French Press vs Espresso: Which One Wins?

By Evelina •  Updated: 07/05/21 •  6 min read

The Best Answer:

It all depends on your personal taste in coffee. The coffee from the French Press is clear and rich. The flavor of espresso is significantly stronger. You must also consider the number of ground beans you use, as well as the temperature of the water (usually 185-195 degrees F for a French Press and 200-205 for an espresso machine).

Espresso is one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. It is so popular that it seems to have no competition, and it is probably the drink of choice for most coffee drinkers. It is also very simple to make at home. All you need is an espresso machine and ground coffee beans.

French Press coffee is made up of coarsely ground coffee and hot water, usually from 195-200 degrees F. The beans are placed into the glass container and water is added, the mixture steeps for about 1 minute, then it is pressed down with a plunger that separates the grounds from the liquid.

In this article, we are going to compare these two methods of coffee and see which one reigns supreme.

Differences In Taste

The flavor of espresso is very different than that of French Press. This is very true if you use regular coffee beans as opposed to espresso beans.

Espresso also contains more caffeine than the French Press. The primary difference between these two drinks comes from the process and different ingredients used in each method.

Espresso is usually made with high-quality coffee beans and beans that have been grounded very finely. This produces a stronger coffee taste.

The French Press, on the other hand, is made up with coarsely ground beans. The taste of French Press coffee is much richer and more of the coffee bean flavor shows through.

Water Temperature

Espresso machine water temperature is one of the most important factors in producing a good espresso. In espresso machines, hot water is pushed through the machine at a very high pressure and thus “boiled” and “plunged” into the coffee grounds at about 200-220 degrees F.

This high temperature result in a much stronger flavor of coffee; this mechanism also creates a lot of pressure which results into an almost syrupy layer of liquid on top of the ground coffee.

In a French Press the water temperature is usually around 195-200 degrees F. This temperature allows for a larger amount of the coffee’s natural oils to be retained in the liquid, resulting in a more flavorful taste and also a much smoother texture.

Read Also: French Press Tips for Better Coffee

Grind Size

The grind size of coffee is basically the size of the coffee grounds. The finer the grind, the more surface area there is to extract flavors from.

As we said before, in espresso machines the coffee grounds are much finer than in a French Press. This is one of the reasons that it tastes stronger and richer. The grind size also has a lot to do with the way the coffee is extracted and what type of extraction process is used.

French Press coffee has a very coarse grind, about 3 times coarser than espresso grinds.

The Price

The Espresso machine costs around $150-$200 and you will also need to buy the coffee beans. Once you have the machine, it is easy for you to make espresso every day at home.

On the other hand, French Press costs around $10 and is very simple to use. All that is required is hot water, coarsely ground coffee beans and a french press pot.

Read Also: French Press Sizes Guide

The Cleaning Process

The espresso machine is harder to clean, but it is a lot more fun to use. The machine will take around 15 minutes to clean and you will have to disassemble the machine and clean all the parts that come into contact with coffee

The more detailed your cleaning process is, the longer it will take. There are also many smaller parts in the machine so be careful not to miss any spots while cleaning.

On the flip side, the French Press is easy to clean. All you need do is rinse out the grounds with hot water, then use soap and water for a more thorough cleaning.

Read Also: How to Clean The French Press

Brewing Time

Brewing with an espresso machine will usually take around 1-2 minutes per cup. This is not including the cleaning time.

The French Press coffee maker is very easy to use and makes great tasting coffee. It does require a little more time than with an espresso machine but in return you get fresh, high-quality coffee.

All in all, it will take around 5 minutes for you to make a cup of great tasting French Press coffee.

Read Also: French Press Brewing Guide

So, Which One To Choose?

The choice is yours. Both of these methods produce a quality cup of coffee. Espresso is more popular, it’s what most people drink but I believe that the French Press is more effective as far as extraction, flavor and taste is concerned. Try both and decide for yourself which one you prefer!


Can you leave coffee in a French Press overnight?

The short answer is no. Coffee grounds are not meant to be left in a French Press overnight. It will create a nasty, bitter flavor and it won’t be pleasant!

What makes a good Espresso Bean?

A good espresso bean will be made up of high-quality Arabica coffee and will be highly caffeinated. The size of the bean is also important and it should be ground very fine. Regularly roasted beans are also essential.

Read Also: Types of Coffee Beans

What are the benefits of French Press Coffee?

French Press coffee has a great amount of caffeine, which can be a good thing for some people. It also makes the drink taste better and there are no unwanted solids in the coffee. The end result after using a French press is a very clean cup of coffee.

Last Thoughts

To sum it all up, the main difference between the two is primarily in the taste of their final product.

Coffee brewed with an espresso machine creates a very strong and rich flavor that is not as apparent in coffee from a French press.

It is suggested that you try both methods and decide for yourself which one you prefer!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.