How to Make Espresso in a French Press – The Best Method for Strong, Rich Coffee

If you love espresso, but don’t have access to a pricey espresso machine, the possibilities are wide open with a French press! Making your espresso at home in a French press is surprisingly simple and cost-effective. With just some coffee beans and an afternoon of practice (and possibly some help from this blog!), you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make smooth and flavorful homemade espresso. This guide – how to make espresso in a french press will walk through all the steps necessary so that you’re equipped with all the information needed to craft that perfect cup of espresso from your very own French press!

What Is A French Press?

a french press

A French press is an incredibly simple apparatus for making coffee or espresso. It consists of a cylindrical glass or metal container with a plunger that contains a fine sieve, also known as a “filter” which is used to separate the ground coffee from the hot water. The process of using a French press involves pouring hot water over coffee grounds, and then pressing the plunger down to separate them.

What You’ll Need To Make Espresso In A French Press

To make espresso in a French press you will need:

• Freshly ground coffee beans – choose a dark roast for espresso

• Hot water heated to 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit

• A French press

• A coffee grinder, or another method for grinding your beans

• A timer

• Optional – a scale to measure the beans and water.

How to Make Espresso in a French Press – The Simplest Way

Step 1: Measure and Grind Your Beans

Start with 17-20 grams of freshly-ground beans, or between two and three tablespoons. If you’re using pre-ground coffee, use a more coarse grind than what is usually recommended for espresso machines.

Step 2: Preheat the French Press

Fill your French press with hot water and let it sit for a few minutes. This will help to heat the carafe, allowing you to keep your espresso hot for longer.

Step 3: Add Your Ground Coffee

Once the French press is preheated, add in your ground coffee beans and give it a gentle stir. Make sure all of the grounds are submerged in the water.

Step 4: Start Your Timer and Plunge

Once you’ve added your grounds to the French press, start the timer and slowly plunge the plunger down into the carafe. It should take around two minutes for a full extraction – once you hear a hissing sound, it’s time to stop plunging!

Step 5: Pour and Enjoy!

Once the espresso is fully extracted, it’s time to pour and enjoy! If you want to keep your espresso hot for longer, use a pre-heated mug or small carafe. And there you have it – espresso made in a French press!

Making espresso in a French press is an incredibly simple and cost-effective way to enjoy the rich, full-bodied flavors of espresso without having to invest in a pricey machine. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll be enjoying a delicious homemade espresso in no time! 

What are the best beans for a French press?

For a French press, you’ll want to choose a dark roast with bold flavors. Pick something smoky and robust, such as an Italian Roast or French Roast. Avoid lighter roasts since they are usually more acidic and have a brighter flavor that won’t be as intense when brewed in a French press. 

A medium-dark roast is also a good choice for brewing espresso in a French press. Arabica beans are typically the most popular option, as they create an intense and flavorful cup of coffee or espresso with a smooth finish. 

Look for specialty single origins from Latin America or Africa that have been freshly roasted to get the best flavor out of your espresso.

Here are some of the best beans to use:

1. Colombian beans

These beans are known for their balanced flavor and medium body, which makes them a good choice for French press coffee.

2. Ethiopian beans

These beans have a fruity and floral flavor with a hint of chocolate, which can make for a unique and delicious French press brew.

3. Brazilian beans

These beans have a nutty and chocolaty flavor with low acidity, which can produce a smooth and mellow cup of coffee.

4. Sumatran beans

These beans have a bold and earthy flavor with a heavy body, which can make for a strong and intense French press brew.

5. Guatemalan beans

These beans have a bright and acidic flavor with a medium body, which can produce a clean and crisp cup of coffee.

Ultimately, the best beans for a French press depend on your taste preferences. It’s always a good idea to experiment with different beans and roast levels to find the perfect brew for you.

What are some common mistakes people make when making espresso with a French press?

Making espresso with a French press can be tricky, especially if you’re used to making regular coffee with it. Here are some common mistakes people make when making espresso with a French press:

  • Not grinding the beans finely enough: Espresso requires a very fine grind, so if your coffee grounds are too coarse, you won’t get the strong, concentrated flavor you’re looking for.
  • Using too much water: Espresso is made with a small amount of water, so if you use too much, you’ll end up with a weak and watery result.
  • Using too much coffee: Even though it might seem like a good idea to use more coffee for an extra-strong brew, adding too much can result in a bitter and over-extracted espresso.
  • Pressing down too hard: When you’re ready to press down on the plunger, it’s important to do so slowly and gently, as pressing too hard can force the coffee grounds through the filter and into your coffee.
  • Not preheating the French press: Just like with regular coffee, it’s important to preheat your French press with hot water before brewing espresso, as this will help maintain the temperature of the coffee and ensure a consistent flavor.
  • Using the wrong type of beans: Espresso requires a specific type of bean that is roasted dark and has a bold, rich flavor. Using the wrong type of beans, such as those that are too light or fruity, can result in a weak and unsatisfying espresso.
  • Not stirring after adding the grounds: Make sure to give the French press a gentle stir after adding the grounds, as this can help to ensure an even extraction.
  • Not controlling the plunge time: Plunging too quickly can leave you with a weak espresso while plunging too slowly can make the espresso bitter. Aim for two minutes of total plunge time for best results.
  • Not pouring immediately: If you don’t pour your espresso immediately after plunging, it can become over-extracted and bitter. So try to serve your espresso right away! 

By avoiding these common mistakes and following the proper steps for making espresso with a French press, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying cup of coffee every time.

Is brewing coffee in a French press beneficial to your health?

Brewing coffee in a French press can have some health benefits, but it can also have some drawbacks. Here are some things to consider:


– Studies have found that this method of brewing can help to reduce the amount of acidity in your cup of coffee, making it easier on your stomach and less likely to trigger acid reflux.

– The plunger on the French press forces all of the grounds to be immersed in hot water, resulting in a more full-bodied flavor and a richer aroma. This also helps to extract more antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds that are found within coffee beans. So not only is this method of brewing tasty, but it also helps to provide a healthy dose of antioxidants. So, it can help protect your cells from damage.

– Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease.

– Using a French press allows you to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee, as it doesn’t use a paper filter that can absorb some of the oils and flavor compounds.

– Some studies suggest that using a French press could increase the amount of caffeine you consume compared to other brewing methods, meaning more energy for your day!

– When using a French press, you have complete control over the strength and flavor of your beverage. By adjusting the amount of coffee grounds used and the length of time they are steeped in water, you can easily customize your cup to taste exactly the way you prefer. 


– Coffee can be acidic, which can irritate your stomach and cause heartburn.

– Drinking too much coffee can lead to dehydration, as caffeine is a diuretic.

– Coffee can also interfere with sleep, especially if you drink it in the afternoon or evening.

– If you don’t use a paper filter, the grounds can end up in your cup, which can make it difficult to drink and potentially cause digestive issues.

Overall, brewing coffee in a French press can be a healthy choice as long as you drink it in moderation and don’t add too much sugar or cream. However, if you have a sensitive stomach or are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to limit your intake.

How do you make espresso without a machine?

Making espresso without a machine is possible, but it will require some extra effort and patience! Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Grind Your Coffee Beans

You will need to use freshly ground coffee beans in order to make espresso. A fine grind is best for this method, as a coarse grind won’t extract all of the flavors and oils from your beans.

Step 2: Heat Your Water

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it begins to bubble, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. This will ensure that all of the flavors are extracted from your coffee grounds when you make your espresso.

Step 3: Add the Coffee Grounds

Once your water is simmering, add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee grounds to the pot. Stir the coffee grounds into the water until it reaches a thick, syrupy texture.

Step 4: Strain and Serve

Strain your espresso into a mug or cup using a fine mesh strainer. This will help to filter out any sediment or grounds that may have gotten into the espresso. Enjoy your homemade espresso!

It’s important to note that this method of making espresso will not produce a beverage that exactly matches what you’d get from an espresso machine. However, if you don’t have access to a machine and are looking for an alternative, this can be a great way to enjoy a cup of espresso.

Recipes for adding flavor to French press coffee

Certainly! Here are a few recipes for adding flavor to French press coffee:

1. Vanilla French Press Coffee

Add 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract to your French press before brewing. You can also add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg for extra flavor.

2. Spiced French Press Coffee

Add 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ground ginger, and a pinch of ground cloves to your coffee grounds before brewing. This will give your coffee a warm, spicy flavor.

3. Maple French Press Coffee

How to make espresso in a french press

Mix 1 tbsp of maple syrup with your hot coffee before pouring it into your French press. This will give your coffee a sweet, maple flavor.

4. Chocolate French Press Coffee

Add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder to your coffee grounds before brewing. This will give your coffee a rich, chocolatey flavor.

5. Peppermint Mocha French Press Coffee

Add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract, and a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing. This will give your coffee a festive, minty flavor.

Note that when adding flavor to your French press coffee, it’s important not to add too much, or it can overpower the natural flavor of the coffee. Start with a small amount and adjust to your taste.


While making espresso using a French Press can be tricky, it’s certainly not impossible. With the proper amount of focus, patience, and skill, you’ll be able to make delicious espresso beverages in no time. As with other forms of espresso making and pushing, practice makes perfect. The more success you experience with your new press, the more confident you will become with each cup. Next time you’re craving coffee, why not try something a little bit different and whip up some delicious espresso in a French Press? You’ll be surprised at how flavorful and satisfying it really is. Regardless of your results, learning new methods – how to make espresso in a French press is always an exciting journey!

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Is French press coffee as strong as espresso?

No, French press coffee is not as strong as espresso. Espresso is much more concentrated and has a higher caffeine content than regular brewed coffee. It also has a bolder flavor due to the pressure used to extract the flavors from the beans.

What is the ratio for French press espresso?

The ratio for French press espresso is usually 1 part coffee to 16 parts water. This will yield a strong, flavorful cup of coffee. However, you can adjust the amount of grounds and water depending on your desired strength and taste.

Is French press or espresso finer?

Espresso is much finer than French press coffee. This is because the espresso has been ground to a very fine size, which allows it to extract more flavor from the beans in a shorter amount of time. French press grounds are usually coarser, so they don’t extract as much flavor and require longer brewing times.

What other types of coffee can I make with a French press?

Aside from espresso, you can also use your French press to make cold brew, pour-over, and even tea! All you have to do is adjust the grind size and brewing time accordingly. With the versatility of the French press, it’s easy to enjoy all sorts of hot and cold beverages!

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