Coffee Facts

Can You Use Café Bustelo For French Press?

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While the French press is designed for traditional coffee, many folks wonder if they can use espresso-style coffee in their French press. Café Bustelo is a favorite among espresso lovers because of its bold flavor, full-body, and low price point. 

But can you brew Café Bustelo in your French press? The answer is an unequivocal YES! Café Bustelo is a great option for creating an espresso-like coffee using your French press. You’ll want to keep a few things in mind as you experiment with this particular coffee and brewing method.

Things to Consider Before Using Café Bustelo in a French Press

Café Bustelo is an espresso ground coffee. This means the grind is finer than what you might normally use in a French press. Because of this, expect your coffee to be grittier or sludgier than usual. Many coffee drinkers actually prefer a little sludge in their coffee (similar to Greek or Turkish coffee). If you like a little sludge, Café Bustelo in the French press might be just the right thing for you.

If you want to avoid the sludge, you can buy whole bean Café Bustelo and grind it yourself. Using whole bean coffee, you can grind the coffee a bit more coarsely than if you bought it pre-ground. This means you can achieve a grind fit for a French press that won’t leave you with coffee sludge at the bottom of your cup.

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Keep in mind that Café Bustelo is strong. If you’re hoping for a strong, eye-opening cup, you can use just as much Café Bustelo as you would regular coffee. But, if you’re hoping to create something closer to a medium or weaker strength cup of joe, use less Café Bustelo than you would regular coffee and/or steep the coffee for less time.


  • Using Café Bustelo in your French press may get you as close to actual espresso as you can get with a French press.
  • While Café Bustelo is ground finer than your regular coffee, you can absolutely use it in a French press. Expect a strong cup of coffee. If you buy pre-ground Café Bustelo, you should also expect some dregs or sludge at the bottom of your cup.
  • Unlike regular coffee, Café Bustelo in the French press offers a richer, fuller-bodied experience. If you like your coffee stronger, Café Bustelo in the French press may be just the right thing for you.
  • You’re going to have to work your plunger a bit harder and more slowly when using Café Bustelo in your French press. This is because the finer grind of the coffee leaves less room for water to flow through the French press’ metal sieve.
  • As mentioned, the finer the grind, the more coffee grounds you’ll see in the bottom of your cup. If you prefer no grounds in your coffee cup, buy whole bean Café Bustelo and grind it more coarsely. Or, opt for another coffee for your French press.
  • Café Bustelo is a relatively inexpensive coffee. However, it might be a bit more expensive than your grocery store brands. Keep the price point in mind when picking the right coffee for your French press.

Features & Benefits

Café Bustelo in the French press is a great alternative to traditional espresso. If you like espresso drinks, but don’t have an espresso maker or want to avoid the priciness of espresso from your local coffee shop, consider using Café Bustelo in your French press.

Café Bustelo in the French press is also a great idea if you like gritty or sludgy coffee, like Greek or Turkish Coffee. As mentioned before, because the grind is finer with Café Bustelo, you should expect some grounds to make it through your metal sieve and into your cup. If this is the type of coffee you prefer, Café Bustelo in the French press may be just the right coffee for you.

How to Brew Café Bustelo in the French Press

  1. Scoop Café Bustelo into the bottom of your French press. Typically, you’ll use one tablespoon of coffee for every cup of water. However, because Café Bustelo is stronger than your typical ground coffee, you may opt to use less. A little goes a long way with Café Bustelo.
  2. If you like a sweet cup of coffee, you can add sugar or a flavored syrup along with your Café Bustelo at this point. Adding sugar now, as opposed to after you pour the coffee into your cup, allows the sugar to caramelize a bit more because it’s contacting the water at its hottest point.
  3. Heat water using a kettle or pot on the stove. The water should be around 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. You can generally achieve this temperature by bringing water to a boil, then allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes.
  4. Pour water slowly into your French press, covering the Café Bustelo grounds without splashing coffee up around the sides of your French press. The less you splatter around the sides, the less sludge you’ll have in the bottom of your cup.
  5. Stir the water and Café Bustelo to ensure you have an even mixture.
  6. Place the filter plunger over the top of the coffee and water mixture. Allow the coffee to steep. Ordinarily, you’ll let French press coffee steep for 4-5 minutes. However, because Café Bustelo is a stronger coffee, you may opt to let it steep for less time. You can even cut the time in half (2-2.5 minutes) and still have a full-bodied cup of coffee.
  7. Press the plunger down to filter the coffee from the grounds. Keep in mind, because Café Bustelo is a finer ground coffee, you’ll need to push the plunger down harder and more slowly than you would for a regular cup of Joe.
  8. Check out this video for a full tutorial on brewing Café Bustelo in your French press.

About Café Bustelo

Café Bustelo is a Latin-style espresso coffee first introduced to the United States in East Harlem in the early twentieth century. You can find ground Café Bustelo in various forms, including cans, canisters, bricks, and instant coffee. Café Bustelo also offers a decaf variety in cans. Café Bustelo’s Supreme line of espresso is also available in bags in a whole bean variety.

Because Café Bustelo is an Arabica coffee, it has less caffeine and bitterness than you might find in other coffees. With its low price-point for an espresso ground coffee, Café Bustelo is as friendly on the wallet as it is on the tongue.

Café Bustelo is renowned for its strong taste and body. Expect a bold, intense coffee with a hint of bitterness. Some describe the under notes of Café Bustelo as raisin-like, a hallmark of Latin American coffees. Because it’s a bold, full-bodied coffee, many users prefer to cut their Café Bustelo with milk to achieve a richer, slightly milder body to their coffee.

Alternatives & Conclusion

Café Bustelo is a rich espresso ground coffee. While you can absolutely use Café Bustelo in your French press, you want to keep some things in mind. Expect a strong, bitter coffee with some sludge in your cup. If you want to avoid the sludge, buy Café Bustelo in the whole bean variety and grind it more coarsely than you normally would for espresso.

Of course, Café Bustelo is not the only coffee you can use in your French press. If you prefer something milder, choose a blonde or medium roast coffee for your French press. If you like strong coffee from your French press, but don’t want the sludge, opt for regular grind French roast.

Whatever coffee you choose, follow the directions for French press brewing closely. You want to get the most out of your French press experience, so be sure to follow directions. Check out Roasty Coffee’s Guide to French Press Coffee to decide on the right coffee and equipment for you.

If you like strong, Latin-style coffee, Café Bustelo in the French press may be just the right experience for you. And don’t forget, for the full experience, mix in a little milk and sugar with your French-pressed Café Bustelo. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy Caffeinating!

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