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If you’re hoping to get the full coffee experience with just a single appliance on your counter, you’re in luck. Sort of. Regular coffee and espresso are two different things, but with a bit of technique, you can get one approximately regular coffee out of an espresso machine in no time.
So how can you make regular coffee with an espresso machine? You can make regular coffee with an espresso machine by making an Americano. An Americano is essentially a watered down shot of espresso that tastes very similar to drip coffee. It’s not exactly the same as drip, but it’s close enough to replace your drip coffee maker.
Making regular coffee with an espresso machine
What comes to mind when you think of espresso? If you’re an avid drinker of drip coffee, probably one word: strong. This is the big trait you need to tackle if you want a regular cup of coffee from your espresso machine.
Fortunately, the coffee fanatics of yore have you covered, and it’s about as simple as it gets: dilute the stronger coffee into something more your speed.
Ever since the 1940s, Americans have been doing this trick to get that familiar home-brewed coffee taste they love out of an espresso shot, particularly when that’s all they could get their hands on.
It’s technically not the exact same thing as the brewing process (and thus the flavor extraction) is completely different, but it’s close enough to have earned the namesake “Americano.”
You’ve probably seen this beverage at your favorite coffee shop. An Americano is a very simple concept that anyone who knows how to pull a shot of espresso can whip up in no time. You brew a shot or two of espresso, then you dilute it with hot water until you have about one regular cup of drip coffee.
Since espresso is such concentrated coffee compared to drip coffee, this roughly evens out to the size of a coffee you’re accustomed to.
Fortunately, caffeine levels remain approximately the same thanks to this fact as well, though that will depend on how much espresso you put into the beverage (and how much drip coffee you normally drink, for that matter).
Americano vs Drip Coffee
Although the two beverages produce a similar flavor, they’re usually not identical. The reason behind this comes down to how the two cups of coffee are produced.
When you brew a simple pot of drip coffee, you rely on little more than gravity and hot water running through coarse coffee grounds to give you a relatively less-intense beverage than its espresso counterpart.
Espresso, on the other hand, is made with a small amount of very finely ground coffee which then has pressurized, nearly-boiling water forcefully pumped through the grounds.
The result is a rich, strong, concentrated coffee with an altogether different flavor profile. Having said that, at the end of the day, it’s still coffee. Identical? No, but diluting it into an Americano seems to work well enough for a lot of people considering the drink’s popularity.
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What do we recommend if this doesn’t work for you?
So you have determined you still only want one appliance on your counter, but you want to have both espresso, and drip coffee? There are some decent options out there for you today. As coffee grows in popularity, and innovations continue, it is driving down the price for an espresso machine, so that we can have an easy combo unit, that we couldn’t have just a couple years ago.
- The Instant Pod (that you can buy here) is a pod based coffee maker that can either use Nespresso style pods, or K-Cup pods to make you some great coffee in the morning. If I still used pods, this would be my choice.
- This unit here by De’Longhi is another awesome combo unit that should make you some awesome coffee. This manufacturer is well known in the industry, and should last you a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an espresso machine the same as a coffee machine?
Espresso machines are very different than a normal coffee machine. Instead of allowing gravity and spreading water over coffee, espresso machines use about 9 bars of pressure to push the hot water through a puck of finely ground coffee beans.
Is espresso just finely ground coffee?
Essentially, espresso coffee is just finely ground coffee. You will utilize the same beans as drip coffee, but will grind it into a fine, almost powder to use in an espresso machines.
Why would you want an espresso machine instead of a drip coffee machine?
Many people like the stronger, more intense taste of espresso. You can also use espresso to make other drinks like lattes, mochas, flat-whites, and so many other drinks. Drip coffee machines make your normal coffee, and that is about it. Its definitely a personal preference, as many people don’t want to make the espresso style drinks every morning, and just prefer to relax with a cup of drip coffee.
If you’re unsure whether or not an Americano would suit your tastes, you could always try one from a local coffee shop before you decide to jump into the espresso machine market.
By recognizing the fundamental differences between a shot of espresso and a regular coffee, you can try and bridge that gap to get what most people consider a pretty comparable beverage. Can you make regular coffee with an espresso machine?
Give it a taste and see for yourself.