The Best K-Cup For An Espresso Martini

espresso martini on tray
espresso martini on tray - Melaniemaya/Getty Images

Don't let anyone tell you it's not possible to make an espresso martini without an espresso machine. Although black coffee is not the same as espresso, there are plenty of strong brewed coffee alternatives that can stand in for this popular cocktail, including coffee made with K-cups. It's also true that real espresso is made with a pressure-driven water system, but you'll see that traditional espresso brands have dipped into the K-cup market with strong, dark options that can hold their own flavor-wise, even lacking the traditional machine preparation. So, if you're a Keurig owner, get ready to shake up your drink routine at home with some new boozy options.

The key is to find the strongest of the coffee offerings, and many of these are actually labeled as espresso on the pod, referring to the darker roast of the bean. For example, you'll see K-cups from espresso specialists like Lavazza, an Italian coffee roaster that provides beans for traditional espresso machines as well as a number of other traditional coffee companies touting their K-cup espresso options. Keurig recommends its own Green Mountain Black Granite Espresso blend in its espresso martini recipe. However, after some rather enjoyable research with a number of espresso-style K-cups, we found the best, most flavorful K-cup brew for your espresso martini is from a coffee company that historically specializes in dark, rich coffee: Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style.

Read more: 31 Popular Coffee Brands, Ranked

Dark, Rich, Spanish-Style Coffee Is Perfect For The Cocktail

cafe bustelo espresso style k-cups
cafe bustelo espresso style k-cups - Café Bustelo / Facebook

Since 1928, Café Bustelo has been selling dark roast coffee to lovers of the sweet, strong brew known affectionately in the Latin community as cafecito. This coffee is the next closest thing to an actual shot of espresso, and the flavor of the K-cup is exactly what you'd expect if you brewed up the ground coffee in your moka pot. The complex floral flavors in the Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style pods lift up notes of toast and caramel and are perfect foils for a shaken espresso martini. The coffee provides plenty of body to create a luxurious foamy top on the cocktail too.

Perhaps the only other choice when you brew this pod is how much volume you want in the cup. Choosing the 4 ounce option available with some of the most popular Keurig machines will give you the darkest coffee, and while it might be a little bitter, remember that you're shaking this coffee with sweet coffee liqueur and simple syrup, so if you want coffee to be the primary flavor, that's a good thing. For those who want to back off a bit on the caffeine and bitter edge, try the 6 ounce option. That's the smallest volume on some Keurig machines, and you'll find the Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style pods still yield a nicely balanced espresso-style brew.

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