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Learn how to make a French press cappuccino or latte, without any espresso maker! All you need is a French press, a milk frother, coffee grounds, and milk.
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) not one, but TWO fancy-schmancy espresso machines. BUT sometimes I still prefer something simpler.
The dials and buttons and whatnot can seem complicated before I’ve had coffee.
If you find yourself craving a cappuccino, but you don’t own an espresso machine yet, this is for you!
OR if you DO own an espresso machine, but find it too confusing or time-consuming to use, this French press cappuccino is for you too!
Want more coffee in your life? Check out our picks for the best small espresso machines!
Can you Make Espresso in a French Press?
That’s right, no, you cannot make authentic espresso in a French Press.
Real espresso can only be made under very high pressure.
After all, there’s a reason the espresso machines are so pricey!
However, a few months back, I was watching an episode of Good Eats, and Alton Brown recommended French Press coffee as an alternative to real espresso.
I decided to give it a try 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 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 like this Bodum Chambord French Press.
The only other equipment you need for this faux-ppuccino is a handy-dandy milk frother.
You can use a very inexpensive milk frother (like this handheld milk frother). A handheld frother will froth your milk but will not heat it.
Another option (my preference) is an electric milk frother. I own this Bodum milk frother.
And you definitely don’t need them to make a French press cappuccino, but if you want a pair of the tiny coffee cups in the photos, you can snag the Chambord coffee glasses here.
How to Make a French Press Cappuccino
Start by brewing a pot of French press coffee.
If you want a vanilla-flavored cappuccino, add a dash of vanilla extract added to the grounds before brewing.
Alternatively, add a pump or two of flavored coffee syrup to the brewed coffee.
Pour your coffee in a mug (or divide between multiple mugs).
If you’re using a handheld frother, heat your milk first, and then froth.
If you’re using an electric milk-frother, use it now to heat and froth your milk.
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.
French Press Cappuccino
- French Press
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground coffee beans
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional) Or use desired amount of flavored coffee syrup + add after brewing
- ½ cup milk for frothing Dairy or Non-Dairy
- Bring water to a boil, and then let it sit for 1 minute off-heat.
- Add coffee grounds to French press, add vanilla extract (if using), 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.
Ooo I love this!! And I’ve got the syrups for a flavored cappuccino, but using vanilla extract sounds even better. Thanks!
YUM. I’m totally on board with the French press as an espresso maker! I can only have so much crap on my counters!
right?! I agree!
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
I had no idea you could make a cappuccino in a french press! This looks so yummy!
Well, technically it’s a “faux-ppuccino” but it tastes amazing!
I just replaced the beaker to my french press last week. The old one had cracked… now that I’m back in bussiness, I look forward to trying out this recipe!
You wore it out!! Haha. I’m glad you’re all fixed up for coffee again!
Lisa | Garlic & Zest
I am a coffee fanatic and that looks like the best cappuccino! You really should live next door to me!
Thanks! Haha- I’d be totally cool with that!!!
This sounds fabulous to me! I also have an espresso machine, but more often than not I end up making a chemex or French press (uh… I might have too many coffee makers). I would say if you’re drinking coffee black, it really, really matters what kind you use, but when you add a ton of milk for a cappuccino, I don’t see why a strong pot of french press wouldn’t work just as well as espresso. This sounds delicious with the frothy milk and vanilla extract — I’ll definitely be trying it!
I totally agree! I’m not sure a “shot” of French press would satisfy me if I wanted a shot of espresso, but for this cappuccino– it’s perfect!
This sounds perfect! I want one right now!
Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated
Your coffee looks like the most perfect homemade cappuccinos I’ve ever seen in my life! I’m a huge fan of vanilla, but I’ve never thought about adding it to my coffee beans before. Can’t wait to try this!
This sounds amazing! Where did you find the mugs?
Thanks! I borrowed mine but I linked to them on amazon in the post 🙂