If you’re the kind of coffee lover who drools at the smell of rich java, starts to shake at the sound of the steamer whistling in the air, or foams at the mouth at the thought of…well, foamed milk, then you know how delicious a good shot of espresso is. However, you know that cappuccinos and macchiatos can take a huge bite out of your wallet, not to mention the time and energy it takes to run to your nearest chain coffee shop (you know the one I mean).
So what do you do whenever you’re craving that caffeine buzz at your office, or that silky, rich taste of café noir?
Well, you could run to your nearest warehouse and plunk down hundreds of dollars on a state-of-the-art, all-gizmos-included home espresso maker. As a quick search on Amazon will reveal, espresso makers don’t come cheap.
Or you could save time and money by trying out one of these solutions to brew heavenly espresso right there in your office. You don’t need fancy equipment to make your very own cappuccino. Just follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to sipping quality java in no time.
What is Espresso?
Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to consider what espresso actually is and how it differs from normal coffee. There are three things that set espresso apart: the roast, the grind, temperature, and, most importantly, pressure. Beans meant for espresso are roasted longer, resulting in a very porous bean.
This increases all the subtle flavors you love so much about the finished product. Next, espresso comes from very finely ground coffee. It has the same consistency as powdered sugar. This will be important to keep in mind for later. Then, espresso is brewed at a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Farenheit (or just shy of boiling). Any cooler, and the water won’t extract the ground coffee properly; any hotter will result in a bitter brew, and no one wants that.
Finally, arguably the most important aspect of espresso brewing is the pressure. Most experts agree on around 9 bars of atmospheric pressure to make the perfect cup. Normally, this is achieved with a machine, since mere mortals can’t achieve that with their hands alone. So how do you achieve all these key ingredients? Read on.
Solutions for office Espresso
1.Espresso K-cups from Keurig
Perhaps the easiest on this list, Keurig makes it easy to achieve an energizing kick of coffee, while maintaining that smooth taste. Cleaning up is easy, and you’ll get thousands of brews from one machine. If your office already has a Keurig (or if you’d like to split the cost), then these Espresso K-cups for Keurig won’t do you wrong.
2. Moka Pot
The moka pot is arguably the cheapest on the list and only slightly more work than the Keurig. You’ll need to buy a small grinder to get the consistency of the beans right, but a good one from WalMart won’t cost more than ten bucks. Thanks to the Italians, the Moka pot pushes the coffee from the bottom chamber to the upper via pressure, giving the coffee that specialized brew we love so much. Here’s how you make espresso using a Moka Pot:
- Measure and grind 20 grams of coffee to a very fine texture. Again, it should have the consistency of powdered sugar.
- Add water to the bottom chamber of the pot, but don’t overfill. Overfilling will cause spillage and negatively affect the taste.
- Add the ground coffee to the filter basket and gently tamp it down.
- Place pot over stove burner on medium heat.
- Listen for a hissing, bubbling sound. This will signal the coffee is ready.
- Remove from the burner and let cool for a few moments. Enjoy!
3. French Press
While the least effective of the solutions, this one will do in a pinch. This is because the French press lacks the pressure necessary for the real-deal espresso. However, with finely ground beans and a little bit of refinement through trial-and-error, you can mimic the taste of espresso without breaking the bank.
- Grind your coffee very finely. Measure two tablespoons to every cup of coffee. This will give you that strong, powerful flavor of espresso.
- Heat your water to a temperature just under boiling
- When the water is warm, splash a few teaspoons of water on the ground coffee. Let sit a few seconds before adding more. This will help release the subtle flavors of the beans.
- Add the rest of the water to the beans, but don’t stir. Allow coffee to steep for about 4 minutes. Give it an extra minute if you want stronger flavor, but don’t overdo it. Too long and the coffee will be too bitter.
- When ready, press the plunger down with slow, even pressure. When the plunger is halfway down, draw it back up slowly, then press it back down once again, all the way.
- Pour into a cup and savor the flavor.
4. Espresso machine that won’t cost you an arm and a leg
Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Steam Espresso System with Milk Frother
Under 50 bucks, this is an ideal machine for those new to the espresso game. It even comes with a milk foamer!
There you have it—the secret to making quality, home-brewed espresso. If you want to shell out for a machine, knock yourself out. We understand. However, you don’t have to take out a second mortgage or sign up to sell a kidney to attain a fantastic espresso. All you need is a little dedication (and in my experience, coffee-lovers are very dedicated), and some tweaking, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of that smooth, rich taste. Just remember—roast, grind, heat, and pressure, and you’ll quickly become an expert espresso maker in no time.