Mastering cold brew with a French press

Randolf Fredric

If you’re looking to step up your cold brew game and want to explore alternative brewing methods, a French press might just be your go-to tool. Forget about intricate gadgets and complicated procedures – using a French press for cold brew is a relaxed and straightforward approach that results in a smooth and refreshing coffee concentrate. With its simple design and easy-to-use technique, a French press can be your new best friend when it comes to whipping up a delicious batch of cold brew with minimal effort. So, grab your French press and get ready to embark on a flavor-packed journey into the world of cold brew coffee.

Introduction to Using French Press for Cold Brew

What is a French Press?

A French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, is a popular brewing device used to make coffee. It consists of a cylindrical glass or stainless steel container with a lid and a plunger. The plunger has a mesh filter attached to it.

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Why Choose a French Press for Cold Brew?

Cold brew coffee is known for its smooth and bold flavor. It is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period, typically 12 to 24 hours. Using a French press for cold brew offers several advantages:

  • The French press allows for full immersion of the coffee grounds, resulting in a flavorful extraction.
  • It provides a convenient and easy-to-use method for brewing cold brew coffee.
  • The French press has a larger capacity than other coffee makers, making it suitable for brewing larger batches.
  • It allows for more control over the brewing time and strength of the cold brew.

How to Use a French Press for Cold Brew?

To make delicious cold brew coffee using a French press, follow these steps:

Step 1: Coarsely Grind Your Coffee Beans

Start by grinding your coffee beans to a coarse consistency. This ensures optimal extraction and prevents over-extraction, resulting in a bitter taste.

Step 2: Measure and Add Coffee Grounds to the French Press

Measure the desired amount of coffee grounds based on the strength and volume of cold brew you wish to make. A general ratio is 1 part coffee grounds to 4 parts water. Add the coffee grounds to the French press.

Step 3: Add Cold Water

Pour cold, filtered water into the French press over the coffee grounds. Use a gentle circular motion to ensure all the grounds are saturated.

Step 4: Stir and Let It Steep

Gently stir the coffee grounds and water to fully submerge the grounds. Place the lid on the French press but do not press down the plunger. Let the coffee steep at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

Step 5: Press and Serve

After the steeping time has elapsed, slowly press down the plunger of the French press. This will separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. Pour the cold brew coffee into a separate container or directly into serving glasses. Dilute it with water or milk to achieve the desired strength.

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Step 6: Store and Enjoy

If you have leftover cold brew, transfer it to a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to one week. Serve over ice whenever you need a refreshing cup of cold brew coffee.

Advantages of Using a French Press for Cold Brew

Using a French press for cold brew offers several advantages:

  • Full flavor extraction: The French press allows the coffee grounds to fully immerse in water, resulting in a rich and flavorful cold brew.
  • Ease of use: The French press is a simple and straightforward brewing method that does not require any complex machinery or techniques.
  • High capacity: The French press is designed to handle larger volumes of cold brew, making it suitable for serving multiple people or storing for later use.
  • Customizable strength: You have complete control over the brewing time and coffee-to-water ratio, allowing you to create a cold brew with your preferred strength.

Disadvantages of Using a French Press for Cold Brew

While the French press offers many benefits, there are also a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Sediment in the coffee: Since the French press uses a mesh filter, some sediment may end up in the final cup of cold brew. This can result in a slightly gritty texture.
  • Longer brewing time: Compared to other brewing methods, cold brew made with a French press requires a longer steeping time of 12 to 24 hours.
  • Limited portability: The French press may not be the most portable option for making cold brew on-the-go due to its size and delicate glass construction.

Difference between French Press and Traditional Brewing

The brewing process and outcome vary significantly between using a French press and traditional brewing methods:

French Press Traditional Brewing
Full immersion of coffee grounds Water drips through coffee grounds
Requires coarser grind Requires finer grind
Steeping time of 12 to 24 hours Brewing time of a few minutes
Produces a bold and rich cold brew Produces a lighter and more acidic cup of hot coffee

Tips for Using a French Press for Cold Brew

Tip 1: Experiment with Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Adjust the amount of coffee grounds and water based on your taste preferences. Start with a 1:4 ratio and modify it as needed.

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Tip 2: Use Filtered Water

Using filtered water helps enhance the overall taste and clarity of the cold brew.

Tip 3: Customize the Steeping Time

The recommended steeping time for cold brew is 12 to 24 hours. However, you can experiment with shorter or longer steeping times to achieve different flavor profiles.

Tip 4: Store Cold Brew Properly

Transfer any leftover cold brew into a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its freshness and quality.

Tip 5: Enjoy Cold Brew in Various Ways

Cold brew can be enjoyed on its own, over ice, or mixed with milk or other flavorings to create delicious cold brew beverages.


In conclusion, using a French press for cold brew offers a convenient and flavorful way to enjoy this refreshing coffee beverage. By following the simple steps and tips provided, you can easily make your own delicious cold brew at home. Whether you prefer a strong or milder flavor, the French press allows for customization and control over the brewing process. So grab your French press, some quality coffee beans, and start brewing your own cold brew today!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: Can I use any type of coffee beans for cold brew in a French press?

Answer: Yes, you can use any type of coffee beans for cold brew in a French press. However, keep in mind that different coffee beans can produce different flavors and tastes, so choose one that suits your preferences. Some popular options for cold brew include medium and dark roast beans, as they tend to deliver a bolder flavor.

Question 2: How coarse should I grind the coffee beans for cold brew in a French press?

Answer: For cold brew in a French press, it is recommended to use a coarse grind size. This helps in achieving a smooth and less bitter cup of cold brew. The coarse grind also prevents the coffee grounds from passing through the plunger’s mesh, resulting in a clear and sediment-free beverage.

Question 3: How long should I steep the coffee in a French press for cold brew?

Answer: The steeping time for cold brew in a French press can vary based on personal preference and desired strength. Generally, steeping for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator is recommended. Steeping for a longer duration can yield a stronger and more concentrated flavor, while a shorter steeping time may result in a milder taste.

Question 4: Can I use hot water to make cold brew in a French press?

Answer: No, cold brew is specifically made with cold or room temperature water, not hot water. Differing from traditional hot brewing methods, cold brew is prepared by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for an extended period. This slow extraction process results in a smooth and less acidic coffee concentrate, which can be diluted with water or served over ice.

Question 5: How should I store the cold brew made in a French press?

Answer: Once you have prepared your cold brew in a French press, it is best to transfer it to an airtight container or jar for proper storage. You can keep the cold brew in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Remember to keep the container sealed tightly to preserve the flavors and prevent any odor interference from other food items in the refrigerator.

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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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