How to Make Cold Brew in a French Press

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Your French press isn’t just for strong coffee. Sure, it makes a rich cup you adore, but why not explore more? It’s time to discover its full potential and try new things!

Let’s dive into making cold brew with a French press! First, we’ll explore what cold brew coffee is and why a French press is the ideal gadget for whipping up this delicious drink.

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

An iced cup of cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee is created by steeping coffee grounds in cool water. It’s an easy, low-effort process, but patience is key—it takes over 12 hours! What you get is a strong coffee concentrate, which is usually watered down to taste just like your regular drip coffee.

Cold brew and iced coffee are two different drinks. Iced coffee is simply hot coffee cooled down with ice. But, cold brew is special – it’s made without any heat at all. This means you can add ice to cold brew without watering down its rich flavor, giving it a big advantage over iced coffee.

What’s So Great About Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee captures the hearts of many with its one-of-a-kind taste. It’s smoother and gentler than hot or iced coffee, often boasting chocolate, nut, or earthy flavors. Unlike hot coffee, it usually skips the fruity or floral notes, offering a unique sipping experience for coffee enthusiasts.

Cold brew is a gentle option for your tummy, thanks to its low acid levels. It’s perfect for those who love coffee but struggle with stomach problems or acid reflux. Just remember to water it down a bit, as its strong caffeine kick might upset sensitive stomachs.

Why Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press?

Making cold brew is a breeze! If you have a French press at home, you’re all set. Just add your coffee and water, and the plunger does the hard work of filtering for you. Though a cold brew pitcher is the top choice for simplicity, using a French press is a fantastic alternative. So, why not give it a try?

Choosing Beans for French Press Cold Brew

A hand holding coffee beans, like the beans you might use for French press cold brew coffee

Selecting the perfect coffee for cold brew is key to mastering its distinctive taste. Cold brew is naturally smooth, so opting for a rich-flavored bean can enhance your experience. However, embracing its inherent softness is also a delightful choice. There’s no wrong way to enjoy it!

Dive into the world of cold brew with Colombian coffee beans, a top pick among enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on Sumatran coffees either, known for their rich, earthy, and nutty tastes that make cold brews truly stand out.

When shopping for pre-ground coffee for cold brew, look for bags marked as coarsely-ground, cold brew grind, or French press grind. Avoid standard drip or espresso grinds, as they’re too fine for cold brew. However, for the freshest taste and more variety, I suggest grinding your own coffee beans. Check out how to do it here.

How Long Does French Press Cold Brew Last?

When you mix water with your cold brew, it lasts as long as regular coffee. Whether it’s hot-brewed or watered-down cold brew, coffee spoils after a few hours out or a few days in the fridge.

Storing your cold brew concentrate in the fridge lets you enjoy it for up to two weeks. Though its taste might dip after a few days, it stays fresh 2-4 times longer than regular coffee. Perfect for sipping over time!

 French Press Cold Brew Recipe

A french press coffee maker and coffee grinder

What you’ll need

  • 1 and 1/4 cups coffee beans or coarse-ground coffee. 
  • 3 cups water (filtered). It doesn’t have to be filtered, but tap water often has impurities that can impact the flavor of the coffee. You can use either cold water or room-temperature water.
  • Extra filtered water to dilute
  • A coffee grinder. Only if you are using whole bean coffee.
  • A French press coffee maker. 

For a perfect cold brew, we start with a 1:7 coffee-to-water mix. Want it stronger or milder? Check my calculator for easy adjustments.

Step-by-step instructions

Coarse grind coffee, with a dime for size comparison
  1. Grind your coffee beans (If using whole bean coffee). You want grinds that are about the size of ground peppercorn. That should be a coarse or extra-coarse setting on your coffee grinder. If you only have a blade grinder or if your grinder doesn’t have a coarse grind setting, you should either switch to pre-ground coffee or get a French press coffee grinder.
  2. Add the grounds. Pour the grounds into the bottom of your French press.
  3. Pour the water. Gently add water to the grounds. 
  4. Stir the coffee. With a long spoon, mix the water and grounds until all of the grounds are immersed and no clumps remain at the bottom.
  5. Let the coffee brew. Cover your French press, but don’t press the plunger down. Set the French press aside for at least 12 hours (24 hours is better) to let the coffee steep. You can do this at room temperature or in your refrigerator. If using the refrigerator (which I do suggest), definitely let the coffee brew for the full 24 hours.  
Making coffee with some of the best coffees for French press lovers.
  1. Filter the grounds. Press the plunger all the way down to strain away the grounds. You can then pour the filtered cold brew into another mug. Some French press filters still leave residue (especially if you aren’t using extra-coarse grounds), so you may prefer to pour the concentrate through a regular coffee filter to eliminate any remaining grounds. 
  2. Dilute your coffee. Your cold brew concentrate is ready, but you’ll likely want to dilute it before drinking. Start with a 1:1 concentrate-to-water ratio, but feel free to dilute it further if the flavor is too strong or if it gives you too much of a buzz. A 1:2 or even 1:3 ratio is about right for the average cold brew coffee drinker.
  3. Enjoy! Drink your cold-brewed cup of coffee as-is, with ice, or even heated. 

The Coolest Use for a French Press

French presses aren’t just old school; they’re a gateway to endless coffee adventures. From the chill vibes of cold brew to the bold kick of French press espresso, there’s a world of flavors waiting in hundreds of recipes. Dive in and explore!

Ready to impress? Use your French press cold brew magic to whip up nitro cold brew at home. Imagine the look on your friends’ faces when you serve up their favorite fancy coffee shop drink, made by you!

cold brew coffee french press 1

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