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There’s no need for a fancy machine or moka pot to make this French Press Espresso recipe! Perfect for coffee lovers everywhere, this recipe is great for flavored coffee drinks, or a quick espresso shot when you need a boost.

French press pouring espresso into a coffee cup.

❤️ Why you will love this recipe

  • Easy: To make espresso in a french press all you have to do is grind coffee beans (or use pre-ground beans), add them to a french press along with hot water, and allow it to steep for 4 minutes. The brewing method is just like making regular coffee with less water.
  • Quick: This espresso is ready in less than 10 minutes!
  • Great for flavored drinks: I love adding this great espresso substitute to my flavored lattes like this Strawberry Latte. It tastes just perfect.
  • Saves money: This is a great way to make espresso-like coffee without an expensive espresso machine. French presses can be found for less than $20, and if you’re a bargain hunter, check out your local thrift stores for some great deals. Pro tip: I use a stainless steel french press coffee maker because I have broken too many glass ones.

🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Coffee: You can use either espresso beans or regular coffee beans. Aim for a good coffee if you can as the quality will affect the taste. The grind size is important. You want to grind the coffee grounds to a medium coarseness. Too much of a coarse grind will leave you lacking flavor, and very finely-ground coffee beans will escape through the mesh filter into your cup making the coffee cloudy.
  • Water: The water should not be boiling when you pour it into the french press because it can leave a bitter taste. The perfect water temperature for a french press is around 95°C/203°F, which is somewhere between boiling and hot. If you don’t have a kettle that has different temperature options, boil the water and then let it sit for a minute or two.

🥣 How to make espresso in a french press

1. Begin by grinding the coffee beans to a medium grind in a coffee grinder.

Coffee beans in a grinder.

2. Heat the water to 95°C/203°F. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check if you’re unsure, or you can let the water boil in the kettle and allow it to sit for a minute.

A kettle with different buttons for different temperatures.

3. Add the coffee beans and just over 3/4 cup of water to the french press and let the coffee brew for 4 minutes.

4. Slowly plunge the french press and enjoy!

Overhead shot of espresso in a white mug with a blue rim surrounded by coffee beans.

🫙 Storage Instructions

Espresso coffee will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips

  • Coffee-to-water ratio: The amount of coffee I use for the french press method is 28 grams of coffee to 180ml water (just over 3/4 cup). This makes 120ml of french press espresso coffee, which is the equivalent of 2 double shots of espresso.
  • Crema: If you’d like to attempt to make some “crema” on top of the espresso, plunge the coffee halfway down, pull it up again, and then plunge it all the way down. It’s not really a necessary step, but it looks nice!

☕ What can I use French Press Espresso with?

You can drink it as a shot on its own or try it in one of these espresso drinks:

  • Cappuccino (espresso topped with froth)
  • Latte (espresso topped with milk and frothy milk)
  • Americano (espresso + water)
  • Redeye (espresso + regular black coffee)
  • Breve (espresso + half and half)
  • Strawberry Latte
  • Vanilla Latte
  • Iced Mocha (chocolate milk + espresso)
  • Mocha (hot chocolate + espresso)
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Dirty Chai Latte

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is this really espresso?

Not in the true sense of the word “espresso”. A shot of traditional espresso is made under high pressure (hence the name esPRESSo) in a dedicated espresso machine. The machine forces warm water (hot but not boiling) through the coffee making the perfect shot. This recipe is technically strong coffee made in a french press, however, it is a great substitute for espresso when you don’t have a machine handy.

Can I make espresso with instant coffee?

You can’t make espresso with instant coffee, but you can make a strong coffee to use instead of espresso in coffee drinks. Add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee to 60ml hot water to make a double shot of espresso.

Can I make espresso with a drip coffee maker?

You can’t make espresso with a drip coffee maker, however, you can make a very strong coffee to use instead of espresso. Add 2 tablespoons of finely ground or medium-finely ground coffee to a paper filter in the coffee machine. Press the grounds down to pack them in, like traditional espresso. Add 2 ounces of warm water to the water reservoir and press brew.

🤔 Espresso machine vs. French Press: What is the difference?

Espresso machine

An espresso machine is an expensive machine that is fairly large. It makes espresso by forcing hot (but not boiling) water through fine grounds that are packed tightly in a portafilter. The result is a perfect shot of espresso coffee, full of intense flavor with crema (bronze foam) on top.

French press

A french press (or coffee press or cafetière) is a small coffee pot that works by adding medium-coarse coffee grinds to the bottom of the french press followed by hot water. Then allow the coffee to steep in the water for 4-6 minutes to release all of the coffee flavors before plunging it down and pouring a cup of delicious coffee.

French press pouring espresso into a coffee cup.

😋 More drink recipes you will love

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📖 Recipe

French press pouring espresso into a coffee cup.

How to make French Press Espresso

Bethany Galloway
There's no need for a fancy machine or moka pot to make this French Press Espresso recipe! Perfect for coffee lovers everywhere, this recipe is great for flavored coffee drinks, or a quick espresso shot when you need a boost.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 double espresso shots (120ml)
Calories 0.1 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 28-32 grams 5 slightly heaped tablespoons coffee beans (see note 1)
  • 180 ml just over 3/4 cup water

Instructions
 

  • Begin by grinding the coffee beans to a medium grind in a coffee grinder.
  • Heat the water to 95°C/203°F. You can use a thermometer to check if you're unsure, or you can let the water boil in the kettle and allow it to sit for a minute or two.
  • Add the coffee beans and just over 3/4 cup of hot water to the french press and let the coffee brew for 4 minutes.
  • Slowly plunge the french press and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Coffee Beans: Either regular coffee beans or espresso beans will work. If the coffee is pre-ground, measure 5 even tablespoons or 28-32 grams.
  2. Coffee-to-water ratio: The amount of coffee I use for the french press method is 28 grams of coffee to 180ml water (just over 3/4 cup). This makes 120ml of french press espresso coffee, which is the equivalent of 2 double shots of espresso.
  3. Crema: If you'd like to attempt to make some "crema" on top of the espresso, plunge the coffee halfway down, pull it up again, and then plunge it all the way down. It's not really a necessary step, but it looks nice!
  4. Storage: Leftover espresso coffee will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make a triple batch and store it for easy coffee drinks in the morning.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 0.1kcalProtein: 0.01gFat: 0.01gSodium: 0.3mgPotassium: 7mgCalcium: 0.3mg
    Keyword americano, breakfast, brunch, bulletproof coffee, caffeine, cappuccino, coffee, cold drinks, easy, espresso, french press, hot drinks, latte, quick, redeye
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