Do you need a special brewing device to make cold brew at home? No, you can just use your French Press! It’s a quick way to replicate your favorite cold brew coffee on hot summer days, at least as quick as making cold brew, that is.
It’s not as brew-haha as you might think. The French press method is, by far, the easiest and most convenient way to make cold brew – no coffee filter or special equipment needed.
Getting ready with cold brewing for the summer? Here’s how to make cold brew using a French press, a list of everything you’re going to need, plus the ideal ratio to get the best, smoothest, French press cold brew flavor!
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Can You Make Cold Brew in a French Press? Why Use a French Press?
Absolutely! Although a French press is traditionally used to make hot coffee, it also does an excellent job when it comes to cold brewing. In short, this device is multifunctional. And do you know what that means? It’s less brewing gear on your counter (less money spent), whether you like hot or cold brew.
But why should you use a French Press for making cold brew?
Convenience – a French press has everything you need to make a cold brew, the carafe where you can immerse coffee grounds in cold water, and a built-in filter for filtering out large coffee particles.
Simple process – you can basically make cold brew in three steps: steep, plunge, and drink! No drip rate to manipulate. You can even store your filtered cold brew concentrate back inside the French press.
Is there a catch? There is, but nothing deal breaker. You only need to use a slightly different ratio than the traditional cold brew method, and you might want to use a coarser ground. Micro-grounds do tend to pass through the filters and into your cold brew concentrate.
How to Make a Cold Brew in a French Press?
Here’s a quick list of everything you need to have and know about making cold brew using a French press.
What Do You Need?
Making French press cold brew only requires a few basic tools you most likely already have:
- Coffee beans – best for making fresher tasting cold brew
- Coffee grinder – if you’re using coffee beans (recommended), skip when using pre-ground beans
- French press coffee maker
- Filtered water – it’s best for making coffee of any kind for the best flavor.
- Sealable container for storage
- Some type of secondary filter (optional)
Choosing Your Coffee
What is the best coffee to use for cold brew?
You can use any of your favorite coffee beans, but medium to dark roast coffee beans are best for cold brew. The darker the roast, the richer flavored your French press cold brew coffee will be. Dark roast, in particular, will have chocolaty, nutty flavors.
But in the end, the grind size matters more. Coarsely ground beans are the optimal grind size for making cold brew in a French press. If you don’t get the cold brew flavor you want, slowly work your way to a finer ground until you have the flavor profile you like.
French Press Ratio for Cold Brew
The secret to making the best cold brew using a French press is the correct ratio!
While a standard cold brew calls for a 1:5 coffee to water ratio by weight, 1:7 ground to water is ideal for making a high-strength French press cold brew.
That is because French press coffee tends to produce a more intense flavor since it doesn’t filter out the superfine coffee particles.
Here’s a table to help you find the right French Press ratio for a cold brew for you:
Coffee to Water Ratio
High Strength French Press
Low Strength French Press
Another way to get the French press cold brew ratio right is to choose the amount of water to dilute your filtered cold brew concentrate. To serve, use a cold brew concentrate to water ratio of 1:1. And if you’re serving it with ice cubes, make sure to subtract that from the amount of water you need.
Step-by-Step to Cold Brew Using French Press
Cold brewing is an incredibly forgiving method, but it’s even more convenient when using French. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Get Your Beans (and Water) Ready
With a French press cold brewing ratio of 1:7, get your beans ready. The best way to get this ratio right is to use a kitchen scale and weigh out seven times as much water as the coffee you’re going to use.
Use a good burr grinder to grind your coffee beans in a coarse setting. It should be slightly coarser than you would normally use. You don’t want to use fine grounds for this as they will likely over-extract and will make your cold brew taste bitter and more astringent than it should.
Step 2: Mix Coffee Grounds & Water
Combine your fresh coffee grounds and water with the plunger pulled up in the French press. You might be tempted to stir the mixture at this point but remember to do it gently. You only want to ensure that all coffee grounds are submerged.
Step 3: Let It Sit for 12 Hours (or More)
Now comes the easiest but also the most frustrating part of making cold brew – the steeping time. The steeping time for cold brew varies depending on the grind size, but usually, you want to give the brew at least 12 hours to sit at room temperature.
If you placed it inside the fridge, the cold brewing time could be roughly around 36 hours. Either way, even if you’re tempted to enjoy your coffee now, let the grounds soak up for at least a day to achieve adequate extraction. Otherwise, you might only end up with coffee-flavored water.
Step 4: Plunge and Pour
After long hours of waiting time, it’s time to press the plunger down but do so slowly. And you might want to avoid pressing the plunger all the way down to keep from agitating the grounds.
With the screen filter in place and stable, you can pour your fresh cold brew inside a sealable container to enjoy and for storage.
Step 5: Filter the Cold Brew Concentrate
This step is optional but best observed if you want a smoother French press cold brew coffee. If you’ve used a French press before, you know how its metal screen isn’t the best when it comes to filtering out the finer coffee sediments. So, you want a secondary filter for that. You may use any coffee filter or cheesecloth for that.
Step 6: Enjoy!
Dilute your cold brew concentrate and enjoy. Simply add water and ice cubes and sip! But there are plenty of ways to enjoy French press cold brew coffee. Feel free to experiment with various cold brew recipes.
For the rest of your cold brew, store it in the fridge. Undiluted concentrates inside an airtight container can last for two weeks when refrigerated.
How to Make a Cold Brew Without a French Press
Don’t have a French press? There are other ways to make a cold brew at home.
A mason jar is another simple (and cheap) way to make a cold brew at home without spending a penny on any brewing equipment. Just let your ground coffee and water sit inside the jar for at least 12 hours and strain out the larger grounds using a mesh strainer, then a paper filter.
Cold Brew Device
You can use different types of cold brew coffee makers – immersion, slow drip, and automatic cold brew coffee makers. They can make the best cold brew at home. No barista necessary!
Do you have an AeroPress? Then you can make a cold brew coffee – add the grinds and water, invert the AeroPress and steep for 12-24 hours, and plunge it down or let it drip.
Voila, you now have cold brew coffee at home! No matter what device you use to make cold brew, if it’s made right, cold brew coffee simply tastes divine.
- 4.25 ounces (125 grams) of Coarsly Ground Coffee
- 34 ounces (1 litre) of Filtered Water
- French press (34 ounce)
- Coffee grinder (optional)
- Sealable container for storage
- Some type of secondary filter (optional)
- Weigh out the coffee beans and water using a kitchen scale.
- Use a good burr grinder to grind your coffee beans in a coarse setting. Fine grounds for this as they will likely over-extract so you want to avoid this.
- Add coffee and water to the French Press, stir the coffee gently before adding the lid.
- Allow the coffee to steep for 12 hours at room temperature.
- Once ready, plunge the cold brew and pour it into a jug or mason jar.
Serving Cold Brew Concentrate
As it's concentrated coffee you need to dilute the coffee before drinking to get the best cold brew taste. Start with a 1:1 cold brew concentrate to cold water ratio and adjust per your taste and add some ice or any other additions like oat milk or syrups.
For 8 ounce (236 millilitres) glass
- 4 ounces (118 millilitres) of Cold Brew Concentrate
- 4 ounces (118 millilitres) of water or plant-based milk (you can adjust these ratios so 50/50 water and milk as an example)
- Serve in an 8-ounce (236 millilitres) glass with ice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 55mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
I am not a doctor or a dietician. The information I have presented and written within this site is intended for informational purposes only.