Learn how to make a cappuccino or latte without an espresso maker! All you need are coffee grounds and a French Press. (Plus, make a vanilla cappuccino!)
Do you adore cappuccino? Is your coffee of choice espresso? If so– you probably know that a full-fledged, pump espresso maker can be a little bit pricey. Personally, I do own (and adore) a fancy-schmancy espresso machine, but sometimes I’m a little too groggy in the mornings to operate machinery. (You know– the kind with dials and buttons and whatnot.)
If you find yourself craving a cappuccino, but you don’t own an espresso machine yet (or you are still half asleep and you can’t remember which buttons to push on your machine)– this Vanilla French Press Cappuccino is for you!
Can you Make Espresso in a French Press?
Technically no, you cannot make espresso in a French Press. Real espresso can only be made under extreme pressure. (After all, there’s a reason the espresso machines are so pricey!)
However, a few months back, I was watching an episode of Alton Brown’s old show ‘Good Eats’ that recommended French Press coffee as an alternative to real espresso, and I decided to give it a shot with a cappuccino. After all, if it’s good enough for Alton Brown, it’s definitely worth trying… right?!
Where to Buy a French Press
To make a Vanilla French Press Cappuccino, you will, of course, need a French press. You can order French press pots online, or anywhere else they sell coffee equipment. (I’ve seen French press pots at the overstock store Marshall’s for about $10 on a regular basis.)
The only other equipment you need for this faux-ppuccino is a handy dandy milk frother. (I have a hand-held milk frother from Ikea that cost about $4– so this doesn’t have to be expensive either.)
How to Make a French Press Cappuccino
To make Vanilla French Press Cappuccino, start by brewing French press coffee with a dash of vanilla extract added to the grounds. (Check out this French Press Coffee tutorial if you need tips on how to make the coffee!)
Pour your coffee in a mug (or divide between multiple mugs). Next, heat milk (or coconut milk), use your handheld frother, and then top the coffee with the milk and froth. (If you have a milk frother that will also steam your milk– even better! In that case, you don’t have to heat the milk first.)
Finally, drink up! Let me know what you think in the comments– was Alton Brown right? Is French press coffee a good espresso substitute?
Personally, I thought it was delicious! Could I tell the difference? Maybe– just slightly. However, it was pretty close! And, as I sipped my hot and steamy coffee drink, I decided I didn’t care if it tasted exactly the same or not, because this French Press Cappuccino tastes like perfection.
Vanilla French Press Cappuccino
Makes 2 Cappuccinos
- 2 TB coarsely ground coffee beans
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk for frothing (use at least 2%, skim won't froth well) OR full-fat coconut milk
- French Press, Milk Frother
- Bring water to a boil, and then let it sit for 1 minute off-heat.
- Add coffee grounds to French press, add vanilla extract, and then hot water. Add French press lid, but don't lower the plunger. Let sit 4 minutes. Lower plunger.
- While coffee is steeping, froth milk. If your milk frother cannot heat the milk-- bring the milk to a simmer before frothing.
- Divide coffee between 2 mugs. Top coffee with frothed milk, and serve immediately.