Can You Make Espresso In A Keurig Coffee Maker?

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can you make espresso in a keurig

A Keurig machine can surely make a strong cup of coffee to satisfy your daily caffeine urge.

But can you make espresso in a Keurig?

Well… Yes and no.

Since Keurig is not an espresso machine, it doesn’t make an authentic espresso drink.

But you can surely make a cup of coffee that you can easily mistake for true espresso.

Want to find out how?

Let’s dive in.

Can you Make Espresso in a Keurig?

You can definitely make a concentrated cup of coffee with a Keurig. But while similar, the drink you get is not espresso.

Why is that, you might ask?

Well, because Keurig doesn’t work the same way as an espresso maker does.

A real espresso is made with hot water that’s pressured through the coffee ground. In the case of Keurig coffee machines, there’s no pressure involved. 

There is a Keurig model that is designed to make espresso-based drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos. 

It’s called Keurig Rivo, and it also features a “shot” button that creates a small but powerful cup of coffee. 

Still, neither this machine can be called an espresso machine.

But don’t get frustrated about your Keurig coffee maker too soon.

While a coffee purist might shake their head at the thought, I’m here to encourage you – you can get pretty similar results with your machine! 

How to Make “Espresso” in Keurig

Alright, ready to brew?

Making an espresso-style coffee with a Keurig coffee maker is pretty simple, as long as you follow these steps:

  1. Choose The Right K-Cup

To make a coffee that’s closest to authentic espresso as possible, go with the right roast in your coffee pod.

Theoretically, you can choose whatever type of espresso roast you want.

But, most people usually choose either medium or dark roast coffee beans. These types of roasts are oilier and have prominent nutty, earthy, and smoky notes that shine in espresso.

  1. Choose the Smallest Cup Size 

A classic shot of espresso is one ounce, with a coffee-to-water ratio of 2:1. To reach approximately the same ratio with Keurig, it’s best to choose the smallest cup size option available. 

Now, not all Keurig machines have the same cup sizes available. Certain models, such as Supreme Plus, offer a four-ounce size. The majority of models, however, offer the six-ounce option. 

Choosing a six-ounce option will get you a relatively concentrated cup of coffee reminiscing to espresso. But if you have the four-ounce k cup pod size available, go with that one instead. It’s as close to espresso as it can get when it comes to concentration.

  1. Adjust The Strength

The majority of Keurig machines allow you to change the strength of your drink. 

More basic models, like the K-Express coffee machine, only feature a single “strong” button. What this option does is it increases the brew time. And doing that allows more compounds (including caffeine) to extract, creating a bolder cup of coffee.

Other machines, like the Supreme Plus Keurig machine, have more options to choose from. 

Now, you don’t necessarily have to go with the strongest option available. Depending on which K-Cup you go with, you might get a really strong coffee drink by only slightly increasing the strength.

  1. Choose The Right Mug Size

You might want to drink a Keurig “espresso” from your favorite demitasse, but you certainly can’t pour into it directly.

A classic demitasse is a small cup ranging from two to three ounces in size. But the coffee you’ll be making with a Keurig pod will be four to six ounces (depending on the model you own).

Pouring directly from the spout into a demitasse will ultimately result in a drip tray filled with coffee. 

Espresso K-Cups

Today, you can find pretty much any type of roast in the form of a Keurig K Cup.

As we already established, medium to dark roast coffee works best for espresso. And luckily for you, there are tons of brands out there that make pods with blends perfectly designed for espresso coffee.

From Green Mountain and Cafe Bustelo to Starbucks and Illy, you can find a variety of dark roasted pods that you can use to make a drink.

Most of these options will have the word “espresso” in their name, making it easier for you to differentiate them.

The Difference Between Authentic Espresso and Keurig “Espresso”

two espresso cups

As we already mentioned, the main difference between an authentic espresso and the drink you get with a Keurig lies in the way a machine makes coffee.

A real espresso maker uses pressure to push hot water through, forcing extraction in a shorter amount of time. 

But Keurig works similar to a regular drip machine, slowly pouring water through the coffee. That’s why it takes it longer to extract the grounds in the same amount as a real espresso maker.

What’s more, these two machines use a different grind as well. In case you don’t know, flavor extraction is proportional to the surface area of coffee grounds. 

So for an authentic espresso, you need a fine grind, slightly finer than table salt. 

Keurig machines, on the other hand, use medium to medium-fine grind. These are more similar to sand than salt in terms of particle size.

In terms of flavor, you might not even notice the difference between a cup made with Keurig and the one made with real espresso machines. In both cases, you’ll get a very strong and flavorful drink. 

But don’t expect your coffee to be as thick as real espresso.

You won’t get the same amount of crema as you would when brewing with an espresso maker. Instead, you’ll get a top layer that’s paler and thinner than the one an authentic espresso has.

Final Thoughts

Since the Keurig machine doesn’t use pressure for brewing, the coffee you make can’t be called “real” espresso. 

But while the technical part behind brewing is not the same, the final result is pretty similar. So don’t let any coffee purist stop you from calling your Keurig-brewed coffee an espresso!

Still don’t own a Keurig? Check out our list of the best models, and enjoy your “non-authentic” but great cup of espresso!

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.