Coffee is a necessary food group for me. During the work week, I really can’t get going (especially getting up at 5am) until I have my first few sips.
Unlike others, I don’t necessarily have a specific way I take my coffee. Sometimes I make regular coffee at home and add my almond milk creamer, while other times I make a fun, flavored latte. If I’m feeling really really bold (or tired), I drink espresso.
Learning how to make espresso at home was pretty essential for me once I started getting into lattes. Not only are coffee shops expensive (almost any drink I order is over $5 each day) but it’s just so much more convenient to go downstairs and make a cup of espresso.
Once I realized how well the few latte recipes that I’ve put together are doing with my readers, I wanted to create a simple guide for how to make espresso at home. The base of any latte is a good cup of espresso!
In order to help you learn how to make espresso at home regardless of the method, I’m first going to cover how to use an espresso machine, then how to make espresso on the stove. Feel free to skip to the part that applies to you, or scroll down for my favorite espresso cups and some yummy latte ideas!
How to Make Espresso at Home
You can either make espresso using an espresso machine or by making it on the stove using a much smaller stovetop espresso machine.
Although I mainly use my espresso machine now, before I purchased it I made my espresso on the stove for some years.
An espresso machine makes espresso much quicker, but other than time there isn’t a huge difference between the two. I’m going to give you an overview of how to do each here!
How to Use An Espresso Machine
Surprisingly, using an espresso machine is easy once you get the hang of it. While it’s fun to make full-on lattes, I recommend starting with espresso. It’s very simple to make and will most likely come out tasting good on the first try.
If you’re wondering how to make espresso at home, first, you need to actually grind up your coffee. I use a simple, inexpensive, at-home coffee grinder that I got on Amazon, but any grinder will work. You can also choose your own coffee beans depending on your preference.
While you’re doing these, your espresso machine should already be filled with water so that it can heat up. It only takes a few moments.
Once the coffee is completely ground up, place it in the brew basket (the basket that’s inside the portafilter). Smooth it over so that there aren’t any stray grains and clip the portafilter into place.
Once you’re ready, place an espresso cup under the portafilter and press the shot button. The machine will start to make some loud noises, and within 5-10 seconds, espresso will start dripping into the cup. Once the cup is full, shut the machine off (be careful not to run it too long without coffee in it).
Note that it’s okay if you shut the machine off before all of the ground coffee is actually used; you can use the leftover coffee for the next cup. What I love about this is that it’s very easy to make the exact amount of espresso you want. This was such a plus when I first learned how to use an espresso machine!
Now you can either drink the espresso straight (I’m not that brave!) or make a latte with it.
If you’re looking for a starter espresso machine, I recommend this one; this machine is a more advanced and expensive model.
You might still be a little confused, in which case I recommend searching for YouTube videos on how to use an espresso machine. Sometimes a video is much more helpful while you’re actually in the process of making the espresso!
How to Make Espresso On the Stove
Similar to a regular espresso machine, a stovetop espresso maker will need ground coffee to run. You can grind it up the same way (this is my favorite coffee grinder) using any type of coffee you’d like.
A stovetop espresso maker (such as this one) is going to have a bottom compartment that you fill with water, a middle compartment filter that’s smaller and needs to be filled with ground coffee, and a top compartment where the finished espresso will end up.
You’ll need to fill the bottom two compartments (with water and ground coffee respectively) before putting the espresso maker on the stove and turning on the heat.
You’ll want the flame to be on low to medium. You don’t have to time it and can instead keep brewing until the correct amount of coffee is in the top compartment.
Once the coffee is done, pour it into an espresso cup and enjoy! Don’t clean the stovetop espresso maker until it cools down; the metal can get really hot.
I love making my espresso in really cute cups. I tend to alternate back and forth between the classic white cup (although I do add in a bit of milk and sugar) and a pretty espresso glass.
A good espresso cup is necessary even if you’ll only be making lattes. Only a small espresso cup will fit under the espresso machine.
I’ve linked some of my affordable favorites here!
If you’re wanting to learn how to make espresso in order to use it for a latte, then the next step is pretty easy. You’ll need steamed milk which you can make either using the espresso machine or on the stove.
Both processes are pretty simple and will come out similarly!
If you’re looking for a delicious flavored latte recipe, check out this iced lavender latte I made recently.