Can You Make Espresso In A French Press? (Helpful Tips)

Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by John Moretti

Are you a coffee lover craving your next espresso but only having a French press at home? Not everyone has access to espresso machines at home or has the time and money to buy espresso at their nearest coffee shop. Luckily, I have a great solution for you.  

You can make an espresso shot in a French press. However, it won’t make a perfect espresso as a lot more pressure is required for that. The steps involved to make espresso in a French press are straightforward, requiring only a French press, hot water, and ground coffee beans. 

I have personally been in the predicament of wanting to make an espresso shot and not having the correct equipment at home or the opportunity to buy a ready-made one. Tried and tested, I can confidently tell you that it is possible to make an espresso in a French press in the comfort of your own home!

How To Make Espresso In A French Press

Before making the espresso, ensure you have the right equipment and ingredients. You need a French press, as well as ground espresso roast coffee. Furthermore, there are two important factors that you need to make an espresso in a French press.

Firstly, it’s vital to have medium to fine ground coffee. This level of ground coffee is especially essential for making espresso in a French press. If the ground coffee is too fine, then the filter press will not be able to strain it all out, and there may be some sediment left at the bottom of your cup. 

That being said, it is usual to have a very fine grind for espresso when using an espresso machine, fully equipped with a very fine filter mechanism. Secondly, the coffee should be espresso roast coffee. Espresso roast coffee will give that lovely dark, bitter coffee flavor that goes with espressos. 

After gathering all the ingredients, you can now plan how many espressos you want to make and start the process.

Here’s how:

  1. Step one is to ground the coffee. You can ground the beans yourself if you have a grinder or buy the coffee already ground. 
  1. Working on making two espresso shots, you will need to grind ½ cup (1.26 ounces) of your espresso roast beans to a medium-fine grind.
  1. Next, heat ¾ cup and two tablespoons (6.93 fluid ounces) of water, but do not boil it. The water should be between 200 to 205°F.
  1. Add the coffee into the French press and pour over the hot water. Stir this combination and then wait for 4 minutes, setting a timer to ensure you don’t go over time. 

Now you are ready to plunge. After putting the lid on the French press, you can slowly press the plunger down until it reaches the bottom, and voilà! You can now pour the coffee into two espresso shots or use it in other drinks like a cappuccino, latte, or cold coffee frappe. 

Tips To Make A Good Espresso In A French Press

Coffee grinder

Although you can buy already ground coffee, it is best to grind the beans fresh just before making the coffee. Having fresh ground beans tends to give the most flavor. A burr grinder is an excellent choice as it helps to grind the coffee into identical-sized particles, which is suitable for filtering. 

A thermometer will help a great deal to ensure that your water heats up to the right temperature and does not boil. Getting the temperature to around 200°F will ensure that the espresso is not too bitter. A thermometer is also not too expensive and will go a long way to make a good espresso if you use a French press. 

Another quick tip is to pour only a little bit of the hot water into the French press. Stir this well with the ground coffee, and then continue to pour over the rest and stir before waiting 4 minutes. This process allows the water and coffee to mix well. 

Can You Make Espresso In A French Press

You may find that it is slightly difficult to press the plunger down with the really fine ground coffee. It helps to lift the plunger a little and then press down slowly again, until to the bottom. 

Something that I do when making espresso in my French press is to warm up the French press and the glass or cup I’m using. Just pour some of the heated water into the press and swirl it around a bit before throwing it out. The heated press helps prevent the water temperature from dropping too fast when the espresso is brewing.

Why You Can’t Make The Perfect Espresso Using A French Press

Can You Make Espresso In A French Press

Even though making espresso in a French press is convenient and easy to do, it is not the best way if you want a high-quality espresso. The coffee experts out there will tell you that there is not enough pressure generated from a French press to make a perfect espresso. 

Lots of pressure is key to making a proper espresso, so espresso machines are ideal. Some even argue that making espresso in a French press doesn’t make espresso at all – it will just be really strong coffee. 

Another thing to think about is the fineness of the grind. French press is designed for more coarsely ground coffee. It benefits from medium to coarse ground coffee as the water mixes with the grounds for some time.  

So if you are using too finely ground coffee, you may be left with some sediment. It is important to grind the coffee yourself or ask your local coffee roasters for medium-fine ground coffee.


Yes, it is possible to make an espresso with a French press. You don’t necessarily need a fancy machine or be a coffee expert to make a perfectly fine espresso. Together with the French press, all you need is medium to fine ground espresso roast coffee, and hot water. 

That being said, if you want the real deal – the typical espresso from an espresso machine – then French press may not be the way to go. Expresso from a French press won’t taste the same as from a machine, but it will work well enough!