Tea is a must-have for cold winter mornings, but sometimes we just don’t feel like hauling out the tea kettle and waiting for the water to boil. So instead, you may look for alternative brewing methods if you like tea without waiting. There are tons of ways to make tea these days, but what about in your espresso machine?
You can make tea in your espresso machine as long as you cleanse the machine’s portafilter beforehand. Tea made in an espresso machine may be weaker than traditionally brewed tea or taste burnt.
Most tea aficionados don’t enjoy weak tea. In fact, there are actually a few steps that can be taken to make your espresso machine-brewed tea taste its best. You may also have to do some preparation for the espresso machine itself to guarantee that your tea doesn’t come out tasting like coffee.
Let’s look a little deeper into brewing tea in an espresso machine.
Can You Put Tea Through an Espresso Machine?
Tea can range from light and delicate to bold and bright tasting, but proper brewing is necessary to make it shine no matter what type of tea you enjoy. You can put tea through an espresso machine, but it isn’t as easy as just dumping the tea in and brewing.
Espresso machines are rather complicated, and as such, take a little practice to operate correctly.
Luckily, suppose you already know how to work the espresso machine. Therefore, there isn’t much of a learning curve to switch from making espresso to brewing tea. Like espresso, you will put the tea into the portafilter, choose your shot size, and brew.
Before you try making tea in your espresso machine, it’s imperative to thoroughly clean the portafilter. Espresso can come loose or in pucks, but either way, espresso grounds will eventually stick to the inside of the portafilter.
So if you plan on making tea, cleaning out all this old espresso will make all the difference. Tea brewed in a dirty portafilter will not only be weak, but it will also taste of espresso.
Unfortunately, tea will almost always be weaker when made in an espresso machine. This is because while we steep the tea for an extended period in hot water, espresso is made by passing hot water through the espresso rapidly.
So instead of the tea leaves having time to soak in the water, the water rushes through the leaves, weakening your drink.
There are a few ways to lessen the weakening effect of the espresso maker that we will cover later.
How Do You Make Tea With an Espresso Machine?
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your portafilter to prepare it for making tea, it’s time to brew! For the best results, we recommend running a water-only cycle through the espresso machine first to eliminate any espresso grounds still hanging around.
Follow these steps to brew your tea in an espresso machine:
- Insert your preferred tea into the portafilter and tamp it down as if it were coffee.
- Fill the espresso machine with water.
- Since most cups of tea are around 6oz, use the closest shot size your espresso machine has.
- Empty the portafilter and enjoy your tea!
There are dozens of different brands and models of espresso machines, so it may take some trial and error to get the best tea possible from your machine. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t come out right the first time.
Tips for the Best Tea Made in an Espresso Machine
As we mentioned before, a few steps can be taken to ensure the highest quality cup of tea from an espresso maker. Besides purging the portafilter, the size of the tea leaves, the type of tea, and the temperature of the water can all affect the tea’s taste.
Here are a few tips for the tastiest tea from an espresso maker:
1. Grind your tea finely
Espresso is a quick-extraction drink, which means that the ground espresso beans have their flavor extracted rapidly when the hot water is passed through them.
Tea, on the other hand, is a slow-extraction drink. Grind your tea more than usual to speed up extraction time and get stronger tea.
2. Don’t grind your tea to an ultra-fine powder
One of the reasons trial and error may be necessary when making espresso machine tea is that if your tea is ground too coarsely, it will taste weak.
Still, if it’s ground too finely, it will taste burnt! The scorching water of the espresso machine can burn tea leaves that are ground too finely, so experiment to find the perfect grind.
3. Weigh your tea
An average cup of tea will be about 6oz. To make 6oz of tea, you’ll use 2-3oz of tea leaves if you’re making tea the traditional way. Still, operating closer to 4oz of tea leaves can benefit when using an espresso machine.
This is because the hot water will be in contact with the leaves for a shorter amount of time, and more leaves mean stronger tea.
4. Use the right type of tea:
Espresso machines are meant for quick flavor extraction. Thus, using teas that diffuse their flavor faster and can stand up to the extremely high temperatures of the espresso machine water can mean a higher quality cup of tea.
Green and black teas are the best choices for an espresso maker.
Is There a Tea Version of Espresso?
While regular loose-leaf tea can be used in an espresso maker, there’s a good chance the tea will be sub-par compared to traditionally brewed tea. To solve these, there is now tea specially formulated to be brewed in an espresso machine!
Tea espresso, also known as red espresso, is a tea made to be brewed in an espresso maker. Therefore, it will produce a better quality of tea than loose-leaf tea made with an espresso machine.
Tea companies usually make red espresso from rooibos, which hails from South Africa. They package these teas just like coffee espresso, in pods, pucks, and single-serving capsules that can be used in most espresso machines.
Unlike regular teas, these tea espressos won’t taste burnt or weak.
Can You Make Tea Lattes With an Espresso Machine?
You can make a tea latte with just an espresso machine. The only difference from making plain tea is that you will froth the milk with the espresso machine’s frothing wand.
If you like milk with your tea, you’re going to love tea lattes. Although a typical latte is an espresso, steamed milk, and a tiny bit of foam, we brew a tea latte with tea in place of the espresso. Everything else remains the same!
Adding the steamed milk to the tea brewed in the espresso machine can help to mask the potential weakness or bitterness imparted through the espresso machine brewing process.
What Else Can You Make in an Espresso Machine?
An espresso machine can also make hot chocolate, chai lattes, cafe Americano, and hot cider.
Can You Put Tea in a Coffee Machine?
Yes, you can put tea in a coffee machine, but it may taste substandard compared to tea brewed traditionally.