I love espresso. There’s very little coffee that I don’t love, but espresso is really my favorite coffee drink. Espresso is a very specific method of making coffee, rather than a type of coffee. Water is forced through very finely ground coffee at 9 bars of pressure. For that, you need an espresso machine. Home versions can cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Restaurant versions can cost more than ten thousand dollars.
One caveat here… The quality of any coffee beverage is as dependent on the quality of your coffee as it is on the proper brewing method, so if you want a good cup of any kind of coffee, make sure that you invest in the best beans that you can buy. This requires a little trial and error, which is a lot of fun!
So here’s how to make espresso with a drip coffee maker.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can get pretty close with a little ingenuity and a drip coffee maker. You can also use an AeroPress or a moka pot, but those are covered in these articles (link to AeroPress and Moka articles). This will work with an electric drip pot (link to coffee makers), a Chemex (link to Chemex), or a cone filter (link to melitta filter holder) that fits over a mug.
The reason that this method will work with a chemex or a Melitta filter as well as with an electric drip pot is that you will be boiling the water needed on the stove. You will not be using your drip coffee maker’s heating element. In fact, you don’t even need to have the pot plugged in!
First off, bring your water to the boil. Or as close to the boil as possible. I let the kettle boil and then let it sit for about 30 seconds before I pour.
You will need to measure your coffee grounds and water accurately for this to work. And you’ll need to put a filter into the basket of your coffee machine (link to paper filters and to goldfilters). The proper ratio for this operation is two ounces of hot water for every two tablespoons of ground coffee. Put a coffee cup under the filter basket assembly.
Once the boiling water has cooled slightly, pour a little bit of it over the grounds and let it sit for 30 seconds. This allows some of the oils to come out of the coffee. In coffee-snob parlance, this is referred to as “allowing the coffee to bloom!” Next, pour the rest of the water over the grounds as quickly as possible. As soon as the water has passed through the grounds, enjoy!
While this won’t get you the same cup of espresso that you would order after dinner in a fine Italian restaurant, it is a pretty good facsimile!
Now that you know how to brew espresso with a drip coffee maker, go ahead and give it a try!