How to make Espresso with Keurig

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Johny Morrisson

Keurig is an exceptional and extremely user-friendly coffee machine for brewing plain and smooth black coffee.

While it’s not possible to make Authentic Italian Espresso with a Keurig machine but you can certainly come close to it and make something called “Espresso-like shots”

Espresso with Keurig

Can You Make Espresso in A Keurig?

According to the Specialty Coffee Association, the definition of true Espresso is:

Espresso is a 25–35ml (.85–1.2 ounce [×2 for double]) beverage prepared from 7–9 grams (14–18 grams for a double) of coffee through which clean water of 195°–205°F (90.5°–96.1°C) has been forced at 9–10 atmospheres of pressure, and where the grind of the coffee is such that the brew time is 20–30 seconds. While brewing, the flow of espresso will appear to have the viscosity of warm honey and the resulting beverage will exhibit a thick, dark golden crema. Espresso should be prepared specifically for and immediately served to its intended consumer.”


So, according to the definition, A Keurig machine can not make authentic espresso as it uses drip brewing technology, which does not produce enough pressure to classify as true espresso. Moreover, Keurigs make large servings of coffee typically 6 to 12 oz while an Espresso shot is only 1 oz.

The Keurig K Cafe model, however, has a “Shot Option” for those who crave the flavor of strong shots of coffee for making cappuccinos and lattes.

Alongside its built-in milk frother, the K-Cafe model also has a “Shot” button that delivers a concentrated 2 oz coffee shot that makes delicious and strong Latte and Cappuccino drinks.

Keurig K cafe

Read a Review of Keurig K cafe

How to make an Espresso like shot with Keurig?

Keurig is not for espresso but some Keurig models allow you to make stronger coffee by reducing the amount of water that goes through the coffee pod. Here are some tips for making Espresso like strong coffee with Keurig.

1- Choose Dark Roast or Espresso K Cup coffee pod

Dark roasted beans are typically used in espresso since they have a stronger flavor and extract flavors more quickly than lighter roasts.

Unlike regular coffee K-Cups, Espresso K-Cups are packed with more finely ground and dark roasted coffee to make a stronger and more concentrated shot of coffee that resembles the taste of espresso.

Here’s my favorite Espresso K cup that you must try

Check Out Best Keurig Espresso Pods

2- Use the smallest brew size or shot button

As we know the traditional Espresso serving is very small. A single shot is only 1-1.25 oz while a double shot is around 2-2.5 oz.

So you have to use the smallest brew size on your Keurig. This will reduce the amount of water that goes through the coffee pod, resulting in a stronger shot with a more concentrated flavor.

If your Keurig has a “Shot” button, press it and you’ll get a shot of coffee that tastes almost like Espresso but without the signature crema layer.

Otherwise, press the strong button on Keurig and choose the 4 oz brew size. This way, you will get a 4-ounce serving of coffee that you can split into two 2-ounce shots aka double-shot Espresso.

Note: Some Entry level Keurig models don’t have the strong button and the brew size in some models starts from 6 oz. In those models, it is certainly not possible to make Espresso-like strong coffee

Keurig Espresso Hack with Reusable Pods

If you use refillable coffee pods then you can actually make a better-tasting espresso than pre-packaged K cups. Here’s how you can do it:

Reusable K cup

1. Grind the coffee beans

The best grind settings for Keurig Espresso are medium or medium fine. And if you buy pre-ground coffee then make sure it has medium fine or medium grind settings.

Note: Espresso typically uses fine grind settings as it results in the extraction of more flavors in a short time. However, In Keurig, you should use a relatively larger grind size (Medium-fine is the best) as it doesn’t have a pressurized brewing system. Using too fine coffee grounds can lead to choking or leakages in your Keurig.

2. Tamp the coffee grounds

Add the coffee grounds in the My K cup filter basket to the max fill line. Keurig My K cups can easily accommodate around 17 grams of coffee and you must fill it to the top.

Use a tamper or something flat and solid to gently press down the coffee grounds in the refillable pod.

This helps to ensure that the coffee is evenly distributed and compacted, which is important for even and maximum extraction.

Note: Don’t press too hard otherwise it will lead to choking. Just try to flatten the top surface of the coffee grounds.

Check Out: Best reusable K cups

3. Select the 4 oz cup size

Insert the refillable coffee pod into the machine and choose the smallest cup size on your Keurig machine, which is typically 4 ounces.

Also, press the strong button if your model has it. This will ensure that the water comes into contact with the coffee grounds for a longer period, producing a stronger shot.

4. Use it as a base for a Cappuccino or Latte

Keep in mind that the espresso shot produced by a Keurig machine will not have the same crema layer or strength as a traditional espresso shot, so I don’t think it makes sense to consume it as it is.

But it makes a delicious base for a Latte or Cappuccino. Froth some milk and add it to the top of freshly prepared Espresso from Keurig.

How’s Keurig different from an Espresso machine?

Traditional espresso machines and Keurig machines differ significantly in their brewing technology, which affects the taste, texture, and overall experience of drinking coffee.

Keurig coffee makers operate by piercing sealed K-Cup coffee pods with a fine needle, allowing hot water to pass through and brew the coffee. This process closely resembles that of automatic drip coffee makers. Keurig machines consistently produce standard servings of black coffee with a mild flavor and strength.

On the other hand, Espresso machines have a sophisticated design. They feature a pump-driven system that forces hot water through a puck of finely ground coffee at remarkably high pressures, typically between 9 and 15 bars. This pressurized extraction results in a rich and velvety espresso shot topped with a crema layer.

A better alternative for Espresso “Nespresso”

Nespresso is always better than Keurig for making espresso with the convenience of coffee pods.

Keurig machines make standard drip coffee, whereas Nespresso machines are designed to prepare espresso exclusively with a thick layer of Crema.

The Nespresso machine works by forcing water through coffee pods at high pressure in a similar manner to traditional espresso machines.

Nespresso is unquestionably a superior choice if you like to have rich and concentrated Espresso shots at the touch of a button.

Nespresso coffee makers

Also Read: Keurig vs Nespresso Machine

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – my step-by-step guide to making delicious espresso with your Keurig machine!

I hope this little tutorial gave you some new ideas for getting more use out of your Keurig.

Let me know in the comments if you try this espresso hack, and how it turns out! I’d love to hear your tips and tricks too.

Also Read:


Can You Use Espresso Capsules In Keurig?

You cannot use ESE Espresso capsules or Nespresso Pods in Keurig coffee makers since they are not compatible.
Keurig machines only work with pre-packaged K-cup coffee pods or reusable My k cup coffee filters for coffee grounds.

Does Keurig K cafe makes real Espresso?

No, the Keurig K-Cafe cannot make real espresso. However, it can produce a concentrated shot of coffee that resembles espresso, when you press the “Shot Button”.

Keurig Espresso Recipe

With this simple Keurig espresso recipe, you can enjoy a rich and concentrated shot of coffee in the comfort of your own home.
Total Time: 3 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Keurig Machine


  • 1 Espresso Roast K cup


  • Select your K cup: For rich and flavorful Espresso like Coffee, choose dark roast or Espresso roast K cup.
  • Brew coffee: Turn on the Keurig and select the 4 oz brew size. Also, Press the strong button, as it will prolong the brewing process and extract more flavors from the grounds.
  • Pour the Coffee: Pour your 4 oz coffee into two small demitasse Espresso cups to have a luxurious feeling of Espresso.
  • Serve and Enjoy: You can serve this Espresso like coffee as it is, or use it as a base for milk-based coffee drinks like Cappuccino or Latte.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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