How to make Espresso in a French press?

Do you love espresso, but don’t want to buy an expensive machine? Then making espresso in a french press might be the perfect solution for you! It can provide you with delicious and flavorful shots of intense coffee that rivals those from functional espresso machines, all at a fraction of the cost. So how to make espresso in a French press?

Making espresso with a french press is actually much simpler than you might think – all you need are a few basic ingredients and tools, essential know-how about steeping times, and practice. Whether you’re an experienced barista or just getting started with making quality coffee at home, this blog post will break down how to make delicious espresso using nothing but a french press.

What is Espresso?

Espresso [1] is a concentrated and highly aromatic type of black coffee made by forcing hot pressurized water through extremely fine-grounded coffee beans. It usually produces around 1 to 2 ounces of liquid and provides intense flavor notes and aromatics that often differ from regular brewed coffee.

With espresso you can make lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, and Cuban coffee:

– Latte = espresso + frothed milk (no foam)

– Cappuccino = espresso + frothed milk with foam

– Macchiato = frothed milk with foam + espresso poured on top

– Cuban coffee (colada/cafecito) = espresso with sugar

– Cuban coffee (cortadito) = espresso with sugar + frothed milk (no foam)

Another major difference between espresso and French press coffee is that espresso is made with significantly finer grinds of coffee. This means that the hot water needs to be forced through the pounded beans in order to extract flavor, instead of simply steeped like with a French press.

How does an Espresso Machine work?

Espresso machines work by forcing hot water through fine-grounded coffee beans with pressure. The machine uses a pump to build up pressure within the chamber, then forces the pressurized water through the beans, extracting flavorful oils and aromatics from them.

The espresso is then pushed out of a nozzle at high speed, creating crema, which is the golden foam that lies atop the espresso shot.

What does the French Press do?

A French press works by simply steeping coarsely-grounded coffee beans in hot water. The grounds are placed in the base of the carafe, which is then filled with boiling water. Once it has been steeped for around 4 minutes, a plunger is pushed down through the mixture, pushing all the grounds to one side and allowing the liquid to be poured out.

This method is much slower and gentler than with an espresso machine, as it does not involve any pressurization. This leaves the end result less “intense” and more mellow in flavor compared to espresso.

>> See more: Different Types of Coffee Makers

make espresso in a french press
You can make a delicious shot of espresso with a French press

Should I use a French press to make espresso?

Given the differences between espresso and French press coffee, it may seem counterintuitive to use a French press for making espresso. However, it is possible, and if you take the right steps and adjust your steeping time accordingly, you can make a delicious shot of espresso with a french press.

What are the best coffee beans to use?

The best kind of coffee beans to use for making espresso with a french press are coarsely ground, high-quality Arabica beans. These have a much lower acidity than Robusta beans, and tend to produce more flavor notes and aromatics.

Darker roasts also work well for making espresso in a french press as they are usually more oily than lighter roasts. This helps to create a crema-like texture similar to that of an authentic espresso shot.

How to make espresso in a French Press at home

Essentially, how to make espresso-like coffee using a French press. Because you can’t brew espresso coffee in a French press but you can brew an espresso-style coffee in a French Press.


What you’ll need for French press espresso, other than a French press? You will need:

  • A quality burr grinder, for finely grinding your beans.
  • Quality espresso-grade or dark roast coffee beans.
  • A French press with a plunger device.
  • A thermometer to ensure your water is at the right temperature.
  • A spoon or dosing tool for measuring coffee grounds.
Use a French maker to make espresso
Use a French maker to make espresso

Ingredients and proportions

  • 36 grams (½ cup beans) espresso roast coffee, medium fine ground
  • 205 ml/grams hot water (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons)

Step by step instructions

Making espresso with a French press is much simpler than using an espresso machine, and if done correctly can yield delicious results. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to make espresso at home in a french press:

  1. Start by heating up some water to around 200°F, and then pour it into your french press.
  2. Measure out 20-30 grams of freshly ground espresso beans, and add them to the water in the french press.
  3. Give the mixture a light stir with a spoon or dosing tool to ensure the grounds are fully immersed in the water.
  4. Put the plunger device on top of your french press, but don’t press down yet – this will help keep the heat in and extract more flavor from your beans.
  5. Set a timer for 3 minutes, and leave it be until the timer goes off.
  6. Carefully press down the plunger device, and pour your espresso into either a cup or shot glass. Enjoy!

>> See more:

Tips for making espresso in a French press

  • It is important to use freshly ground coffee beans for optimal flavor.
  • The ideal water temperature for espresso using a French press is between 195-205 °F (90-96°C).
  • Stir your mixture before plunging to ensure all grounds are properly extracted.
  • Use a timer – for best results, steep your coffee for 2-4 minutes and then plunge.
  • Froth your milk if needed to make café-style lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Experiment with different types of beans and grinds to find the flavor you like best.
  • Clean your French press regularly for the best tasting coffee.

How long to steep Espresso in a French press?

When making espresso in a French press, the steeping time is very important. Steeping your coffee for too long can result in an over-extracted and bitter cup of coffee, while not enough steeping time can leave it watery and weak. The ideal extraction time for espresso with a French press is between 2-4 minutes. Once the timer goes off, carefully plunge the press to avoid over-extraction. Enjoy your delicious cup of espresso!

How to make frothed milk foam in a French press

Frothed milk foam is a type of foam that is created when you froth steamed milk with an electric hand whisk. If you’d like to get creative and make some amazing latte art, frothed milk foam is the way to go! To make this in a French press, all you need is hot milk and a French press.

  1. Heat your milk in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave, until it’s just hot but not boiling.
  2. Pour the hot milk into a french press and begin plunging quickly and continuously with steady pressure for 1-2 minutes until you have achieved a thick layer of foam on top of the milk.
  3. Pour your foam into a cup and enjoy!
  4. If needed, you can add more hot milk to the French press for an extra foamy layer.
  5. Enjoy!

Which French press should I buy?

When it comes to choosing the right French press for espresso, there are a few things to consider.

First, you want to make sure the French press is made of high quality materials and has an insulated glass chamber so that your coffee stays hot while steeping.

Second, you’ll want to find one with a plunger device that is easy to press down and won’t get stuck.

Finally, make sure the French press is easy to clean so you can enjoy your coffee every time.

With these factors in mind, you should be able to find a great French press for brewing espresso at home!

Other ways to make Espresso without a machine

What is the best machine to make Espresso with? If you don’t have a machine or French press to make espresso at home, there are still ways to enjoy this delicious drink.

make espresso without a machine
You can also make espresso without a machine
  • Use a Moka Pot (Cafetera) – this is a stovetop espresso maker and it works similarly to a French press in that the grounds are immersed in hot water and then filtered through a metal filter. It makes delicious coffee in just minutes. It comes in three pieces and makes about four shots of espresso.
  • Use an Aeropress – this device uses air pressure to force hot water through the grounds for a smooth espresso-like drink. It is a great device for making espresso because you don’t even need a stove to make it. All you need is the grinds, the AeroPress, and hot water. 
  • Make cold brew espresso – if you have time, you can make cold brew espresso by steeping coffee grounds in cold water overnight and then straining them out with a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter.
  • Use espresso beans – some coffee companies now offer pre-ground espresso beans that you can use to make a strong cup of espresso without any equipment.

No matter which method you choose, you’ll have a delicious cup of espresso in no time!

FAQs how to make espresso in a French press

What is the ratio of coffee to water in an Espresso machine?

The ratio of coffee to water for espresso is typically 1:2, meaning one part of freshly ground espresso beans should be mixed with two parts hot water.

How much espresso do I need for a cup?

Typically, you’ll need 2 tablespoons (10 g) of freshly ground espresso per cup. If you’re using pre-ground espresso, use 1 tablespoon (5 g).

Can I use regular coffee with a French press to make espresso?

No, regular coffee is not suitable for making espresso. The grind size and strength of espresso beans are different than regular coffee beans and you will need specialized espresso grinds to make true espresso.

What type of milk can I use for frothing in a French press?

You can use any type of milk you wish, including dairy, almond, oat, or soy.

How long should I plunge the French press for?

You should plunge the French press continuously for 1-2 minutes until you have achieved a thick layer of foam on top of the milk. You may need to adjust the time depending on your desired texture and strength.

Can I reuse the espresso grounds in a French press?

No, it is not recommended to reuse espresso grounds as this can lead to bitter or off-tasting espresso. It also increases the risk of bacteria growth. For best results, use fresh grinds every time.

Is French press grind size the same as espresso grind?

No, the grind size for French press is usually coarser than espresso grind. The finer the grind size, the stronger and more flavorful your espresso will be. For best results, use a burr grinder to get an even consistency of coffee particles.

Preheating the French press?

Yes, it is recommended to preheat the French press before you begin brewing. This will help to ensure that your water is heated evenly and won’t cool off during the extraction process. To do this, fill the carafe with hot water and let it sit for several minutes before discarding the water and continuing with your brew.

Does the grind size matter?

Yes, the grind size is very important when it comes to making espresso. The finer the grind size, the more flavorful and concentrated your espresso will be. For best results, use a burr grinder to get an even consistency of coffee particles.

Should I use a scale?

Yes, it is highly recommended to use a scale when making espresso. This will help you ensure that you are using the correct ratios of coffee to water and will also help you be more accurate in your measurements.

What temperature should I brew my espresso at?

The ideal brewing temperature for espresso is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (91-96 degrees Celsius). Make sure to adjust your machine accordingly and use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

What is the best way to clean my French press?

After brewing, it is important to clean your French press properly in order to prevent bacteria growth and ensure that you get the most out of each cup. Use hot water and a mild detergent to wash the carafe and plunger, then rinse thoroughly with hot water. Make sure to also clean the filter screen regularly.

Can I use a French press for other coffee types?

Yes, you can use your French press for more than just espresso! You can use it to make delicious coffees such as cold brew, pour over, and French press.

What is the best way to store my coffee beans?

The best way to store your coffee beans is in an airtight container kept away from direct sunlight and moisture. Make sure to also grind your beans only when you are ready to use them for maximum freshness.

What Is the Best Grind for Espresso Coffee?

Yes, espresso is typically stronger than regular drip coffee due to its finer grind size and higher concentration of dissolved solids. The temperature of the water also matters when making espresso as it affects the flavor and extraction rate. For best results, use water that is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit (91-96 degrees Celsius). The best grind for espresso is a fine, even grind size that is achieved with a burr grinder. This will help to ensure an even extraction and maximum flavor.

How much caffeine is in a shot of Espresso?

A single shot of espresso contains roughly 63-75mg of caffeine, depending on the size and grind size. This is higher than a cup of brewed coffee, which typically ranges between 65-120 mg per cup.


How to make espresso in a French press? Making espresso in a French press is an easy and accessible way to enjoy delicious espresso at home. Start by preheating your carafe and adding the correct amount of coffee grounds for the desired strength. Make sure to use a burr grinder for an even grind size, then add hot water between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit (91-96 degrees Celsius). Once the coffee has steeped for 4 minutes, press the plunger slowly and enjoy your freshly brewed espresso! 

Be sure to clean your French press after each use and store your beans in an airtight container away from direct sunlight and moisture. With the right technique, you’ll be able to make barista-quality espressos at home in no time.

Happy brewing!

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