Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Barry Gray
To cut to the chase. Yes, you can; you should use loose tea, which is obvious, and try not to scorch the leaves.
Tea leaves are more delicate than coffee granules, and tea has a mild flavor and appeal overall. This is important to note, as temperature could affect your result.
So, it is possible to make tea in an espresso machine, but you need to take care. Pay attention to the temperature and the type of tea used. However, you have several options available to even blend tea with coffee resulting in a unique drink unlike anything else.
But what do you need to do? Well, it’s all easier than you think, but you do need to understand what you are doing.
Brewing Tea in an Espresso Machine
My first thought when trying to brew tea in an espresso machine was plain old black tea, and that is the easiest to use. Yet, there are loads of fruity, sweet, and delicate teas you can also enjoy this way.
Black tea is hardier than herbal teas and, if pushed well into your portafilter, can give you a brilliant cup of tea.
Herbal can, at times, be better brewed separately, but I think I would have short-changed you if I didn’t introduce you to the endless possibilities of tea and your espresso machine.
Before we begin, the key here is temperature, and I want to make life easier for you by giving you all the information you need.
To avoid scalding your tea, here is a general temperature chart for various teas:
- Black tea: 195-205°F (90-96°C)
- Green tea: 150-180°F (65-82°C)
- Oolong tea: 170-195°F (77-90°C)
- White tea: 160-185°F (71-85°C)
- Pu-erh tea: 195-205°F (90-96°C)
It is important to note that these are just general guidelines, and the best temperature for a particular tea may vary depending on the type of tea, the brand, and your personal preferences.
Like anything, the best way to find your preferences is to experiment.
Tea and Temperature
Here is a more detailed explanation of the best temperatures for different teas:
- Black tea: Black tea is robust and can withstand higher temperatures. Black tea is a funny thing, brew it too low, and the flavor is not released. Too high, and it is scorched.
- Green tea: Green tea is a delicate tea that can be easily over-extracted. It’s also an excellent antioxidant, in case you didn’t know. Brewing green tea at too high a temperature will produce a bitter and astringent tea. I often make it in hot water, separate from the espresso machine, to use as a mix.
- Oolong tea: Oolong tea is a semi-oxidized tea that falls between black and green tea. The best temperature for brewing oolong tea will vary depending on the specific type of oolong tea.
- White tea: White tea is the most delicate and should be brewed at the lowest temperature. Brewing white tea at too high a temperature will result in a bitter unpalatable tea; it’s a delicate balance here.
- Pu-erh tea: Pu-erh tea is a fermented tea that can be brewed at various temperatures. However, the best temperature for brewing pu-erh tea is generally between 195-205°F (90-96°C).
I do like tea, it’s not my first choice of beverage as I am a well-known coffee-lover, but now and then, I am okay with a tea latte. More than that, I am crazy for innovative tea and coffee blends which I will go into more detail.
I’m sure you will have your favorite tea recipe, and perhaps after reading this, you will experiment with new tea and coffee mixes that will change your tea view forever!
Using Your Espresso Machine for Tea
Using your espresso machine will impress both you and guests with a drink you and they had never thought of before. It is a game-changer in the hot drink arena.
One of my favorite tea and coffee mixes is a dirty chai latte. I will give you the low-down on that later on in this article.
Just like making good coffee, understanding the temperature and your tea will make a difference. Green teas are even more heat sensitive than strong black tea leaves.
So leave the herbals out of the portafilter. Black teas do better this way, but herbals are often too delicate.
Making tea in an espresso machine is actually quite simple. You only need an espresso machine, a portafilter, a fine-mesh filter, and loose-leaf tea.
Here’s how to do it:
- Clean and dry the portafilter. You don’t want to taste any coffee.
- Place a fine-mesh filter in the portafilter.
- Add loose-leaf tea to the filter.
- Tamp the tea down lightly.
- Attach the portafilter to the espresso machine.
- Turn on the espresso machine and let it heat up.
- Once the espresso machine is heated up, pull a shot of tea.
- Enjoy your tea!
Why Would You Use an Espresso Machine to Make Tea?
I see several reasons why you may want to use your espresso machine in order to make tea.
- It’s quick and easy. Making tea in an espresso machine is much faster than making it the traditional way. You can have a delicious cup of tea in just a few minutes. What is not to like?
- It’s more concentrated. The high pressure of the espresso machine extracts the flavor from the tea leaves more efficiently, resulting in a more full-bodied cup of tea.
- You can experiment with different flavors. Since you can use any loose-leaf tea, you can experiment with different flavors to find your perfect cup of tea.
- You can make milk tea lattes. If you have an espresso machine that can steam milk, you can use the tea as a base for a milk tea latte or other coffee drinks.
My Personal Experience with Tea Making in an Espresso Machine
I’ve been doing this for a while now, and the mixes and blends you can conjure up this way are mind-blowing. If you try a few, I guarantee you will change your mind about tea.
Making A Dirty Chai Latte
As mentioned briefly, a Dirty Chai Latte has become one of my favorite tea mixes. Here is an easy start-off recipe to get you going, and you will probably add more as you go along to your own tastes.
The Key Ingredients:
- One shot espresso
- 1/2 cup chai tea concentrate
- 1/2 cup milk
- Honey or maple syrup, to taste. I also like ginger and orange peel zest. You can add as much or as little as you wish.
- Brew the espresso.
- While the espresso is brewing, heat the chai tea concentrate and milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the chai tea concentrate and milk are heated, stir in the honey or maple syrup to taste.
- Pour the espresso into a mug.
- Pour the chai tea latte mixture over the espresso.
- And drink
The Pros of a Dirty Chai Latte
I see a dirty chai latte as offering several cool pros that are reasons why you need to consider making one on your own.
- Dirty chai lattes are delicious
- They are a great way to get your caffeine fix and a boost of antioxidants.
- You can customize them by adding different chai tea concentrate or milk flavors.
The Cons of a Dirty Chai Latte
But on the flip side, there are some cons associated with a dirty chai latte, so I’m not saying it’s all good. But then, I don’t see the cons as being too bad.
- Dirty chai lattes can be high in calories and sugar, so they should be enjoyed in moderation.
- If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to avoid dirty chai lattes as you get a double caffeine hit. You can temper this by making two with one shot of espresso.
You can play around with garnishes too. Grated fresh nutmeg, sprinkles of ginger, and honey.
Making a Tea Latte
There are endless possibilities you can choose from when making tea lattes. You use the milk frother on your espresso machine for your latte and add the herbal tea to that, use some imaginative garnishes, and you are done.
Here are some inspirations:
- Matcha latte
- Earl Grey latte
- Hibiscus latte
- Peppermint latte
A Matcha latte is simply matcha powder added to frothed milk with honey or maple syrup.
An Earl Grey Latte uses loose Earl Grey tea leaves, milk foam, and honey or syrups.
Hibiscus Latte is used by mixing hibiscus leaves and milk foam, then garnishing with edible broken rose petals.
The same goes for peppermint tea; a few mint leaves on top look fantastic.
You can also experiment with different teas and milk types to create unique tea latte recipes.
You could try using flavored milk, such as vanilla or hazelnut milk, or you could try using a different type of tea, such as black tea, green tea, or oolong tea.
But I want to make life even easier, so here are just a few tips for making tea lattes using the frother on an espresso machine.
- Use fresh, cold milk. This will help to create a better foam.
- Heat the milk to the correct temperature. The ideal temperature for frothing milk is between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Froth the milk until it is light and airy. You should be able to see tiny bubbles throughout the milk.
- Pour the tea and milk into a cup in layers. This will help to create a beautiful presentation.
Using glass cups makes the tea look better.
Which Machines Work Best for Making Tea?
Look, I get it. You now feel like trying to make tea in your espresso machine but are unsure which machine to use. So, here are a few that work well with tea making even though most will do the job well.
- Breville Bambino Plus
Both compact and good-looking, this is a good all-rounder for making tea and coffee. It has a portafilter to hold tea leaves and a steam wand to froth milk.
- De’Longhi Dedica EC685
A good coffee machine with an excellent steam wand for lattes and coffees!
- Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia comes with a temperature gauge to get perfect temperatures for coffee and tea.
- Breville Infuser
The key is in the name; this machine is the bomb for tea and coffee, giving off a pleasant slow and low temperature if needed.
- Rancilio Silvia
Has all the bits you need for both tea and coffee making.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Espresso Machine for Making Tea
The machines listed above are all excellent, but I see several key components that stand out when it comes to choosing your espresso machine for making tea.
- Portafilter size: Some espresso machines have portafilters designed explicitly for making tea. These portafilters have a larger basket that can accommodate more tea leaves, which results in a more robust cup of tea.
- Temperature control: The temperature of the water is vital for making tea. Some espresso machines have a PID controller that allows you to precisely control the temperature of the water. This is an excellent option for making different types of tea with your espresso machine.
- Steam wand: A steam wand is essential for frothing milk. If you want to make lattes or cappuccinos with your espresso machine, you will need a steam wand.
I hope you will feel inspired to make some coffee and tea mixes with your espresso machine and make a good cup of black tea with the portafilter. You could open yourself up to new experiences and more creative ways of enjoying coffee and tea.
It is possible to do this, but remember to clean your espresso machine first to remove coffee grounds and oils. Then, get experimenting and I promise you will be shocked at how good it tastes.