How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple Recipe

Our guide on the ingredients for making espresso powder and the neccessary equipment. Plus, answers to some of the frequently asked questions.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 09, 2021
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If you enjoy baking, you’re likely to be aware of the importance of not adding additional liquid into your cake batters. So, when you’re making coffee flavored cakes, you can’t simply use coffee. This is why many recipes call for espresso powder.

However, this is one ingredient that can be difficult to find or costly. So, learning how to make espresso powder is a great skill that can prove invaluable in any kitchen. Whether you have a supply for your own baking or give your homemade espresso powder to the amateur bakers in your life, you’re sure to appreciate knowing how to make this handy ingredient.

So, in this article, we’ll explore making espresso powder and how you can accomplish it in your own kitchen without the need for expensive machines and fancy equipment.

What is espresso powder used for?

How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple RecipeEspresso powder or instant espresso is made using ground beans that have been brewed before drying and grinding further into a fine powder. While its name may suggest it, this powder is not typically used to make espresso.

It is actually used in baking to add a coffee flavor. It can also be used to amplify flavors, particularly chocolate. Just as many recipes call for vanilla, adding espresso powder can create a depth of flavor that enhances the other flavors, complementing them to create an overall improvement in the final baked item.

Due to its fine texture, espresso powder easily dissolves and blends into dry ingredients seamlessly. So, you won’t need to worry about adjusting the liquid ingredients to compensate.

Espresso powder recipe

Fortunately, you don’t need fancy equipment or costly tools to make your own espresso powder. Here we’ll explore how you can create espresso powder in your kitchen, so you can have plenty on hand for your baking.

You can make as much or as little powder as you wish. So, you can tailor the recipe to suit your requirements.

Equipment

You will need some basic equipment that you are already likely to have in your kitchen. You will need an oven, so you can dry out the grounds. It is also a good idea to have a flat baking sheet with a lip all the way around its edges. While you can use a cookie sheet, there is a risk that if you jolt the sheet, you’ll be vacuuming coffee grounds off your kitchen floor for days.

You will also need some form of coffee grinder. It doesn’t need to be an expensive coffee grinder, as there are plenty of grinders under $200 that will do a great job as you’re learning how to make espresso powder from coffee grounds. However, if you don’t have a grinder, you can also use a blender, food processor or even a mortar and pestle.

Ingredients

How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple RecipeThis is where how to make your own espresso powder is really simple, as the only ingredient is coffee or espresso grounds. Of course, your choice of coffee will impact the overall flavor and strength of your espresso powder. The best coffee grounds will impart the best flavor, but if you have a favorite brand that you already use, you can use this to make your espresso powder.

Just bear in mind that espresso grounds will make the best powder. You can use standard coffee grounds, but you will create a weaker flavored powder.

Instructions

How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple RecipeThe first step in how to make espresso powder for baking is to preheat your oven. You’ll need a low temp of 175ºf, as you’ll be drying out the grounds and you don’t want them to burn.

Use your hands to crumble up the grounds and spread them out in an even, thin layer on your baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in your preheated oven and bake for one to three hours. The amount of time will depend on the amount of coffee grounds you’re using. You’ll need to periodically toss the grounds to ensure that all dry out. They are done when they feel dry and a little crunchy.

Once your grounds are cool enough to handle, use your coffee grinder to grind them into a very fine powder. You will need to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overload your grinder and leave any coarse bits.

How to store espresso powder

How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple RecipeEspresso powder can be stored for up to a year, but you’ll need to keep it in a good quality airtight container, like the Oxo. This will keep the flavor fresh and maintain the dry texture.

If you’re worried about your powder clumping, you can keep it in the fridge or freezer. However, if you do have humidity issues and your powder ends up lumpy, you can always pulse it in your food processor or blender to return it to its powdery state. The powder can then be used as normal without concerns about compromised quality or texture.

FAQ

Does espresso powder leave a coffee flavor in baked goods?

How to Make Espresso Powder: A Simple RecipeIf you’ve got this far into how to make espresso powder at home, you’re likely to be interested in using it in baking. While you can use it to flavor coffee cakes and other baked items, in small quantities the powder will simply intensify the other flavors and you shouldn’t really notice a coffee flavor. If you’re sensitive to coffee flavor, you may notice a little hint, but since it is typically used with chocolate, the flavor should be masked.

What can you make with espresso powder?

The sky’s the limit to what you can make with espresso powder. You can add it to chocolate cakes, brownies, tarts and other baked items. You could even add it to your holiday truffles or other chocolate treats.

Just like vanilla in many recipes, espresso powder can be added as a baking seasoning. It can enhance chocolate flavors, but it can also complement fruit flavors. So, try adding a little to raspberry or cherry dishes. Just bear in mind that it may impart a darker color. This means it isn’t a good idea to add it to angel food cake or other light desserts that rely on a white color for their aesthetic appeal.

Try thinking outside the box. Add a teaspoon to your go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, and you may be surprised at the results.

What can you use as a substitute for espresso powder?

If the prospect of how to make instant espresso powder does not appeal to you, there are some substitutes.

It is possible to grind some instant coffee into a fine powder and use it instead of espresso powder in your recipe. Just bear in mind that the flavor will be weaker and you may need to increase the amount. It is also possible to use ground coffee, but the amounts will be different and you may alter the texture of your cake if your grounds are a little coarse.

One thing to avoid is using cold coffee. The chances are that even if you try to adjust the liquid ingredients in the recipe, you will alter the balance and may compromise the texture, rise and taste of your cake, cookies or tart.

Will this powder dissolve in hot liquid?

The main purpose behind how to make espresso powder from coffee grounds with a blender or grinder is to create a very fine powder that will easily dissolve. You should find that your espresso powder quickly dissolves in your recipe, seamlessly blending with the dry ingredients or being incorporated into the liquid ingredients.

Therefore, the powder should easily dissolve in hot liquid. However, this does not mean that it makes a good beverage. If you’re looking to create a homemade instant coffee that you can make for a quick drink, you’ll be disappointed. This is not the purpose of espresso powder and you are better off brewing a fresh pot.

Final thoughts

Is there anything more decadent than an indulgent dessert? If you’re trying to make a rich chocolate cake, a silky chocolate tart or even a great cookie, you are likely to already use vanilla beans or extract. However, espresso powder should be another ingredient that you keep on hand.

Espresso powder can complement other ingredients, particularly chocolate to elevate the flavor profile to a whole new level. In small quantities, you shouldn’t even taste the coffee flavor; you’ll simply enjoy new flavor notes from the other ingredients.

While it is possible to buy espresso powder, it can be hard to find or expensive in specialist stores. So, learning how to make espresso powder can be a real money saver. Since it is so easy to make and requires just coffee grounds, you can always have espresso powder on hand.

You can make batches of espresso powder as large or small as you need, and it stores well. So, why not give making your own espresso powder a try and experiment using it in your recipes that seem to be lacking that wow factor.

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