Why do we love cold brew coffee? It tastes smoother with less acidity and bitterness, and best of all, it’s ridiculously easy to make at home!
Most coffee lovers have a French press coffee maker sitting somewhere collecting dust at home. It’s time to bring your hidden French Press out of the cabinet and make great cold brew coffee in just a few steps.
French Press Cold Brew Recipe
- French Press
- Kitchen Scale
- Coffee Grinder If you grind whole bean coffee instead of using pre-ground coffee
- Spoon You'll need a spoon to stir the coffee to make sure all the ground coffee is evenly saturated
- Filter paper To get rid of the fine coffee grounds
- 50 grams coarsely ground coffee
- 300 ml filtered water
- Weight and grind coffee beans, aim for a coarse grind size.
- Pour the ground coffee to the French press, add water and stir.
- Let it sit for 12-24 hour in room temperature.
- Press the plunger down to filter the ground coffee.
- Dilute it with iced water and serve.
- Pour the remaining coffee concentrate into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- The mesh filter in the French press is not fine enough to stop all the finer particles from getting into your cup. If you have a pour over or drip coffee maker at home, use their filter paper to filter the coffee again to ensure a cleaner cup of coffee.
- It’d be awesome if you have a kitchen scale so you can weigh the exact amount of coffee grounds and water. It’s always good to have a benchmark record of making adjustments if the taste doesn’t meet your expectations. And once you find the perfect taste, you can exactly repeat it next time.
- There are lots of cold brewing coffee recipes, which are similar as long as you figure out the ratio of the ingredients and steep time. You can make adjustments base on your taste preferences.
Before Making French Press Cold Brew
Here are a few things you need to know before making cold brew with a French press.
Coffee to Water Ratio
The coffee-to-water ratio we use for French press cold brew concentrate is 1:6. In other words, if you use 50 grams of coffee beans and you’ll make 300 grams (10 oz) of coffee.
However, the coffee grounds will absorb the water, so in the end, you will get less than 300 grams (10 oz) of coffee. In our recipe, we weigh the brewed coffee on a scale, only 221 grams in the mug.
Then you can use one part of concentrated coffee and dilute it with one or two parts of water or milk. In the end, you will get about 2-3 cups.
Grind Size – Coarsely Ground coffee
The grind size for French press cold brew is similar to ground peppercorns. Coarsely ground coffee is best for cold brew since the water and coffee will have a long contact time. The coffee will be over-extracted if the grounds are too fine.
It’d be great if you have a burr grinder for more consistent coarseness.
Filtered water at room temperature
Both cold or room temperature water work. If your tap water doesn’t taste good, use filter water instead.
Best Coffee beans for Cold Brew
Any coffee beans will work for cold brew. Many people will just use stale and old coffee grounds to make cold brew coffee since this method is very forgiving.
Due to the low temperature, the coffee beans’ oils are more difficult to release, the same as other bitter, acidic or more complicated compounds. So it makes a less noticeable difference between old and fresh beans.
Even though we still recommend using fresh beans to make cold brew, some more fruity profiles still present in the final cups to make the coffee more wonderful.
Brew Time For French Press Cold Brew
The ideal brew time for making cold brew in a French press can range from 12 to 24 hours, depending on your taste preference. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the coffee taste.
It’s a long process, but luckily you’ll have coffee concentrate that you can dilute into a few cups of cold brew coffee. It is worth the waiting.
Step-by-Step Guide for Making Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press
1. Weight and Grind Coffee Beans
Pick your favorite coffee beans. You’ll need to use a coarser grind, which is slightly coarser than the grind size for French Press. Pour the grounds into the French press.
2. Add water to the French Press
Add 300 grams of filtered water to the French Press, give it a stir using a spoon, and make sure you wet through all the coffee grounds.
3. Let it sit for 12-24 hours
Now everything is ready, you can put the plunger on top of the French press and keep it 1-2 inches below the lid. Don’t press the plunger down.
Then put the French press in someplace and set an alarm clock after 18 hours. Go to sleep or do something else.
4. Press the plunger (18 hours later)
Finally, the cold brew coffee is almost ready to drink. Press the plunger down to separate the coffee grounds and coffee. Then you can pour it into a mason jar or other container with an airtight lid. The cold brew coffee concentrate is ready to serve.
5. Extra Filter (Optional)
The permanent mesh filter of a French press can filter out most of the larger coffee particles. However, some smaller particles still will get into your coffee and make a gritty cup of coffee. Filter it again using filter paper can give you a cleaner cup of coffee. If you don’t have filter papers at home, you can skip this step.
Tips: If you don’t use filter paper, try to press the plunger more gently and decant the coffee slowly. By doing this, less residue will go into your cup.
6. Dilute the Coffee Concentrate and serve
It’s time to enjoy the delicious cold brew coffee. Even if you are a big fan of strong coffee like espresso, you’d better not drink the cold brew concentrate directly. It’s highly caffeinated and strong. You’ll need to dilute it with either water or milk.
You can add one cup of cold brew coffee concentrate, one or two cups of water, and a few ice cubes.
If you like milk-based coffee, just replace the water with milk or soy milk using the same method.
7. Store the rest in the fridge
If you have some coffee concentrate left, you can put the airtight jar into the fridge and keep it for up to 2 weeks. And get a cup of cold brew coffee anytime you want simply by adding some water or milk to dilute it.
Final thought – Why We Love Cold Brew Coffee
Cold brew coffee is super easy to make, and it doesn’t require fancy coffee makers if you know how to make cold brew at home following the guide above.
We also shared a guide on making cold brew in a mason jar, which is a cheap and straightforward method. However, using a French press produces better results, as the mesh filter makes separating the coffee grounds much easier, without the need for cheesecloth or a strainer.
While waiting for 12-24 hours for the steeping process may seem daunting, once you have made a large batch of cold brew, it takes less than 10 seconds to make a refreshing iced coffee in the morning. Simply add some cold-brewed coffee concentrate, dilute it with cold water, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to spend several minutes boiling water or waiting for a coffee maker.
The taste of cold-brew coffee is truly delightful. It retains the coffee flavor while removing any harsh bitterness and acidity. It is also less acidic than drip coffee and milder than espresso, making it a gentler drink that is less likely to cause digestive issues.
Furthermore, you’ll save a lot of money by making your own cold brew instead of buying it from a coffee shop every day.
Nothing is more wonderful than enjoying a cup of cold coffee beverage like this in the hot summer.