The main difference between Keurig and other capsule coffee machines (like Nespresso) is they specialize in espresso coffee (about 30ml in volume), while Keurig makes drip coffee (of typically 8oz or 10oz pours).
There ARE however Keurig capsules labeled as ‘latte’ or ‘cappuccino’…. so how do these work?
This isn’t obvious, and in most cases, these capsules DO NOT produce a true espresso, latte, or cappuccino. In simple terms;
- The Keurig Rivo uses 15bar of pressure and ACTUALLY makes espresso coffee.
- The Keurig K-Cafe and K-Latte have an ‘Espresso Shot’ button but the machines don’t apply pressure, they just extract less water to make a strong ‘espresso-like’ coffee.
- The rest of the Keurig range doesn’t cater to making espresso at all but can make something close by following our workaround.
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
Table of Contents
What Is Espresso Coffee?
Espresso is a strong and full-flavored form of concentrated coffee that is generally served in shots.
It requires a specific brewing method where a small amount of hot water at typically 93degrees celsius is forced under around 13 bar of pressure through a tightly packed disc of finely ground coffee beans.
The traditional way of preparing espresso is without milk, and it’s meant to be consumed quickly just like a shot of whiskey would be. However, the espresso shot is more commonly used as a base for other cafe drinks like the flat white, latte, cappuccino, and long black to name a few.
Why is espresso coffee so good?
Espresso has an intense aroma and flavor because of the high concentration of ground coffee, and because of the extraction time.
Typically, espresso will have a thicker consistency than brewed coffee, and that’s why this particular coffee has become the basis for many different flavors of beverages. There are now a great many drinks that start out with a base espresso flavor and get brewed in a particular way so as to produce cafe latte, flat white, macchiato, and cappuccino.
Can you make espresso coffee with a Keurig machine?
Though it may seem difficult, it’s not really that hard to make espresso using a Keurig machine. There are actually many ways to make espresso using a Keurig, and you can certainly learn how to make espresso with Keurig, but you need a little patience and some know-how in order to pull it off. Keurig machines can certainly provide all the elements needed to make a good espresso coffee, the first of which is to be able to force pressurized water through finely-ground coffee beans.
Although there are certainly other methods of creating espresso, your Keurig machine will be able to create a deep, satisfying cup of espresso by using the traditional mix of beans, milk, and water to create a distinctive flavor profile. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to make espresso with your Keurig machine with no trouble at all.
Which Keurig machines can make espresso coffee?
There are currently at least four types of Keurig machines that CLAIM to be capable of producing espresso coffee, and only one that truly can. All the other types have to be ruled out because they simply weren’t designed to exert the kind of pressure needed to force water through the ground coffee beans.
The Keurig Rivo machine and the Keuring K-Café (which is the upgraded version of Rivo) are both capable of providing this kind of pressure because they were designed to make cappuccinos and lattes, both of which also require this kind of pressure. The pressure delivered by the Rivo and the K-Café is more than enough to produce an excellent espresso.
1. How to make expresso coffee with a Keurig Rivo machine
Here are the steps you’ll need to go through in order to create espresso using a Rivo machine:
- Choose a small-sized K-cup – it’s best to choose a dark roast blend, so you get the maximum flavor in your cup of espresso. Espresso shots are usually two ounces, and they have to be brewed under pressure at a 1:2 ratio. Since the smallest cup of coffee made by Keurig machines is 6 ounces, you’ll have to do a little trick to make it work.
- Start the brew – press the 6-ounce selection on your Keurig machine and press the Strong button if your machine has one.
- Separate the coffee into different espresso cups – pour the brewed coffee into small separate cups.
- Froth some milk – add some warm milk to a French press and make sure to put the plunger on top. Plunge this up and down about 50 times, until you have a good froth built up. Then add this froth to your espresso and enjoy a taste delight.
2. How to make espresso coffee with the Keurig K Café and K Latte
The Keurig K Cafe and K Latte both have a button labeled ‘Espresso Shot’, but they don’t generate the kind of pressure needed to brew a true espresso.
However, they achieve a similar effect by extracting less water, so the end result comes out much the same.
It won’t take you long to get the hang of brewing espresso with these machines, and the great thing is that you’ll also be able to prepare cappuccinos and lattes with the same machine as they have a built-in milk frother!
3. How to make espresso with every other Keurig machine (Our Work-Around)
First of all, it’s very important that you choose a dark roast K-cup specifically intended for brewing espresso.
Then, you’ll need to choose the smallest size brew (usually 6 ounces) and select the Strong button if your machine has one.
Have two cups on standby, and collect only the first 2oz (about 60ml) in the first cup before swapping to the second one. This is our ‘k-esspresso’ shot.
We normally discard the remaining 4oz or you can save it for later as a weaker cup of coffee.
Finally, you can add frothed milk to your espresso before drinking. Some Keurig machines have a built-in milk frother, and you should use this if your machine has one to make an epic latte, flat white or cappuccino!
Unless you have a Keurig Revo coffee machine, you can’t make ‘real’ espresso coffee.
But, you can make something close by using a strong k-cup and a very small amount of water. This can be done with almost any Keurig machine, although it’s easiest with the K-Café and K-Latte machines as they have the shot feature.
After just a few tries, you’ll probably get to be an expert at brewing your own ‘k-espresso’ with which you can delight your friends and visitors, and attempt to make drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.