Can You Make Perfect Espresso In A Keurig?

Alex Ortiz
By Alex Ortiz 10 Min Read
10 Min Read
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Hey there! So, you’ve got a Keurig at home and you’re wondering if it can whip up an espresso, right? I’m here to give you the lowdown on how your Keurig is a bit different from those fancy espresso machines, but don’t worry, I’ve also got some cool tricks up my sleeve to get your brewer to make something pretty close to an espresso.


So, you’ve probably heard of espresso, but what is it really? Imagine a super-strong coffee that comes in tiny cups — that’s espresso for you. It’s like coffee’s little powerhouse sibling.

To make a shot of espresso, you take really hot water and push it through super-fine coffee grounds at high pressure using a special machine, called an espresso machine. This isn’t just regular coffee; it’s like coffee concentrate!

When you get it right, your espresso shot will have a golden layer on top called “crema.” This creamy layer traps all the yummy oils and flavors from the coffee beans. It’s what gives espresso that amazing taste that has a bit of a kick and sticks with you.

Even though it’s made from the same beans you use for your morning cup of joe, espresso is a whole different ball game. The beans are ground much finer, and that espresso machine? It’s not like your home coffee maker that just drips water over the grounds. Nope, an espresso machine is like a mini superhero that uses pressure to create that bold little shot.

Espresso is the foundation of all those fancy coffee shop drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and even those cool iced lattes. It’s all about starting with a good shot of espresso and then getting creative from there!


Let’s tackle the big question: Can your trusty Keurig make an espresso? Well, Keurigs are like the chill folks of the coffee machine world. They’re kind of laid back, taking their time as they drip hot water over the coffee grounds. It’s a leisurely coffee-making journey that ends with your everyday cup of coffee.

Here’s the scoop: because a Keurig doesn’t use that intense pressure that a true espresso machine does, it can’t quite create a genuine espresso shot. Espresso machines are like the strong, silent type that pack a punch with pressure to make that concentrated coffee shot. Keurigs? They’re more about the slow and steady, which is great, but just not for espresso.


You might have seen the Keurig K Cafe being talked up as a cappuccino and latte wizard, and it’s got this neat “Shot” button that makes you think, “Hey, does it make espresso?” But let me clear that up for you: it’s not an espresso machine.

The K Cafe is part of the Keurig family, which means it’s great at brewing regular coffee, just like its cousins. But when it comes to pulling an actual espresso shot, well, it can’t really do that. It’s not what you’d call a Keurig espresso machine.

But here’s the cool part: the K Cafe’s “Shot” button does this neat trick where it gives you a tiny cup of super-strong coffee. This is almost like espresso, but it’s kind of like a stand-in – it’s missing the crema (that creamy layer on top of a real espresso) and it might not pack the same flavor punch.

Now, if you’re on the hunt for a machine that’s easy like a Keurig but can deliver real espresso, you might want to peek at the Nespresso Vertuo. It’s like Keurig’s trendy cousin. You pop in a pod, hit a button, and voilà! Plus, you can change up your drink size from a tiny 0.3 ounces all the way to a big ol’ 17 ounces. The coffee’s better, and yes, it can actually make a true espresso shot.


Okay, so we’ve already talked about how a Keurig can’t make a real espresso. But, don’t worry, I’ve got a trick for you to brew a cup of coffee that’s as close to espresso as you can get with your Keurig. It’s perfect for when you’re craving something strong, like a homemade latte or an iced coffee.

Here’s what you gotta do:

Choose the Smallest Cup and Go Dark!

First things first, you’re going to want to pick the smallest cup size your Keurig offers. This is key because the smaller the cup, the stronger the coffee. And if you’ve got a Keurig K Cafe, you’ll hit that “Shot” button which is meant for this kind of job.

Now, let’s talk coffee pods. You know how coffee comes in light, medium, and dark roasts, right? Each one has its own unique taste and strength. To get that espresso-like kick, you need to go with dark roast K-cups because they pack the most punch. Here are some of the heavy hitters that’ll give you that bold flavor:

  • Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style (Yep, it says “espresso” right there!)
  • Timothy’s Rainforest Espresso (For a little tropical vibe.)
  • Green Mountain Dark Magic (As magical as it sounds.)
  • Green Mountain Sumatra Reserve (Exotic, huh?)
  • Death Wish Coffee (Seriously strong stuff, not kidding!)
  • Green Mountain Double Diamond (Double the dark, double the fun.)

If your Keurig has a “Strong” button, smack that button like it owes you money. This tells your Keurig, “Hey, I’m not messing around. Give me all you’ve got.”

After you brew it, you’ve got choices. Drink it as is for a quick zing of caffeine, or make it fancy by adding some milk for a latte vibe, or chill out by pouring it over ice. It’s like your own little coffee shop at home!


So you’re wandering through the coffee aisle and you see these K-cups labeled “Espresso.” Brands like Cafe Bustelo and Timothy’s Rainforest Espresso might catch your eye. Now, remember our little chat? Despite the “espresso” label, these K-cups are more about giving you a stronger brewed coffee, not actual espresso. But that doesn’t mean they’re not tasty — they can whip up a really satisfying, robust cup of coffee that’ll have you smiling.


You might think, “Hey, can I just stuff some ground espresso in my reusable K-cup and call it a day?” Hold up there, partner. That’s a no-go. Espresso ground is super fine, like powdered sugar fine, and if you try to use it in your reusable K-cup, you’re asking for trouble. The water won’t be able to pass through properly, and you’ll end up with a mess and possibly a clogged machine.

But if you’re determined to use that espresso roast coffee, here’s the hack: Get yourself some whole beans, and grind them to a medium or medium-fine consistency. This way, you’re safe from clogs and still on the path to a strong coffee. And just so you know, “espresso roast” just means it’s roasted longer to bring out a bold flavor. You can also look for terms like “dark roast” or “French roast” for that strong taste you’re after.


So, what’s the final word? Keurig coffee makers are not espresso machines, and that includes the Keurig K Cafe. Right now, there’s no Keurig out there that can make a true espresso shot.

But hey, don’t be bummed! You can still make a killer strong brew or craft some coffeehouse-style drinks in your own kitchen. Just use those dark roast K-cups and the smallest cup setting on your Keurig for the most intense flavor.

And if you’re really on the hunt for a machine that does the whole shebang — regular coffee and espresso — then a Nespresso Vertuo might be your new best friend. It’s got the versatility you’re looking for, with the convenience of a pod machine. Cheers to that!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I make espresso using a Keurig machine?

Yes, you can make espresso in a Keurig machine by using compatible K-Cups designed for espresso. However, it's important to note that the resulting brew may not be as strong or authentic as a traditional espresso.

2. Do I need special K-Cups to make espresso in a Keurig?

Yes, to make espresso in a Keurig, you will need to use K-Cups specifically labeled for espresso. These K-Cups typically contain a darker, more finely ground coffee to mimic the intensity and flavors of traditional espresso.

3. Can I adjust the strength of the espresso brewed in a Keurig?

While Keurig machines offer options to adjust the brew strength, it's important to remember that these adjustments are applied to regular coffee, not espresso. The strength of the espresso brewed in a Keurig is primarily determined by the K-Cup used.

4. How do I make perfect espresso in a Keurig?

To make the perfect espresso in a Keurig, follow these steps:
  • Fill the water reservoir with fresh, cold water.
  • Preheat your Keurig machine.
  • Insert an espresso-specific K-Cup into the machine.
  • Select the desired cup size for a stronger brew.
  • Place a cup or shot glass under the dispenser.
  • Press the brew button and wait for the espresso to brew.
  • Enjoy your perfect espresso!

5. Can I froth milk for cappuccinos or lattes using a Keurig?

Most Keurig machines do not have a built-in milk frother. However, you can separately heat and froth milk using a microwave or by using a manual frothing tool. Once you have your frothed milk, you can add it to your espresso brewed from the Keurig to make cappuccinos or lattes.

6. How does Keurig espresso compare to traditional machine-brewed espresso?

Keurig espresso may not match the taste and quality of espresso made from traditional espresso machines. Traditional machines allow greater control over variables such as pressure and temperature, resulting in a more authentic espresso experience. However, using a Keurig can be a convenient alternative for quick and easy espresso at home.

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