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Espresso Machine Vs French Press

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Updated August 28, 2022

A coffee lover chooses between a cup of hot coffee from an espresso machine vs a French press regularly, but you may not know the differences between the two brewing methods. The main differences between espresso and French press coffee stem from the size of the brew, brewing method, and caffeine content.


  • French press brews provide higher amounts of coffee than an espresso maker in only a few minutes.
  • Espresso shots contain more caffeine than French presses in the same amount of liquid, and espresso provides the largest dose of the different coffee methods.
  • Espresso brewers use pressure to extract flavor, while French presses extract flavor using pressure and temperature.

If you are new to coffee, you may want to experiment with different types of coffee to find the best coffee maker for you. You should also consider whether you want a manual or automatic coffee machine. For more information, explore the differences between an espresso machine vs a coffee maker.

Difference Between Espresso Makers and French Presses

French press and espresso coffee provide coffee fanatics with their daily dose of java, but differences separate the two preparation methods. The two beverages feature differing flavors and roasts.

Insider Tip

If you want a large amount of caffeine in a small package, an espresso shot is the better choice

To understand the complexity of both drinks, you may need more information regarding them. When determining which coffee you want to brew, you likely consider the amount of coffee you want, the brewing process used to make it, and the caffeine content in each drink. If you consider multiple brewing methods, check out our article on a French press coffee vs a percolator.

Brew Sizes

French presses typically make multiple cups of coffee at a time, just like a traditional coffee maker. You may find a French press in a variety of sizes, ranging from 3-12 cups. As a result, you may end up making enough coffee to last a day. If you want multiple cups without several preparations, French presses outperform espresso brewers.

Espresso machines brew a shot of espresso to drink on its own or in a milk-based coffee drink, such as a cappuccino or latte. These shots are brewed in a short time. Some espresso makers offer multiple size settings, as well as different drink choices. These products typically range more in price, but they are usually on the high end.

Coffee Brewing Process

Espresso appliances create the perfect shot of coffee using about 9 bars of pressure. This pressure forces the hot water through the ground coffee beans in the filter. As a result, the coffee grounds take the shape of a puck after extraction from the coffee grounds, and the coffee itself provides a flavorful, delicious shot.

French presses brew your freshly ground roasts through heat and pressure. Initially, you pour hot water into your press with your coffee grounds and stir. Then, you let it sit for 3-4 minutes as the coffee steeps before depressing the plunger slowly. Finally, you pour your beverage into a decanter and let it cool before serving. This method does not use a paper filter or reusable filter.


A cup of coffee from a French press contains roughly 22.3 mg of caffeine per 30mL of coffee. For a small or one-cup serving, this measures about 74.2-87.8 mg. This number sits significantly lower than the same amount of espresso. However, the caffeine content depends mainly on the serving size, so the actual caffeine in a cup of coffee is closer to a shot of espresso.

Espressos have about 126 mg of caffeine per 30mL of coffee. For a small 8-oz. cup of coffee from an espresso machine, you get about 126 mg. Espresso features the highest concentration of caffeine per liter. Because of the caffeine content, you should not drink large amounts of espresso at one time.


French press cups take three or four minutes to brew, but espressos brew in 30 seconds if you want a quick fix.


Is French press coffee stronger than drip coffee?

No, there is about 134 mg of caffeine in a small cup of coffee, brewing strong coffee in a short brewing time, and a French press small has 74.2-87.8 mg.

How do I keep my French press coffee hot?

You could warm your carafe and mug before decanting or wrap it in a scarf or other insulator to keep your coffee warm.

Can espresso be made in a French press?

Yes. Espresso can be brewed in a French press, but you have to follow the recipe precisely. It will also take longer to brew.

STAT: Espresso machines deliver a concentrated shot of rich coffee with an unmistakably bold taste. (source)

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