Simple steps to craft cold brew coffee in a French press

Marlin Dariel

Alright, so picture this: you’re lounging around on a lazy weekend morning, in desperate need of a cup of joe to perk you up. But here’s the thing – it’s sweltering hot outside, and the thought of sipping a scorching hot coffee just doesn’t appeal to you. Well, you’re in luck! Enter cold brew coffee – a refreshingly smooth and delicious alternative. And here’s the best part – making it at home using a French press is as easy as pie! In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to create your own ice-cold, caffeine-packed goodness, perfect to combat the summer heat. Time to get brewing!


Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to make the perfect cold brew coffee in a French press! Cold brew coffee has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its smooth, low-acidity taste and refreshing qualities. In this article, we will explore what cold brew coffee is, why it has become a favorite among coffee enthusiasts, and how you can easily make it at home using a French press. So, grab your favorite beans, and let’s get started!

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a brewing method that involves steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically ranging from 12 to 24 hours. This slow extraction process extracts the flavors and caffeine from the coffee beans, resulting in a concentrated coffee concentrate that can be diluted to taste.

Why Choose Cold Brew Coffee?

There are several reasons why cold brew coffee has gained popularity:

  • Smooth and Bolder Flavor: Cold brew coffee is known for its smooth and bold flavor profile. The slow extraction process brings out the coffee’s richness and reduces the bitterness and acidity, resulting in a less acidic and well-rounded taste.
  • Lower Acidity: Cold brew coffee has lower acid levels compared to traditional hot brewed coffee. This makes it a suitable option for those with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux issues.
  • Reduced Bitterness: The cold brewing process minimizes the extraction of bitter compounds from coffee, leading to a sweeter and less bitter cup of coffee.
  • Versatility: Cold brew concentrate can be enjoyed in various ways – diluted with water or milk, over ice, or used as a base for specialty coffee beverages like iced lattes or mochas.
  • Longer Shelf Life: Once prepared, cold brew concentrate can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, allowing you to enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee whenever you desire.
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How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press

Making cold brew coffee using a French press is a straightforward and convenient method. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you brew the perfect cup:

What You’ll Need:

Before we dive into the brewing process, gather the following equipment and ingredients:

  • Coarsely ground coffee beans
  • A French press
  • Cold, filtered water
  • A stirring utensil
  • A timer

Step 1: Measure and Grind the Coffee

Start by measuring out your desired amount of coffee grounds. For a standard ratio, use 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. As cold brew is brewed as a concentrate, you can adjust the ratio based on your preference. Once measured, coarsely grind your coffee beans to ensure optimal flavor extraction.

Step 2: Add Coffee and Water to the French Press

Place the coarsely ground coffee into the French press. Slowly pour cold, filtered water over the coffee grounds, ensuring they are fully saturated. Use a stirring utensil to gently mix the coffee and water, making sure all the grounds are wet. Avoid agitating the coffee too vigorously to prevent extraction inconsistencies.

Step 3: Steep the Coffee

Once mixed, cover the French press with its plunger but do not plunge yet. Let the coffee steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. The longer you steep, the stronger the cold brew concentrate will be. It is recommended to steep for the full 24 hours for a rich and robust flavor.

Step 4: Plunge and Serve

After the desired steeping time has elapsed, slowly press the plunger down to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. This will help prevent over-extraction. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a separate container, ready to be enjoyed. For serving, dilute the concentrate with an equal amount of water or milk, and add ice if desired. Customize your cup to meet your taste preferences by adding sweeteners or flavors.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Brew Coffee

While cold brew coffee offers a delightful and unique brewing experience, it’s essential to consider its advantages and disadvantages:

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Advantages of Cold Brew Coffee

  • Smooth and Flavorful: Cold brew coffee provides a smoother and less acidic flavor profile compared to hot brewed coffee.
  • Extended Shelf Life: The concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, allowing you to savor a cup of cold brew whenever you desire.
  • Reduced Acidity: Cold brew coffee has lower acidity levels, making it a suitable option for individuals with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux.
  • Customizable Strength: As cold brew is brewed as a concentrate, you can easily adjust the strength by diluting it with water or milk to your preference.

Disadvantages of Cold Brew Coffee

  • Time-Consuming: The preparation process requires a longer steeping time of 12 to 24 hours, which may not be ideal for those who crave immediate coffee satisfaction.
  • Inconvenient for Daily Brewing: Cold brew coffee is often prepared in larger batches due to the steeping method. This may not be suitable for individuals who prefer brewing a fresh cup daily.
  • Requires Special Equipment: While a French press is commonly used, some cold brew coffee enthusiasts may opt for specialized equipment such as Toddy makers or slow drip towers.

10 Tips for the Best Cold Brew Coffee

To enhance your cold brew coffee experience, try incorporating the following tips:

1. Use Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans

For the best flavor, use high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans. Choose a variety that suits your taste preferences; light roasts offer bright and delicate flavors, while dark roasts provide a bolder and more robust taste.

2. Experiment with Coffee-to-Water Ratios

While a 1:4 coffee-to-water ratio is commonly used, feel free to adjust it based on your preferred strength. You can reduce or increase the amount of coffee grounds to water for a weaker or stronger concentrate.

3. Opt for Coarse Grinds

When grinding your coffee beans, opt for a coarse grind size. This helps prevent over-extraction and minimizes the likelihood of sediment in the final cup.

4. Choose Filtered Water

Using filtered water is crucial in achieving a clean and pure-tasting cold brew. Filtered water helps eliminate any impurities or chlorine that may affect the coffee’s flavor.

5. Steep in the Refrigerator

While room temperature steeping is common, brewing your cold brew coffee in the refrigerator can help maintain freshness and minimize the risk of any bacterial growth during the steeping process.

6. Experiment with Steeping Time

Try steeping your cold brew for different durations, ranging from 12 to 24 hours, to find your preferred flavor strength. Remember, the longer you steep, the stronger the resulting concentrate will be.

7. Strain Properly

When plunging or straining your cold brew, ensure that all coffee grounds are separated from the liquid. This helps prevent over-extraction and ensures a clean cup of coffee.

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8. Dilute to Taste

Cold brew concentrate is highly concentrated and needs to be diluted before consumption. Experiment with different dilution ratios to find the perfect balance for your palate.

9. Store Properly

After brewing your cold brew coffee, store the concentrate in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its freshness and flavor for up to two weeks.

10. Get Creative with Serving

Don’t limit yourself to traditional cold brew preparations. Use your cold brew concentrate in various creative ways – as a base for iced drinks, add it to smoothies, or mix it into desserts for a delightful coffee twist.

Comparison Table: Cold Brew vs. Traditional Iced Coffee

Cold Brew Coffee Traditional Iced Coffee
Preparation Method Steeping coffee grounds in cold water for 12-24 hours Hot brewed coffee chilled over ice or brewed directly onto ice
Flavor Profile Smooth, low-acidity, and well-rounded Strong and acidic
Caffeine Content Higher caffeine content due to prolonged steeping Lower caffeine content, as hot water extracts caffeine more efficiently
Acidity Level Lower acidity, making it gentler on the stomach Higher acidity, which can cause digestive discomfort for some
Brewing Time Long steeping time required Quick brewing process

The Best Cold Brew Coffee in French Press: Conclusion

Now that you have learned the art of making cold brew coffee in a French press, you can embark on your delicious brewing journey. Remember to use high-quality coffee beans, experiment with the steeping time, and have fun customizing your cold brew according to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer it diluted with water, milk, or enjoyed black over ice, cold brew coffee in a French press is a fantastic way to enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee. Cheers to the perfect cup of cold brew coffee!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: How long should I steep the coffee in a French press to make cold brew?

A: To make cold brew coffee in a French press, it is recommended to steep the coffee grounds in cold water for at least 12 hours. However, steeping the grounds for a longer period, such as 24 hours, can result in a stronger and more flavorful cold brew. Experiment with different steeping times to find your preferred taste.

Q: Can I use regular coffee grounds for making cold brew in a French press?

A: Yes, you can use regular coffee grounds to make cold brew in a French press. However, it is recommended to use a coarser grind size to avoid sediment in your coffee. A coarse grind size will also make it easier to separate the grounds from the liquid after steeping. If you have the option, opt for a coffee with a medium to dark roast as they tend to bring out richer flavors in cold brew.

Q: Can I use hot water instead of cold water to make cold brew in a French press?

A: No, it is not recommended to use hot water when making cold brew in a French press. The purpose of using cold water is to extract the coffee’s flavors slowly and reduce the acidity compared to hot brewing methods. Using hot water can result in a more bitter and acidic brew. Stick to cold water for the best results.

Q: Should I dilute the cold brew concentrate before drinking?

A: Yes, cold brew concentrate is quite strong, so it is advisable to dilute it with water or milk according to your taste preferences. A common ratio is 1 part cold brew concentrate to 2 or 3 parts water or milk. However, you can always adjust the ratio to achieve your desired strength. Diluting the concentrate will also help to reduce the natural bitterness and mellow out the flavor.

Q: How should I store the cold brew made in a French press?

A: Once you have finished steeping the coffee grounds in a French press to make cold brew, it is best to transfer the liquid into a separate container. Store the cold brew in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This way, it can stay fresh for up to a week. Make sure to give the cold brew a stir before serving, as natural separation may occur during storage.

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Marlin Dariel

A seasoned coffee connoisseur, reviews coffee shops, recommends unique places to enjoy a great cup of coffee. "Every coffee bean has an interesting story"


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