I love drinking hot brewed coffee, but the Summer months are the perfect time to change up my coffee drinks and enjoy a batch of cold brew coffee.
Straight over ice, with a touch or milk or your favorite coffee syrup, there are so many ways to enjoy a glass of cold brew.
Whilst there are many specialized cold brew coffee makers, it is also possible to make delicious tasting cold brew with french press coffee makers. Here we share the easiest of coffee drink recipes – how to make cold brew in a french press.
Why make Cold Brew In A French Press?
What I love about making cold brew in a french press is how cheap, quick and easy it is to make. There is no need for expensive equipment – just some good quality coffee beans immersed in water. We love this brewing method for hot coffee too!
Another reason why making cold brew coffee in a french press is a great option is how easy it is to strain your grinds once brewed.
Other methods need a cheesecloth or strainer to filter the grinds from your brew. With the french press, the plunger performs this function with skill in seconds.
If you love to make cold brew in french press coffee makers, it IS worth investing in a coffee press with a quality filter system. One that will seal the edges well and strain your grinds well to give you a pure tasting brew with no grittiness. This is a great option.
So let’s get into how to make cold brew coffee with a french press.
Below are the items you will need to follow our cold brew french press recipe:
- French press coffee maker
In addition, the following two items are nice to have, but not essential:
- Coffee grinder
- Glass carafe
If you don’t own a coffee grinder (we review the top ones for french press coffee here), try to buy freshly ground coarse coffee beans online, in store, or from your local cafe.
I am assuming you already have a french press, but if you don’t (or are looking to upgrade), we love this one by Cafe du Chateau.
This ingredient list is what I love so much about making cold pressed coffee – super short and easy. All you need is:
- Fresh coffee beans
- Cubed ice
- Milk or creamer (optional)
- Coffee syrup (optional)
Freshly roasted coffee beans are always best, for any kind of coffee drink (for reasons we share here).
Many different types of coffee beans are suitable for cold press coffee. Depending on their roast, you may want to adjust the immersion time. Dark roast beans will need less immersion time than medium or light roast coffee beans.
If you would like to try some of the best coffee beans for cold brew coffee, see our recommended list here.
If you have pre-ground coffee in the pantry, go ahead and brew it up. So long as it is not finely ground it will be fine. The aroma and flavor profile of your brew will not have the depth of freshly ground beans, but they should still produce a decent brew.
Then for next time, plan to buy some fresh cold brew beans like these ones!
How to Make Cold Brew In a French Press
Okay, so you have your equipment and ingredients ready, let’s get to it!
Step 1 – Grind the beans
Take your freshly roasted whole bean coffee beans and grind to a coarse grind (similar consistency to sea salt or rock salt).
The long immersion time enables better flavor extraction. A finer grind is likely to result in over extraction, which will increase the bitterness. It is also more difficult to filter fine coffee through the plunger, resulting in a muddy or silty coffee texture.
French Press cold brew ratio
In terms of the right cold brew coffee – french press ratio, there is a little bit of science and a lot of personal preference involved.
The recommended coffee to water ratio for homemade cold brew concentrate ranges from 1 part coffee grounds to 6 parts water all the way down to 1 part coffee to 3 parts water.
It really depends on the coffee roast style, the immersion time, how you like to drink your cold brew (diluted or over ice) and how strong you like your coffee.
I suggest you start with our ratio and adjust it the next time depending on how you enjoy the taste.
Step 2 – Place grinds in the french press and add Water
The next step is to remove the plunger from your carafe and place the coffee grinds in the base of your french press.
Add water to the carafe. When making cold brew with a french press you should use filtered water, but tap is actually fine to use in many regions. It isn’t necessary to use chilled water, but it is perfectly okay to use if that is what you have on hand.
There is no need to stir the coffee grounds, in fact it is better if you don’t. Use your spoon to gently push any dry coffee grounds on the top into the water so all grounds are wet.
Step 3 – Leave Your Cold Coffee Press to brew
Next is the easiest, but longest part of the recipe – waiting for it to brew.
Pop the plunger on top of the carafe, but do not push it down! Set the press aside at room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours (this is best done overnight).
If you don’t plan to drink the cold brew the next day, you can brew it in the fridge, as this will slow the brewing process down (but may also result in a thinner tasting coffee).
Step 4 – Pour Your French Press Cold Brew Coffee
Once the immersion time is up, slowly push the plunger down to filter the grinds from your cold brew.
There are quite a few different ways you can enjoy homemade cold brew concentrate:
- On ice – simply add ice cubes to your glass and pour the concentrate over ice.
- With milk – make an iced latte at home by placing ice in your glass, pour the cold brew half way, then top with milk or cream.
- Flavored – if you love to add flavors to your coffee, add your favorite coffee syrup or creamer to your glass then top with brewed cold coffee and/or milk. This syrup is delicious in cold brew coffee.
If you have left over coffee, decant into a pitcher or glass carafe, seal and place in the fridge. Unlike hot brewed coffee, cold brew coffee will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge if sealed.
Tips for Making French Press Cold Brew
For the best tasting cold brew coffee, use freshly ground cold brew coffee beans. We review 10 of the best cold brew coffee beans here.
For maximum freshness, grind coffee just before use. Don’t have a grinder? We review 10 of the best french press coffee grinders here. Otherwise, grind in store or ask your local cafe owner to grind your beans for you!
Cold brew is best brewed at room temperature. If you prefer to pop yours in the refrigerator to brew, add more brewing time.
The brewing process results in a deeply concentrated brew. It is best served over ice, or diluted with cold water or milk.
Store any left over coffee in a glass carafe in the fridge. It will last for 1 – 2 weeks. We love these carafes with a stainless steel lid.
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) coarse ground coffee
- 3 cups cold filtered water
- Ice cubes
- Milk or cream (optional)
- Coffee syrup (optional)
- Grind whole bean coffee to a coarse grind. Choose from this list.
- Add coffee to the bottom of the french press.
- Pour cold water over the coffee. Do not stir.
- Use the back of a spoon to gently submerge all coffee grinds.
- Replace the lid, but do not press the plunger down.
- Leave french press at room temperature for 12 - 18 hours.
- Plunge slowly to filter grounds from your brew.
- Serve the concentrate over ice, and/or dilute with cold water or milk.
- Store remaining cold brew concentrate in a glass carafe in the fridge.
A longer immersion time will result in a stronger brew.
Pour any left over coffee into a sealed glass bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Serving Size:1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 2Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Please note that nutrition information is a computer generated estimate and should not be interpreted as a dietitian's advice. Values can vary greatly among brands, amounts and ingredients used.