Before we answer the question of whether a Keurig can make espresso, we need to learn how espresso is made, and how Keurig works.

Espresso vs. Keurig – How It Works

If you know Espresso, you know that it requires an espresso machine to make. This concentrated ‘shot’ of coffee is popular on its own or as the base of many coffee drinks including the beloved Latte.

To make a shot of espresso, an espresso machine uses high pressure (of at least 15 bars) to force water through the fine grind coffee, producing a 1.35 oz or so of concentrated coffee.

Now you briefly know how an espresso machine work, here’s how Keurig works:

Keurigs are a lot like your traditional drip coffee makers. It does not use high pressure, but a regular water pump and a needle that punctures the K-Cup pod and drips water through it. Some force of water is used, but it’s not even close to the high pressure of an espresso machine.

On most Keurig machines, the smallest brew size is 6 oz or 4 oz on older models.

So, Can You Make a Shot of Espresso on a Keurig Coffee Maker?

That said, it should be clearer to you now that Keurig machines can’t make espresso shots in the traditional sense, because their mechanism does not allow it. Nor does the coffee in the K-Cup pods.

What About K-Cafe, Keurig’s Latte and Cappuccino Maker?

The K-Cafe has a built-in milk frother to make your latte preparation easier. But since espresso is the main ingredient of a latte, can the K-Cafe make espresso?

No, it can’t as it works the same way as other Keurig machines. But here’s what it can do:

In addition to 3 serving sizes for coffee (8, 10 and 12 oz), it has a 2 oz serving size for ‘espresso’. This is not an authentic shot of espresso, but instead, a concentrated amount of drip coffee that should mimic espresso in taste, especially when mixed with milk.

What Are Keurig’s Espresso K-Cup Pods?

You must be wondering, what are espresso k-cup pods, then? These are still coffee pods, and can be used for any serving size you want. Espresso here refers to the roasting of the coffee grounds. Many companies market their dark roast coffees as ‘espresso coffee’ or ‘espresso blend’. Some will label them ‘Espresso-style’ or ‘Espresso Roast’. The pod itself will brew as a coffee, but will taste quite bold and bitter like espresso.

How To Make Espresso-Like Coffee In a Keurig

If you don’t care about making an authentic shot of espresso, and just want to make a bold concentrated amount of coffee to make a latte or drink on its own… here are a few tips:

  • Use espresso or dark roast K-Cup pods. These are available from many brands, like Starbucks or Green Mountain. Pick your favorite. If you’re going to use a refillable pod, then make sure you use dark roasted coffee.
  • You’ll want to brew your pod using the smallest brew size you have on your machine. Since there are many Keurigs with many options, here are some ideas:
  • If your machine has no reservoir (Add fresh water at every brew, like the K-Mini), add less water to the tank. Between 2 oz and 4 oz will do.
  • If you have the K-Cafe, then go for the preset 2 oz button.
  • If your Keurig model has a 6 oz or 8 oz as the smallest brew size (like the K-Express or K-Supreme), that would be a lot for an ‘espresso shot’. The workaround here would be to fill your reservoir with only the amount you want to brew, forcing the machine to stop brewing at your desired amount.
  • Always use the Strong button, if your machine has it

How To Use a Refillable Pod for Espresso?

To make your espresso-style coffee in a Keurig using a refillable pod:

  • Fill the pod with dark roast coffee for best results. Dark roast will provide the boldness of a espresso to your cup. But if you prefer a milder taste, use medium roast.
  • Use medium ground coffee. It is well known that espresso machines use fine ground coffee to make espresso, but you can’t do that using a Keurig. Remember that Keurigs don’t have the high pressure of an espresso machine, so dripping water through fine grounds would be quite difficult.
  • Like previously mentioned, use the smallest brew possible to get a concentrated amount of coffee.

Best Rated Espresso K-Cups

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Final Thoughts

If you’re a current owner of a Keurig coffee maker and was wondering if there’s a genuine and authentic way to make a shot of espresso, now you know that unfortunately, there is not. A Keurig brewer was not made for espresso, but for coffee as well as some other beverages that don’t need a high pressure pump to be made. However, if all you need is a strong concentrated brew that you an use as a base for your lattes or cappuccinos, try the methods above.

But if you are in the market for an espresso machine and need something that is as easy and user-friendly as a Keurig, you’ll want to consider a Nespresso machine, an OriginalLine (like the Essenza Mini or Lattissima) machine specifically, which specializes in espressos with a press of a button.

About the Author


Enjoying coffee, one pod at a time. Bringing all my coffee expertise to this blog.

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