Got a bag of espresso beans laying around and are you wondering if you could use them in a French press instead? Here’s what you want to know.
Using espresso beans in a French press is no problem provided they are ground coarsely. Espresso beans in a French press won’t make espresso but a slightly darker version of French press coffee. Using pre-ground espresso powder in a French press doesn’t work well.
Let’s get a little deeper into why it doesn’t matter much and why you won’t get espresso by using espresso beans.
Can You Use Espresso Beans In a French Press?
Espresso beans (that are specifically marketed as such like these on Amazon) are very similar to any other type of coffee beans, they’re usually just roasted a bit darker (and a few other differences during the roasting process.
That means that using espresso beans in a French press is not a problem. You’ll get normal French press coffee although it might be a bit darker and more bitter because espresso beans are often roasted slightly darker.
Using espresso beans in a French press does require the beans to be ground to the right size. For a French press you want coarsely ground coffee beans to make sure you get the right rate of extraction and not a lot of sediment in your cup.
Because espresso-labeled beans are usually roasted darker, they extract faster than ‘normal’ beans. For that reason it’s a good idea to reduce the steep time a little (30s -1m) to prevent over extraction and an overly bitter cup.
Not sure how to make coffee in a French press? Start here
Can Espresso Beans Make Espresso In a French Press?
Just because espresso beans are used doesn’t mean you get espresso. Espresso machines are what make espresso and espresso beans are just called that because they work a little bit better in espresso machines.
Using espresso beans in a French press will not make espresso, it will make French press coffee.
Since espresso beans are often roasted a bit darker than for filter coffee, the taste is likely a bit darker and more bitter than with a normal roast. That might sound like espresso but it’s going to be nowhere near a real espresso.
Espresso is a tiny bit of liquid packed with everything from a lot of grounds. In a French press you have way more water for the amount of grounds and no pressure to extract faster. The brew method is way more important for what kind of coffee you get than a small difference in the beans.
If you want to make a very strong coffee (still not espresso) in a French press, you can find an article about that by clicking here.
And if you want to brew good normal coffee in a French press Click here for my step-by-step guide.
Can You Use Pre-ground Espresso In a French Press?
As mentioned above, it’s important that the beans are ground to the right size for a French press to get proper-tasting coffee. If the bag of coffee you intend on using does not contain whole beans but ground coffee and it’s labeled ‘espresso’ you might have a problem.
Coffee grounds have to be ground to different sizes for different brew methods. For espresso, it has to be ground very fine (a little coarser than confectioner sugar) while for a French press, you need a coarse grind (like flaky sea salt). That means if coffee is pre-ground for espresso, you won’t get good coffee in a French press.
A French press has a metal filter screen. This filter screen can filter out the coarser grounds but fine espresso grounds will get through to some degree and this means you get a lot of residue in your cup.
Another problem is that you’ll get very bitter coffee if you use espresso grounds in a French press. Because the finer the grounds, the quicker they extract. In an espresso machine, those grounds are extracted in about 30 seconds. In a French press, the brew time is often about 4 minutes. But even if you’d shorten it significantly, the results wouldn’t be very pleasant.