True espresso is produced using hot water and a powerful shot of steam. The espresso grounds under pressure yield an aromatic pool of dark, delectable coffee with a honey colored froth or crema on top that makes “Prendiamo un caffè?” ( loosely translated to mean “Let’s have a coffee?”) the standard Italian greeting heard several times a day.
But while “true” espresso can only be made in an espresso machine, it is possible to make espresso in a stove top Moka pot (my Italian friends and family do this all the time) or dare I say in a French press. However pressing matters and the force generated by the delicate French press coffee plunger cannot compare with 9 bars (8.8 atmospheres of pressure or 130 pounds per square inch), the typical accepted pressure needed for brewing espresso. Using a French press does require a coarser ground coffee so an espresso grind cannot be used. What results is different but good and for French brewed coffee lovers a pressing matter they take very seriously.