In the world of coffee, there are two main types: espresso and drip. Drip coffee is brewed by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans in a filter, whereas espresso is made by forcing pressurized water through finely-ground coffee beans.
In general, espresso is seen as a more “premium” drink because it takes more time and skill to make properly.
But can you make espresso with a French press? The answer is yes – but it’s not quite as simple as just pressing down on the plunger.
Let’s take a closer look.
What is a French Press
A french press, also known as a press pot, coffee press, or cafetière is a manual coffee press that brews coffee by immersing ground coffee beans in hot water.
Once pressed down, the plunger then separates the grounds from the coffee to make a flavorful coffee.
Although it is more hands-on than using an electric coffee machine, a french press makes a much more delicious and rewarding cup of coffee.
Can you make espresso in a french press?
If you want to make espresso at home but don’t want to spend large amounts of money on a high-quality espresso machine, try using a french press instead.
You can make a perfectly good espresso (-like coffee) in a French press, and a delicious tasting one at that.
A French press will make a flavorful espresso if made correctly.
You can also make espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, and iced lattes in a french press.
How to make espresso in a french press
Making an espresso-like coffee in a french press is simple and only takes a few minutes.
Here is how you can make espresso in a french press:
- Grind the coffee beans – grind ½ cup of coffee beans to a medium-fine grind.
- Heat the water – heat 4 cups of water to hot, but no hotter than 200ºF, as you don’t want the water to boil. Water will boil starting at 212ºF.
- Add the coffee – add the ground coffee into the french press.
- Pour the water – carefully pour the water on top of the coffee and let it steep for 4 minutes. Use a timer and set it to exactly 4 minutes.
- Use a spoon – use a long spoon to mix the ground coffee to make sure that they are fully submerged.
- Plunge the french press – place the lid on top of the french press and slowly press the plunger all the way to the bottom. If it’s hard to press, that means your grind is too fine. If the plunger easily thunks down to the bottom, it means your grind is too coarse.
- Enjoy – pour out your espresso and enjoy! You can customize and jazz up your espresso with milk, oat milk, or any other additives of your choice.
When you’ve finished pressing, serve the espresso immediately.
Don’t let the espresso sit, as this will cause it to continue brewing and over-extract which will result in a burnt tasting espresso.
How long should espresso steep in a french press?
When you’re making espresso in a french press, it’s important to not over-steep the espresso.
If it is over-steeped, it will have an unpleasant, burnt taste to it.
Espresso should steep in a french press for four minutes. Use a timer to ensure that it is exactly four minutes.
What is the best grind for espresso in a french press?
French press calls for a medium-fine grind. It’s important to get the right grind for your espresso to get that delicious dark, bitter flavor that espresso is known for.
When grinding your coffee beans, make sure that the coffee beans are ground fine, but not too fine.
It’s important to find the right balance when grinding the coffee beans.
If the coffee grounds are too fine, they will float into your espresso.
What type of coffee beans should you use?
When making espresso in a french press, you can use any type of dark-roast coffee beans. It’s best to use a dark-roast coffee bean that you enjoy.
Coffee beans with fruity or smoky flavors work well in a french press.
It’s important not to use very light-roasted beans when making espresso in a french press, as these beans will affect the taste of the espresso, and it won’t be anywhere near to what you’re expecting of an espresso.
Final thoughts on making espresso with a French Press
Although it is possible to make espresso with a French press, the process is not as simple as using an espresso machine.
You will need to use a higher ratio of coffee grounds to water and you may need to tamp the grounds down more firmly than you would for regular drip coffee.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to make espresso without investing in an expensive espresso machine, then a French press may be the right tool for you.
However, if you are looking for consistently high-quality results, then an espresso machine may be a better investment.