Difference Between French Press and Espresso

Statistics show that more than 35% of the world’s population consumes coffee daily. This makes coffee the second most consumed beverage after tea.

However, “coffee” is an umbrella term for more than 20 types of coffee drinks. Two of these coffee drinks are French Press and Espresso.

French Press vs Espresso

The main difference between French Press and Espresso is that French Press is brewed for a longer time than Espresso. In other words, a French Press is made by steeping the coffee beans for 2-5 minutes whereas an Espresso is prepared by passing hot water through the beans and it usually takes one minute.

French Press vs Espresso

French Press is essentially the machine that is used to prepare French Press coffee, but the terms are interchangeably used.

French Press is prepared by immersing coarse ground coffee in near-boiling water and then pressing the coffee beans to the bottom. Then, the drink is filtered to remove beans and poured.

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee that is prepared by forcing pressurized hot water through coffee beans. These coffee beans need to be very fine.

As this method requires steps that can’t be performed by human hands, machines are used to do the task. These machines are called espresso machines.

Comparison Table Between French Press and Espresso

Parameters of ComparisonFrench PressEspresso
Introduced in19291901
PreparationCoffee beans are steeped in hot waterPressurized hot water is passed through coffee beans
Coffee beans usedCoarse (rough)Very fine
Crema (brown foam) productionNo crema is producedCrema is produced
ConsistencyConsistent like regular coffeeThick consistency
FlavorMild & gentle flavorBold & intense flavor
Cost (machine)French Press is cheaperEspresso Machine is expensive
The time needed to prepare a drinkAround 5 minutesAround one minute
Rate of production (for household machines)French Press coffee can be produced in large numbersYou can make a single espresso at a time

What is French Press?

French Press is a unanimous term for both the French Press coffee and the machine used to prepare that. As it must be clear, a French Press coffee can only be formed using a French Press and not by any other means.

The first French Press (machine) was patented by Attilio Calimani and Giulio Moneta in 1929. Hence, the first French Press coffee was made in 1929 in Italy, because both Calimani and Moneta were Italian.

French Press coffee is made using coarse beans because fine beans simply escape through the plunger. Hot water is added to the coffee inside the machine and then it is left to steep for about 4 minutes.

Then, the plunger on the French Press is pushed down so that the coffee is forced down to the bottom and then the liquid is poured.

Due to the reason that French Press coffee isn’t filtered, the oil and flavor remain in the coffee. Thus, a French Press has a whole taste.

However, preparing French Press takes a longer time as you’ll have to do everything yourself and there is no automatic machine to complete the task. Therefore, it takes about 5 minutes to prepare a French Press.

What is Espresso?

Espresso is known as a highly-concentrated coffee drink that has a bold taste and a thick consistency with brown foam on the top.

The serving method of an Espresso is in “shots” and a two-shot espresso has a bolder taste than a one-shot. The first espresso is said to be introduced in 1901.

Espresso is prepared when highly pressurized hot water runs through the finely ground coffee, and the result is a liquid with brown foam called “crema” on the top.

This process is called “pulling a shot” and the resulting liquid is called a one-shot espresso.

As the forced water has a high temperature and pressure, it absorbs all the flavor and caffeine from beans which gives the espresso its bold and highly concentrated taste and also a thick consistency.

The caffeine level in an espresso shot depends upon the type of beans used and the brewing method, but on average, an espresso shot contains 65 mg of caffeine.

But, since espresso is served in small amounts, the caffeine levels are reduced, but they are still greater than other drinks. This is the reason why espresso isn’t considered a viable daily drink and is only consumed on special occasions.

Main Differences Between French Press and Espresso

  1. French Press was introduced in 1929 whereas Espresso was introduced in 1901.
  2. French Press is prepared when coffee beans are immersed in hot water whereas Espresso is prepared by passing pressurized hot water through the coffee.
  3. French Press is made using coarse coffee beans but Espresso required fine ground coffee.
  4. French Press doesn’t have brown foam called crema on the top but Espresso does.
  5. French Press has a consistency of a regular coffee whereas Espresso is thick.
  6. French Press has a mild and gentle taste whereas Espresso has a bold and intense taste.
  7. A French Press is cheaper than an Espresso machine.
  8. A French Press can be prepared in around 5 minutes whereas an Espresso can be made usually in a minute.
  9. French Press coffees can be made in a larger amount whereas an Espresso machine can only produce one cup at a time.
Difference Between French Press and Espresso


With more than 20 varieties of coffee available in the market, it is natural to get overwhelmed and confused between different types.

This is the reason why some people confuse French Press with Espresso and think that they are the same thing. However, they are very different from the beans used to the brewing method and needless to say the taste.

To summarize, French Press is obtained when coarse coffee is immersed in hot water for 4-5 minutes and then is pressed and poured into a cup.

Espresso is prepared when pressurized hot water flows through fine coffee absorbing all the flavor and then collecting in a cup.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996918308093
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=AJdlfSFCmVIC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=espresso&ots=mm4pYgEYeN&sig=Tmb2sVt1aXE_vlcIz8NuxSwiXyg
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