Brewing Great Coffee at Home - 3 Espresso Alternatives You Should Know

We love espresso. Rich, bold, and begging to be mixed with sugar and milk. But when we can't make it to the coffee shop with the high-end espresso machine, what do we do?

There are several methods of brewing coffee at home. Here in the U.S.A., the drip coffee maker has been the standard. But with people looking for a variety of ways to bring the best out of their coffee, and enjoy it as a craft or hobby, there are a lot of methods to explore.

Many methods, like a pour over, do not come close to the kind of extraction you achieve at a coffee shop. Espresso machines take a very finely ground coffee, pack it tight, and push hot water through with an amount of pressure generally unachievable at home (generally, 6-9 bars of pressure). This pressurized extraction yields a rich and thick espresso, and produces a desirable crema on top.

While you can find at-home espresso machines, and even countertop manual espresso machines, the expense is generally much higher than most people's budgets. And you waste precious coffee dialing in the perfect grind for a great shot of espresso.

Today, we want to show you some methods you might not tried, or even heard of before. These 3 brewing methods use equipment that is generally very affordable, especially relative to espresso machines.

Here are some of our favorite espresso-like coffee brewing methods:

1. Moka Pot

The moka pot is a percolator-type coffee maker. The coffee it makes is not as condensed as espresso, but it is much stronger than drip coffee. The amount of pressure achieved in a Moka Pot is about 1-2 bars of pressure.

Finely ground coffee is placed in a basket, between hot water and a filter. You heat the moka pot on your stove. When the water roars to a boil, it flows up into the basket where the coffee sits. As it passes through the grinds, it extracts coffee and moves through the filter up into a spout. The spout pours the coffee into the top reservoir. It sputters, letting you know it is done.

The moka pot is a great way to achieve more espresso-like coffee at home. Moka pots are generally very affordable. And the coffee it makes is rich enough to add a generous amount of steamed milk.


2. Aeropress

The aeropress is designed to allow you to apply manual pressure to press water through finely ground coffee. It is similar to a french press, in that you allow the coffee to steep for some time before pressing the water through a filter.

The actual pressure achievable on an aeropress is only about 0.5 bars. But this method of coffee brewing has been a favorite of baristas since it was introduced. The ability to use finely ground coffee and control the extraction speed leads to richer coffee than just drip or pour over methods.


3. Turkish Coffee - Ibrik / Cezve

The Cezve is a traditional coffee brewing method originating from the Balkans of Southeast Europe. While there is no pressure involved in the brewing process, Turkish coffee is known for its richness and the thickness of the coffee is produces. 

Cezves are generally made of copper, and are relatively affordable. They come in many sizes, including 16oz. The coffee is concentrated, so a few ounces per person will do.

Coffee is made in a Cezve by placing extremely fine-ground coffee into the cup, along with sugar. Then, you add water, stir, and place over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove and scoop out the foam into your coffee cup. Then, stir again, and return to the heat until it boils again. Remove and pour this rich coffee into your cup to serve.

The one drawback of the Cezve is that there is no filter, and the finely ground coffee turns to a sludge. But, simply allow it to settle on the bottom of your cup. If you choose to filter after brewing, you will lose the crema-like coffee foam.


We hope you take the time to explore these delicious coffee brewing methods. Turning a daily habit into a meditative craft or hobby can be highly rewarding. And getting to taste condensed and rich coffee at home is a great perk.