For a year I used an Espresso maker to make my morning cup of jo. Recently my maker broke and I decided to try out a french press. I originally though that the espresso maker would be stronger because it forced steam through the granules, but now am starting to lean towards a french press as long as I let it sit in the water for longer than around 5 minutes. I am basing everything on theories right now though, so I was wandering if anyone had any evidence supporting the facts on either side.
If you are making just a regular black coffee, French Press would be a superior brewing method. There are a lot of different camps on this, but rarely does an espresso machine get listed as a preferred method of brewing a cup of coffee (technically you are making Americanos I suppose since you would be diluting the espresso extract with water?)
As for a discussion of preferred brewing methods, it depends on what you are after. French Press tends to lend additional body and heaviness to a cup of coffee. This is predominantly due to the fact that the water is in extended contact with the grounds (4-5 minutes) which allows less soluble molecules to extract from the grounds. These less soluble molecules tend to have higher atomic weight, which lends a heavier mouthfeel (Modulating the Roast touches on this). Additionally, french press doesn't filter out fines. This adds body, but also muddles lighter flavors in the coffee.
If you are after a cleaner more defined cup of coffee, then I would point you to pour over or even a high quality drip brewer (Bonavita makes great coffee imo). You are going to get better extract filtration, and the timing with water touching grounds tends to highlight the more delicate flavors in the coffee.
Right now I am sipping on a cup of Ethiopian that has a strong raspberry flavor to it even to the untrained palette. If I were to have brewed this in a French Press, that high note in the coffee would be obscured.
One more note and I'll stop rambling.. as for energy boost, I feel like espresso makes you crash and traditional brewing methods don't. That is my experience at least.
It is hard to tell which one is better quality, it depends on your taste preferences, but in strength, french press wins. Actually any type of filter coffee (V60, aeropress, frenchpress), since espresso is brewed for about 30s, while filter takes about 3 minutes. I used to think that espresso is strong, because of the taste, but it is relatively weak compared to the filter coffee.