How to Make Espresso with Regular Coffee: A Coffee Lover’s Guide

Are you a coffee enthusiast who can’t resist espresso’s bold and intense flavors but doesn’t want to invest in an expensive espresso machine? Well, you’re in luck! This guide will show you how to make espresso with regular coffee beans, turning your kitchen into a mini coffee shop. Whether you’re craving a quick espresso shot or want to create espresso-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding Espresso vs. Regular Coffee

Before we dive into the process, let’s briefly differentiate between espresso and regular coffee. Understanding the nuances will help you appreciate the journey we’re about to embark on.

Espresso is a concentrated coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It’s known for its robust flavor, rich crema, and intense aroma. On the other hand, regular coffee is typically brewed with a coarser grind and offers a milder taste.

Choosing the Right Coffee Beans

Selecting the right coffee beans is critical in making great espresso with regular coffee. It’s not just about grabbing any bag of coffee off the shelf; you need to be discerning to achieve the rich, bold, and creamy espresso you desire. Here, we’ll delve deeper into the importance of coffee bean selection for your homemade espresso:

1. Roast Level Matters

When it comes to brewing espresso, roast level plays a significant role in determining the flavor and characteristics of your coffee. Medium to dark-roast coffee beans are ideal for making espresso.

2. Freshness Counts

In addition to considering the roast level, it’s crucial to select freshly roasted coffee beans. Coffee is at its peak flavor within a few weeks of roasting, so try to purchase beans from local roasters or trusted suppliers who provide roast dates on their packaging. Avoid buying beans on the shelf for extended periods, as they may have lost their vibrant flavors.

3. Single-Origin vs. Blends

Another aspect to consider is using single-origin coffee or blends for your espresso. Single-origin beans are sourced from a specific region, offering distinct flavor profiles unique to that area. Blends, on the other hand, combine beans from various regions to create a balanced and consistent flavor.

Grinding Your Coffee

The grind size is crucial when making espresso. Opt for a fine grind similar to table salt. Investing in a quality burr grinder can make a significant difference in achieving the perfect consistency.

Brewing Methods

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of brewing espresso using regular coffee beans. There are a few methods you can choose from, each with its unique approach:

Moka Pot Method

The Moka pot, also known as a stovetop espresso maker, is a popular choice for making espresso-like coffee at home. We’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of using this handy device.

AeroPress Method

The AeroPress is a versatile coffee maker that can produce espresso-like results with regular coffee. Learn how to use it to make a rich and flavorful cup of coffee.

Espresso Machine

If you have an espresso machine at home, we’ll provide tips on how to make the most of it for brewing espresso using regular coffee beans.

Brewing Tips and Tricks

Brewing espresso with regular coffee beans can be a delightful experience, but achieving the perfect shot requires more than just the right beans and equipment. In this section, we’ll delve into some essential brewing tips and tricks that will help you consistently craft a rich, flavorful, and satisfying espresso:

1. Correct Grind Size

The grind size of your coffee beans is crucial for espresso. As mentioned earlier, aim for a fine grind, similar to table salt. This consistency ensures that the water can extract the flavors evenly and efficiently. Use a burr grinder to achieve the desired fineness, as it offers more precision than blade grinders.

2. Does Your Coffee Properly

The amount of coffee grounds you use, known as dosing, significantly impacts the strength and flavor of your espresso. The standard espresso shot is around 1 ounce (30 milliliters) and typically requires 18-20 grams of coffee grounds. Invest in a digital scale to measure the exact dose consistently, ensuring you maintain the right coffee-to-water ratio.

3. Tamping Technique

Tamping is compressing the coffee grounds in the portafilter basket before brewing. Use a tamper to apply even pressure, aiming for a level and firm puck. This step is crucial to ensure uniform extraction. The ideal pressure varies but is generally around 30 pounds of force. Practice your tamping technique to achieve consistent results.

4. Water Temperature and Quality

The water you use must be at the right temperature and quality. Water that’s too hot can lead to over-extraction, while water that’s too cold will result in under-extraction. Aim for water between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C). Additionally, use filtered water to avoid unwanted flavors or impurities in your espresso.

5. Brew Time and Shot Volume

Espresso extraction should take around 25-30 seconds for a standard shot. Adjust your grind size, dose, and tamping pressure to achieve this timing. Pay attention to the shot volume; a standard shot is approximately 1 ounce (30 milliliters). It can affect taste and crema if it’s too short or too long.

6. Preheat Everything

Before brewing, preheat your espresso machine, portafilter, and cups. This ensures that your coffee doesn’t lose temperature during the brewing process. Cold equipment can lead to uneven extraction and a subpar espresso experience.

7. Cleanliness is Key

Maintain your equipment by regularly cleaning it. Leftover coffee residue can become rancid and affect the taste of your espresso. Clean the portafilter, group head, and other components after each use. Periodically backflush your espresso machine to prevent buildup.

8. Experiment and Adjust

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust your brewing parameters. The perfect espresso is a personal preference, and it may take some time to find the ideal balance of grind size, dose, and extraction time that suits your taste buds. Keep a coffee journal to record your experiments and note what works best.


In conclusion, making espresso with regular coffee beans is possible and an enjoyable and rewarding experience. With the right beans, grind size, and brewing method, you can savor the rich and bold flavors of espresso from the comfort of your home.

So, whether you choose the Moka pot, AeroPress, or an espresso machine, remember to start with high-quality coffee beans and follow our tips for a delightful espresso adventure. Say goodbye to expensive coffee shop visits and hello to your homemade espresso haven!

About the Author Leman Acosta