How to Use an Espresso Machine for More Than Just a Latte

September 22, 2020

Hot beverage season is approaching, and we’ve all got lattes on the brain, right? And if you want a coffeehouse version at home, you’ll need an espresso maker, which can feel like a splurge purchase for a one-task kitchen appliance. But it’s time to start thinking beyond the basic latte, and expand into how to use an espresso machine a little differently than you might expect.

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Let’s get started by talking about some of the basic drinks that you can make with your espresso machine. There are a ton of variations on these, but really simply, each drink in this list requires nothing other than espresso, and either water or milk.

  • Espresso Shot: The true basic, this is exactly what it sounds like: a shot of espresso, fresh out of the machine. It’s about 1oz, and contains a ton of rich, smooth flavor.
  • Latte: An espresso shot combined with plenty of steamed milk and topped with a thin layer of foam. The foam is created by incorporating more air when steaming, so it is frothier and lighter.
  • Cappuccino: An espresso shot topped with equal parts steamed milk and foam. Unlike a latte, a cappuccino is layered, which gives it a stronger coffee flavor.
  • Macchiato: The term means “marked” in Italian, but can describe two different drinks. An espresso macchiato is an espresso shot with a dollop of foam on top. A latte macchiato is steamed milk with an espresso shot poured on top.
  • Americano: The Italian answer to regular drip coffee, this contains an espresso shot combined with hot water, for a more mellow taste.

The Best Espresso Makers & Accessories

You can make all of these drinks with my favorite espresso maker. You may also want to expand your arsenal to include a few accessories, like a milk frothing pitcher, measuring shot glasses, or a simple coffee grinder. I like this machine because it does everything I need it to do, and it fits nicely on my counter.

However, if you’re looking for an upgrade, try this coffee-shop quality version. On the other hand, if you are looking for a simple add-on to your classic coffee maker, you can use a milk frothing wand.

Espresso Machine Drinks

Beyond the classics, it’s time to have a little fun. These drinks aren’t too much of a stretch for your espresso machine. But they will get you a step beyond the basics I mentioned before. These selections range in flavors, size, and sweetness, but you are sure to find a new favorite!

Cafe Bombon

From The Last Cookie

Everyday Vanilla Latte

From Jar of Lemons

Cinnamon Cappuccino

From Simply Stacie

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

From Home-Cooked Roots

Caffe Mocha

From Cooking With Curls

Caramel Macchiato

From Cooktoria

Cafe Hafuch

From Family Friends Food

Hot Caramel Milk

Little Sugar Snaps

*Doesn’t contain coffee*

Thinking about getting an espresso machine? Here are 23 recipes that will convince you!

Espresso Breakfast Treats

Need a bite to go with your morning coffee? You can use freshly brewed espresso in plenty of delicious breakfasts to get your day going. You know the rich coffee flavor means whatever you choose will pair perfectly with your hot beverage.

Coffee Banana Smoothie

From Everyday Delicious

Espresso Zucchini Muffins

From Blue World Dreams

Espresso Protein Shake

From Cook Eat Well

Espresso Desserts and Sweets

Starting your day with coffee is a classic move, but how about bookending by adding in a decadent dessert as well. Coffee is a classic ingredient in tiramisu, works excellently to add flavor to other baked goods, and it makes a rich, creamy custard. You can’t make a wrong choice here!

Tiramisu & Baked Desserts

Pandoro Tiramisu

From Pina Bresciani

Espresso Brownies

From The Art of Food & Wine

Amaretti Tiramisu

From Vika Linka

Cappuccino Cake

An Italian in My Kitchen

Creams & Custards

Espresso Panna Cotta

From Family Focus Blog

Chocolate Espresso Silk Pie

From Worn Slap Out

Chocolate Espresso Pots

From Emma Eats & Explores

Coffee Panna Cotta

From Cooking Journey

Cold & Frozen

A nice warm cappuccino is perfect for these brisk fall mornings, but don’t pack up your espresso machine in the spring. You can use it for frozen and cold beverages in addition to the hot ones. Plus, freshly brewed espresso pairs perfectly with ice cream for a classic affogato.


From Cooking With Curls

Iced Caramel Latte

From Yummy Addiction

Affogato Tarts

From Belly Rumbles

Frothy Espresso Martini

From Spoonabilities


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15 thoughts on “How to Use an Espresso Machine for More Than Just a Latte

  1. I don’t have an espresso machine (yet!), but I do have a moka pot! There are so many delicious things to try here…feeling inspired especially since national coffee day is coming up. That reminds me that I’ve been wanting to make a coffee semifreddo — time to brew some espresso. Thanks!

  2. I just moved into my new place and got a Nespresso that also makes espresso shots so I am sooo excited to try these out. Especially those espresso brownies. YUM!

  3. We don’t have an espresso machine, but chances are if I show my spouse this post, we’ll have an espresso machine on our list this year.

  4. I haven’t had my morning coffee yet, and now I’m craving all things espresso. As you well know, coffee is a massive part of my life, yet.. I don’t own an espresso machine. In fact, as of right now, I don’t own anything fancier than a coffee pot and a single serve French press! Yikes! I told my husband that for the holidays this year I want ALL the coffee bar tools haha! Your list of espresso goodies all sound delicious. I’ll add my own to this list with my cappuccino muffins + espresso cream cheese frosting! It’s the best morning treat with a cup of hot coffee!

  5. Ooh all of this post sounds so good! I love getting things like lattes at coffee shops but I’m a little intimidated to do it at home – I have no clue how to froth milk, lol! Do you know what the caffeine content of espresso is compared to a regular cup of coffee?

    1. The caffeine content depends how big your cup of coffee is! In general, an ounce of espresso has about 5 times as much caffeine as an ounce of coffee, but normally you’d only have 1-2oz of espresso, vs 10-16 of coffee. I only drink decaf, though!

  6. Hi it’s Brenda from My first job was at a coffee shop so I knew of all these different things that could easily be made. Thanks for bringing back some great memories for me though.

  7. Omg I am so glad I found this post! I have an espresso machine that I haven’t been using lately and now I have so many ways to use it! Great post!

  8. Fun! So many yummy drinks! I’d love to try the vegan pumpkin spiced latte. And takes for adding some yummy frozen drinks to the list. I love neva yummy frozen caffeinated bevy!

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