The words “Espresso” and “French Press” brighten up the face of every coffee aficionado worldwide, But those aren’t the words everyone expects to see in the same sentence.
Why would you want to make espresso using a french press when you can use the traditional espresso machine?
French press is a classic staple of coffee culture and has been that way for almost a century now. So it’s natural for french press coffee lovers who swear by the traditional machine, wanting to make espresso with it. And I’m here to say that can be done.
So what’s the delay? Let’s get to it!
Traditional Espresso Vs. French Press Espresso
Of course, a traditional shot of espresso is made by conventional espresso machines.
A regular espresso machine pushes hot water through finely-ground beans using intense pressure. The exact amount is 9 bars of pressure. So no, it’s not the sick bars Eminem dropped.
One bar of pressure equals the amount of atmospheric pressure you can find under the sea level. Sounds pretty intense, right?
Though a French press cannot create the same amount of pressure intensity, it can still produce a fantastic cup of espresso coffee. And yes, it contains the qualities of an authentic espresso cup: robust, dark, and smooth.
Want to read another battle tale? Check out Aeropress Vs French Press “Battle Of Classics” article.
How To Make Espresso In A French Press In 8 Easy Steps
Now that I have convinced you that you can brew espresso in a French press, let’s find out how it’s all done.
Step #1: Grind The Coffee Beans
This step is both experimental and challenging for any coffee lover out there. But why, you might ask?
Your grind has to be fine enough to the point you can extract the most flavor out of your coffee beans, but not too fine so that it slips through the filters.
With French press design being different from a traditional espresso machine, this is something you need to worry about.
The best way to get around it is to do a few trial brews with different coffee grounds. Of course, you will make mistakes, but use those as references to brew the next cup. Once you’ve found out your preferred perfect grind, you’re good to go for the next step.
Step #2: Preheat The French Press
French presses don’t heat water automatically, unlike a drip coffee maker. Instead, use an electric kettle to boil the water before pouring.
After heating the water, remove the plunger from the press and carefully pour the water into the press. Remember to pour in a swirling motion. And this serves 2 purposes at the same time.
- It preheats the glass, so the water temperature doesn’t drop when making espresso.
- It prevents the cold glass from cracking when you suddenly pour in a large amount of hot water.
Step #3: Pour The Coffee Grounds
Now that the coffee machine’s preheated and your grounds are ready, now comes the challenge of figuring out the right amount of grinds you need to use. The sweet spot is somewhere between all the guides telling you to pour in and your personal preference.
Standard espresso requires 20 grams of coffee for one cup of water pouring in the press. Double or triple the amount if you are drinking with your friend or have guests over.
Since the plunger is still disconnected from the french press, pour the grounds in.
With the plunger still removed, throw the grounds into the press.
Step #4: Let the Coffee Bloom
If you’ve been keeping up with us, you already know what blooming means. Blooming helps you get the best out of your coffee in flavor and aroma hidden in the ground.
Blooming helps you by:
- Making the grounds release their natural oils
- Making the Gasses released from the coffee grounds (also known as degassing)
Blooming can be achieved by only adding around 1/4th of the water to moisten the grounds just enough. So why is this so important?
The oils in the coffee bean are the main reason coffee tastes so yummy. The gas that gets released from the beans is carbon dioxide. This “degassing” process makes the final cup of coffee taste smoother.
Wanna know why espresso has a reputation for being so strong while being somewhat bitter? This is because the espresso brewing method extracts every bit of oil from the grounds, which automatically makes the coffee taste bitter yet better.
Friendly reminder: Blooming process only takes around 30 sec. If you wait too long before the next step, you lose the superior final taste.
Step #5: Pour The Water In
Now that the blooming is complete, start pouring in the rest of the water. If you use an electric kettle, remember to boil the water up to 190°F (90°C).
If you’re using a regular kettle, you should either use a thermometer or wait for around 30 seconds before pouring the water in. As I mentioned earlier, you need 20g of coffee for every cup of water.
Pro tip: Keep notes from your past brews to mix it all into a new, customized formula that works for you.
Step #6: Steep Your Espresso
Before steeping your coffee, remember to stir it with a spoon to ensure the grounds aren’t sticking together in the pot. Once done stirring, slowly push the plunger down without pushing the filter down.
When you seal the press, it helps your brew retain heat during the steeping process. The high temperature helps espresso brew flavors come out, so sealing the press is essential.
After sealing, start the steeping process. Steeping takes from one minute to four minutes.
Steeping takes anything from one to four minutes. Of course, you can determine how much you wish to steep your coffee with experimentation as well.
- The longer you steep, the stronger the brew will be.
- Steeping longer can sometimes alter the final coffee taste.
- In contrast, a short steeping time can result in bland, sour coffee.
Enjoy experimenting to find the perfect balance.
Pro Tip: Espresso is more about flavor and less about bitterness. But with making french press in espresso comes the added risk of the coffee being bitter, which can happen if you steep too long.
Step #7: Push The Grounds Down
Congrats! Steeping is complete!
Now, you just need to get rid of the excess coffee grounds to get the whole experience.
Start pushing the plunger down, gently towards the bottom. If you still have a lot of particles left in your coffee, it means you need to adjust your grinding method next time.
Remember not to push down too hard. The result can be pretty unpleasant.
You must be thinking at this point, “will I get crema on my espresso made in a french press?” The short answer is yes. And here’s the pro tip: instead of a single downward push, work the plunger like you’re pumping.
Move the plunger halfway down, pull it back up again, and repeat the process a few times. The crema on top signifies quality coffee, and you need quality beans to make the crema appear.
Step #8: Pour
Though it sounds like a simple thing you would’ve done anyway, and not a proper step, trust me when I say that there’s a lot more here than meets the eye.
Pour your final coffee into your coffee mug right after pressing the plunger down. The reason is, the longer you leave your espresso inside, the higher your risk of yielding a bitter coffee rises. The bitterness comes from the grounds in the filter that your coffee stays in touch with.
And now there’s nothing else to do but enjoy your fresh french press brewed espresso shot.
Pro Tip: Even with all the precautions you took, there’s a chance you’ll still find coffee grounds in your coffee. So when pouring the coffee into your cup, use a cloth to filter out the unwanted grounds.
Strictly avoid paper filters since they change the overall taste and texture of your fresh-brewed espresso.
Add Something Extra
We all have different tastes. And how do we make up for it? By mixing in a few additional components.
There are quite a few flavor toppings available in any nearby store to add extra cheer to your coffee cup. You can add these flavoring liquids either during or after the brewing process.
Want coffee with extra flavor and keep the calories in check? There are sugar-free syrups in the market for you as well! The flavors include caramel, hazelnut, chocolate, etc.
Black, regular espresso is the default for many, but you can also add some froth to give this fantastic coffee an extra kick.
We shortlisted the instructions for you so you can have a fine froth on your espresso as well!
Best part? You don’t need fancy machines to make the froth! Follow the steps below (or use an immersion blender)
- Take milk into a pot
- Heat the milk on the stove
- Take it off of the stove just before it reaches boiling point
- Pour the hot milk into a microwavable container, and close the lid
- Carefully shake the container for around 60 seconds
- Microwave the container for 30 seconds; the froth should rise to the top
- Carefully spoon, not pour, your froth on top of the espresso
If you want to enjoy your drink at a high temperature, do your frothing while you wait for the espresso to steep. That way, you can add the froth right after the espresso is brewed.
Pros and Сons of French Press Espresso
Though the French press has been around for almost a century now, there have been several patents with different names and origins for this popular brewing device.
It is a reliable method of making espresso, but it is not perfect. There are both pros and cons associated with this method.
- The equipment is not too expensive
- Easy to store
- It doesn’t dominate your entire countertops
- Can produce good coffee consistently
- The learning curve is relatively minimal
- Safety concerns, some brewing steps can be hazardous without precaution
- Over steeping can lead to coffee tasting worse than dishwater
Alternative Methods For Making Espresso
Though using a French press is the best way to get a decent cup of espresso, there are other alternatives in case you don’t have a French press in your hands.
A Moka pot is a more renowned method if you want to make stovetop espresso. Moka pot looks like an adorable kettle for children.
Moka pot was invented by an Italian named Alfonso Bialetti back in the 1930s. The most available type of Moka pot has an aluminum body with bakelite handles. It would be best if you had a hot pad to grab the handle, as it can get scorching quickly.
You obviously will need the freshest beans with finer grounds than drip coffee for the best delicious espresso. Here’s what you need to brew espresso in a Moka pot:
- A Moka pot
- Whole ground espresso beans
- A tablespoon
- A digital scale
- Some cold water
- A mug
And here’s how you do it:
- Grind the beans, and measure them on the digital scale. You need at least 2 Tablespoons of ground coffee (22 grams).
- Pour 3.5 fl oz water into the base of the Moka pot.
- Add the coffee grounds to the filter
- Shake the pot to settle the coffee ground
- Shut the top of the Moka pot
- Place the pot over a burner on medium heat.
- When you see the coffee go into the upper chamber of the pot, your coffee is ready.
- Pour the coffee into your mug and enjoy
This is only a basic guideline for a basic Moka pot espresso, but doing more experiments can lead you to a better cup of coffee.
You can do coffee cupping at home. Check out How To Do Coffee Cupping At Home article.
Aeropress is the most portable coffee maker in this entire article. This coffee machine is relatively new to the market, introduced by Alan Adler back in 2005.
The company tested the coffeemaker and proved that it’s 100% BPA-free. Meaning, there’s no BPA leakage in your coffee when you make a new cup of coffee.
Aeropress can recreate an espresso close to the real deal, both in flavor and caffeine content. Though the texture leaves much to be desired, AeroPress can offer you a pretty satisfying americano.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- An Aeropress
- Coffee mug
- Coffee beans
- A tablespoon or scale
- Hot water
And here’s how you do it:
- Grind your beans in a fine setting
- Heat the water to around 195 degrees, keep a thermometer handy for precise measurement.
- Place a paper filter in the drain cap
- Rinse the filter with warm water and set it aside
- Put the plunger back into the brewing chamber about halfway down
- Place the entire mechanism upside down on your countertop
- Add in 2 Tablespoons of coffee grounds. Add a bit more if you’re trying to get a more concentrated shot.
- Set your Aeropress on a scale, slowly pour in 2.5-3.5 fluid ounces of hot water in a swirling motion.
- Give it a gentle stir
- Attach the filter cap and screw it shut
- Flip the brewer onto your mug, and again, make sure it’s still on a stable surface and push down the plunger.
The classic French press method can create almost all sorts of delicious coffee drinks with a bit of expertise and patience. We discussed espresso today since it is a drink of choice for many, and it also works as a base for several other beverages out there, such as cappuccino, latte, etc.
Get yourself a French press, and start experimenting with your newfound knowledge. But most importantly?
Had fun reading this. Check out How to make Espresso In Aeropress article.
Put the coffee grind in the Moka pot. Next, add hot water and steep. When the brew reaches the top chamber of the Moka pot, your coffee is ready for serving.
French press espresso is easy to brew and gives you a near authentic feel for the espresso. Espresso brewed in a French press is similar to a brew from a traditional espresso machine.
You need a digital scale for measuring the right amount of grounds to add into the mix, a thermometer to measure the water temperature, and a grinder to get the fine grinds needed for the coffee. And finally, a coffee mug to carry your coffee.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, but you wish to experience a fresh cup of espresso, a French press is your best bet for brewing a fine cup of espresso without buying a new, expensive machine.
Finely ground coffee beans are the preference for espresso. But you need to be careful that your grinds don’t start slipping into the French press from being too finely ground.
Ideal coffee to water ratio for French press espresso is 1:12.