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Here’s how to make French press espresso! It’s easy and makes great tasting espresso, no fancy machine required.

French press espresso

Want to make espresso, but don’t want to shell out for an espresso machine? Have we got a method for you: try this French press espresso. Yes it’s possible: and it makes darn good espresso, too. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised with how close it the flavor was to our expensive espresso machine. The best part? French press espresso is ideal for espresso drinks like a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, iced latte, affogato, and more.

Use espresso roast coffee, medium fine ground

What you’ll need for French press espresso, other than a French press? Espresso roast coffee, ground to a medium fine grind. Here’s why these elements are important:

  • Espresso roast is important to get the right dark, bitter flavor that’s typical in espresso shots. We like Starbucks Espresso Roast or Intelligentsia Black Cat.
  • Medium fine grind is important for using in the French press. Espresso coffee beans are typically ground very fine, if you’re using an espresso machine. But if it’s too fine, it’s hard to strain out of the French press and you end up with sediment in your coffee cups.

How to make French press espresso: basic steps

Here’s the basic idea behind French press espresso: it’s quick and simple. This method works perfectly, so

  • Grind the coffee: Grind ½ cup coffee beans to a medium fine grind.
  • Heat the water: Heat ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons water to hot but not boiling (200 to 205°F).
  • Add coffee and wait 4 minutes: Add the medium fine ground espresso coffee to the French press. Top with the hot water and stir. Set a timer and wait 4 minutes.
  • Plunge: Place the lid on the French press and slowly press on the plunger all the way down.
French Press Espresso

What French press to buy

Looking for a French press? Here’s the Bodum French press we use. It’s high quality, works well, and the brand has been making them for years. We’d highly recommend it! The other option is to use an insulated French press, which keeps the coffee warm.

Other ways to make espresso without a machine

French press espresso is our top method for making espresso without a machine because it has the best flavor and doesn’t require specialty equipment. But if you’re looking for some other options, here are a few more ideas:

  • Manual espresso maker: This option has the best flavor for a specific tool, and at $66 it’s loads cheaper than a machine. This manual espresso maker is what we use: it’s cheap and portable.
  • Aeropress: The Aeropress is even cheaper, but you’ll sacrifice in flavor: the espresso isn’t great, but it’s decent if you’re in a bind. Try this Aeropress espresso method.

This French press espresso recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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French press espresso

French Press Espresso

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2 double shots espresso 1x


It’s possible, and darn good, too. Here’s how to make French press espresso! It makes great tasting espresso, no fancy machine required.


  • 36 grams (½ cup beans) espresso roast coffee, medium fine ground
  • 205 mL/grams hot water (¾ cup + 2 tablespoons)


  1. Grind the coffee to a medium fine grounds. Heat the water to hot but not boiling (200 to 205°F).
  2. Add the espresso coffee to the French press. Top with the hot water and stir.
  3. Set a timer and wait 4 minutes.
  4. After 4 minutes, place the lid on the French press and slowly press the plunger all the way down. Pour into two espresso cups and serve immediately, or use in Espresso Drinks like a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more.
  • Category: Coffee
  • Method: French Press
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: French press espresso, how to make espresso with a french press

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. Can I make one double shot in a french press with 18-gram coffee and 105 ml water
    or should it be at least 2 double shots?

  2. The French press espresso came out very well. I like this better than Moka pot or Turkish pot coffees. I did use very fine grind coffee, but there was very little sediment in the cup, much less than the Turkish pot.

    I live at 5,745 ft above sea level. My water “boils” at nearly the perfect temperature for coffee extraction about 200F. Here is a chart that will show you at what temperature your water “boils”. 212F or 100c is only accurate for people living at sea level.

    This information is important for all cooking, especially if you live at higher elevations. Cakes cook differently, beans may take forever to cook without a pressure cooker, even the simple egg needs different “boiling” times.

  3. French press Bodun: Not with the new one piece filter that you don’t have to disassemble to clean. I grind my coffee Expresso and it is fabulous, better than drop in filters. Best coffee ever.

  4. My fancy espresso machine broke and I’m awaiting a replacement, so I needed a quick solution in the meantime. I’ve been making my French Press espresso in latte form all week and it’s really great! I appreciate the very specific measurements in grams and the water temp, so I can keep things precise. I do miss the richness and crema of a pulled shot, but this is definitely working for me in the meantime. I think I’m going to experiment with making a larger batch and keeping it in the fridge, so I don’t have to clean my FP daily. (I already occasionally microwave my latte, so I’m not a snob about having to warm it up.)