It seems like every coffee drink has a fancy name nowadays, but what does it all mean? Coffee is coffee, right?
Not exactly. If you’re an average coffee drinker, you’re probably already familiar with drip coffee. But drip coffee has nothing on an espresso shot.
Espresso is a concentrated shot of coffee made by forcing pressurized heated water through finely-ground coffee beans. A well-made shot of espresso will be topped with crema, a caramel-colored, creamy foam on top that contains all those tasty coffee oils we love.
Espresso is made from the same arabica coffee beans as typical drip coffee, but the difference comes from the machine used to make it.
So, that begs the question: Can you make an espresso shot with a Keurig?
Is the Keurig an espresso machine?
No, the Keurig coffee maker is not an espresso machine.
Espresso machines work by forcing highly pressurized water through finely-ground coffee beans. A Keurig, on the other hand, uses gravity and minimal pressure to force water through ground coffee beans and brew a cup of coffee. Since Keurig coffee machines don’t have the pressure an espresso machine has, they cannot make an authentic espresso shot.
Next time you’re at a coffee shop, pay attention to the espresso machines behind the bar to see how many bars of pressure is required to make an espresso shot.
Does Keurig have espresso pods?
There are many different varieties of espresso K-Cup pods on the market that can be used to approximate an espresso shot.
The K-Cups advertised as espresso pods are typically dark roast blends packed with extra caffeine. This allows you to imitate the rich flavor and effect of a cup of espresso but will not create a crema as authentic espresso would.
How do I use espresso pods in a Keurig?
Keurig espresso pods are used the same way as normal K-Cup coffee pods. Simply place the pod inside the pod basket, close the lid, and hit brew.
To best emulate an espresso shot, make sure to brew the smallest cup possible. Most Keurig machines offer a 4-ounce cup size when an actual espresso shot is 1.5 ounces. Choosing a larger cup size can cause your espresso coffee to be watered down and more similar to a typical drip coffee.
If you have a Keurig machine with a “shot” option, press this button when trying to brew an espresso shot.
Can I make an espresso with a Keurig without an espresso pod?
If you choose not to use an espresso K-Cup, you can still make the Keurig version of an espresso shot. When selecting your Keurig K-Cup pods, make sure you choose a pod that contains dark roasted coffee grinds. You can also look for K-Cups that say they are extra strong or have extra caffeine.
What is the shot button option of the Keurig?
The “shot” button is an option on specific Keurig machines that brews shots of concentrated coffee. This shot uses 2 ounces of water, which is slightly larger than a 1.5-ounce espresso shot.
You can use any Keurig K-Cup coffee pod of your choosing when brewing with the “shot” button, including espresso K-Cups.
Which Keurig machines have the shot option?
As of now, four Keurig coffee makers have a “shot” button.
- K-Cafe Special Edition Single Serve Coffee Latte & Cappuccino Maker
- K-Cafe Single Serve Coffee Latte & Cappuccino Maker
- K-Latte Single Serve Coffee and Latte Maker
- K-Cafe Essentials.
How do I make a shot with a Keurig?
The brewing process to make a shot using the “shot” button on a Keurig is simple. Start by placing the K-Cup of your choice into the K-Cup basket and closing the lid. Instead of choosing a brew option like you would when you brew a cup of regular coffee, press the “shot” button. This will brew a 2-ounce concentrated shot of strong coffee similar to an espresso shot.
Keurig machines with the “shot” button option still do not have the pressure required to brew an espresso shot. The cup brewed with the Keurig will be similar, but it will lack the crema on top that authentic espresso has.
Even though it’s not an authentic espresso shot, the espresso-like coffee shot brewed with a Keurig is still good enough to act as an espresso shot for any espresso-based type of coffee drink you want to make. The Keurig K-Cafe line also comes with a built-in milk frother to allow you to become an at-home barista.
Simply fill the automatic frother with milk to either the desired latte or cappuccino line and press the button to start frothing. Pour the milk over your fresh shot of coffee, and you have the perfect at-home latte or cappuccino.
If you’re Keurig doesn’t come with a milk frother, you can always buy one separately from the Keurig website.
The milk you choose to froth impacts the structure of your drink. Whole milk is the most recommended option because it froths easily and creates a rich-tasting foam. Skim milk is the next best option because it also froths easily, but it’s airy and light instead of a rich-tasting foam. You can use non-dairy milk with your milk frother, but it results in a foam that loses its bubbles and structure quickly.
A Keurig brewer can do almost anything, but it doesn’t have the power needed to make an espresso shot. Espresso machines are large and loud because of the water pressure required to force water through the ground coffee beans. But if you love espresso drinks, you don’t have to run out and buy a fancy machine. Simply use the tips in this article to brew a concentrated shot of coffee – just like an espresso shot.