How To Make Espresso With A French Press (Simple Steps)

By Koby Pederson

If you don’t have the money to purchase an espresso machine, you can use a French press to make a coffee that is similar to espresso. This method is often referred to as “poor man’s espresso” or “press pot espresso.” While making espresso with a French press won’t give you the same level of consistency and control as a traditional espresso machine, it is a good way to get a similar coffee at a lower cost.

Keep in mind that you may need to experiment with the amount of coffee and steeping time to get the flavor and strength you desire. Below Planetary Design covers everything you need to know on how to make espresso with a French press.

French Press vs Espresso

French press coffee and espresso are two different methods of brewing coffee, and they produce coffee with different characteristics.

French press coffee is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water, and then pressing a plunger to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee. The coffee produced by a French press is generally richer and has a stronger flavor than coffee brewed with other methods, as the coffee grounds are in direct contact with the water for a longer period. French press coffee also tends to have a thicker, heavier body and a more pronounced aroma.

Espresso, on the other hand, is made by forcing a small amount of hot water under high pressure through finely-ground coffee beans. The resulting coffee is highly concentrated and has a bold, intense flavor. Espresso has a thick, creamy texture and a rich, caramel-like color. It is typically served in small quantities and is the base for many other coffee drinks, such as cappuccinos, lattes, and Americanos.

In summary, French press coffee is a full-bodied, aromatic coffee with a strong flavor, while espresso is a highly concentrated, intense coffee with a bold, rich flavor.

Can Espresso be Made in a French Press?

Yes, it is possible to make espresso-style coffee with a French press, although it will not be a true espresso in the traditional sense as it will not be produced using an espresso machine. A French press is a simple and classic method of brewing coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water and then pressing the grounds to the bottom of the pot with a plunger. While the French press is typically used to make regular coffee, it can also be used to make a stronger, more concentrated coffee that is similar in flavor and strength to espresso.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make espresso-style coffee with a French press:

1. Choose your beans

First, select your coffee beans. For a French press, you will want to use a coffee roast that is bold and flavorful. Espresso is usually made with a dark roast, so you might want to choose a similar roast for your French press coffee. You will also want to choose freshly roasted beans, as this will help to ensure that your coffee is full of flavor.

2. Grind your beans

Next, you will need to grind your beans to the appropriate size for a French press. The grind size for a French press should be relatively coarse, as the coffee will be steeped in the water for a longer period. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a grind size that is similar to that of coarse sea salt.

3. Boil your water

Place your French press on a stable surface and fill it with hot water to preheat it. This will help to ensure that the coffee stays hot while it is brewing. While the French press is heating up, bring a pot of water to a boil.

4. Measure your coffee

Once the water is boiling, it’s time to measure out your coffee. A good starting point is to use 1 ounce (28 grams) of coffee for every 4 ounces (118 milliliters) of water. You can adjust the ratio to your taste, but this is a good starting point for making espresso-style coffee with a French press.

5. Add the coffee to the French press

Once you have measured out your coffee, add it to the French press.

6. Pour the hot water over the coffee

Once the coffee is in the French press, pour the hot water over the grounds. Stir the mixture gently to ensure that all of the grounds are evenly saturated.

7. Steep the coffee

Allow the coffee to steep in the hot water for 4-5 minutes. This will give the coffee time to extract the flavors from the beans and produce a strong, flavorful brew.

8. Press the plunger

Once the coffee has finished steeping, press the plunger down slowly to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid.

9. Pour and serve

Once the plunger is pressed down, your espresso-style coffee is ready to serve. Pour it into a mug or espresso cup and enjoy!

Can you Use Espresso With French Press?
person making pour over coffee on a tree stump

Yes, you can use espresso coffee in a French press, but you may run into some issues. Espresso coffee is a type of very finely ground, highly concentrated coffee that is made using an espresso machine. 

Using fine grounds in a French press can result in several problems. One of the main issues is that the fine grounds are more likely to pass through the metal filter of the French press and end up in the finished coffee. This can result in a muddy or cloudy appearance, as well as a bitter or astringent taste.

Another problem with using fine grounds in a French press is that they are more likely to over-extract. This means that they will release more of their oils and flavors into the water, resulting in a coffee that is too strong and potentially unpleasant to drink.

Finally, using fine grounds in a French press can also make it more difficult to press the plunger down and separate the grounds from the liquid. This can result in a longer brew time and a less efficient process overall.

In general, it is best to use relatively coarse grounds when making coffee with a French press. This will help to ensure that the coffee is full of flavor and has a smooth, clean taste. If you do decide to use fine grounds in a French press, you may need to adjust the steeping time and/or the ratio of coffee to water to compensate for the increased extraction rate.

Is French Press Coffee as Strong as Espresso?

Espresso is traditionally made using an espresso machine, which uses high pressure to extract a small amount of very strong coffee from finely ground beans. While French press coffee can be made to be strong and flavorful, it is not typically as strong as traditional espresso.

This is due in part to the fact that the coffee is brewed using a different method, as well as the fact that the grind size for French press coffee is usually coarser than that used for espresso.

Will Caffeine Content Differ Between Espresso Made in French Press vs a Machine?

The caffeine content of the coffee produced by a French press and a traditional espresso machine may be slightly different, but the difference is likely to be minimal. Caffeine content is determined by a variety of factors, including the type of coffee beans used, the roast level, the brewing method, and the serving size.

In general, espresso is a highly concentrated form of coffee, and a single shot of espresso (usually about 1 ounce) can contain around 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine. However, the caffeine content of espresso can vary depending on the type of beans used, the roast level, and the brewing method.

When making espresso with a French press, the caffeine content may be slightly lower than that of traditional espresso, as the steeping time is longer and the coffee is in contact with the water for a longer period, which can lead to some caffeine extraction. However, the difference is likely to be small, and the caffeine content will still be higher than that of a cup of brewed coffee made with a French press.

Other Ways to Make Espresso Without a Machine at Home:

The Aeropress and Moka Pot are great alternatives to espresso machines and french presses for making espresso coffee. To make espresso with an Aeropress or Moka Pot, you will need the following equipment:

finely ground coffee - Planetary Design
1) Aeropress

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Grind your coffee beans very finely. You will need around 18 to 22 grams of coffee for every 2 ounces of water.
  2. Place the Aeropress chamber on the scale and tare it to zero. Add the ground coffee to the chamber.
  3. Heat your water to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place the Aeropress chamber on top of a mug or small carafe.
  5. Slowly pour the hot water over the coffee grounds, making sure to wet all of the grounds evenly.
  6. Stir the coffee and water mixture for about 10 seconds.
  7. Place the plunger on top of the Aeropress chamber and gently press down until you hear a hissing sound. This should take around 20 to 30 seconds.
  8. Remove the Aeropress chamber from the mug or carafe and discard the coffee grounds.
  9. Pour the brewed coffee into a small cup and enjoy.

For a small device, the Aeropress creates a lot of pressure, getting you close to the bold taste of a proper espresso shot. It is great for making coffee at home or on the go.

2) Moka Pot

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Grind your coffee beans finely, using a burr grinder. You will need around 18 to 22 grams of coffee for every 2 ounces of water.
  2. Fill the bottom chamber of the Moka Pot with cold water, making sure not to overfill it. The water should not rise above the pressure valve.
  3. Place the coffee basket in the upper chamber of the Moka Pot and add the ground coffee. Tap the side of the upper chamber to level out the coffee.
  4. Place the Moka Pot on the stove and heat it over medium heat.
  5. As the water heats up, it will begin to steam and force the coffee through the upper chamber and into the carafe.
  6. When you hear a hissing sound, remove the Moka Pot from the heat.
  7. Pour the brewed coffee into a small cup and enjoy.

The Moka Pot is a great option for making espresso-style coffee because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. It is also small and portable, making it a good choice for those who don’t have a lot of space in their kitchen or who like to travel.

Final Thoughts

The French press is a great alternative option for making espresso-style coffee because it is simple and affordable. It does not require electricity, making it a good choice for those who don’t have access to a power source or prefer a more traditional brewing method. French press is a reliable and convenient way to make coffee similar to espresso, and it is a good choice for those looking for a more economical and flexible brewing option.

If you have any additional questions about which french press is best for your espresso needs, Contact Us today at Planetary Design so we can help!

Free Standard Shipping to Continental US on orders over $45
Free Standard Shipping

Valid for online purchases shipped to the lower 48 states totaling at least $45 after all coupons, discounts, and/or promotions have been applied and before taxes. Additional charges may apply if you choose a different shipping option. Orders must be shipped to a single address. Offer not valid for wholesale accounts.

Flat-Rate Shipping for US Military

We offer free flat rate shipping for orders over $45 to US Military addresses, after discounts and before taxes. Orders under $45 qualify for standard USPS flat rate shipping.Ensure you are using your Armed Forces address, selecting the United States as the country to receive free shipping.

Country ‘United States’
State ‘AA/AE/AP’

International Shipping Information

If you are shipping to a country outside the United States, please note that shipping costs do not include customs duties, taxes or fees which may be imposed by your country. International orders do not qualify for free shipping, all orders will be shipped at a flat rate cost.

Warranty & Returns

If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase from, you can return the item or items that you purchased for a full refund within 30 days of your purchase date.

Warranty details:

5 Year Limited Warranty on Stainless Steel vessels
2 Year Limited Warranty on Parts and non-Stainless Steel Products

Visit our warranty & returns page for more info.

For any concerns or questions about your product, including potential warranty claims, please complete the form on our Contact Us page or give us a call at 1-406-728-7008 and press 1 for Customer Service.