Cold Brew Coffee: A Guide to Making it in a French Press

Marlin Dariel

Ah, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing, smooth cup of cold brewed coffee on a hot summer’s day. If you’re yearning to recreate that cafĂ©-quality goodness from the comfort of your own kitchen, look no further than your trusty French press. This humble yet versatile brewing device can work its magic with a simple twist. So, whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a curious newbie, let’s embark on a delightful journey to discover the art of crafting the perfect cold brew using your friendly French press. Sit back, relax, and get ready to awaken your taste buds.

The Art of Making Cold Brewed Coffee in a French Press


Coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs often seek out various methods of brewing that can bring out the unique flavors and characteristics of their favorite beans. One such method gaining popularity is cold brewed coffee made in a French press. In this article, we will explore what cold brewed coffee is, why it has become so popular, and how to make a perfect cup using a French press. Whether you’re a coffee lover or just curious about this trendy beverage, read on to discover the secrets of crafting a delicious and refreshing cold brew.

What is Cold Brewed Coffee?

A Smooth and Flavourful Coffee Alternative

Cold brewed coffee is created by steeping coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, cold brewing extracts flavors using time instead of heat, resulting in a smoother and less acidic cup of coffee. The slow extraction process allows the natural sugars, oils, and subtle nuances of the coffee beans to meld together, offering a unique taste profile that sets it apart from hot brewed coffee.

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Why Cold Brew has Become So Popular

There are several reasons behind the surge in popularity of cold brewed coffee. Firstly, its smooth and mellow taste appeals to many individuals who find hot brewed coffee too bitter or harsh on their stomachs. Additionally, cold brew enthusiasts appreciate its versatility, as it can be enjoyed black, with milk, or even used as a base for various coffee-based beverages. Cold brew’s lower acidity often makes it easier on sensitive stomachs and teeth, making it an excellent option for people with such concerns.

Why Use a French Press?

A Versatile and Accessible Brewing Tool

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a brewing device that consists of a cylindrical glass or metal carafe and a plunger equipped with a fine metal mesh filter. This simple yet effective tool is an ideal choice for making cold brewed coffee due to its ease of use and brewing efficiency. The French press allows for full immersion of the coffee grounds in water, extracting maximum flavors and giving you more control over your brewing process. Furthermore, it is easily accessible and affordable for coffee enthusiasts of all levels.

How to Make Cold Brew in a French Press

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Coarsely grind your favorite coffee beans using a burr grinder. A coarse grind size ensures optimal extraction and prevents over-extraction.

2. Add the ground coffee into the French press carafe. A general ratio to follow is 1 part coffee to 4 parts water.

3. Pour cold or room temperature filtered water over the coffee grounds. Stir gently to ensure all the grounds are saturated.

4. Place the plunger lid on top of the French press but do not press down. Allow the coffee to steep at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. For a stronger brew, lean towards the longer end of the steeping time.

5. Once the steeping time is complete, slowly press down the plunger, separating the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee.

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6. Pour the cold brewed coffee into a separate container or directly into your serving glass. It is ready to be enjoyed as is or customized with your preferred add-ins.

Tips for Cold Brew Perfection

Experimenting with Ratios and Brewing Times

One of the exciting aspects of cold brewing in a French press is the ability to experiment with different ratios and brewing times to achieve the desired flavor profile. You can increase or decrease the amount of coffee used or adjust the steeping duration to customize the strength and taste of your cold brew. Keep in mind that a longer brewing time or a higher coffee-to-water ratio will result in a stronger and more concentrated brew.

Cold Brew Advantages and Disadvantages

Cold brew coffee offers several advantages, such as a smoother taste, reduced acidity, and enhanced sweetness. Its lower acidity ensures a gentler experience on the stomach and teeth. Additionally, the long shelf life of cold brew allows you to prepare a batch in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week, ready to be enjoyed whenever you desire.

However, it is important to note that cold brew has a different flavor profile compared to hot brewed coffee. Some individuals may prefer the bright and acidic notes found in hot coffee, and cold brew might not satisfy their preferences. Moreover, the longer brewing time and increased coffee-to-water ratio mean it requires more coffee grounds, making it potentially more expensive than hot brewed coffee.

Difference Between Cold Brew and Iced Coffee

Understanding the Distinct Brewing Methods

Cold brew and iced coffee are often confused, but they are distinctly different in terms of preparation and taste. While cold brew is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, iced coffee is made by brewing hot coffee and then rapidly chilling it with ice. Cold brew is known for its low acidity and smooth flavor, while iced coffee tends to retain the acidity and flavor characteristics of hot brewed coffee.

Making Your Choice: Cold Brew or Iced Coffee?

The choice between cold brew and iced coffee ultimately depends on personal preferences. If you prefer a smoother and less acidic coffee with a unique flavor profile, cold brew is the way to go. On the other hand, if you enjoy the familiar taste of hot brewed coffee with the refreshing coolness of ice, iced coffee will be your drink of choice. Feel free to explore both methods and discover which one satisfies your palate the most.

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In conclusion, cold brewed coffee in a French press offers coffee enthusiasts a delightful alternative to hot brewed coffee. Its smooth and mellow flavor, lower acidity, and versatility make it an appealing option for many. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can easily prepare your own cold brew at home using a French press. Remember to experiment with ratios and brewing times to find the perfect balance of flavors that suits your taste buds. Whether you choose cold brew or iced coffee, both methods have their own unique charm and are sure to satisfy your coffee cravings.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: Can I use regular coffee grounds for making cold brewed coffee in a French press?

Yes, you can use regular coffee grounds to make cold brewed coffee in a French press. However, it is recommended to use a coarser grind size to prevent any sediment from ending up in your final cup of cold brew. The ideal grind size for a French press is usually between medium-coarse and coarse, giving you a smoother and cleaner cup of cold brew.

Q2: How long should I steep the coffee in the French press for cold brew?

For cold brew made in a French press, the recommended steeping time is usually around 12 to 24 hours. It’s best to experiment with different steeping times to find your preferred strength and flavor. If you prefer a stronger brew, you can steep it closer to 24 hours, but if you prefer a lighter flavor, you can reduce the steeping time to around 12 hours.

Q3: Can I use hot water instead of cold water to make cold brewed coffee in a French press?

No, to make cold brewed coffee in a French press, it is essential to use cold or room temperature water. Cold brewing extracts the flavors and compounds from coffee beans slowly, resulting in a smoother and less acidic cup of coffee. Using hot water will speed up the extraction process and may lead to a bitter and over-extracted cold brew.

Q4: How long can I store cold brewed coffee made in a French press?

Cold brewed coffee made in a French press can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. It is recommended to transfer the cold brew to a sealed container or an airtight bottle to maintain its freshness and prevent any unpleasant odors from impacting the flavor. Remember to give the cold brew a gentle stir before serving, as sediment and coffee oils may settle at the bottom while in storage.

Q5: Can I heat up cold brewed coffee made in a French press?

Yes, you can certainly heat up cold brewed coffee made in a French press. Cold brew concentrate can be diluted with hot water or milk and then heated in a microwave or on a stovetop. Keep in mind that heating cold brew will alter its flavor profile, making it more similar to a regular hot cup of coffee. Adjust the amount of water or milk according to your desired strength and enjoy your warm cup of cold brew.

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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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