How to Make Espresso with a Keurig (Top Tips!)

Updated: July 1, 2022 by Owen Richardson

how to make espresso with Keurig

Have you been wanting to make espresso, but only have a Keurig machine? Is an espresso machine out of your budget? You’re in luck! Today I’m going to teach you how to make espresso with a Keurig machine.

With this easy method, you not only can have espresso shots but you open up a whole new world of coffee creation. Espresso shots can be used to make incredible cappuccinos, lattes, and breves. Your options are going to be endless. Let’s get started!

What Is Espresso?

Espresso is coffee brewed in a specific way; it began in Europe, specifically Italy in the 1900s. Although espresso can be drunk alone, it is also used as a base for many popular coffee drinks including cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos.

Espresso is technically a small amount of coffee that is very concentrated. Typically a single shot of espresso is around 1 oz and a double shot of espresso would be two ounces. An example of the strength of espresso is that a double shot of espresso is the same amount of coffee that is in a 10- to 12-ounce cup of regular coffee.

Espresso usually uses a blend of arabica and robusta coffee beans. Arabica will help to provide a sweeter and smoother taste to counteract the robusta. Robusta beans are great for creating espresso because they have a higher concentration of caffeine, lower acidity, and produce a better crema.

How Is Espresso Typically Made?

Espresso is usually made with darker roast coffee beans. The grind size is also critical for an espresso, which must be quite fine. The grind size is key to making espresso because if the grind is too coarse water will pour right through it, but if it is too fine it will clump up and clog your machine.

Espresso is made differently from drip coffee because drip coffee consists of hot water being poured or dispersed over the coffee beans slowly. When making espresso, approximately 9 bars of water pressure is applied to the coffee grounds. It is a faster process, with a shot of espresso being produced in 20 to 30 seconds.

How to Make Espresso with Keurig: Important Tips

Although Keurig machines are not espresso machines you can make coffee almost identical to espresso because it does generate some pressure. We will cover step by step how to make espresso in a Keurig.

1. Choose the Proper K Cup

The most important part of creating an espresso coffee with your Keurig is that you choose the correct K cup. Espressos are typically made with a very dark roast so try to find a K cup that specifically is intended for espresso, such as this Lavazza espresso K cup.

Lavazza espresso K cup

2. Choose the Smallest Size Brew and Use the Strong Button If Possible

Espressos are typically made in very small 1-2 ounce sizes, but most Keurigs do not create a brew that small. Some Keurigs will have a brew size of 4 ounces as the smallest; always choose the smallest size your Keurig offers.

Certain Keurig machines will have a “Strong” button as an option to make the coffee stronger. If you have this option on your Keurig machine, utilize it. Since espressos are made extremely strong, this option will help you recreate a flavor closest to a true espresso.

If you have a K-Cafe or K-Latte models, you would have a “Shot” button. That would make it a whole lot easier for you — use that.

3. Divide the Brew Into Espresso-Size Portions

If you made a 4-ounce brew, you can divide it into either two coffees that would be considered a double espresso or four coffees that would be considered a single espresso.

It is important to note that the coffee you brewed may not be as creamy as standard espresso.

4. Froth Milk If Desired

Some people will drink espresso as a stand-alone beverage, while others will add frothed milk. Certain models of Keurig coffee makers such as the Keurig K Cafe come with a milk frother attached so you can make your coffee and froth your milk with one machine; otherwise, you can purchase one separately.

What Other Coffees Can Be Made with a Keurig?

Now that you know how to make an espresso with your Keurig, you have the option to create many other coffees as well.

Espresso is used as a base for many popular coffee-based drinks in coffee shops, so if you have made a shot of espresso you can make any of these as well.

Latte

If you have made a shot of espresso and have a milk frother or whisk, you can make a latte. A latte is simply espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The ratio is ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam on top.

It is a good idea to use whole milk because it will froth the best. If you do not want to use whole milk, 2% milk will work as well.

Cappuccino

What Other Coffees Can Be Made with a Keurig?

The only difference between a latte and a cappuccino is the ratio of coffee, milk, and foam. A cappuccino is made with ⅓ coffee, ⅓ steamed milk, and ⅓ foam.

Just as with a latte, it is better to use whole milk so you can get the proper froth consistency.

Americano

An Americano is quite simple to make once you have your shot of espresso. An Americano is simply espresso mixed with water. The amount of water that is added to the espresso can be adjusted to your personal preference.

If you prefer a stronger coffee drink, add a small amount of water. Add more as desired if it is still too strong.

Macchiato

A macchiato is a specialty drink that is also made using one part espresso and one part foam.

You can make this drink by simply pouring your espresso into your coffee cup, frothing milk, and then pouring the foam on top. There is another variation of a macchiato called a latte macchiato where there is espresso added to the milk before it is frothed. You then add the frothed milk that has a touch of espresso in it on top of the espresso.

FAQs

Can every Keurig make espresso?

The answer is yes. Although Keurig machines are not espresso machines and therefore do not use the required pressure to make a true espresso, any Keurig machine can make coffee very similar to an espresso.

Can you make iced espresso with a Keurig?

Some people may want to make an iced espresso with their Keurig. If your Keurig has an iced coffee option this will work best; otherwise, your ice will melt almost immediately. Even if it doesn’t, though, you can still use a standard brewing option to create an espresso using the steps above and pour it over ice.

Will a medium roast K cup work to make an espresso?

A medium roast K cup will not be strong enough to make an espresso with a Keurig. Espressos are typically very strong so you will not get the same flavor if you use a standard medium roast coffee. It is best to find something that is meant for espresso or a dark, intense roast.

Can you use espresso grounds in a reusable K cup?

It is not a good idea to use espresso grounds in a reusable K cup. The Keurig machine is not intended for grounds of that size and they can clog the machine. If you want to use your own grounds in a reusable K cup, the smallest grind size that will work will be something that is medium to medium-fine.

The Final Scoop on Making Espresso in a Keurig

Although you technically cannot make a genuine espresso in a Keurig, you now know that you can make a brew that comes really close. Espresso machines can be costly, but you can still create a great coffee with a Keurig.

It’s most important to find a K cup that is intended for espresso or a very dark roast in order to get a flavor closest to an espresso. Not only can you create an espresso shot, but you know that you can also create specialty drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos.

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