There are few other coffee drinks as satisfying, flavorful, and delicious as espresso.
Nothing else compares to its taste and aroma, and it truly stands out in a class of its own.
However, as awesome as espresso is, investing in a machine to make it at home will typically set you back several hundred dollars.
Fortunately, there are several ways to make wonderful espresso coffee that doesn't involve tedious methods or spending a small fortune.
Start with whole espresso roast coffee beans and grind them finely.
If you want to save time, a good quality pre-ground espresso from the grocery store will work just fine.
Regardless what brand you choose, make sure it's an espresso roast that's finely ground, otherwise you won't be able to replicate the taste and texture of an espresso shot made with a traditional machine.
After choosing your coffee, the only big decision left will be picking an alternative espresso making method.
Here are three excellent options that are affordable and virtually foolproof.
Well before manufacturers started pushing high priced machines onto the market, people used a simple stovetop espresso maker: the moka pot.
No doubt you'll recognize its classic profile, and though it's not the fanciest way to make espresso it's definitely efficient -- if it weren't, people wouldn't still be using it after so many years.
This is among the least expensive ways to make espresso without a machine, but it's not portable. Still, it's a quick and easy way to get the brew you love.
Freshly roasted coffee beans work exceptionally well with a moka pot, but you can definitely opt for pre-ground coffee if you prefer.
Add cold water to the bottom of the moka pot up to its fill line, fill the pot's chamber with finely ground coffee, and securely attach its spout.
Set the moka pot on your stove and put it on medium heat -- you don't want the pressure to build up too quickly.
Once the water starts boiling it will let out a hissing sound, and when that happens your espresso is almost good to go.
After the pot is done filling with coffee remove it from the heat, stir the coffee in the upper chamber, and then serve.
The AeroPress is a coffee making gadget that's been around for several years.
It's easy to make single and double shots using it, and one of the best things about using an AeroPress is it can make other types of coffee just as well as it brews espresso.
It's also quite portable, making it an ideal solution if you want to make espresso on the go, while traveling, or camping.
Grab a coffee cup, mug, or travel tumbler and put the drain cap of the AeroPress on top of it. Measure out your grounds with a tablespoon measure and add it to the AeroPress-- you'll need one tablespoon of coffee to make a single shot of espresso.
Pour in two ounces of water that's been heated to at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit, stir it quickly and then wait 30 seconds.
Gently push down the plunger of the AeroPress, and the espresso shot will go right into your cup. To make a double shot, simply double the amount of water and coffee that you use.
Let's say you want a way to make espresso on the go, but you're not in love with the look of the AeroPress and you'd prefer something with an appearance nice enough to leave on your counter.
The best solution for you would be a portable espresso maker such as the Staresso. Like the AeroPress it can make espresso and other types of coffee, but it looks much different -- sleek and modern is the best way to describe its aesthetics.
The Staresso produces enough pressure to make a great espresso shot and it's fairly easy to use.
A significant difference between traditional espresso machines and the Staresso is that it eliminates much of the acidity involved with making espresso without reducing the coffee's flavor.
Use the same amounts of water and coffee that you would use in an AeroPress, but when it's time to brew with the Staresso you'll pump it up and down a few times to build up pressure.
As long as you have access to hot water, you can literally use this espresso maker anywhere.
Each of these three methods works well, and which one is best for you will depend on your preferences.
The moka pot is ideal if you prefer to slow down and enjoy the experience of brewing and drinking coffee, while the AeroPress and Staresso were made for speed and portability.
Now that you have a few alternatives for making a good cup of espresso at home, you won't have to head out for coffee or pine over expensive machines again.