Espresso Vs French Press | Comparing two Popular Methods

It is no secret that French Press and Espresso are two of the most popular coffee brewing methods around the world and are loved by coffee lovers around the World.

Despite being delicious and very easy to make, both espresso and French press coffee differ significantly in their aromas, body, levels of caffeine, and suitability for various mixed drinks.

The main difference between French Press and Espresso is that French Press is an immersion brewing technique in which the grounds are immersed in hot water for several minutes to extract the flavors. While the Espresso brewing method uses hot, pressurized water to pass through fine coffee grounds in order to extract the flavors.

If you need clarification on which is perfect for you, keep reading as we compare Espresso vs French Press. Sit back and grab a mug.

We’ll explore the different flavor profiles, special brewing techniques, pros and cons, and practicality of each in more detail.

When this article ends, you’ll better understand which coffee brewing technique will become your new favorite. Now let’s start by turning on the kettle.

Espresso vs French Press

An overview of the Espresso Brewing Method

Espresso is a popular brewing method for making coffee that originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure, resulting in a concentrated and flavorful shot of coffee.

Espresso brewing

Here are some of the pros and cons of the espresso brewing method:

Pros of Espresso over French Press

  • Flavorful and Intense: Espresso is known for its rich, intense flavor and aroma. Because the coffee is brewed under high pressure, it extracts more oils and flavors from the coffee beans, resulting in a concentrated and flavorful shot.
  • Crema: Crema, a creamy, frothy emulsion is formed on top of espresso shots, adding a pleasant texture and visual appeal to the drink.
  • Versatile: Espresso can be enjoyed on its own or used as the base for a variety of other drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos to name a few.
  • Quick and convenient: The brewing process for espresso is relatively quick, typically taking only 20-30 seconds to brew a shot. It makes it a convenient option for busy coffee drinkers.
  • Consistency: Espresso machines are designed to brew high-quality coffee shots every time, while the taste from the French press may vary depending on factors like grind size, steeping time, and water temperature.

 Cons Of Espresso

  • Expensive: A Good Espresso machine cost above 500 dollars while High-end models may cost above 1000 dollars. In addition, repairs and maintenance can be costly because of the intense pressure required for the brewing process.
  • Skill required: The ability to make an excellent shot of espresso isn’t everyone’s cup of cake it does require some expertise. It can require effort and perseverance to perfect the grind size, tamping pressure, and extraction time.
  • Less Quantity: Espresso shots usually are minimal, weighing between one and two ounces, which may not satisfy some coffee enthusiasts who want a longer and full coffee experience.
  • Bitterness: Espresso has a robust, concentrated flavor that, if not appropriately brewed, can occasionally taste unpleasant or overly bitter.

An overview of the French Press Brewing Method

The French press is a popular brewing method for making coffee that involves steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in hot water and pressing the coffee through a metal filter.

Since its invention in the early nineteenth century, it has become a popular home brewing method all over the world, also known as a press pot or cafetiere.

French Press

Pros Of French Press Over Espresso

  • Full-bodied flavor: The French press method allows more oils and flavors to be extracted from the coffee beans as there are no paper filters involved in the process, resulting in a full-bodied and robust flavor.
  • Affordable: French presses are relatively inexpensive compared to other coffee brewing methods, making them an excellent option for budget-conscious coffee drinkers. You can easily get a good French Press for under 30 bucks.
  • Easy to use: French presses are simple and require minimal equipment. You only need a French press, hot water, and coffee grounds to brew a perfect cup of coffee.
  • Customizable: French Press allows you to have more control over the brewing process. You can adjust the grind size and steeping time to suit your taste preference.
  • Versatility: In addition to hot coffee, you can also use French Press to make Iced Coffee, cold brew coffee, and also tea.
  • Portability: The French press is a portable and convenient way to brew coffee at home, at work, or on the go. You can easily pack a French press and some coffee beans for a camping trip or weekend getaway.

Cons of French Press

  • Time-consuming: The French press brewing method can take several minutes to prepare, steep, and press the coffee, making it less convenient for those in a hurry. From Beans to brew it can take around 10-15 minutes to prepare coffee.
  • Requires attention: The French press requires careful attention to the brewing time and water temperature to achieve the best results. If the water is too hot or the coffee is left too steep for too long or the coffee grounds are fine, it can result in a bitter-tasting or muddy cup of coffee.
  • Inconsistency: French press can be a somewhat inconsistent brewing method since the variables involved in the brewing process (coffee grounds, grind size, steeping time) can vary from one batch to the next
  • Sediment: Because the French press uses a metal filter, some sediment may be in the coffee. This can be off-putting for some coffee drinkers but loved by others as it gives a rich mouthfeel.
  • Fragility: French presses are made of glass, which can break easily if mishandled. Additionally, the metal filter can become bent or damaged over time, requiring replacement.

French Press vs Espresso | Head-to-Head Comparison

Here are some of the main differences between Espresso and French Press coffee brewing methods

1) Taste and Flavor Profile

The taste and flavor profiles of Espresso and French Press coffee differ significantly.

Espresso is a concentrated and strong coffee with a bold flavor and creamy texture. Espresso also has a characteristic crema on top, which is a layer of frothy foam created by the high-pressure brewing process.

French press coffee has a smooth and rich taste with a full-bodied and slightly gritty texture. It has a fuller, more robust flavor that is achieved by steeping the coffee grounds in hot water for a longer period.

I prefer French Press Coffee over Espresso shots since it gives me a more satisfying and longer coffee experience. However, I also love to have concentrated shots of Espresso sometimes.

Read a guide on how to make Espresso like strong coffee in French Press

2) Roast and Grind Size

Espresso requires a finer grind size, as it extracts the coffee quickly under high pressure, while French Press needs a coarser grind size to prevent sediment from ending up in the coffee.

Both Espresso and French Press typically use a medium or dark roast, However, for French Press, you can use a variety of roast levels.

3) Quick and Ease of Use

Espresso is quick and convenient to make, as it takes only a few seconds to brew a shot, while French Press takes several minutes to steep and press the coffee.

To brew a perfect cup of coffee, both French Press and Espresso require some brewing skills and expertise. Otherwise, you will end up with a terrible coffee.

4) Milk-Based Drinks

Due to its strong and concentrated flavor, espresso is the preferred brewing method for milk-based drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos. The creamy and bitter texture of espresso pairs well with the smooth and frothy texture of steamed milk, creating a perfect balance of flavors and textures in milk-based drinks.

French Press is not well-suited for milk-based drinks as it has a more robust and full-bodied flavor that must be enjoyed as it. However, you can prepare a delicious cup of Cafe Au Lait in French Press.

5) Caffeine and Calories

A regular serving of Espresso has around 60-72 mg of caffeine while a regular serving of French Press coffee has around 120-133 mg of caffeine.

Bear in mind, that an Espresso shot is only 1 oz while a serving of French Press is around 8 oz.

So we can say that Espresso contains more caffeine per ounce than French Press.

The amount of calories in straight Espresso shots and Black French Pres coffee drinks is almost negligible. It’s the milk and sweeteners that shoot up a number of calories.

6) Which is a healthier Option?

Coffee, in general, contains antioxidants and other compounds that have been linked to several potential health benefits, such as boosting energy levels, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

French press coffee tends to contain more cafestol and kahweol, which are natural compounds found in coffee that have been associated with increased levels of LDL cholesterol.

Espresso, on the other hand, contains less of these compounds due to the shorter brewing time. But the short serving size can lead to people consuming more espresso shots at a time, which is unhealthy.

Excessive caffeine consumption can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, causing insomnia, and triggering anxiety and jitters in some individuals.

Read a detailed guide on whether French Press is good or bad

7) Cost

In general, French press coffee makers are far less expensive than espresso machines, with good models available for under $30.

On the other hand, Espresso machines are expensive and can cost more than $200 for a basic model to several thousand dollars, depending on the type and features.

8) Portability

Aside from being affordable, French Press coffeemakers are also portable, which makes them your perfect traveling companion.

One of the things I really like about French presses is that they can be used wherever you want whether it’s your kitchen, living room, or garden.

On the other hand, Espresso machines are heavy and confined to one place. However, portable Espresso makers are also available to prepare Espresso-like coffee anywhere.

French press Or Espresso | So, What’s right for you?

In this comparison of French press and espresso, I hope I clarified things and made it easier for you to decide.

Both methods can produce delicious coffee, and it’s worth experimenting to find the one that’s right for you.

Both Espresso and French Press brewing methods offer unique tastes and flavor profiles, and the choice between the two comes down to personal preference and the brewing experience you want.

Personally, I love French Press coffee because it is rich and full-bodied, but I prefer espresso shots when it comes to milk-based coffee drinks.

Also Read Other French Press And Espresso Comparisons


Is Espresso Or French Press More Popular?

Espresso is increasingly widely available in cafes and eateries worldwide making it the most popular commercial coffee brewing method.
According to Wikipedia:
Espresso is the most common coffee-making method in southern Europe, especially in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. It is also popular in Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.
On the other hand, the French press is a popular brewing method for home coffee drinkers, particularly in North America and Western Europe.

Can you make Espresso in A French Press coffee maker?

An authentic Espresso cannot be made with a French Press coffee maker since Espresso requires pressure during brewing.
However, you can make dense and concentrated Espresso like Coffee in a French Press.

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.