Can you make Espresso in a French Press?

When it comes to making excellent espresso, you don’t necessarily need an espresso machine. Instead of buying an expensive machine, you can go the old-fashioned way and use a French press instead. If you don’t know how to prepare espresso using the French Press, keep reading, we’ll teach you everything you need to know!

How it’s Achieved

To make your espresso using a French press, you will need some roasted coffee beans. An espresso is bitter so you might want to pay attention to the color and quality of the coffee beans you plan on using. You will also need a grinder for the beans to grind them down to the right size.

To make an espresso using a French press, you’ll need some moderately fine coffee grounds. It is not recommended to use extremely fine coffee grounds with a French press, unlike the espresso machine.

Fine grounds will slip through the press’s filter resulting in coffee ground sediment that could not be properly filtered out. The moderately fine ground helps extract the flavor when making coffee with the French Press.

For the measurements, a good place to start is to use 8 grams of grounds per 4oz of water. You can adjust the measurement later to suit your tastes once you get the hang of using a French press.

Does It Taste the Same?

Espresso coffee made using the French press is usually less flavorful compared to an espresso machine. The French press also takes much longer than an espresso machine to make a single shot of espresso.

Still, in the hands of a skilled barista, the French press can make premium quality espresso shots too. Do note that the French press coffee has less crema compared to the espresso machine coffee.

How to Make Espresso in a French Press

Before you begin, make sure you have coarse or moderately coarse coffee grounds and hot water (nearly boiling). To make an espresso using the French press, follow these steps.  

Step 1 – Remove the lid with the filter and preheat the press with slightly hot water. Afterward, add the coffee grounds into the French Press.

Step 2 – Pour hot water on top of the coffee grounds into the container of the press. The water temperature needs to be slightly below boiling for maximum extraction. If you don’t have a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water, you can let it boil and then let it cool down a bit before you use it. 

While pouring the water, try to do so slowly and pour it in a circular motion. This will help evenly moisten the coffee grounds and prevent the French press’s container from being damaged by hot water.

Step 3 – Once you’ve poured the measured volume of water, stir the mix till the grounds seem to be properly moistened. Cover the French press with the lid and let it sit for 4-5 minutes. This will help extract the flavor out of the grounds. 

Step 4 – After the time has passed, plunge slowly down on the press. If you feel there is too much resistance while pressing down, reset the plunger and plunge again till it reaches the bottom.

Step 5 – Pour your freshly made espresso into a cup, and add sugar, honey, or milk to taste and enjoy.

Final Thoughts

The French press is a more affordable alternative to espresso machines for making espresso shots. While the flavor and quality of the French press might seem to be slightly inferior, the French press can make outstanding espresso shots in the right hands. With a bit of experimentation and practice, you’ll be able to make the best espresso shot for yourself. 

home > Perfect your Brew > Can you make Espresso in a French Press?

Evelyn J Stafford

Evelyn is a Coffee enthusiast and writer for Wins Coffee Bar. Her work has appeared in Bean Scene, The Home Kitchen and other publications.

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