How To Make Barista-Style Coffee Without An Espresso Machine

“Why, yes, I could start my day without coffee. But I like being able to remember things like how to say words and put on pants.”

– writer Nanea Hoffman

Many, if not all, coffee addicts need to have their coffee fix especially before starting the day. Otherwise, it will be a wreck. Imagine having to pull yourself out of bed, but you can’t pull a shot because you have no espresso machine at home. 

So how can you still get a good cuppa if you don’t have an espresso machine at home? There are many different brewing methods out there, and they come with steps and a certain science to ensure the coffee produced tastes just as good.  

How Do You Make Coffee At Home? 

If you are a beginner researching home brewing methods, or someone who just cannot live without coffee, here are some ways on how to make coffee at home without owning an espresso machine

Side note: While each method has its own variation (nothing major) in achieving the brew, we suggest that you do as much research as possible to know which one you’d like best. This includes the kind of technique, coffee beans, whether you’d like it acidic or not at all and so on. But remember⸺there is no rush to make the perfect cup. It takes time, practice, and a lot of experimenting.  

Pour Over/ Drip Coffee 

Make coffee at home with this Pour Over or Drip Coffee method
Credit: @giii_muu and @musecoffeeco via Instagram

A simple, fast and cheaper way of brewing coffee. This pour-over method involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds, and allowing the water to drip through a filter (sitting on a coffee dripper) and into a cup or carafe. You will get a clean cup of coffee without compromising flavour and aroma. This is a result of the filter that holds back the oils and any undissolved coffee particles. 

The best coffee grind size to use is medium, but if you’re unsure, don’t worry! You can get them from any coffee roaster—all you need to do is tell them the grind size. As for the kettle, we would recommend using a gooseneck kettle so you can pour the water slowly and with precision. The idea is to brew the coffee with a slow and steady stream of water instead of pouring out an uncontrolled amount of water from a big-spouted kettle.

Brewing Time: 3 minutes 

Coffee Grind Size: Medium (like beach sand)  

Who Is It For: Suitable for those who prefer a coffee ritual, and find peace doing it as it requires focus and care to make a good cup. 

Supplies You Will Need: 

Tutorial: How To Make Pour Over Coffee 

French Press 

Ikea French Press
Credit: Ikea Malaysia 

Picture this: A plate of warm kwa-son, a cup of black coffee and a cafetière standing next to it on your table. Take a flatlay picture while you’re at it. Feeling like you’re Emily in Paris yet? 

The French press technique is one of the easiest ways on how to make coffee. It is a form of immersion brewing because your coffee grounds will be submerged in water. As compared to a paper filter which absorbs flavourful oils, immersion brewing offers a strong and robust coffee. 

All you need is the french press, ground coffee, and hot water. The basic steps include putting in the coffee grounds, pouring in hot water, and letting it sit for 4 minutes before pressing (ever so slowly) the plunger down. If you have extra, you can always pour it into a bottle and chill it in the fridge for a hot sweltering day.     

Brewing Time: 4 minutes 

Coffee Grind Size: Coarse (similar to sea salt) 

Who Is It For: Someone who prefers to multitask and get a few things done while waiting for the coffee to brew. Much attention is not required here. 

Supplies You Will Need: 

Tutorial: How To Make French Press Coffee 

Moka Pot

Another form of brewing method is using the Bialetti moka pot
Credit: @upscale_kitchenware, @coffeefixation, and @kcroasters via Instagram

If you want to make espresso, then the moka pot (also known as Bialetti moka pot) is your best bet in coming close to the one pulled by the machine. It is easy to clean and a simple tool especially if you have a small kitchen.  

The three-chambered pot is placed on the stovetop (or electric hob) and works where pressurised boiling water pushes up through coffee grounds from the bottom to the top chamber. The pot will hiss to signal that the coffee is ready. What you will get is a hearty and robust coffee. This method only takes a few minutes to brew, making it easy to make coffee at home without owning an espresso machine.  

Brewing Time: 4 minutes 

Coffee Grind Size: Medium-fine (similar to table salt) 

Who Is It For:  Definitely for someone who has time on their hands because we suggest you watch over the pot since there’s fire in the mix.   

Supplies You Will Need: 

Tutorial: How To Make Moka Pot Coffee 


Easy and light, AeroPress can be your travel companion even when you're camping
Credit: Marta Dzedyshko via Pexels, and @aeropress via Instagram

Made up of two cylinders, an AeroPress uses a combination of immersion brewing and filtration. It is an easy way of making coffee without owning an espresso machine. All you need to do is wet a paper filter before fitting it into the device and then assembling the cylinders. This is followed by adding coffee grounds and water, then pushing the plunger down. Coffee connoisseurs who love using AeroPress will tell you that this brewing method will result in a flavourful and clean coffee. The best part is that it makes a great travel companion because it is easy and you can bring it everywhere you go, even if you’re out camping

Brewing Time: 1 minute 

Coffee Grind Size: Medium-fine (similar to table salt) 

Who Is It For: If you are always in a hurry every morning no matter how many times you tell yourself that you’ll try to wake up earlier the next day. 

Supplies You Will Need: 

Tutorial: How To Make An AeroPress Coffee with Inventor Alan Adler 

Cold Brew Coffee 

Cold brew coffee is suitable for those prefer their coffee lower in acidity and bitterness
Credit: @thehubfood and @alternativebrewing via Instagram

Cold brew coffee has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Yes,  it’s different from iced coffee. Cold brew immerses ground coffee in cold or room temperature water for a slow extraction process that would result in lower acidity and bitterness of the coffee. Use hot water and you will lose the quality of the taste while brewing it in colder water will create a flat, under-extracted result. 

All you need is a cold brew pot, or you can double your French press to make this. Pour in the coffee grounds and water, and let it steep for about 12 to 24 hours. You have the option of placing it in the refrigerator or leaving it at room temperature. Once done, pour the coffee out through a filter (if you’re using French press, then push the plunger down) before serving. What you will get is coffee that is slightly sweeter with a smooth texture.  

If it is too concentrated for you, you can dilute it with water. Alternatively, add ice for iced coffee, mix in hot water for hot coffee, or add in milk and ice to make iced cold brew latte. Tip: Make a big batch on the weekend, strain it the next morning, then keep it in the fridge for a refreshing coffee fix any time of the week. 

Brewing Time: 12 to 24 hours 

Coffee Grind Size: Extra course (similar to rock salt) 

Who Is It For: Someone who prefers their coffee lower in acidity and bitterness, and does not have time to make coffee during the week. 

Supplies You Will Need: 

Tutorial: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee 

You Don’t Need To Own An Espresso Machine To Make Coffee If You Follow These Brewing Methods  

You don’t need to own an espresso machine to make coffee
Credit: @aeropress and @kcroasters via Instagram, Eva Elijas via Pexels

Making coffee is a therapeutic process; much like painting or even whisking matcha. Best of luck trying any one (or all) of these methods. But more importantly, take time to enjoy the steps and understand the art of brewing. You’ll be surprised to find out how much you’d appreciate a cup of coffee the next time you hit a cafe with friends. Heck, you might just use it as a conversation starter! 

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