Brewing a shot of espresso is already complicated and tedious enough with an espresso machine, even more, if you don’t have one. If you’re dedicated to come up and find a way to make espresso without an espresso machine, at some point you might have asked: “does French press make espresso?”.
While it for sure wouldn’t taste as perfectly good as a shot made with the right tools and equipment, it is possible to come up with an espresso-like drink using a simple French press. Making an espresso does not exactly require an expensive espresso machine. Whatever tool you come up with, all it needs to do is capture that bittersweet taste that we love.
The Espresso Shot
Espresso is often defined as a concentrated form of coffee. But what’s “concentrated” supposed to taste like and look like? Running finely ground coffee through nearly boiling water at extremely high pressure makes a shot of espresso. This process results in a thick and creamy yield with a full and rich coffee flavor, topped with a foamy reddish-brown “crema.” The robust bittersweet flavor of espresso shots makes it unlikely to be consumed as it is. Typically, espresso shots are used as a base for other coffee beverages such as cappuccino, cafe latte, macchiato, and more.
What Makes a Good Espresso?
An espresso shot is a delicate drink to prepare. Aside from the tools and equipment needed, there are essential knicks and knacks to remember when brewing espresso.
- Only use fresh, finely ground coffee. The ideal size for this ground should be the same as the size of granulated sugar. A ground with a larger or smaller texture might result in an over-extracted or under-extracted brew.
- Remember to pre-heat your machine, portafilter, and glass. Pre-heating helps the machine reach and maintain a high brewing temperature as well as hinder the shot from cooling faster than it should have.
- Fill your portafilter with the right doses. A double shot espresso would use about 14g to 18g of ground coffee.
- Firmly tamp your portafilter to ensure a smooth surface and uniformity for the grounds. A leveled surface would result in a more regular and consistent water contact with the grounds.
- Make sure to time your brew accurately. Avoid pulling the shot too long or short by stopping sometime between the 20s – 30s in the brewing process.
- A perfectly extracted espresso shot should have a thick golden-red crema. An under and over-extracted crema would feature a pale, thin, almost non-existent foam at the top.
Does a French Press Make Espresso? How You Do It:
Making an espresso shot using an actual espresso machine and trying to create an espresso shot using a simple French press are two different and challenging tasks. It may seem and sound impossible at first, but making an espresso out of a mere French press is quite a feat.
Grind your coffee beans
Freshly ground coffee beans are ideal for any type of brew as pre-ground beans tend to lose some of their flavor and aroma if not used immediately. When using a French press, keep your ground coarser than the usual fine grind typically used when brewing with an espresso machine. Set your grinder to fine or extremely fine grind setting.
Pre-heat the French press
Just like using an espresso machine, it is also essential to pre-heat the French press before adding the coffee ground. Use enough warm water to fill the French press to warm it up and ensure the thermal and temperature stability of the press.
On a pot or kettle, heat just enough water to fill your French press. Let it boil and reach an ideal temperature of 195 oF or 90 oC.
Prepare grounds in the French press
As you’re waiting for your water to boil, start putting ground coffee into the pre-heated press. Since the grind size of the ground is much finer than the ones used in an espresso machine, it is recommended to use twice the amount of coffee you usually use on a French press.
Once that the water is boiled, immediately pour some hot water into the French press but only about halfway full. Let the beans sit in hot water to let them bloom and release more oils and flavors into the cup. Letting the brew sit longer would result in a stronger brew and vice versa. Once the coffee beans start blooming, add more water then stir.
Cover with French lid
Simply put the lid on top of the press, but do NOT press down just yet. Let the brew steep for a while and release a stronger and richer flavor. Covering the press helps by not letting the heat escape while the beans are still brewing.
Press down the French press
Once you achieved your preferred brew, slowly press down the French press to separate the remaining grounds from the espresso. Gently push the plunger down, and you can see if you ground the bean fine enough or not. You can determine this if too much ground gets through the press and into the drink. If that is the case, you would have to grind the beans finer the next time. Too many ground particles in the espresso will make your drink feel grainy to the tongue.
After separating the espresso from the ground, transfer the espresso drink immediately. It is important not to let the espresso sit in the French press with the grounds to stop the brew from getting any more bitter. Add other ingredients as you like. Serve and enjoy.
And that’s it for our discussion about the question “does French press make espresso?”. Although using a French press is not the ideal tool or equipment for making a decent espresso, it’s still nice to know that brewing espresso isn’t limited to those who own an espresso machine. Aside from a French press, what else can we use to brew a shot of espresso? Learn more about french press coffees.