coffee lovers because of its rich flavor and smoothness. Espresso machines are typically used to make espresso, but what if you don’t have one?

To make espresso without a machine, you may follow one of the methods listed here. For example-

  1. The Moka pot method
  2. The AeroPress method
  3. Espresso with a French press, or
  4. The instant coffee.

Each approach has its own set of rules. For in-depth methods keep on reading this article. I will provide the methodologies and all the necessary tips, tricks, and precautions.

Ways to Achieve an Authentic Home-Brewed Espresso Without a Machine

As previously stated, there are various methods for making espresso without a machine. Let’s get this conversation started.

First, let’s know the ingredients and equipment. These are:

  • Water
  • Coffee beans
  • Grinder
  • Electric teapot
  • Cocktail muddler
  • Paper filters (optional)
  • Instant coffee powder

Also, for each method, you will need the required coffee gear; French press, AeroPress, and Moka pot.

Let us now move on to the methodology discussion.

Method 1: Moka Pot

The Moka Pot is a traditional Italian stovetop espresso maker [1]. It is designed to extract coffee from coffee grounds. The Moka Pot consists of three parts: a bottom water chamber, a middle filter basket, and a top chamber.

Moka pot coffee
Moka Pot Brewing

Each has a purpose in making coffee, such as the bottom reserving water, the ground filter allowing the coffee to pass through the filter, and the top allowing the brewed coffee to be collected.

To use a Moka Pot, you will need to go through the following steps:

  • Step 1: Collect the necessary equipment first. It will be a Moka pot, water, coffee beans, and a grinder.
  • Step 2: Grind the dark roast coffee first. Use medium-fine grind, not fine as espresso.
  • Step 3: Fill the bottom water chamber of the Moka Pot with freshly boiled water up to the safety valve.
  • Step 4: Fill the middle filter basket with finely ground coffee beans.
  • Step 5: Place the Moka Pot on the stove on medium heat.
  • Step 6: The espresso is to be extracted into the top chamber after 5 – 7 minutes.

Once the espresso is in the top chamber and the Moka pot starts sputtering remove the Pot from the stove and pour the espresso into a cup. For more details on the Moka pot espresso please head over to this article.

Espresso in Moka Pot
Espresso in Moka Pot

How can you know the Coffee is Made In Moka Pot?

It is critical to understand when your coffee is ready. You might not be able to take it if it isn’t properly prepared. Monitoring the sputtering is a good way to avoid such things.

Listen for the sputtering sound when making coffee. After 3-5 minutes in, you will hear coffee start to bubble and come out from the top. When the boiling sound decreases and a loud gurgling sound is heard, turn off the heat. Your coffee is ready to be served. Now, enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee!

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Espresso with a Moka Pot

Heat is an important thing while you are making espresso. In the case of the Moka method, you may use medium heat.

Although high heat may not damage the taste always, it is sometimes recommended to avoid high heat so that it does not get overcooked. Before putting the ground coffee, the water should be preheated to make a perfect espresso.

Method 2: AeroPress

The Aeropress is a unique and inventive way [2] of making espresso without a machine. It separates an espresso from coffee grinds using air pressure. Using an AeroPress requires a solid understanding of key stages. So, let’s go through those.

  • Step 1: Heat the water to a temperature of 200°F in an electric teapot.
  • Step 2: Finely ground 3 teaspoons espresso coffee beans. It should not be too fine since pressing will be difficult.
  • Step 3: Insert the circular paper filter into the Aeropress basket and dampen it completely. Secure the basket to the end of the Aeropress.
  • Step 4: Fill the Aeropress partially with coffee grounds and shake it to level the grounds. Place the Aeropress over the empty cup.
  • Step 5: In this stage, you will need 85 grams of hot water, which is equivalent to 2 marks. Wait for 30 seconds now to bloom your coffee. The plunger should then be placed into the base of the AeroPress and softly pressed down until it reaches the bottom.
  • Step 6: After plunging, AeroPress should be removed, and disconnect the basket.

Finally, rinse the Aeropress so that it is ready to use again. You may watch this video to have a better understanding :

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Espresso with an AeroPress:

  • It is suggested that coffee has to be finely ground. But it may depend on your AeroPress. You may try different coffee grinds.
  • Use the AeroPress paper filters for the best flavor.
  • For a stronger espresso, use a smaller amount of water and a finer grind.
  • Use a larger amount of water and a lighter grind for a weaker espresso.

Method 3: French Press

A French press [3] is a popular and easy way to make espresso without a machine. This method uses a coffee plunger to extract espresso from coffee grounds.

French press espresso

Following the steps below will assist you in making an espresso nicely.

  • Step 1: First, take 40 grams of dark roast coffee beans and grind them to a medium-fine consistency.
  • Step 2: Heat the water until it reaches a temperature of 200 to 205°F. Avoid boiling the water.
  • Step 3: Add the ground coffee to the French press.
  • Step 4: Pour just enough boiling water over the coffee grounds to well immerse, stir and wait for 30 seconds to bloom coffee by allowing carbon-di-oxide to escape from the coffee beans.
  • Step 5: Now add 80 ml of hot water, put the lid on, and Let the mixture steep for 4 minutes.
  • Step 6: Slowly press the plunger lower until it reaches the bottom.

Finally, pour the freshly brewed coffee into your cup and enjoy!

Tips: Maintain a 1:2 coffee-to-water ratio to get a thicker, stronger, and richer flavor of espresso using the French press.

Method 4: Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is a type of coffee that has been pre-brewed, dried, and packaged into granules or powder. It is a quick and convenient option for those who want a cup of coffee in a matter of seconds. Of course, without any equipment or brewing process.

Espresso with Instant Coffee
Espresso with Instant Coffee

A step-by-step process to make an espresso with instant coffee is given below :

  • Step 1: First, manage the ingredients. This will be instant coffee and boiling water. Additionally, sugar or milk can be used according to your preference.
  • Step 2: Start by getting a cup and adding instant coffee to it (3 teaspoon coffee for 60 ml water).
  • Step 3: To enhance the flavor, add a small amount of boiling water to the cup and let it sit for 30 seconds. (This step is optional)
  • Step 4: Fill the rest of the cup with boiling water and stir until the coffee has fully dissolved.
  • Step 5: If desired, add a sweetener such as sugar, honey, and/or milk to your taste.

Finally, taste your freshly prepared espresso and chill. Instant coffee might be a feasible alternative if you don’t have enough time to conduct the additional processing required to make espresso.

If feel interested to make espresso with instant coffee, you can also follow the video that I’ve made.

Make an Espresso Without a Machine: Knowing Some Essential Things

You should remember some crucial things while making espresso without a machine. These may include choosing the Right Coffee Beans for Espresso, Grinding Coffee Beans for Espresso, or tips to have a crema layer in your espresso.

Explanation of the importance of using high-quality coffee beans

The first step in making espresso without a machine is to choose the right coffee beans. The quality of the coffee beans will directly impact the flavor of the espresso.

For the best results, choose high-quality beans. It can be high-quality Arabica beans that are roasted medium to dark [4]. Stumptown Hairbender Espresso Beans can also be a good option. High-quality beans ensure the espresso test because most espresso users prefer medium roast. Low-quality beans may not be able to do this.

A relatively low-quality coffee bean such as robusta should be avoided. They have a bitter taste that can overpower the espresso flavor. Additionally, it offers more caffeine [5] compared to other coffee beans.

Instructions on Grinding Coffee Beans for Espresso

For the perfect espresso, the coffee beans should be ground to a fine consistency. To achieve this, a burr grinder can be worth investing in. This type of grinder produces a more uniform grind than a blade grinder. It helps to prevent the espresso from becoming either too weak or too strong.

A grind that’s too coarse will result in a weak, tasteless espresso. But a fine grind will result in a strong, flavorful cup that will be expected to meet most people’s demands.

Related posts:

Tips to Achieve a Consistent Crema Layer

You have to have some things in mind if you want a good crema layer in your espresso. Come have a quick walk through the tips :

  • Use the right type of coffee beans: Opt for coffee that is 1-2 weeks from the roast date for the best flavor and crema.
  • Grind the beans just before brewing: Freshly ground coffee is essential for a delicious cup of espresso.
  • Invest in a quality espresso machine: Choose a machine that can get the water hot enough and generate enough pressure to produce a perfect shot of espresso. Avoid cheaper machines that may not meet these standards. Using any of the methods mentioned above won’t create the perfect cream layer that an espresso machine can produce.
  • Use medium-roasted beans: Medium-roasted coffee beans create better crema in your espresso compared to light and dark roast. So, use medium-roasted coffee beans in your espresso.

Keeping these things in mind, you may have a good crema layer in your coffee. So, try to stick with these things if you want crema.


All in all, now you know how to make an espresso without a machine with several methods. These may include the Moka Pot and AeroPress and the French press method. Each method has its own set of steps and tips for a perfect espresso.

The Moka Pot is a traditional Italian stovetop espresso maker that is invented to extract espresso-like coffee from coffee grounds. The AeroPress is a unique way of making espresso that uses air pressure. The French press extracts espresso from coffee grounds using a coffee plunger.

To make a perfect espresso, it is important to have the right equipment, grind the coffee beans properly, and follow the steps correctly.

Additionally, it is crucial to pay attention to the brewing process, to know when the coffee is ready. Whether you use a Moka Pot, AeroPress, or French Press, the result is a deliciously rich espresso ready to be enjoyed.


Sujit Modak

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