The Beginner’s Guide to Making Espresso in a French Press

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Today, we’re embarking on a journey to craft rich and strong coffee using a French press, mimicking the bold character of an espresso.

Creating that perfect cup of coffee can be a real challenge. You might find yourself lost in various methods, searching for that ideal texture and taste.

But don’t worry! This straightforward guide will walk you through the process, allowing you to enjoy an espresso-like experience using your French press.

Pouring Rich Coffee From A French Press Into A Coffee Mug
Control your coffee intensity with a French Press | Photo by Aidan Todd on Unsplash

What is making espresso-like coffee in a French press, exactly?

So, what are we trying to achieve? We want to brew coffee that’s close in character to espresso, but using a French press. By tweaking the grind size, steeping time, and ratio, you can achieve a stronger coffee that’s closer to an espresso. Though it won’t have the distinct crema, it’ll offer a satisfying experience.

Now, let’s dive into the differences between espresso and French press, and then guide you through making this specialty coffee at home.

Espresso vs. French Press Coffee

Espresso and French press coffee have their distinct qualities. Understanding these can help you appreciate what you’re creating with your French press.


  • Preparation: Specialized machine; high pressure.
  • Flavor: Concentrated, intense; crema on top.
  • Grind Size: Fine grind.
  • Brewing Time: 25 to 30 seconds.

French Press

  • Preparation: Manual; steeping and plunging.
  • Flavor: Full-bodied, rich.
  • Grind Size: Coarse grind.
  • Brewing Time: 3 to 4 minutes.

Here’s a concise table to compare the two methods:

AspectEspressoFrench Press
PreparationSpecialized machine; high pressureManual; steeping and plunging
FlavorConcentrated, intense; crema on topFull-bodied, rich
Grind SizeFine grindCoarse grind
Brewing Time25 to 30 seconds3 to 4 minutes

Can You Make Espresso With a French Press?

Though a French press can’t replicate espresso’s rich crema, it can create an extremely rich and intense coffee. By adjusting factors such as grind size and steeping time, you can enjoy a coffee experience close to espresso. The French press’s mesh filter lets through natural oils, making the brew taste richer.

How to Make French Press “Espresso”

Here are the critical steps to make this specialty coffee:

  1. Use an espresso roast coffee: This adds intensity.
  2. Grind beans medium-fine: Finer than typical French press.
  3. Use a 2:1 coffee to water ratio: For a concentrated flavor.
  4. Bloom the coffee briefly: This enhances taste.
  5. Steep for 3-4 minutes: Control the thickness.
  6. Plunge slowly: To achieve thicker texture.

This method will create an intense coffee, though the texture will be thinner than true espresso1.

The Basics of French Press Coffee

Understanding how French press works helps in perfecting this method. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Grind Size Matters: Focus on coarser grind to extract flavor.
  2. Water Temperature: Use hot water between 195 to 205°F.
  3. Coffee-to-Water Ratio: Follow the rule of one to two tablespoons per cup.
  4. Brewing Time & Steeping: Aim for 3 to 4 minutes.

Choosing the right coffee beans also influences the taste. High-quality Arabica beans or dark roast beans offer a robust flavor.

For those looking to try new coffee beans, here are some handpicked suggestions:

  1. Spirit Animal Coffee – Ethically sourced, these beans are perfect for a rich brew.
  2. Brewpoint Coffee – A fantastic choice for those who crave a smooth and balanced flavor.
  3. Lifeboost Coffee – Ideal for a healthier cup, Lifeboost’s low-acid beans are gentle on the stomach.

Free Thing For You

I made this French Press poster art. Feel free to download it. This is a free, digital download and the artwork comes in every common size. Just take the digital file to your local framing store or hobby store and get this bad boy framed.


With this guide, your quest for the ideal cup of coffee doesn’t need to stop at espresso. “The Beginner’s Guide to Making Espresso in a French Press” offers you an accessible path to a delightful cup.

The ability to create a coffee that closely resembles espresso without needing a machine is a treasure for many. Your French press can be a gateway to a new world of coffee enjoyment.

Now you’re equipped with the knowledge and skills to craft your own espresso-like coffee with a French press. Start experimenting and savor the rich flavors you can create!

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.

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