Can You Make Tea in an Espresso Machine?

tea and espresso

I am always looking for new ways to make coffee. One day I started thinking about different ways I could make tea. I started wondering if you can make tea in an espresso machine.  You might be surprised, but you can make quite a few things with your espresso machine besides coffee. 

In general, most people only use an espresso machine to make espresso.  But, if you’re wondering if you can make tea in an espresso machine, absolutely!  You just need tea leaves, a grinder, a portafilter, and an espresso machine.

Before you get started brewing tea in your espresso machine, there are a few things you should know. It’s not that hard, but first, you need to know how to do it.  Keep reading and I will explain everything you need to know to make tea in an espresso machine.

How to Make Tea in An Espresso Machine

Step 1: Clean the portafilter

Before you make tea with your espresso machine, you need to clean the portafilter. You don’t want your tea to taste like coffee. If your espresso machine hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you might want to run one brew cycle of water through it first.

Step 2: Use the right tea leaves

You can brew most types of tea in an espresso machine, but some teas work better than others. Keep in mind that an espresso machine uses much hotter water than what you would normally brew tea with.  It is also a much faster brewing method. 

Tea normally steeps for 3 to 5 minutes. An espresso machine brews tea much faster so the tea leaves don’t have enough time to extract all the flavor from the tea.  Using a tea that needs a shorter extraction method helps.  When you are selecting your tea, green tea or black tea might taste better.

Step 3: Grind the tea leaves

Espresso is normally made with fine ground coffee. This is because of the extraction method. When you make tea in an espresso machine, the tea needs to be ground finely.  This will help slow down the extraction time and result in a better-tasting tea.

Step 4: Measure the ground tea

Determining how much ground tea to use in your espresso machine might take some trial and error.. Typically, you would use 2-3 grams of tea for a regular-sized cup of tea.  If you don’t normally weigh your tea leaves, you might add too much or too little of the ground tea.  Because the extraction time is different, your might need to use more tea than you normally use.

Step 5 Brew the tea

Once your tea is ground, add your ground tea to the portafilter. Pour water in your espresso machine and brew.

Best tea for an espresso machine

Teas, like coffee, taste better when brewed at the right time and temperature.  An espresso machine was not designed for brewing tea because of its fast extraction method.  It can be used to make tea, but you need to keep this in mind when you’re selecting a tea to use in an espresso machine.  You want to pick one that has a short extraction time and a high brewing temperature.  

As a general rule, the best teas to use in an espresso machine are black tea, green tea, white tea, and herbal teas.  Green tea and white tea have the shortest extraction time.  Black tea, white tea, and herbal teas are brewed at a high temp, which also makes them better for an espresso machine.

This gives you an idea of which teas work best, but check the brewing time and temperature guidelines for the tea you plan to use first. Green tea, for example, is a good choice for an espresso machine, but certain types of green tea like Jasmine green tea require a longer brewing time.

How does making tea in an espresso machine affect the taste?

If you’re curious how tea made in an espresso machine tastes, it really depends on the tea.  Tea is intended to be steeped. This allows the tea leaves to expand and the water to extract the flavor.  When you make tea in an espresso machine, the tea leaves are ground. This changes the surface area of the tea and the extraction time. 

Tea made in an espresso maker doesn’t have enough time to release all the flavors of the tea. A tea with a short extraction time may taste similar to standard brewed tea, but most teas made in an espresso machine turn out weaker and more bitter tasting than traditionally brewed tea.

When you run water through the machine, the water is in contact with more of the tea. You might think this would give you a stronger tasting tea. However, because the extraction time is so short it really just allows the water to absorb some of the tea flavors.  If you are going to use an espresso machine to make tea, you need to pick one that doesn’t require a lot of steeping.

Tips for making tea in an espresso machine

Use more tea

Besides picking the right tea, you may want to use more tea than you would normally use.  This will help offset the quick brewing time, allowing the tea to release more of its flavors.

Go with a more bitter tasting tea

Some teas are sweeter than others like black tea. If you like strong-tasting coffee, you might enjoy a black tea brewed in your espresso machine.

Add cream  and sugar

If you prefer your tea sweeter, try adding milk and sugar to your tea. Since your tea might turn out more bitter-tasting, adding a little cream and sugar to your tea can add a little flavor.

Soak the portafilter in ice water first

This may or may not help, but some baristas swear by it. Chilling your portafilter in ice water may help slow down or even out the extraction process and allow the tea to release more of its flavors. 

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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