Can You Make Espresso in a French Press? Yes! (Try This 7 Step Easy Recipe)

Last updated on June 1st, 2023 by Garret Jacob

can you make espresso in a french press

For coffee lovers, having an espresso machine in your own home is an amazing convenience. The joys are countless! However, espresso machines can be expensive, require more maintenance and can be a challenge to operate at times.

But don’t worry, there is still a way you can make delicious espresso at home without needing to spend the cash on an espresso machine.

So can you make espresso in a French press?

People have found that by using the right coffee-to-water ratio combined with specific techniques, you can still create espresso in the comfort of your own home using a French press.

No it’s not going to be exactly espresso since that requires pressure, but it will be espresso like with a dark rich taste. And making espresso at home using a French press is actually much easier than it sounds. 

Let us take a closer look at what the difference is between espresso and French press coffee and what you need to do to make espresso at home using your French press. 

What’s the difference between espresso and French press coffee?

French press coffee and espresso, although both are delicious, are two distinctly different ways to experience coffee. The main difference between the two lies in the coffee-to-water ratio as well as the brewing process itself. 


automatic espresso machine americano
Delicious full bodied rich espresso

Espresso is a type of coffee that uses a specific extraction method to create rich and concentrated coffee. Namely, this brewing method requires using incredible amounts of pressure to push hot water through the coffee grounds.

The result is a thick and concentrated smaller cup of coffee with very high caffeine content. You can then drink the espresso as is, or use it to make other types of coffee drinks like Americanos, lattes, mochas, macchiatos, and cappuccinos

French press

French press coffee on the other hand is different.

The coffee grounds are steeped in hot water to create a full-bodied and aromatic cup of coffee that is less concentrated than espresso. The longer you let the coffee grounds sit in the hot water the stronger the coffee will be. 

The process for creating a French press cup of coffee is quite simple and can easily be mastered after a few times. 

The basic idea of a French press is to:

  1. Add the amount of ground coffee you would like to the bottom of the carafe followed by the hot water.
  2. Then, by using a press plunger that is equipped with a specialized screen/filter, you can push down the coffee grounds to separate the grounds from the water.
  3. Once the grounds are filtered down to the bottom of the carafe with the plunger, you are left with pure coffee. 

Both espresso and French press coffee are wildly enjoyed by coffee connoisseurs around the world, and each has a time and place for when they are most appropriate. 

Honestly both methods are so different that you can use the same kind of beans and get totally different flavor profiles.

So, if for some reason you cant get your hands on a cheap espresso machine or you’re away from your favorite machine at home, then using a French press to make espresso can be a reasonable option.

By purchasing the right type of coffee, adjusting the water-to-coffee ground ratio, and altering your French press technique slightly, you can use your press to make espresso at home. 

How to make espresso in a French press

mueller french press coffee maker4
My own stainless steel french press

Step 1: Get your hands on a French press

The first step to making espresso in a French press is to make sure you own a French press. Most French presses will work just fine, but you may want to make sure it is made from glass or metal and that it is designed to withstand boiling water. 

Also, you can commonly find French presses in 3-cup, 8-cup, and 12-cup sizes. If you are planning to only use your French press for espresso, then you can opt for the smaller 3-cup presses. 

However, if you would like to use your French press for both espresso and French press coffee, then one of the larger sizes would be ideal. 

Step 2: Get your hands on some high quality medium grind espresso beans

Once you have your French press, the next important step is to purchase the right type of coffee. Although you can typically use any type of coffee to make espresso in a French press, sometimes it may be best to use a medium-fine ground espresso dark roast coffee.

Dark roast coffee is important to use if you are looking for that dark and bitter-rich flavor that is typical of espresso.

The medium fine grounds are important to consider as well because typically coffee used for espresso is ground incredibly fine. If you use a coffee that is incredibly fine, then the plunger on the French press may not be able to filter the grounds from the hot water properly. 

If you want a freshly grind beans to use for your french press, this article will help you find out the best coffee grinder for French Press.

Step 3: Brew your espresso

Now that you have your French press and the medium-fine ground espresso roast coffee, you are ready to make espresso at home using your French press. Here are some basic steps to follow to make espresso using a French press.

Can You Make Espresso in a French Press? Yes! (Try This 7 Step Easy Recipe)

Ok, here's everything you need to know about how to make espresso in a French press in 7 easy steps. Lets do it!

Type: Beverage

Preparation Time: PT0H5M

Cooking Time: CT0H5M

Total Time: TT0H10M

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Medium-dark roast coffee beans
  • Water

Recipe Instructions:

1. Boil the water:

Using either a stove-top tea kettle or an electric kettle, boil the water you plan to use to make your espresso.

Make extra so you have hot water to prewarm the French press.

2. Pre-warm the glass:

Having consistent temperatures throughout the brewing process is critical to get the best flavors from your coffee.

Once you have your boiling water, fill the carafe of the French press about halfway and then swirl the water so that it touches all of the glass surface areas.

3. Add the right amount of coffee to water:

Once the glass of the French press is warm to the touch, go ahead and pour in your medium-fine espresso roast coffee grounds.

Normal French press coffee requires 1 tablespoon of grounds to 1 cup of hot water. For espresso, we want to double that to 2 tablespoons of grounds per cup of hot water.

For stronger espresso, you can increase the ratio of grounds to water to your preference.

4. Pour in half the water:

Pour in about half of the water you plan to use to brew your espresso and make sure all of the grounds are wet.

Let the grounds soak, steep and bloom for a minute or two.

5. Pour in the rest of the water:

Pour in the rest of the water you plan to use to brew your espresso and let the French press sit for a minimum of 3 minutes.

The longer you let it sit, the longer the grounds will steep and the stronger your espresso will be.

6. Push down the plunger:

After your coffee grounds are done steeping, go ahead and slowly press down the plunger about halfway and then quickly pull up on the plunger until it is back into the starting position, and then slowly press the plunger all the way to the bottom.

If done correctly, this technique should create a layer of foam.

7. Enjoy your espresso:

Go ahead and pour your espresso into an espresso shot glass or pour it into a mug to make one of your favorite espresso-based coffee drinks.

Editor's Rating:

Final Thoughts

In summary, yes you can brew espresso coffee using a French press. But it won’t be authentic and the taste will not be as distinctive, especially if you’re a coffee snob. But you can get a rich flavorful brew with some crema to hold you over.

So if you don’t have the money, or you’re out of town and your favorite Breville or De’Longhi machine is at home, then this method can be serviceable to get you by.

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