Can a French Press Make Cold Brew?

Randolf Fredric

Are you a fan of iced coffee and looking for a simple and cost-effective way to brew your own cold brew at home? Well, you’ll be delighted to know that your trusty French press can come to the rescue! Yes, that right—your favorite coffee brewing device can double as a cold brew maker, allowing you to enjoy a delicious and refreshing cup of cold brew whenever you crave it. In this article, we will guide you through the easy process of using a French press for cold brew, so you can save money, customize your brew, and discover a whole new level of caffeinated satisfaction.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on using a French press for cold brew coffee! In this article, we will explore what exactly cold brew is, why it has gained popularity, and how you can make a delicious cold brew using a French press. We will also discuss some tips and advantages of using a French press for cold brew, as well as any potential disadvantages. So grab a cup of your favorite brew and let’s dive in!

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew is a unique method of brewing coffee that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, usually between 12 to 24 hours. Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brew eliminates the use of heat altogether. The result is a smooth, less acidic, and naturally sweeter coffee concentrate.

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Why Choose Cold Brew?

There are several reasons why cold brew has become increasingly popular among coffee enthusiasts:

1. Smooth and Low Acidic Flavor

The slow extraction process of cold brewing produces a coffee with significantly less acidity compared to traditional hot brewing methods. This makes cold brew easier on the stomach and provides a smoother, less bitter taste profile.

2. Versatility

Cold brew can be enjoyed as is, on its own, or used as a base for various coffee beverages. It can be diluted with water or milk, and mixed with syrups, flavors, or even alcoholic spirits to create unique and refreshing drinks.

3. Extended Shelf Life

Due to its low acidity and concentrated nature, cold brew can last for up to two weeks when stored properly in the refrigerator. This makes it an ideal brewing method for those who prefer to prepare larger batches in advance.

How to Make Cold Brew with a French Press

Making cold brew with a French press is a straightforward process. Follow these simple steps:

1. Coarsely Grind Coffee Beans

Start by grinding your favorite coffee beans to a coarse consistency. This helps with the extraction process and prevents over-extraction, which can result in a bitter brew.

2. Add Coffee Grounds to the French Press

Measure out the desired amount of coffee grounds and place them in the French press. A general guideline is to use a ratio of 1:4 coffee to water. For example, if you use 1 cup of coffee grounds, add 4 cups of cold water.

3. Add Cold Water

Pour cold water into the French press, ensuring all the coffee grounds are saturated. Give it a gentle stir to make sure all the grounds are fully immersed in the water.

4. Steep for 12 to 24 Hours

Once the coffee and water are combined, cover the French press with its lid (but don’t plunge it yet!). Place it in the refrigerator and let it steep for 12 to 24 hours. The longer you steep, the stronger the concentrate will be.

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5. Plunge and Serve

After the desired steeping time, slowly press down the plunger of the French press to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed liquid. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a separate container, and it’s ready to serve!

Tips for a Delicious Cold Brew

To enhance your cold brew experience, consider the following tips:

1. Experiment with Coffee Beans

Try using different types of coffee beans to explore their unique flavors in cold brew. Lighter roasts often offer vibrant and fruity profiles, while darker roasts can provide deeper, chocolatey notes.

2. Water and Coffee Ratio

Experiment with different ratios of water to coffee until you find your preferred strength. Remember, a ratio of 1:4 is a good starting point, but feel free to adjust it based on your taste preferences.

3. Cold Brew Concentrate to Water Ratio

When serving your cold brew, dilute the concentrate with water, milk, or ice cubes according to your desired strength. Start with equal parts concentrate and water, and adjust to taste.

4. Brewing Time

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the steeping time. If you prefer a milder brew, opt for a shorter steeping period. For a stronger, more robust flavor, extend the steeping time accordingly.

5. Storage and Filtering

After steeping, transfer your cold brew concentrate into a separate container for storage. If desired, strain the concentrate through a fine mesh sieve or a paper filter to remove any sediment or coffee grounds.

The Advantages

Using a French press for cold brew offers several advantages:

1. Accessibility and Cost-effectiveness

A French press is a common household coffee brewing device, making it easily accessible and affordable for most coffee lovers. You don’t need any specialized equipment to enjoy a delicious and refreshing cold brew.

2. Control Over Brewing Process

With a French press, you have complete control over the brewing process, from the grind size to water and coffee ratios. This allows you to tailor the cold brew to your personal taste preferences.

3. Versatility

A French press is not limited to just cold brew. It can be used for hot coffee, loose leaf tea, and even frothing milk for lattes or cappuccinos. This versatility makes a French press a valuable addition to any coffee lover’s collection.

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While there are numerous advantages to using a French press for cold brew, there are a couple of potential downsides to consider:

1. Sediment in the Brew

Due to the absence of paper filters in a French press, some fine sediment may end up in your cold brew. This can result in a slightly gritty texture and may require additional straining if a clearer brew is desired.

2. Longer Brewing Time

Cold brewing, in general, requires a longer steeping time compared to hot brewing methods. This means you’ll need to plan ahead and allow ample time for your cold brew to steep before enjoying it.


In conclusion, using a French press for cold brew is a versatile and accessible method to create a smooth, less acidic coffee concentrate. By following the simple steps outlined above and experimenting with different variables, you can enjoy a delicious cold brew tailored to your taste preferences. Despite a few potential disadvantages, the advantages of using a French press for cold brew make it a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts. So why not grab your French press, some coffee beans, and embark on a delightful cold brew journey?

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use a French press for cold brew coffee?

Absolutely! A French press can be a great tool for making cold brew coffee. It’s simple to use and produces a smooth, rich flavor. Just make sure to adjust the brewing time and ratio of coffee to water accordingly.

What is the ideal coffee-to-water ratio for cold brew in a French press?

The ideal coffee-to-water ratio for cold brew in a French press is 1:4 or 1:5. This means you should use 1 part coarsely ground coffee to 4 or 5 parts cold water. However, you can adjust the ratio according to your personal preference. If you like a stronger brew, you can use a higher coffee-to-water ratio.

How long should I steep the coffee in a French press for cold brew?

The steeping time for cold brew in a French press is typically around 12-24 hours. This long steeping time allows the coffee to slowly extract flavors from the grounds, resulting in a smoother and less acidic brew. However, you can experiment with shorter or longer steeping times to find your desired strength and flavor profile.

Can I use hot water in a French press to make cold brew faster?

No, it is not recommended to use hot water in a French press for cold brew. Cold brew coffee requires a slow extraction process using cold or room temperature water. Using hot water will result in a different taste profile and may produce a more bitter and acidic brew. It’s best to stick to the recommended cold water method for the best results.

How should I store my cold brew in a French press?

After steeping the coffee in the French press, it’s advisable to transfer the cold brew to a separate container for storage. Leaving the coffee grounds in the French press for an extended period can lead to over-extraction and a bitter taste. Store your cold brew in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and flavor for up to 1 week. Remember to give it a good stir before serving, as the coffee concentrate tends to settle at the bottom.

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Randolf Fredric

Randolf Fredric

A young brewmaster of words, crafting captivating tales over coffee's rhythmic symphony, stirring minds with each blog post.


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