You might be new the world of coffee, or you may have enjoyed great coffee at your favorite coffee shop for years and now you want to do it yourself. When you look into starting with a home coffee experience, you may suddenly see espresso machines advertised and discussed everywhere.
But you just want to start out with some regular coffee. A good old black coffee, not necessarily shots of espresso or fancy cappuccinos, macchiato and lattes.
So then the question is: do you need to a buy a fancy espresso machine? And if you do, will it make regular coffee? We are here to clarify some of this for you.
The answer has two parts: It depends and sort of, depending on how you see regular coffee in relation to espresso. Let’s take a look at the answer.
Espresso is basically a very concentrated version of regular coffee. So, it depends on the type of regular coffee that you want to make. It will also depend on what type of machine you have.
If you have a traditional espresso machine the answer will be, not really. The process of making a regular cup of coffee and a shot of espresso differs somewhat.
With an espresso machine the water is forced through the coffee grounds and there is quite some pressure involved. With normal coffee made in a drip brewer, the water flows through the grounds and filter with gravity.
The result and taste can be really different even if you use the same grounds. The difference is concentration and intensity.
But we did say that you can sort of make regular coffee in your espresso machine. So how do you go about it? And why do we say sort of?
Sort of regular
The main thing is that you won’t really be able to make what we call a regular cup of coffee. Not like what you would get from a drip brewer or a plunger (or instant, heaven forbid).
But you will be able to make an americano. You can try one at your local coffee shop and see if you like the taste and strength.
If you already own an espresso machine and want to impress your guests with your magic skills by creating regular coffee from espresso you can also do that. So here is what you do.
The main trick will be experimentation. You will still follow the normal process of making an espresso, but you will need to break the concentration.
The key will be dilution and how to get the level of dilution right so the coffee still tastes great. Luckily, you can use a rule of thumb to figure out how to dilute the coffee.
You will start with your regular shot of espresso and then carefully dilute it down to taste like regular coffee. Keep in mind it still won’t taste exactly the same, because you are making an americano not drip coffee.
The rule is, that when you take a shot of espresso and add about 3 ounces of water (around 80ml for our metric friends) it will start to resemble a regular cup of coffee in terms of flavor.
Again, experimentation will need to happen here. The shot of espresso you usually pull from your machine will need to be consistent.
That way you will know exactly how much water to add to get to the regular coffee taste. It will also depend on how you actually like your regular coffee. But this is actually the fun part.
You get to play around with different amounts of water and espresso and see what taste you prefer. It is like having your own tasting session.
The coffee type
The coffee type you use doesn’t have to change either. But you should use the coffee that fits your espresso machine.
You need to use the finely ground coffee suited to your machine and move toward regular coffee from there. It is best not to use grounds that might be courser.
These are produced for drip machines. In most cases it shouldn’t matter too much, but check to be safe.
The best of both
Finally, when you consider buying a new espresso machine, there might be an option for a machine that does both. There are machines on the market that have a drip feature but also act as regular espresso machines.
With these machines you will be able to make regular coffee, espresso shots and steam milk for cappuccinos and other variations. This might be the best option if you prefer to keep your coffee drinking options wide open.