Whip up espresso with a French press

Randolf Fredric

Are you a fan of strong and flavorful coffee? If so, then you’ve probably heard of espresso. This concentrated and aromatic beverage is often associated with fancy espresso machines and arcane barista skills. However, what if we told you that you can make espresso-like coffee right at home using a French press? Yes, you read that correctly! In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to brew a delicious espresso-style coffee using your trusty French press. So grab your favorite blend of coffee beans, kick back, and get ready to enjoy a delightful homemade espresso experience!

What is Espresso?

Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage that is brewed by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely ground coffee beans. It originated in Italy and is known for its strong flavor and rich aroma. Unlike regular drip coffee, which is brewed by allowing water to slowly filter through the coffee grounds, espresso is brewed quickly, resulting in a more concentrated and intense flavor.

Why Use a French Press for Espresso?

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a popular method for brewing coffee. While it is commonly used for regular brewed coffee, it can also be used to make a strong and flavorful espresso-like beverage. The main advantage of using a French press for espresso is that it allows you to control the brewing process and extract maximum flavor from the coffee beans.

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How to Make Espresso in a French Press

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, make sure you have all the necessary materials. You will need:

A French press
Freshly roasted coffee beans
A coffee grinder
A kettle or pot
A timer

Step 2: Grind Your Coffee Beans

Grind your coffee beans to a fine consistency. The grind size is important for espresso, as it affects the extraction process. For a French press, a medium-fine grind is recommended.

Note: The key to a good espresso is using freshly roasted beans and grinding them just before brewing to preserve the flavors and aromas.

Step 3: Heat the Water

Heat the desired amount of water in a kettle or pot. The water should be just below boiling point, around 195-205°F (90-96°C).

Step 4: Preheat the French Press

Preheat your French press by filling it with hot water and allowing it to sit for a minute or two. This will help maintain the temperature during brewing and prevent heat loss.

Step 5: Add Coffee Grounds

Discard the hot water from the French press and add the ground coffee to the empty press. The recommended ratio is 1 tablespoon of coffee per 4 ounces of water, but you can adjust it to your taste preferences.

Step 6: Pour the Water

Slowly pour the hot water over the coffee grounds in the French press. Start by wetting all the coffee grounds and then continue pouring in a steady circular motion. Make sure all the grounds are saturated with water.

Step 7: Start the Timer

Start the timer as soon as you finish pouring the water. The ideal brew time for espresso is around 4 minutes, but you can adjust it depending on how strong you like your coffee.

Step 8: Press Down the Plunger

After the desired brew time, press down the plunger of the French press slowly and evenly. This will separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee, ensuring a smooth and rich espresso-like beverage.

Step 9: Serve and Enjoy

Pour the brewed coffee into your cup and savor the rich flavors and aromas of your homemade French press espresso. Add milk or sugar if desired, and enjoy!

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a French Press for Espresso


1. Control: Using a French press allows you to have full control over the brewing process, from the grind size to the water temperature.

2. Strong Flavor: French press espresso tends to have a strong and bold flavor, which is favored by espresso enthusiasts.

3. Cost-Effective: French presses are relatively inexpensive compared to other espresso brewing methods, making it a budget-friendly option.


1. Limited Pressure: The French press method does not provide the same level of pressure as traditional espresso machines, resulting in a slightly different taste and texture.

2. Coarser Grind: Due to the design of the French press, the coffee grounds used are typically coarser than those used in espresso machines, affecting the extraction process.

3. Time and Effort: Making French press espresso requires more time and effort compared to using an espresso machine, which offers convenience and automation.

Tips for Making the Best French Press Espresso

1. Use Freshly Roasted Beans

Using freshly roasted beans will ensure maximum flavor extraction and a more satisfying cup of French press espresso.

2. Grind Just Before Brewing

Grind your coffee beans just before brewing to preserve the flavors and aromas. This will result in a fresher and more flavorful cup.

3. Experiment with Brew Time

Adjust the brew time based on your taste preferences. The longer the brew time, the stronger and more intense the espresso will be.

4. Experiment with Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Experiment with different ratios of coffee to water to find your preferred strength and taste. Start with the recommended ratio of 1 tablespoon of coffee per 4 ounces of water and adjust from there.

5. Clean Your French Press Thoroughly

After each use, make sure to clean your French press thoroughly to remove any leftover coffee grounds and oils. This will prevent any unwanted flavors in future brews.

The Difference Between French Press Espresso and Traditional Espresso

While French press espresso and traditional espresso share similarities in terms of flavor and intensity, there are some key differences:

1. Brewing Method

The primary difference lies in the brewing method. French press espresso is made by steeping coffee grounds in hot water and then pressing them down to separate the brewed coffee. Traditional espresso is brewed using high pressure and a finely ground coffee bed, resulting in a faster extraction process.

2. Pressure

Traditional espresso machines generate high pressure, typically around 9 bars, to force water through the coffee grounds. French press espresso, on the other hand, relies on the weight of the plunger and gravity, resulting in lower pressure.

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3. grind size

The grind size for traditional espresso is much finer than that used for French press espresso. The finer grind allows for faster and more efficient extraction with the high pressure used in espresso machines.


French press espresso is a unique and flavorful way to enjoy a concentrated coffee beverage at home. By following the steps outlined above and experimenting with different brewing variables, you can create a rich and aromatic cup of espresso-like coffee using a French press. While it may not replicate the exact taste and texture of traditional espresso, French press espresso offers a convenient and cost-effective alternative. Enjoy the journey of brewing your own espresso at home and savor the wonderful flavors that this method brings.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can I use regular coffee beans to make espresso in a French press?

Yes, you can use regular coffee beans to make espresso in a French press. However, keep in mind that the taste and intensity of the espresso will be different from what you may find in a traditional espresso machine. The French press method allows for a coarser grind, so the resulting espresso will be milder and have a slightly different flavor profile. Adjust your expectations accordingly, and experiment with different coffee beans to find the flavor that suits your preferences.

2. What is the ideal water temperature to make espresso in a French press?

The ideal water temperature to make espresso in a French press is around 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90 to 96 degrees Celsius). Water at this temperature range helps extract the optimal flavors from the coffee grounds, resulting in a more balanced and flavorful espresso. If you don’t have a thermometer, simply boil the water and let it sit for 30 seconds to cool slightly before pouring it over the coffee grounds.

3. How long should I let the coffee steep in a French press to make espresso?

For a French press espresso, it is recommended to let the coffee steep for about 4 to 5 minutes. This duration allows for sufficient extraction of flavors from the coffee grounds, giving you a rich and flavorful espresso. However, if you prefer a milder or stronger espresso, you can adjust the steeping time accordingly. Keep in mind that steeping the coffee for too long may result in a bitter taste, so it’s best to experiment and find the steeping time that suits your taste buds.

4. Can I froth milk and add it to my French press espresso?

Yes, you can froth milk and add it to your French press espresso if you want to make a cappuccino or latte-style beverage. While a French press does not have a built-in milk frother like a traditional espresso machine, you can manually froth milk using a separate frother or by whisking it vigorously in a saucepan. Once frothed, simply pour the milk into your cup of French press espresso and enjoy your homemade cappuccino or latte.

5. Can I make multiple servings of espresso in a French press?

Yes, you can make multiple servings of espresso in a French press. The capacity of a typical French press is usually enough to make several cups of espresso at once. Simply adjust the coffee and water ratios accordingly based on the number of servings you want to make. Keep in mind that the steeping time may need to be slightly longer to ensure thorough extraction for a larger batch.

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Randolf Fredric

Randolf Fredric

A young brewmaster of words, crafting captivating tales over coffee's rhythmic symphony, stirring minds with each blog post.


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