Despite being a really strong and somewhat ‘an acquired taste’ of a drink, Espresso remains to be a very popular coffee drink. Why? Because Espresso is the base of every popular coffee drink: Cappuccino, Latte, Machiatto and every hot or cold coffee drink out there.
Espresso is made by using a really high-pressure machine that forces boiling water through the finely ground coffee beans. The result is a shot of coffee with a thick layer on top known as Crema. Espresso can be enjoyed on its own or with milk which creates a variation of drinks like latte, cappuccino or more.
Can Espresso Be Made Without a Machine?
As espresso makers can be relatively expensive, many people wonder if it’s possible to make espresso without an espresso maker. Truth is, no, it is NOT possible to make an authentic shot of espresso without an espresso machine. Actually, the name ‘Espresso’ refers to the fact that the coffee has been made using high-pressure (i.e: an espresso machine). Espresso has to be made using a high-pressure pump espresso machine.
Espresso can be tricky to make. Whether you’re using a home machine or a commercial one, it requires some training to get the ratio right. However, luckily, there are many options of a decent quick and easy espresso at home (you’ll still need a machine).
Espresso At Home On a Budget:
We’ve already mentioned that espresso can be somewhat tricky to make in an authentic way and it requires some practice. If you’re an aspiring home barista and you want to learn the process of making great espresso, you’ll need a manual espresso maker, which luckily is available for every budget. If you’re someone who wants a quick shot of espresso without the work, a single-serve espresso maker would be a great choice for you.
For the Barista Wanna-Be: If you prefer to make your espresso shot manually, you’ll be happy to know that there are many affordable manual machines to choose from. Now to be perfectly honest, these are not the greatest machines as you won’t be able to control many aspects of your espresso shot like temperature, pressure and other aspects that an expensive espresso machine will allow you to do. But they are a good product to start learning your espresso making and milk frothing skills.
There are many machines we covered, so refer to these lists according to your budget:
By using a single-serve espresso maker like Nespresso, a shot of espresso is only a click away. Nespresso uses pods that have pre-measured coffee ground in it, insert the pod, hit the espresso button and the machine will do everything for you automatically. Some Nespresso makers include a milk frother (or you can purchase one separately) which will allow you to create a variety of coffee drinks. The milk frother will also create a delicious froth automatically.
The downside of using a single-serve espresso maker (Nespresso or others) is that the pods soon become an expensive habit. But the great news about Nespresso is that there is a big variety of non-official Nespresso compatible pods to choose from that are not expensive. There are also refillable Nespresso pods you can use to brew your favorite coffee and save on pods.
Alternatives To Espresso:
If you like a short coffee with a strong flavor, there are alternatives to espresso:
For example, you can use a stovetop Moka maker. This is a popular coffee brewing method, especially among Italians who are serious about their Espresso. a Moka stovetop maker is commonly known as a ‘stovetop espresso maker’, but the produced coffee is not really espresso. However, it is very strong and is consumed in small cups, just like Espresso.
An Aeropress is also a great way to make a short cup of coffee. Using an Aeropress, you can brew finely ground coffee using a small amount of water to brew a short espresso-like shot (still doesn’t make it a real espresso though).
Pumpkin Spice Latte is a popular seasonal drink from Starbucks that they usually start serving at the start of Fall. Delicious as it may be, many fans of the coffee drink don’t realize that they actually can make their Pumpkin Spice Latte at home, and it can turn out to be even BETTER than Starbucks’. Making your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home will save you a lot of Dollars as well as calories as you’ll know exactly what you’re putting into your drink. And the best part is, you’ll be able to do it any time of the year whenever you crave it!
Since Pumpkin Spice Latte is authentically made with an espresso, you will need an espresso machine to make it. However, if you don’t own an espresso machine, there are some other ways to get the same flavor using coffee. Read on…
How To Make Pumpkin Spice Latte With an Espresso or Nespresso Machine:
If you’ve owned an espresso machine for a while (traditional or single-serve like Nespresso) you probably know how to make a latte by now. If you don’t, it’s basically a shot of espresso with steamed milk. Now it’s only the matter of adding the right ingredients to turn your latte into Pumpkin Spice Latte. And there are a few ways to do it:
Using Pumpkin Pie Spice:
What you’ll need is:
- 1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 2 teaspoons of honey
– Mix the pumpkin pie spice with the honey until fully blended.
– Prepare a shot of Espresso.
– Pour the espresso shot with the honey/spice mix into a cup and mix them together. Add the steamed milk.
– Optional: Top the drink with whipped cream and caramel.
This method has the least artificial flavoring and less calories than other method (not counting the whipped cream and caramel that you might add).
Using a Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
This will only require you to get a bottle of Pumpkin Spice coffee syrup, we highly recommend Amoretti’s Pumpkin Pie Syrup for its high reviews from many customers. What you’ll do is:
– Add one pump of Pumpkin Spice Syrup to your latte glass.
– Prepare latte as usual: pour in the hot steamed milk and shot of espresso.
– Top with Whipped cream and sauce if desired.
Using Pumpkin Spice Sauce:
If you’d prefer to use a sauce instead, what you’ll need to do is:
– Steam your milk for the latte.
– Mix in the sauce with the steamed milk.
– Then add a shot of espresso.
Mixing the sauce with the milk ensures you get the best flavor.
Still Don’t Have an Espresso Machine? Here Are a Few Suggestions:
- Best Nespresso Machines for Cappuccinos and Lattes.
- Best Espresso Machines for Latte and Cappuccinos.
How To Make Pumpkin Spice Latte With a Keurig K-Cup Brewer:
If you have a Keurig K-Cup brewer at home, you have a few options to create your Pumpkin Spice coffee:
You can buy Pumpkin Spice flavored Coffee and Cappuccino, which are all already flavored and ready for you to enjoy…
This is a single-serve of Pumpkin Spice flavored Cappuccino by Grove Square. The K-Cup already contains everything you need, you’ll simply hit the brew button on it and enjoy.
This K-Cup by Green Mountain is Pumpkin Spice Coffee (as in brewed black coffee). You can simply add milk to it and you’ll get something very close to a PSL.
How To Make Pumpkin Spice Latte Without An Espresso Machine:
If you don’t own an espresso machine, you’re left with the option of making Pumpkin Spice Cafe Au Lait (coffee with milk). It doesn’t taste exactly like a PSL, but it’s just as delicious. This method will only require you to have a regular coffee maker, as well as any of the ingredients we listed at the beginning of the post.
- Prepare your cup of coffee.
- Heat your milk and lightly whisk it using a handled frother.
- Mix in your Pumpkin Spice flavor using any of the methods we mentioned: using pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin spice syrup or pumpkin spice sauce.
Here are a few recipes you can follow that use actual Pumpkin in it:
Here’s a fun video explaining the difference between 27 coffee drinks, made by the guys at MentalFloss.com. Enjoy!
Beginners might find the use of an espresso machine intimidating, but it isn’t really. It just needs some getting used to. Before you get your espresso machine, make sure to have a loo at this video that will give you some basic knowledge of how to prepare a great shot of espresso.
I still dream of being able to create a decent Latte art, but unfortunately, I’m still bad at it. Meanwhile though, I will continue to watch videos on how Latte art is made on YouTube, maybe one day I’ll finally pull it off.
Here are my favorite Latte art videos:
1. Animal Latte Art
2. Latte Art Style by Barista Dritan Alsela:
3. How to Free Pour
This will show you the right way to pour milk into your espresso shot as the basic way to start your Latte art
4. Making of 3D Latte Art:
As you’d imagine, this requires A LOT of patience.
5. Amazing 3D Latte Art:
Another great example of 3D Latte art.. this one extends to two cups of Lattes!