Can You Make Espresso in a Keurig?

can a keurig make espresso

For those who appreciate coffee culture, searching for the perfect shot of espresso or espresso-based drink can be a never-ending quest. If you’re a proud owner of a Keurig machine, you may wonder if it can brew a proper espresso. Keurig coffee makers are known for their convenience and versatility but operate differently from traditional espresso machines. Today we’ll dive into the question that brought you here today: Can you make espresso in a Keurig?

No, a Keurig machine does not produce real authentic espresso because the Keurig coffee maker isn’t an espresso machine, it is a single-serve drip coffee maker. However, Keurigs can imitate espresso-like coffee drinks or shots through the use of espresso K-cups and the “Shot” or “Strong” settings on some Keurig models.

In this article, we'll cover why your Keurig can't make espresso, tips and tricks that you can use to imitate espresso with your Keurig, and other cheap ways you can make espresso without an espresso machine. So whether you’re an espresso lover or a Keurig aficionado, read on to find out the best approach to satisfy your taste buds and caffeine cravings. 

Related Articles:

The Origins of Keurig Coffee Company

How to use Keurig rinse pods to clean your Keurig quickly and cheaply.

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a very concentrated form of coffee that is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. You typically drink it in concentrated, small amounts called shots. This brewing process is excellent for extracting the rich oils, flavors, and aromas of the beans, creating a flavorful and strong drink. Espresso is the base for a range of popular coffee drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. Espresso offers a unique texture, flavor, and a tasty layer of crema (a creamy foam that forms on the top of the shot).

Related Articles:

Is espresso bad for you? What are the health benefits and drawbacks?

Does espresso have calories or carbohydrates in it? 

The Difference Between a Keurig and an Espresso Machine

Keurigs and espresso machines are different coffee brewing systems, each with unique functions and features. A few key differences include: 

Beverage Variety

Keurig allows you to brew a broad range of hot items, including flavored coffee, regular coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and more. They come designed to be very versatile and convenient, allowing you to pick from many different K-Cup options

On the other hand, espresso machines only create espresso shots. You can use them to develop various espresso-based coffee drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, and macchiatos. They usually have additional features like steam wands or a built-in milk frother for heating and texturing milk. 

Related: How to Use Keurig Pods More than Once

Brewing Method

Coffee is made in a Keurig using a drip brewing method where water is heated and passed through a single-serve coffee pod full of ground coffee (a K-Cup). The water slowly goes through the pod and into the mug to create a hot cup of coffee. 

Espresso machines use a highly pressurized brewing method by forcing hot water through the finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. The pressure is usually around nine bars. This extracts the oils and flavors and creates a very concentrated espresso shot. 

Customization

Keurig machines have a very consistent but simple brewing method, making them quick and convenient. However, they have limited options when it comes to customization because they have manufacturer-set parameters for brewing each K-Cup. 

Espresso machines give you much more control over the brewing process. You can adjust the coffee dosage, grind size, extraction time, and water temperature for perfect flavor. This customization level benefits anyone who likes experimenting with different brewing techniques. 

Pressure and Extraction

Keurig coffee makers have lower pressure compared to espresso machines. This is because the brewing process has water pass through the coffee pod by gravity, leading to a milder extraction. 

Espresso machines employ high pressure to extract flavors, creating a much more robust and concentrated flavor. This pressure helps form the crema and extract the oils for a rich texture. 

How to Make Espresso with a Keurig – 3 Methods

If you want to try and make a version of espresso using your Keurig, you can do the following: 

Espresso Pods

Keurig has specially designed espresso pods. They come with finely ground coffee to give you a darker/stronger flavor, similar to espresso. They are typically labeled as espresso or marketed with Keurig espresso-style brewing methods. 

keurig espresso pods

Buy Espresso Keurig Pods at a reduced price on Amazon from this site.

Small Brew Size

Many Keurig machines give you the choice of brew sizes. To create a more espresso-like, flavorful coffee, pick the smallest size. This leads to a stronger and less watery brew which can help mimic the richness and intensity of standard espresso. 

Shot Button

Finally, some Keurig's have a “shot” button explicitly used to brew more robust coffees. If you have this feature, you want to use it to get a more espresso-like drink. The button adjusts the machine’s brewing parameters for a more concentrated brew. To use it, put your K-Cup of choice into the pod basket and close the lid. Then, instead of picking a brew option like normal, push the “shot” button to get a two-ounce shot of concentrated coffee. 

However, be mindful that Keurig machines with this button don’t have the pressure to brew actual espresso shots. You’ll get something similar, but it won’t have the crema on top. 

As of now, four Keurig coffee makers have a “shot” button.

  • K-Café Essentials
  • K-Café Single Serve Coffee Latte & Cappuccino Maker
  • K-Café Special Edition Single Serve Coffee Latte & Cappuccino Maker
  • K-Latte Single Serve Coffee and Latte Maker

Also, the Keurig K-Café line comes with a built-in milk frother that you can use. All you do is fill the frother with milk to the cappuccino or latte line and push the button to start. Then, pour the milk over your fresh shot to create a poor man's homemade cappuccino or latte.

Be aware that the milk you pick will impact your drink’s structure. Whole milk is the most popular for creating a rich-tasting foam, and skim is the next best because it froths easily while being airy and light.

You can also buy a milk frother separately if your Keurig doesn’t have a milk frother. Click here to check out the one my girlfriend uses every morning to froth oat milk for her coffee.

Remember that while these methods can help you achieve a stronger and more concentrated coffee, they won't fully replicate the taste and characteristics of a true espresso shot made with a quality espresso machine.

Related: Not sure what Keurig model you have? We have a guide on the most popular models, and you can find them (with pictures!) here

How to Make Cheap Single-Serve Espresso 

If the Keurig espresso imitation isn't doing it for you, below are a few ways you can make espresso without shelling out thousands for a big machine. 

Flair Espresso Lever

If you’re after a manual espresso-making experience, the Flair is a portable hand-operated espresso marker. This machine lets create authentic single-serve espresso shots. All you do is fill the water reservoir, add your finely ground coffee, and use the lever to apply pressure and extract the coffee. This espresso method does require a little muscle but it can give you affordable, great-tasting shots that you can use as the base for drinks or drink by themselves. 

flair espresso lever

Buy The Flair on Amazon here

Nespresso Capsules

Another way to get single-serve espresso out of your Keurig is by using Nespresso capsules. Nespresso machines come designed to brew espresso, and there are compatible models with Keurig. When you find one, insert it into your Keurig and follow the instructions to brew based on your desired size and strength. 

Related: Can you use Keurig pods in your Nespresso machine? Find out here! 

Moka Pot

Finally, a Moka Pot, also called a stovetop espresso maker, is another option you may want to consider. The Moka Pot can help you get a single serving of espresso-like coffee using your stove. To start:

  1. Fill the chamber of your Moka Pot with water and pop finely ground coffee grounds into the filter basket.
  2. Screw the top chamber tightly into the bottom, and put it on your stove on medium heat.
  3. Give it a few minutes to let the water heat up.

The pressure the heated water creates will force it through the coffee grounds, giving you a concentrated and strong coffee that is very similar to traditional espresso. 

Below is James Hoffmans video on how to make Moka Pot Coffee/Espresso

I personally own a mocha pot, and it definitely makes super strong, espresso like coffee. Mocha pot coffee is not for the faint of heart. 

You can buy a Mocha Pot on Amazon here.

You can get a single serving of espresso with and without using your Keurig machine by trying the alternative methods we discussed. These options give you a range of simplicity, convenience, and manual control to help customize your espresso experience in the comfort of your home. 

Exploring Your Espresso Alternatives: Bold Brews with Keurig Convenience

So, does Keurig make espresso? Now you know that it doesn’t produce true espresso, but it does give you several options for getting an espresso-like drink while using it. Whether you choose Nespresso capsules, a flair espresso lever, or a Mocha Pot, there are alternative methods available that can satisfy any craving for a flavorful and concentrated drink. 

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