The French press is popular for a reason. It’s a versatile and inexpensive device that makes excellent coffee.

One question that often comes up when people are using French presses to brew coffee for the first time is: can you make espresso in a French press?

The short answer is, yes, you can make espresso in a French press. Down below, I’ll talk about all you need to know to make it happen.

Can you make espresso in a French press?

Espresso is made by forcing pressurized steam through a bed of finely ground coffee. The pressure used to create this effect can be generated by either an electric pump or by steam created from boiling water in a separate vessel.

This process results in a highly concentrated coffee drink, which is typically served in a small cup. Considering that espresso is the richest, most flavorful cup of coffee out there, you might wonder if you can make espresso in a French press.

Brewing espresso in a French press.

Well, yes, you can, with a few tweaks that are going to blow your mind. The technique that I’ll show you today will bring you one step closer to making amazing espresso-like coffee with the French press.

Because espresso is normally made under pressure, which is impossible with the French press, I’ll call this technique a way to make espresso-like coffee without going through much trouble.

This technique will show you how to make strong espresso-like coffee without needing an expensive espresso machine.

I’ll talk about the steeping time, what coffee beans are best used, the correct grind size, and finally, a step-by-step recipe that binds it all together. Let’s get started:

What are the best coffee beans to use?

To make espresso in a French press, we need to make sure that we use the same coffee beans used in an espresso machine.

This means that dark roasted coffee beans will work best for this technique.

Dark roasted coffee beans are strong in flavor and carry a robust flavor that espresso drinkers love.

To make this coffee a success, I highly recommend using the darkest roasted coffee bean you have at home.

Dark roasted coffee beans used to brew espresso in a French press.

If you don’t have any dark roasted coffee beans at home, you can also give it a try using medium roasted coffee beans.

I’ve tried this recipe with both dark roasted and medium roasted coffee beans, and the coffee made with dark roasted coffee beans came the closest to an espresso made with an espresso machine.

I wouldn’t recommend trying this recipe with a lighter roast than medium.

Light roasted coffee beans are amazing for pour over brewers, but they will taste a bit flat and under-extracted when trying this recipe with them.

What is the coffee to water ratio?

Making espresso in a French press requires more coffee to make for that unique and strong-tasting coffee. The best coffee to water ratio is 1:6.

Using a 1:6 ratio to make this coffee will result in that amazing espresso flavor that you’ll love without using an espresso machine.

Depending on the French press you use at home, the amount of coffee you can make at once will change. Have a look below for a full breakdown:

Amount of ground coffee needed:Amount of water needed
10 grams60 grams
20 grams120 grams
30 grams180 grams
40 grams240 grams

You can also make even more coffee at once; you can adjust amounts of coffee and water until you’ve reached your desired amount.

Because espresso is traditionally served in smaller portions, I’ve also listed the amounts that will make a bit more than one espresso.

I suggest making a bit more espresso coffee in your French press, so that you can store some in the fridge for iced recipes.

What grind size is used?

The best coffee grind size for espresso in a French press is in between medium and coarse. It should be a bit finer than your typical French press grind but not so fine that it matches a pour over grind size.

I’ve tested this grind size until it was perfect. Have a look below for the grind size that works great:

Best grind size to use when brewing espresso in a French press.

Now that you know the best grind size, you can try matching it with your coffee grinder.

If you don’t have a coffee grinder at home, you can also ask your coffee roaster to grind the coffee beans.

You can ask for the grind size that I’ve mentioned above, between medium and coarse. This will turn out really well, plus when you get home, you can start making coffee instantly!

How long to steep espresso in a French press?

When making espresso in a French press, you’ll need to steep the coffee for five minutes in total. This is the perfect time to extract all the coffee flavors without over-extracting.

I’ve been testing this recipe for a while now because it was quite hard to get the right combination of grind size and steeping time without introducing unwanted flavors.

Five minutes is enough because the grind size is a bit finer than you’d normally use when brewing coffee with the French press.

I’ve also tested this recipe with shorter steeping times, resulting in a French press coffee rather than an espresso-like coffee.

I concluded that brewing espresso in a French press would require a five-minute steeping time for dark roasted coffee beans.

If you plan on using medium roasted coffee beans for this technique, you can steep for a minute longer, as the coffee beans have fewer robust flavors than a dark roast.

Espresso in a French Press

Espresso made in a French press.

This technique on making espresso in a French press is easy to follow and will help you make awesome coffee at home!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 3 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 grams of dark roasted coffee beans
  • 60 grams of water

Instructions

  1. Weight the number of coffee beans you're going to use.
  2. Grind them medium/ coarse. You can have a look above for the grind size I like to use.
  3. Add them to your French press beaker and place the coffee-filled beaker on a scale.
  4. Boil the amount of water you need.
  5. Pour 1/4 of the total water amount on top of the ground coffee beans. This is to bloom the coffee beans.
  6. Leave the coffee to bloom for 30 seconds.
  7. After the time has passed, pour the remaining water on top.
  8. Set your timer to 4 minutes and 30 seconds. This brings your total to 5 minutes.
  9. After 5 minutes, add the plunger to the beaker.
  10. Very slowly press on the plunger. Because the grind size is finer than normal, you don't want small pieces going through the filter while pressing too fast.
  11. Now you've made an amazing espresso in a French press!

Notes

You can change the coffee to water ratio when making more coffee. Have a look above for the correct amounts.

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Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1

Conclusion

Most people who start brewing coffee at home ask whether or not you can make espresso in a French press.

Now that you know it’s possible, you can start making amazing coffee at home. It’s such a simple way to brew coffee.

Espresso is great to drink as is, but you can also use it to make some fantastic coffee recipes. Have a look below for some inspiration and try out a recipe that I’ve listed.

Do you love to drink espresso? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

Coffee recipes to try

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On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about!

2 Comments

  1. C Sricharan Reply

    Isn’t an espresso, by definition, coffee powder and hot water subjected to 90 bars of pressure?

    • Hey C Sricharan,

      Thanks for leaving a comment!

      Espresso is indeed made the way you’ve described.
      The technique I’m talking about will create an espresso-like coffee, perfect for people who don’t have an espresso machine at home but want to have strong espresso-like coffee as the basis for many drinks.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions, as I’d be happy to help!

      -Jeffrey

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