A Keurig is a beverage system designed to brew coffee. It functions like a drip coffee machine, where hot water is slowly poured over ground coffee to produce a cup of coffee.
It can’t technically extract a shot of espresso, as you’d need an espresso machine to do that. But you can make something close to espresso using a Keurig and top espresso K-Cups–though this would be more like a strong coffee.
Espresso Versus Brewed Coffee
Isn’t espresso just a strong coffee? Technically, yes, but there is a distinct difference. Espresso is a concentrated shot of rich coffee with an intense taste–this is why most people mix it with water (Americano), milk (latte), or other flavorings. It’s made by forcing pressurized hot water through finely-ground coffee.
Brewed coffee, on the other hand, is less intense than an espresso, but expresses more subtle flavor nuances. It’s made by pouring hot water over coffee grounds (pour-over), adding fresh coffee grounds into hot water (immersion brewing), or other similar methods where the hot water dissolves the ground coffee. The extracted liquid is passed through a paper, cloth, or metal filter into a glass to be enjoyed.
Can You Make a Shot of Espresso in a Keurig?
A Keurig is a coffee brewer, not an espresso machine (except the Keurig Rivo, although this model has been discontinued), so you can’t pull an authentic shot of espresso from it. The best thing you can do is extract a strong cup of coffee that mimics the taste of espresso.
How to Make a Shot of Espresso in a Keurig
Step 1: Use an Espresso K-Cup
All Keurig machines use Keurig cups (K-Cups) or coffee pods. You can choose from various flavors and brews, but if you’re trying to get espresso out of your brewer, then it’s best to opt for espresso K-Cups.
Espresso K-Cups are real espresso in flavor and aroma, but because they can’t be pulled the same way as traditional espresso, they can’t bring the authentic experience. Still, they’re pretty close if you’re only after the taste.
Step 2: Choose the Smallest Cup
The ratio for an espresso is one part coffee and two parts water. The amount of water for an espresso K-Cup is the same as any regular K-Cup, but to recreate the espresso experience in a Keurig, you’ll want to use the smallest cup option in your machine, which is typically six ounces.
Step 3: Brew as Usual
With your espresso K-Cup and six-ounce mug ready, brew your coffee as you usually would in your Keurig. You’ll end up with a strong brew; you’ll have that same bold flavor and aroma. If you want to make it feel like an authentic espresso, divide your brewed coffee into espresso shots and drink away! You can also use it to prepare a milder version of your favorite espresso cafe creations.
The Best K-Cups to Make Espresso in a Keurig
Choosing the best K-Cups is key to making espresso in a Keurig–you’ll want labeled espresso K-Cups, as they mimic the intensity of the concentrated coffee. When making your selection, pay attention to the coffee beans used and whether they were freshly packed. Consider the brand, as well, as you’ll likely get a better experience from a company that knows its coffee. If you need help picking one out, check out PageOneCoffee’s comprehensive list of the best espresso K-Cups you can get right now.