Keurig coffee machines revolutionized the way families made coffee at home. Their original coffee machine provided homes with an easy way to brew coffee in the morning, and since they have brought out a range of different products.
With the ability to make a few different cups of coffee and other drinks at home, there seems to be little that a Keurig does not do.
If you are craving something a little stronger, can you make espresso in a Keurig? Unfortunately, no, you cannot make espresso in a Keurig. When making espresso, you need an ample amount of pressure to produce an espresso shot. The Keurig coffee machine does not offer this, and instead uses pods to make popular beverages such as cappuccinos and lattes.
An easy solution to this is the Keurig Espresso Machine, which allows you to make shots of strong brew to enjoy at home, and allows you to make espresso-based drinks as well.
Which would be the better machine for you, and which machine gives you more freedom with what you can make?
Here is everything you need to know about making espressos using a Keurig!
Why Can’t a Regular Keurig Make Espresso
To first understand why you cannot make an espresso using a Keurig, you need to understand exactly what an espresso is, and why you need a special machine, or brewing method, to make the perfect short shot.
What is an Espresso?
Espresso is a type of coffee that was first invented in Italy. It is a popular drink in Italy, Spain and around Europe, but is also enjoyed around the world.
When talking about espresso, you are not referring to a specific bean roast, but rather the highly concentrated coffee (also referred to as an espresso shot). Espresso is made using sophisticated machines which offer high temperatures and pressure to extract flavor and caffeine from finely ground coffee beans.
There are different types of espresso, such as ristretto, which is a short shot. This is a very concentrated, strong espresso, which only measures around ¾ ounce. There is also the standard espresso shot, which produces about 1 ounce of concentrated coffee.
You then have the doppio, which is a double shot of espresso. It has double the amount and strength (including caffeine content) of a standard espresso.
Espressos can be enjoyed straight, with or without cream, sugar, or other additives, or as part of another coffee drink. Lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas are all popular coffee drinks which use espresso shots as their base. (We have a mega guide to several common coffee types here.)
Without using the right brewing method and pressure, an espresso will taste like a short serving of weak coffee, and will not pack the punch that it should.
You need a sophisticated professional espresso machine to make true espresso, although there are home espresso machines as well as Moka pots which produce popular, similar results.
Using A Keurig To Make “Espresso“
You cannot use a Keurig to make espresso.
The pod system does not offer enough pressure to make a strong brew out of the ground coffee, and any attempt to make an espresso will leave you with a very weak short shot.
The best you will achieve is a strong, small cup of drip (or “regular”) coffee.
The Keurig coffee machine uses their K-cup pod system, which runs water through a pod filled with a certain type of coffee blend, to make a cup of drip coffee.
While this is an incredibly convenient way to prepare some delicious coffee or other beverages at home, it will not make a good espresso.
The best way to make an espresso would be by using a high-quality espresso machine. But luckily enough, the Keurig brand does have such a machine!
1. The Keurig K-Café Coffee Maker
If you want a Keurig machine that allows you to make espressos and espresso-based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, the Keurig K-Café Coffee Maker is the best option. There really isn’t any other pod-based coffee machine that offers the versatility that this machine does.
With this machine, you are able to use a K-cup pod to brew lattes, cappuccinos, drip coffees, as well as other beverages like teas and hot chocolate, much like you would with the regular Keurig machine. The difference is that you can choose your strength on this machine.
Being able to choose the strength of the brew, and choosing the strongest setting, allows you to brew a short shot that is as close to an espresso as you could hope for from this type of machine.
The K-Cafe works similarly to how a professional machine would, and produces decent results, but is so much easier to use. You simply brew a coffee shot using a K-cup pod, and you can then either enjoy it as is or go on to use the milk frother to help you approximate a coffee shop latte.
You will not be missing out on any K-cup coffees when using this machine, as it is compatible with any K-cup pod, so you can make your favorite beverage with the push of a button and the frothing of some milk.
To make the machine even more compatible with a simple lifestyle, the milk frother is dishwasher safe, and it is perfect to use with fresh milk, skim, soy, and almond milk, so your beverage can be exactly to your taste.
Without the milk, simply use the strong brew function, a dark roast K-cup pod, and the shot button, to give yourself a short shot of strong espresso to kick start your day.
If you do not want to use the shot button, you can choose between a latte, cappuccino, and cold brew, and then choose between 6oz, 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz. Everything can be controlled with a simple touch of a button!
So if you prefer the option of choosing how big you want a coffee shot to be, and how strong it turns out, with the ability to then froth your preference of milk to your liking, this is the ideal coffee machine to purchase. It gives you so much versatility while being so easy to use.
2. Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker
The Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker is the one which most of us would be familiar with and is the most popular coffee maker found in homes. It is incredibly user-friendly, and offers up a delicious beverage with very little effort, and in very little time!
Using the Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, you can choose the size of your brew, from a small, medium, and a large cup, depending on how strong you want the brew to be. While this helps you adjust the coffee or beverage to your taste, it does not allow you to make an espresso.
For many people, this is absolutely fine, as there are so many K-cup pods to choose from that you might not feel anything is missing. However, for those who love a strong shot of espresso, you might not be satisfied with all that the Keurig K-Classic can do.
To see to almost every taste, there are over 75 brands, and over 400 varieties to choose from, so you really will be able to pick your favorite among the many available.
This compact coffee maker can see to many family’s needs and will be your go-to coffee maker for when you need a quick and easy cup, but still want a great quality beverage. The compact size makes it ideal for most kitchens, and really is worth a purchase – as long as you aren’t looking for an espresso!
What Happens If You Try To Make An Espresso With A Keurig?
You might be able to find some methods online that supposedly help you make an espresso using a Keurig, but these really never work out well, and it is pretty much impossible to make a decent espresso using a typical Keurig.
When using a K-cup pod, hot water saturates the freshly ground coffee beans in the pod, which filters and flows through the paper filter.
The relatively gentle pressure used to do this is what extracts the rich, full-flavored blend, and gives you a fresh cup of delicious coffee or other beverage.
The pressure used to extract this flavor from the coffee is too gentle to give you a rich, dark espresso roast. So while you may be able to use these methods to brew a short cup of coffee, it will never taste close to an espresso.
So, simply put, if you try to make an espresso with a Keurig, you will be left with a less than satisfying short cup of coffee that will not give you the kick that an espresso should!
It is best to invest in the Keurig K-Café Coffee Maker or a proper espresso machine to help make a better espresso at home instead.
Which Is Better To Keep At Home?
It is not for anyone else to say what type of Keurig coffee machine is better to keep at home for you, it will all come down to your lifestyle, and the type of coffee you prefer to drink.
For those who do not necessarily want espresso at home, the Keurig K-Classic is still a great option.
It is easy to use and quick to make a beverage, and there are over 400 varieties of pods to choose from – you will never get bored of the type of coffee or warm drink you can have at home.
However, if you enjoy a good espresso now and then and don’t want to have a completely separate machine to use just for making an espresso, the Keurig K-Café Maker is the better option.
To help you make a decision on which would be better for you, here is a quick summary of both:
Let’s look at the “classic” model first:
- Compatible with over 400 varieties of pods
- Choose between 6, 8, 10-ounce cup size
- Coffee ready at the touch of the button
- Auto on and off function
- Small and compact
- Cannot make espressos
- Limited to the pod system only
- No included milk frother
Now let’s look at the fancier option which will take you much closer to a true espresso.
- Compatible with K-cup pods
- Included milk frother to froth milk separately
- Can choose the cup size
- Can choose the strength of the brew
- Can make something close to an espresso
- Need to froth milk separately
- A larger machine so takes up space
Hopefully, the comparison of the two will help you decide which is the machine to choose for your home, and which you will get the most use out of!
Which Is The Best Machine To Choose To Make An Espresso?
There is no doubt that the Keurig K-Café Coffee Maker is the best option to choose if you want to make espresso at home, but want to stick with the convenience of Keurig machines.
It is the only Keurig machine that has the possibility of making anything close to an espresso.
The beauty of using the Keurig K-Café machine is that you can make a good approximation of an espresso shot, which also means that it is ideal for making espresso-based drinks at home, such as lattes and cappuccinos.
You can make the brew in three different sizes, and then froth as much milk to make the beverage you want.
You get quite a bit more versatility using the K-Café Coffee Maker than you do with the other more basic machines, but once again, it is only worth the purchase if you are going to use the extra functions.
Once you know what it is you want to get out of a coffee machine at home, you should be able to make a decision from there!
Reusable Keurig Pods For a Better Flavor
If you have a favorite espresso roast that you enjoy, you could use it to make a shot of espresso with your Keurig K-Café, even if it isn’t one of the K-cup pod options.
To do this, you could purchase one of the reusable Keurig pods (many machines also come with one). These can be filled with your favorite coffee roast, and then placed into the Keurig machine instead of the disposable pods.
Reusable pods work just as well, and may even be cheaper in the long run. You can buy more of your favorite coffee for the price and only need to buy 1 pod.
We also probably don’t need to point out that reusable pods are much better for the environment as well.
How Do You Make Espresso Without a Machine?
There are other ways in which you could make a decent home approximation of an espresso without an espresso machine.
The most popular worldwide is by far the Moka pot. The strong, rich brew of a Moka pot is quite concentrated and has a very similar texture and flavor to that of true espresso. The caffeine content also tends to be quite high.
Moka coffees also take well to added hot water, frothed/cold milk, and other ingredients to make home lattes or americanos.
Some also like to make a strong Aeropress coffee to simulate the idea of a short but strong cup of coffee. Others even try a small, very concentrated French press, though we’re pretty skeptical about either of these methods producing an espresso. They’re better as delicious alternatives.
What is the Best Roast For Making Espresso?
Espresso purists will claim that the best roasts to use to make an espresso would be a medium to dark roast, with Italian baristas likely suggesting dark roasts. These types of roasts have an oilier exterior and give a richer, creamier brew if prepared properly.
What is the Difference Between Espresso and Coffee?
Espresso is a type of coffee. As we said above, espresso is a very concentrated, tiny coffee (about 1 ounce’s worth on average), that requires a very high temperature and pressure to be produced. To get “true espresso” you need sophisticated, professional equipment.
Coffee refers to any drink made with ground coffee beans. However, when simply called “coffee” or “regular coffee,” the term most often refers to percolated or drip coffee. This cup is flavorful, but balanced.
It is produced by hot water being percolated slowly through coffee grounds with some pressure.
Can You Use French Roast For Espresso?
Yes, you can use a French roast to make an espresso. It is best to use a dark or darker medium roast to give you the rich taste and consistency that you would want to get from an espresso.
French roast is traditionally a dark roast, so it is fine as a basis for espresso, if perhaps less traditional.
If you want something a little lighter, go for a medium roast. It will still give you that great body and flavor, but it will not be as strong or rich.
Is Espresso a Grind or a Roast?
Espresso roasts do exist. These are coffee blends that are expected to produce ideal, rich results when used to prepare espresso or similar coffee. They are often a dark or medium roast.
However, ‘espresso’ is also a grind setting on many coffee grinders. Espresso grinds are very fine, and as the name suggests, these very fine grinds are necessary to create espresso.