How to Make Espresso at Home Without an Espresso Machine

Updated on December 19, 2019
Jenna Estefan profile image

Jenna has been a barista for 2 years. She is a coffee and espresso enthusiast. She developed a passion for coffee after living in Italy.

Yes, you can make froth without an espresso machine!
Yes, you can make froth without an espresso machine! | Source

An excellent cup of espresso is made by the perfect combination of high-quality coffee beans, the perfect grind (not too coarse and not too fine) and how tightly the beans are packed into the portafilter (the little cup where the coffee grinds are steeped to make the espresso).

After that, making espresso all comes down to pressure. When making regular drip coffee, the water is slowly allowed to steep and soak through the coffee grinds and drain through a filter. No pressure is necessary. With espresso, however, you need a high amount of pressure in order to create the strong shot of coffee in a small amount of liquid.

When a shot of espresso is drawn, there is a light, creamy layer of the espresso left on top. This is called the crema. Pulling a shot that creates the perfect amount of crema makes a delicious shot of espresso. High-quality espresso machines use a high amount of pressure to force hot water through the coffee grounds, creating a strong concentration of coffee in a little shot.

In order to make espresso or any espresso drinks at home, you need to recreate this high-pressure environment. Though an espresso machine will give you the best results, there are some tricks you can try to make your own espresso at home.

The golden, creamy-looking layer of espresso is called the crema and is a good indicator that you've made a good shot of espresso.
The golden, creamy-looking layer of espresso is called the crema and is a good indicator that you've made a good shot of espresso. | Source
Using a moka pot is great alternative to an espesso machine for making espresso at home.
Using a moka pot is great alternative to an espesso machine for making espresso at home. | Source

Ways to Make Espresso Without an Espresso Maker

The difference between regular drip coffee and espresso is the concentration of coffee due to the pressure created during the brewing process. Here are some alternatives to using an espresso machine to make espresso at home.

Moka Pot

My preferred method of making espresso at home without an espresso machine is a Moka Pot. A Moka Pot is like a little mini-pressure cooker for coffee. This is how many families in Italy make espresso at home and let me tell you, it makes for an excellent cup of espresso at a fraction of the cost of a fancy espresso machine.


You can make a cup of coffee or a shot of espresso in about a minute by using an AeroPress. To make espresso with the AeroPress, you place the AeroPress on top of a sturdy mug, then place two scoops of coffee grounds in the press, followed by hot water. Give the coffee and water a gentle stir and then push down on the plunger about a quarter-inch and maintain this pressure for about 20–30 seconds.

For about $30 and one minute of your time, AeroPresso will give you a rich shot of espresso (or cup of coffee if you wish).


Handpresso is a handheld, portable espresso maker. What's nice about Handpresso is that you can take it anywhere and all you need is a coffee pod and boiling water. Because Handpresso uses coffee pods, it means no cleanup required. Simply throw the pod away after use. To use Handpresso, you pump the Handpresso until the needle indicator is in the green, add hot water and your coffee and then push the dispense button and voila, you have espresso! Though more expensive than a Moka Pot or the Aeropress, Handpresso is the only option that is portable with a no-mess cleanup.

This glass milk frother is affordable and allows you to create milk foam without an expensive espresso machine.
This glass milk frother is affordable and allows you to create milk foam without an expensive espresso machine. | Source

How to Froth Milk Without a Machine

So now that you have some ideas on how to make espresso without an espresso machine, all you need to do to make a latte without an espresso machine is to add hot milk. If you don't like foam on your lattes, then no need to read on.

However, if you enjoy cappuccinos or caramel macchiatos, you'll need to figure out how to create milk froth without a machine. Here are some simple tricks you can try to create milk froth for your special, homemade espresso drink.

How to Froth Milk on the Stove

You can froth milk by simply heating in the on the stove. When you're using this technique, you'll want to keep your eye on the milk and stir frequently to prevent the milk from boiling.

  1. To froth milk on the stove, simply heat the desired amount of milk in a pot over low heat. Be sure to leave enough room for the froth.
  2. Constantly whisk the milk. As the milk gets warmer and you continue whisking, more foam will be created.
  3. Continue to whisk the milk until the desired amount of milk froth is reached.
  4. Be careful to not let the milk boil, or this may change the flavor of the milk.

How to Forth Milk Using a Blender

This technique is quick and pretty simple. Heat a mug of milk in the microwave, on the beverage setting if your microwave has it. Be careful not to overheat the milk or you will get a layer of skin on the top. Pour the milk into a blender. I use a Magic Bullet. Blend for about 30 seconds. The air that is whipped into the milk during the blending will create milk froth.

How to Frothing Milk Using a Milk Frother

There are inexpensive and easy-to-use milk frothers available you can try. Some kinds of milk frothers have you put a frothing wand into your milk and then turn it on. It then whips air into your milk, creating froth. Other kinds of milk frothers have you pour the milk into the container, close the lid and then use the pump for about 20–30 seconds and then you have froth! Easy!

I've seen reviewers and baristas alike say that these frothers actually create a richer and longer-lasting foam that the commercial machines because they use air to create the foam, rather than steam.

How to make espresso drinks without an espresso machine.
How to make espresso drinks without an espresso machine. | Source

Putting It All Together: How to Make a Latte or Cappuccino Without an Espresso Maker

Now that you have your homemade espresso and frothed milk, you are ready to make any espresso drink you desire! Here are simple directions to make any espresso drink you like:

  • Latte: A latte is coffee, milk and little bit of foam on top (or no foam if you prefer). To make a flavored latte, simple add a couple tablespoons of flavored syrup to a mug. Pour the espresso into the mug and top with milk. You can hold back the foam with a spoon as your pour the milk, and then finish by scooping the foam on top. This way, you get the exact amount of foam you choose. You also may choose to add more or less syrup, depending on your personal preferences. You can buy flavored syrups at some grocery or specialty stores.
  • Cappuccino: A "wet" cappuccino is half milk and half foam. A "dry" cappuccino is all foam. You can make a cappuccino by adding as much milk foam as you like to your espresso. You can also add flavor to your cappuccinos if desired.
  • Americano: An americano is espresso and hot water. Though similar to drip coffee, it has a more distinctive flavor with less "burnt" taste. You can add cream, sugar, flavor or drink it black.
  • Mocha: A mocha is a latte with chocolate. Similarly, a white mocha uses white chocolate. I personally prefer the Ghirardelli white chocolate powder for my white mochas. Any preferred chocolate syrup will do the trick, however. You simply mix your powder or syrup with the espresso and add your frothed milk. Top with whipped cream. Yum! You can also make a delicious espresso drink by using caramel sauce as the flavoring.
  • Caramel Macchiato: A caramel macchiato is a vanilla latte with caramel drizzled on top. Make sure you have a rich froth on top to hold the caramel sauce.
  • Espresso macchiato: Especially popular in Italy, an espresso macchiato is an espresso shot with just a smidgen of milk or cream.
  • Latte Breve: A breve is made with half-and-half rather than milk. Likewise, a skinny latte is made with skim milk.
  • Iced Espresso Drinks: Iced espresso drinks are made the same way as hot drinks, except the milk is cold and ice is added at the end. Adding the ice after the milk will prevent the ice from melting too quickly, creating a watery drink. Because iced drinks don't use steamed or frothed milk, iced cappuccinos don't exist. Use whipped cream to hold the caramel drizzle on top of an iced caramel macchiato.


Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Jenna Estefan


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)