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How To Make Espresso With A French Press

Make an espresso with a French Press. Shot of espresso in an elegant glass.

Espresso machines can be expensive, so not all of us have one lying at home. Fortunately, you can make espresso at home manually, such as using a French press. How do you make espresso with a French press?

Combine about half a cup (36 grams) of medium-fine espresso roasts with about 205ml of hot water to make espresso with a French press. Allow to brew for 4 minutes before slowly pressing the plunger. This should make you 2 cups of double espresso. 

This article explores how to make espresso with a French press. We also compare the drink against the espresso pulled from the machine. Finally, we look at other ways to make espresso without using an espresso machine.

Can You Make Espresso With A French Press?

You can make espresso with a French press and get a decent cup of espresso out of your grinds. However, you will need to perform some adjustments. 

You need to make your coffee grind a little coarser than usual. In this case, to change from a fine espresso machine grind to a medium-fine grind for a French press. This prevents the coffee grinds from getting through the plunger and ending up in your cup. 

Taste wise, the espresso may be good, but it cannot match the espresso pulled from a machine. This is because the French press cannot generate the high pressure to extract the grinds. 

As a result, you may notice your French press espresso does not have the rich crema as a regular espresso. Taste-wise, it is good enough, but it may not fully satisfy your taste buds if you want the flavor of a real espresso.

How To Make Espresso With A French Press

The steps to make espresso with a French press is similar to brewing a French press coffee, with some adjustments. You can follow the steps below:

Prepare The Tools And Ingredients

Start by preparing the tools and ingredients. In this case, a French press and some coffee grounds.

French Press: Not all French presses are the same. A high-quality French press has finer plunger mesh that better separates your coffee drink and the ground. Some French presses are insulated, keeping the drink hot.

Coffee Ground: Prepare around half a cup or 26 grams of coffee ground. Preferably, use fresh espresso roast beans to ensure better flavor and crema. Grind the beans to a medium-fine level to ensure they work well with your French press. 

“How to Make Espresso Without an Espresso Machine | French Press” by Buttered Side Up on YouTube.

Make Your Espresso

  1. Prepare some hot water. You want the water to be hot but not boiling. Aim for 200 to 205°F (93 – 96°C). You can boil the water and then allow it to sit for several minutes to reach the right temperature.
  2. Warm up your French press. Pour some boiling water into the French press, and allow it to sit for a minute or two. The idea is to warm up the press, preventing temperature drops when you brew your coffee later. Pour the water out.
  3. Add in the coffee grind. Now add in your coffee grind. Pick a great coffee for your French brew.
  4. Add in hot water. Pour around 205 ml of hot water into the French press. For a simplified measurement, use a ¾ cup, and add two more tablespoons of water for a similar volume.
  5. Allow to brew. Let the water and coffee ground work their magic. Wait for 4 minutes to ensure a good brew. Avoid waiting too long, as you risk having an over-extracted, bitter espresso. Too short, and you may get under-extracted and watery espresso.
  6. Plunge: After 4 minutes, put on the lid and slowly push down the plunger. Gentle plunging allows better separation, which means fewer sediments in your cup later. It also prevents your plunger from breaking.
  7. Serve Immediately: Once plunged, pour into two cups. You should be able to get two cups of double espresso. Enjoy immediately, or use it as a base to prepare other espresso-based drinks, such as latte, cappuccino, or americano.

Are There Other Ways To Make Espresso Without Machines?

Aside from the French press, you can also use a manual espresso maker or a Minipresso to make your espresso. In many situations, they may produce better espresso than a French press.

Manual Espresso Maker

A manual espresso maker extracts espresso from the coffee grinds, similar to an espresso machine. However, you will do it manually with your body instead of a motor generating the pressure. 

You often need to use your hands and upper body weight to press down on the coffee ground to generate enough pressure to extract the espresso. But you get a great cup, usually with rich crema too.


A Minipresso is a tube-shaped, hand-held device that helps you to manually make espresso. You add hot water on one end of the tube and coffee grind on the other. Then you pull out a piston at the center of the tube and begin pressing and pumping. 

As you do so, the pressure inside the Minipresso builds, which helps to extract the espresso. Like a manual espresso maker, it produces great espresso that should taste better than a French press.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, while an espresso machine might be the first choice for brewing an excellent cup of espresso, there are numerous alternatives that can also deliver a satisfying result.

Using a French press is one such method, even though it requires a few adjustments to your usual coffee-making routine. Although it can’t replicate the high pressure of an espresso machine and thereby the characteristic crema, it can still produce a flavorful brew.

In addition, there are other manual options like a manual espresso maker or a Minipresso, which can provide a closer approximation to the traditional espresso experience.

Each method has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the best choice depends largely on your personal preferences, the equipment you have available, and how much you’re willing to invest in your home-brewed espresso experience.

Remember, the key is in the details: the quality of your coffee beans, the grind size, the water temperature, and the brewing time all play crucial roles in achieving a perfect cup of homemade espresso.

So, while it may not completely match the exact profile of machine-made espresso, you can still achieve an enjoyable, robust brew right at home using these alternative methods.

And who knows? You might just discover a new favorite way to make your daily espresso.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Espresso In A French Press

Can You Make Espresso Without An Espresso Machine?

You can make espresso without a machine. Some manual methods include a manual espresso maker or using a Minipresso. You can also use a French press.

Is Espresso With A French Press As Good As From An Espresso Machine?

Not exactly. It may taste and flavor, but not as good as an espresso pulled from a machine. A French press cannot generate enough pressure to extract the coffee grinds better.

Can I Make Latte or Cappuccino From A French-pressed Espresso?

Yes, you can. The espresso made from a French press should have enough flavor to make a good cup of espresso-based drinks. The drink may, however, lack crema, which means you may be unable to create beautiful latte patterns.

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