How to make Espresso without a machine

The difference between Espresso made by Espresso machines and without a machine is the precise pressure brewing at 9 bars.

Yes, it is almost impossible to create that pressure manually but still, there are some ways to prepare a decent shot of Espresso manually.

So if you love Espresso but do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy espresso machine, you do not need to worry. In this article, I will show you five ways of how to make espresso without a machine.

How To Make Espresso Without A Machine

How to Make Great Espresso?

Ideally, for a perfect shot of Espresso, these are the two most essential parameters.

  • Minimum pressure (usually 9 bars)
  • 195-205 degrees temperature of the water

Maintaining and withstanding the high pressure and temperature is not that easy and high-quality material is required to do so. That’s the primary reason why Espresso machines are very expensive.

With these manual methods to brew Espresso, you can’t create a pressure of 9 bars. So technically speaking, the coffee you brew by these methods will not be exactly like espresso but you will like the taste.

  The other two things you must pay attention to are: 

  1. Types of coffee beans
  2. Consistency and size of the coffee ground

If your espresso shot tastes watery or bitter, you might be using the wrong grind size or the wrong type of coffee beans.

Read a guide on different types of Espresso makers

1) roast and Freshness of coffee beans

Medium-Dark or Dark roasted beans are generally preferred for brewing Espresso.

The longer coffee beans roast, the more porous they become, and ideal for brewing Espresso.

While pulling a shot of Espresso highly pressurized water is made to pass through the coffee grounds quickly. Since the dark roasted coffee grounds are porous, water can pass through and extract the flavors easily.  

Another thing about coffee beans you must consider is their freshness. If you want the most out of your cup you must buy and brew fresh coffee.

To make the best espresso, buy fresh whole beans and grind them just before brewing.  

2) Grind Size

To brew a perfect shot of Espresso grind SIZE MATTERS! Finely ground coffee is best for making Espresso.


Because we know that the contact time between the coffee grounds and water is very little while making Espresso. As we reduce the size of coffee grounds the rate of extraction increases and water can easily extract most of the flavourful coffee oils in very little time.

If you use coarse grounds for making Espresso most of them will remain under-extracted and you will be left with a shot of Espresso that is very weak or watery.

Read more: how to brew coffee without a coffee maker

4 ways To Make Espresso Without A Machine

For brewing a top-class shot of Espresso you definitely have to invest in expensive Espresso machines. But you can also brew a fairly good shot of Espresso using inexpensive tools with these five methods.

1) Make Espresso with French Press

Almost everyone has heard of a French press, but what you might not know is this simple machine can also serve as an espresso maker.   

French Press is a bottle-like glass or metallic jar with a plunger assembly that has metal strainers in the center to filter coffee.

It’s just as simple as that—precise and proficient innovation.

To make Espresso with your French Press follow these simple steps.

Step involved 

1) Grind your coffee beans to fine or medium-fine settings with a burr coffee grinder. You can also use pre-ground coffee but make sure that you are using fine grounds. Use two tablespoons or 20-22 grams of coffee grounds per serving.

2) Boil your water in an electric kettle or at the stove and then let it cool for 30 seconds. 

3) You are about halfway to have a luxurious espresso shot. Now add coffee grounds to French Press Jar and pour a splash of hot over it. Coffee starts to bloom as soon as hot water comes into contact with beans, releasing an aromatic and delightful aroma. Let the coffee soak flavors for thirty seconds.

4) Now pour the remaining water and let the water steep flavors for 4 minutes. If you prefer strong Espresso then give it an extra 1 to 2 minutes.

Don’t go beyond 6 minutes as it will make your drink overly bitter.

5) Now push the plunger halfway and raise it again to the top. And then push the plunger all the way down.

6) Here you go Your espresso is Ready! Now pour the freshly brewed espresso into your cups slowly and ENJOY!

2) Make Espresso with A Moka Pot

Moka pot might not be an Espresso maker but if you want a drink fairly similar to Espresso at a low cost then Moka Pot is one of the best options.

What is Moka pot?

The Moka pot is an Italian stovetop coffee maker developed by an Italian Engineer in 1913. It uses steam pressure to brew a highly concentrated cup of coffee.

A simple and inexpensive way to make Espresso at home. However, the biggest worry about Moka is that of over-extraction and burnt taste, which can be avoided with just a little care and practice.

And I must say if you are a fan of Americano which is a less concentrated Espresso drink you are gonna love it.

Step involved

1) Use Dark roasted coffee beans and grind them to fine or medium fine settings. Use two tablespoons or 20-22 grams of coffee grounds per serving.

Never use too fine coffee grounds as they can clog the Moka pot.

2) Fill the lowest chamber of the Moka pot with cold drinking water. Use 3-4 ounces of water.

3) Fill the filter basket with the coffee grounds and assemble the Moka pot by inserting the funnel in the bottom section. Screw the head of the Moka pot tightly with the bottom section.

4) Place the Moka pot at medium to low heat and let the water boil.

Never use high heat while using Moka Pot.

5) Now wait and listen to the gurgling sound as the water boils and the steam pass from the lower chamber to the upper chamber through the filter basket.

6) Remove the Moka pot from the heat source as soon as you notice the foam coming out of the funnel. This will stop the brewing process and prevent burnt flavors.

7) Now pour the coffee slowly into your cup and Enjoy!

3) Make Espresso with Aero Press

Aeropress is also known as a portable or manual Espresso maker. Espresso machines use a pressure of about 9 bars to brew espresso while this manual hand pump machine can only generate pressure up to 1.25 to 1.5 bars.

So technically speaking your drink will not be classified as Espresso but it will be fairly close.

I must say it is the best travel companion, even if you have a good Espresso machine at home you can buy this manual machine for traveling purposes.


Step involved

1) Add a filter to the cap of the AeroPress. 

2) Use two tablespoons or 18-20 grams of fine or medium-fine coffee grounds.

3) Now pour coffee grounds and add a splash of water to AeroPress.

4) Let the coffee bloom for 30 seconds and stir it three to four times before adding the rest of the water. Use 4 to 5 ounces of water in total per serving.

5) Now let the water steep flavors for one and a half to two minutes.

6) After two minutes, press the Aeropress slowly. Don’t apply too much force and do it very slowly so that the whole pushing will take 30 to 40 seconds.

Read an interesting guide on brewing coffee with whole beans

4) Make Espresso with Nanopresso Manual Espresso Machine

Like the AeroPress, the hand coffee machine is common among outdoors enthusiasts.

The good thing about this manual machine is that it can create pressure of up to 9-10 bars which is required for brewing Espresso. So unlike other methods discussed above you will get an exact espresso drink using a manual Espresso machine.

I won’t lie the espresso shots will not be as rich and thick as the Espresso machine. But I must say it’s the best method to make espresso without a machine or while you are on a camping or hiking trip.

The bad thing about Nanopresso is you have to apply a lot of force manually.

Step Involved

1) Unscrew the portafilter and remove the coffee filter basket.

2) Fill the filter basket with finely ground coffee beans.

3) Tamp the coffee grounds in the filter basket to make the surface even and flat. You can use to bottom of the scoop as a tamper.

4) Tightly screw the portafilter to the machine.

5) Now fill the water tank with hot water and screw the water tank to the machine

6) Unlock the piston by twisting it counterclockwise. Now put the nanoporesso upside down and start pumping. You will see coffee coming out after 5-6 pumps and after about 25-30 pumps your espresso will be fully extracted.

7) Your Espresso drink is ready with a rich and thick layer of crema over it.

If you are looking to buy manual and Portable Espresso makers. Check out the list of the 10 Best Portable Espresso makers

Final Thoughts

For those who don’t want to invest in a heavy espresso machine or who want to have an espresso while camping, these manual methods of brewing espresso will be ideal. 

Out of the 4 methods of how to make Espresso without a machine, I personally like the Nanopresso method the most and after that the Moka Pot method. In terms of taste, it will be fairly similar to espresso.   

I hope you like these methods and that you are excited to brew espresso shots manually at home. So GO ON and ENJOY!

Also read: How to make Espresso with Instant coffee




Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.