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When it comes to brewing coffee, the French press and the espresso machine are two of the most common traditional methods of brewing coffee. Both deliver an exceptionally strong brew that can be used as the basis for various types of coffees. Since one is much pricer than the other, it’s important to consider your budget and the goal you have for your coffee needs, for they both have their advantages and disadvantages. One of the major differences between the French Press vs Espresso is the type of coffee they produce. So the question is, what type of coffee do you like to drink or want to serve? 

If you’re looking for something that can produce bulk batches or be able to serve a few friends all once, then the French Press is ideal. The French Press lets you control the strength of your brew and produce full cups of coffee within minutes. The Espresso machine, on the other hand, produces espresso shots, espressos are great because they are highly concentrated, delivering a rich and creamy coffee experience. 

Coffee Taste

Pouring French Press Coffee

The taste produced by these two coffee makers differs as well. The French press produces a steeped brew that retains many of the natural oils of the coffee bean. The taste can be controlled by the brewing time of the coffee. A French Press can produce anywhere from 8-50 oz of freshly brewed coffee, depending on what size of press you choose to purchase. The taste that an espresso machine produces is much more concentrated than the French Press. The coffee comes out stronger and faster. Each shot varies from 1-2oz with a nice layer of coffee crema over top of the coffee. 

Usage, Cleaning and Maintenance

Usage of these devices is extremely easy. The French press is extremely simple. It consists of a glass beaker, a filter and a plunger. Majority of presses have a removable filter that can be easily cleaned and screwed back on.

The espresso machine is a bit more complex, though it’s a bit intimidating at first, once you learn all about the working parts of the machine, operating the machine becomes simple. Setting up the espresso machine requires calibration, and cleaning the machine requires much more work than the French Press. It’s important to clean and maintain both of these brewing devices because the cleanliness reflects in the quality of the brews.  

Coffee Brewing Time

Espresso Machine

Both machines are relatively fast, The French press takes about 4-5 minutes to brew a batch of coffee, while the Espresso machine takes about 20-25 seconds. Warming up the machine can take up to 30mins on a commercial press. Once warmed up, the espresso machine is much faster and more convenient for mass coffee production. This is why coffee shops resort to these machines, and for the quality of course! Espresso machine requires more of a setup to produce coffees quickly. If you ever see a barista behind the bar, they can make a cappuccino in less than a minute. Speaking of speed there’s even a world record for the fastest cappuccinos done in an hour, which comes out to seven cappuccinos in a minute! Now, that’s impressive! 

Device Durability

The French press comes in various materials, from glass and steel beakers to steel and plastic plungers. The durability and quality of the press are usually determined by the cost. Glass presses can easily break, and are much cheaper than steel ones. Overall, the french press is a very affordable option for coffee brewing. The espresso machine can run you a pretty penny. Depending on what model and technology you decide on, they can run you anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Maintenance is very important on the machines, if they aren’t serviced, repairs can easily amplify the overall investment.

French Press vs Espresso Key Points

French Press versus Espresso

French Press

  • Fast Brewing. 
  • Easy to clean.
  • Affordable.
  • Portable.
  • Bulk Coffee Batches

Espresso Machine

  • Extremely Fast.
  • Requires frequent maintenance.
  • Expensive.
  • Learning curve.
  • Equipped with tools to make various types of coffee

Best French Press Selection

Best Espresso Machine Selection

The French Press vs Espresso Verdict

The Espresso machine and French press coffee maker are both fantastic coffee brewers. The question you need to ask yourself is, how much money are you looking to invest in your coffee brewing? If you’re looking for something affordable, portable and convenient, the French Press is what you want. If you have extra money to spare, then the espresso machine is a great choice. There are many affordable espresso machines on the market and if you’re an avid coffee drinker, they are an excellent investment. 


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