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Does a French Press Make Espresso?

Does a French press coffee maker make espresso? Find out in this post, including a video tutorial!

2 shots of espresso strength coffee in a clear pitcher next to a French press on a white countertop.

If you’re a French press owner (or are considering purchasing one) and you’re also a big fan of lattes, you’ve probably wondered if a French press can make espresso.

The short answer is yes, and no.

While a French press can make delicious espresso strength coffee, it can’t make true espresso because the brewing process is different.

Espresso is made by forcing hot water, under high pressure, through finely-ground coffee beans (typically dark roast).

A French press coffee maker cannot create that level of pressure that is used to make espresso. 

But you can still achieve some flavorful, strong coffee with it!

Let me show you how…

Video Tutorial:


Here’s a quick video demonstration in case you learn better that way. The full written step-by-step guide (with helpful tips!) and recipe card are below!


The 2 ingredients needed to make French press espresso.

You’ll only need 2 simple ingredients:

  • Hot Water: You’ll want to heat your water to 190 degrees Fahrenheit (87 Celsius). The water temperature is important – don’t use boiling water or you might get a more bitter flavor! I recommend using filtered water if your tap water is chlorinated to prevent any off flavors. 
  • Ground Coffee Beans: Select espresso roast coffee beans, or another dark roast. You want to grind your coffee beans coarsely. If you don’t own a burr grinder, you can either purchase beans from a coffee shop and ask them to grind them for a French press, or purchase your beans from a bulk store that has a grinder that allows you to adjust it to a coarse grind size. You can use a blade grinder in a pinch, but it won’t yield a consistent grind size. 

This will also work with “regular” coffee, not just dark roast coffee or espresso beans. But the final product won’t have as intense or robust of a flavor.

How to Make Espresso with a French Press:

1/4 cup of coarsely ground coffee for making espresso with a French press.

The French press brewing method is pretty simple!

Measure out 1/4 cup of the coarsely ground espresso beans.

This is about .54 ounces or 15 grams of coffee.

Adding hot water to the ground coffee in the French press.

Pour the coffee grounds into your French press.

Pour 3 ounces of the hot (190 degree F, 87 C) water over the ground coffee in the French press.

3 ounces is approximately 1/4 cup of water plus 2 tablespoons, or about 85 grams of water.

This is the coffee-to-water ratio that I settled on after some experimentation. You can increase the ratio of coffee if you find you want an even more intense flavor.

2 sizes of French presses next to each other on a white countertop.

By the way, I highly recommend using a smaller French press if you’re making 1 recipe (2 shots of espresso coffee). For larger quantities, a big French press will work fine.

If you only own a larger French press, you should increase the amount of water to 4 ounces for 1 recipe. 

Stirring the coffee and water together with the handle of a spoon.

Stir the coffee and water together well.

Placing the lid on the French press without plunging it down.

Place the French press lid on top, but don’t plunge down yet.


Plunging down the French press after it has been allowed to sit for 4 minutes.

Brewing Time:

Allow the water and coffee to “steep” for 4 minutes.

Then plunge the French press all the way down.

Espresso strength coffee in a mug with a French press behind it.

Pour the brewed coffee out into a mug or espresso cup, and it’s ready to make a concentrated coffee drink!



A stoneware mug with a latte with latte art.

This makes approximately 2 shots of espresso, or around 4 tablespoons of coffee.

You *technically* can half everything to make one espresso shot, but it won’t work quite as well.


How to Use French Press Espresso:

A collage of photos showing different ways to use French press espresso. From here you can use the coffee in your favorite espresso drinks!

Here are some ways to use your French press espresso:

Other Ways to Make Espresso:

 If you’re looking for other ways to make espresso strength coffee without an espresso maker, make sure to check out my video tutorial where I go over how to make it with a moka pot and Aeropress as well. 

Also, if you don’t own any type of coffee maker, you can make espresso with instant coffee! It’s a great trick for when you’re traveling as well.

Other Ways to Use a French Press:

Besides brewing espresso-like coffee, you can also use a French press to froth your milk for a latte.

You can also use it to make cold brew for iced coffee drinks.

So that’s how to make espresso without a fancy machine! If you make this recipe and enjoy it, please come back and leave a 5 star rating. It really helps Buttered Side Up out. Thank you!

Yield: 2 shots espresso

How to Make Espresso with a French Press

2 shots of espresso strength coffee in a clear pitcher next to a French press on a white countertop.

It's super easy to make espresso strength coffee with a French press coffee maker!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Brewing Time 4 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes


  • 3-4 ounces 190 degree F (87 C) filtered water (see note)
  • 1/4 cup (.54 ounces) coarsely ground dark roast coffee (see note)


  1. Place the ground coffee and hot water in the canister of the French press. Stir well and put the lid of the French press on top but don't plunge down.
  2. Allow coffee to "brew" in the French press with the lid on for 4 minutes, and then plunge all the way down.
  3. Pour into a mug or espresso cup.


If you use a small French press, use 3 ounces of water. If you use a larger French press, use 4 ounces of water.

The ideal would be espresso beans, but you can substitute dark roast coffee.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2

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