Q&A – Can You Make Espresso With A French Press?

By | June 28, 2017

Since I started working on this website a few months back I’ve come across question after question relating to espresso and fine coffee making.

One such question has I’ve seen in many variations and it has to do with the preparation of espresso at home – you know, without going out to a store or buying a thousand dollar machine.

In this variant of the question the goal is home made espresso and often times the confusion has to do with the espresso roast coffee beans and grind found in the store.

To be brief I’ll say this. 

You cannot make espresso in a french press although you can use espresso roast grind in the preparation of french press coffee.

To be long winded I’ll elaborate.

Espresso roasts are typically very dark. They are similar to French roasts and Italian roasts and in some cases they are simply charred beyond belief.

I personally don’t usually like using espresso roasts. I find they are often times over roasted and simply not tasty. In my opinion they are meant to provide a strong “espresso-like” flavor in drip machines which typically under-extract flavor compared to other high brow coffee brewing techniques.

An espresso is actually not a kind of roast but a coffee product made under high pressure. The grind is fine and the final product is rich and has a creme much like a good beer might have head.

French press coffee makers almost always make a highly exceptional cup of coffee – much better than drip coffee makers. The product might be better and more rich than a drip machine but it is not espresso; it’s merely really good coffee.

Now to answer the fundamental and unsaid question at hand. Ohh yeah, I did that already. It’s through the following link.

Can you make espresso at home without a fancy machine? Yep (kinda).

Feel free to click through for the whole post or simply read this. Espresso machines require fine coffee grind (the opposite of a french press) and they produce roughly 10 bars of pressure. Drip coffee or french press brews coffee with no extra pressure at all.

The only other way to make espresso at home without a wildly expensive machine is to use a stovetop espresso maker otherwise known as a Moka Pot. These produce coffee that is as close to espresso as you can get. They brew at around 2 bars of pressure and can slightly produce crema although not enough usually to make it all the way tot he cup.

I actually just posted instructions for using a moka pot in case you missed it.

Luckily these moka pots are very inexpensive so if you are in the market for DIY espresso and you are sophisticated enough to own a french press then maybe consider adding to your coffee making collection by buying a budget oriented Moka pot for all the espresso drinks you’d like to make at home on a moment’s notice.

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