how to make cold brew in a french press

How To Make Cold Brew In A French Press? | Learn Cold Brew

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Embarking on a journey to craft the perfect cup of cold brew coffee using a French Press isn’t just a method—it’s an art form. In this comprehensive guide, “How To Make Cold Brew In A French Press,” we delve deep into the heart of coffee brewing, merging traditional techniques with modern twists to elevate your cold brew experience. Our expertise in the domain of coffee, honed through years of experimentation and passion, allows us to bring you a method that not only promises a rich, smooth, and deeply flavorful cup of coffee but also transforms this process into an accessible ritual that can be enjoyed by all, regardless of your brewing background.

The value of this content lies in its detailed breakdown of the cold brew process, tailored specifically for the French Press—a tool many have at home but few utilize to its full potential. We’re here to change that. By guiding you step-by-step, we ensure that each aspect of the process is clear and achievable, from selecting the right coffee beans to the final pour, ensuring that you achieve barista-level results in the comfort of your own kitchen.

As you read on, allow your curiosity to guide you through the nuances of coffee brewing. We promise to reveal not just the secrets behind crafting the perfect cold brew, but also tips and tricks to customize your coffee to match your personal taste preference. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee aficionado or a newcomer eager to explore the rich tapestry of flavors that coffee offers, this article is your gateway to mastering cold brew in a French Press. Let’s embark on this flavorful journey together, one press at a time.

Overview of Cold Brew Coffee

Overview of Cold Brew Coffee

Cold brew coffee is a method of brewing where coarse coffee grounds are steeped in cool or room temperature water for an extended period of time, usually 12-24 hours. This process results in a concentrated coffee extract that is diluted with water or milk before drinking.

Some key benefits of cold brew coffee:

  • Has a smoother, less acidic taste compared to hot brewed coffee
  • Higher caffeine content per volume due to coffee concentrate
  • Lower acidity is easier on sensitive stomachs
  • Sweeter flavor brings out coffee’s natural sweetness

Cold brew can be made with various devices, but one of the most accessible options is the French press.

Benefits of Using a French Press

The French press is a simple, affordable, and effective brewing device that has some advantages for cold brewing:

  • Allows control over brew time and strength
  • Easy to use with straightforward process
  • Portable for brewing cold brew on-the-go
  • Durable glass or stainless steel construction
  • Produces clean, sediment-free coffee concentrate
  • Visually appealing watching coffee extract

Compared to other cold brew methods, the French press provides a hands-on brewing experience and full immersion of coffee grounds to extract robust flavor.

Getting Started with French Press Cold Brew

What You’ll Need

French press: Durable borosilicate glass or stainless steel. At least 32oz capacity.

Burr grinder: Grinds coffee beans to a uniform coarse grind size.

Scale: Weigh water and coffee for a precise ratio.

Kettle: Heats water. Gooseneck style offers pour control.

Timer: Measures total brew time.

Coffee beans: Freshly roasted works best. Go for fruity, bright coffees.

Filtered water: Removes impurities that impact taste.

Choosing the Right French Press

Look for:

  • Durable, heat-resistant glass or double-walled stainless steel
  • Tight plunger seal to block grounds while pouring
  • Fine stainless steel filter to remove sediment
  • Minimum 32oz capacity for 16oz brewed coffee
  • Budget $15-50 depending on materials

Top brands: Bodum, SterlingPro, Espro, Mueller, Coffee Gator, Bean Envy

Larger sizes allow bigger batches. Materials impact flavor and durability.

Best Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

Choose coffee beans with fragrant, fruit-forward aromas:

  • Latin American coffees like Colombian, Brazilian, Guatemalan
  • African coffees like Ethiopian and Kenyan
  • Fruity Asian coffees like Sumatran Mandheling

Avoid darker roasts which lose aromatic traits that cold brew highlights.

Light or medium roasts allow bean’s origin flavors to shine.

Comparing French Presses: Material, Size, Brand

Glass pros:

  • Visual appeal
  • Heat resistant borosilicate
  • Affordable ($15-30)

Glass cons:

  • More fragile over time
  • Not great for travel

Stainless steel pros:

  • Durable for travel
  • Double-walled insulation
  • Stylish metal look

Steel cons:

  • More expensive ($30-50)
  • Can impact flavor

Sizes range from 12oz personal to 48oz commercial.

Trusted brands: Bodum, Espro, Mueller, SterlingPro, Bean Envy

Accessibility and Cost Analysis

The French press is one of the most accessible and affordable cold brew devices.

  • French presses start around $15. Compare to $100+ for cold brew toddy.
  • Widely available at grocery stores, department stores, coffee shops.
  • Approachable manual brewing process for beginners.
  • Portable and durable for brewing anywhere.
  • Reusable and environmentally friendly.

With minimal investment, anyone can make barista-quality cold brew from home with a French press.

The Cold Brew Process

Why Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew offers unique taste and health properties:

  • Low acidity and bitterness
  • Naturally sweeter flavor
  • Smooth, creamy body
  • 70% less acidic than hot brewed
  • Higher caffeine concentration
  • Antioxidants are preserved

By steeping grounds in cool water for hours, cold brew brings out coffee’s Sweet, smooth notes while reducing sourness and acidity from high heat. This makes it gentler on digestion.

Taste Profile Differences

Cold brew has fruitier, sweeter, rounder flavor with no bitterness.

Hot brewed coffee has higher acidity with more intense, complex flavors.

Flavor depends on time, temperature, and extraction method. Each highlights different qualities from coffee beans.

Health Benefits

  • Less stomach irritation from 70% less acid
  • More antioxidants like polyphenols are preserved
  • Higher caffeine levels provide an energizing lift
  • Lower blood sugar response than hot coffee
  • Hydrating like iced tea, especially when diluted 50/50 with water

The low-temperature steeping makes cold brew one of the most stomach-friendly coffee drinks.

Preparation Steps

Follow this general process for easy, delicious cold brew:

  1. Choose fresh coarse ground coffee
  2. Add coffee to French press
  3. Add cool filtered water
  4. Give grounds a gentle stir to saturate
  5. Steep for 12-24 hours
  6. Press plunger slowly to filter
  7. Dilute concentrate with water
  8. Enjoy your cold brew over ice.

Now let’s break down each step…

Grinding Coffee for Cold Brew

Use a coarse grind to allow room for water to extract flavors.

  • Aim for slightly larger than drip grind.
  • Or about the size of breadcrumbs or kosher salt.

A burr grinder gives the most uniform coarse grind. Avoid very uneven blade ground coffee.

The Cold Brew French Press Ratio

The ratio is:

  • 1 part coarse ground coffee
  • To 4 parts water by weight


  • 200g ground coffee
  • 800g water

This produces a concentrated coffee extract to dilute to taste.

Water Quality and Its Impact

Filtered water is ideal:

  • Removes chlorine that affects taste
  • Limits mineral buildup on equipment
  • Allows coffee’s natural flavors to shine

If tap water is heavily chlorinated, use bottled spring water.

Brewing Your Cold Brew

  1. Measure out coffee into empty French press using a kitchen scale.
  2. Boil filtered water in a kettle. Let cool 5 minutes for 185F water.
  3. Slowly pour water over grounds until reaching your target weight.
  4. Give grounds a gentle 30 second stir with a spoon to saturate.
  5. Insert plunger without pressing down.
  6. Refrigerate 12-24 hours. Taste periodically until preferred strength.
  7. Press plunger slowly when ready. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Step-by-Step Brewing Instructions

Follow this detailed method for foolproof French press cold brew:

  1. Measure 200g freshly ground coffee (medium-coarse setting) into dry French press.
  2. Boil 800g filtered water. Let cool 5 minutes.
  3. Slowly pour water over grounds until scale reads 1000g total weight.
  4. Stir grounds gently 30 seconds until fully saturated.
  5. Insert plunger without pressing down to top off headspace.
  6. Refrigerate entire French press 12-24 hours.
  7. When ready, press plunger straight down slowly.
  8. Dilute concentrate to taste with cold water or milk over ice.

Maintenance and Care of Your French Press

  • Disassemble & hand wash with mild detergent after each use. Do not put in dishwasher.
  • Scrub interior with soft sponge to remove coffee oils.
  • Occasionally descale with diluted vinegar to prevent mineral buildup.
  • Store plunger raised to prevent sealing ring from warping.
  • Prevent cracks by avoiding thermal shocks like pouring hot water in cold glass.

Proper washing and care will keep your French press in great shape for years of cold brewing.

Perfecting Your Cold Brew

Serving and Enjoying

Dilute concentrate to taste with cold filtered water or milk:

  • 50/50 ratio for standard strength
  • Less water for stronger flavor
  • More water for lighter cold brew

Ice helps chill quickly for icy refreshing cold brew.

Give a quick stir before serving to distribute flavor evenly.

Creative Serving Suggestions

Jazz up your cold brew beyond basic coffee ice cubes with:

  • Cold brew floats – Top with ice cream
  • Affogato – Scoop of ice cream swimming in cold brew
  • Cold brew old fashioned – Just add bourbon and orange
  • Maple bourbon cold brew – With Maple syrup and bourbon
  • Cold brew martini – Shaken with vodka and coffee liqueur

Pairing with Foods

  • Scones – Blueberry, cinnamon, etc
  • Pastries – Muffins, croissants, danishes
  • Breakfast – Avocado toast, omelettes, yogurt and granola
  • Dessert – Chocolate cake, cheesecake, creme brûlée

Cold brew’s smoothness pairs nicely with sweets, chocolate, and brunch flavors.

Nutritional Information

Based on an 8oz serving:

  • Calories: 1
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Cold brew is just pure liquid coffee so minimal calories or nutrition. Boost nutrition by adding milk, cream, or sweeteners. When diluted, lower caffeine than drip coffee or espresso.

Customizing Your Brew

Tweak to your personal tastes:

  • Adjust grind size – Coarser grind = less intense, finer grind = more intense
  • Steep time – Shorter for lighter, fruity brew. Longer for robust, bitter notes.
  • Dilution ratio – More water for milder coffee, less for stronger concentrate.
  • Water temperature – Ice water for juicy acidity. Room temp for smooth mouthfeel.

Experiment to find your preferred blend of flavor, acidity, and concentration.

Adapting to Personal Taste

To make your cold brew…

Fruitier and sweeter:

  • Use fruity bean like Ethiopian or Costa Rican
  • Steep for shorter time like 12-18 hours
  • Coarser grind size
  • Dilute with more water

Stronger and bolder:

  • Choose a darker bean like Colombian or Sumatran
  • Steep for longer time like 18-24 hours
  • Use a finer grind
  • Dilute with less water

Cold Brew Lattes and Other Specialty Drinks

Jazz up your cold brew:

  • Cold brew latte – Mix with milk and ice
  • Vanilla cold brew – Add vanilla syrup
  • Cold brew mocha – Mix with chocolate syrup
  • Cold brew frappe – Blend with ice cream
  • Mexican coffee – Add cocoa, cinnamon, whipped cream
  • Frozen coffee cubes – For flavorful iced coffee

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Watery, weak flavor

  • Use more coffee or less water
  • Steep for longer time up to 24 hrs

Bitter, harsh flavor

  • Coarser grind size
  • Reduce steep time to 12 hrs
  • More dilution after brewing

Cloudy, gritty texture

  • Finer grind size for slower filtration
  • Press plunger more slowly
  • Rinse filter thoroughly before brewing

Not enough concentrate

  • Increase amount of coffee
  • Reduce post-brew dilution

Expert Tips for a Perfect Batch

  • Weigh coffee and water for precision
  • Uniform coarse grind size improves extraction
  • Stir to saturate all grounds
  • Taste periodically to perfect steeping time
  • Plunge slowly to prevent bypassing filter
  • Dilute concentrate for desired strength
  • Store excess concentrate in fridge up to 2 weeks

With these tips, you’ll make pro-level cold brew rivaling your favorite coffee shop.

Beyond the Brew

Beyond the Brew

Sustainability and Ethics

Making great cold brew also means sourcing beans sustainably and ethically.

Some best practices:

  • Seek fair trade and organic certified coffee
  • Choose shade grown coffee to preserve wildlife
  • Support small local roasters over big chains
  • Buy direct trade whenever possible
  • Minimize waste by buying whole beans and using reusable filters

Call to Action for Sustainable Practices

As a coffee lover, you have an opportunity to support positive change through your purchases.

Some ways you can make a difference:

  • Prioritize fair trade and organic coffees
  • Seek out local roasters that use ethical sourcing
  • Learn exactly where your coffee comes from
  • Ask questions about farming and trading practices
  • Spread awareness by telling coffee shops you care about sustainability
  • Brew responsibly by conserving water and minimizing waste

Together through our daily habits, we can help create a more ethical, eco-friendly coffee community.


Hopefully this guide gives you the basics to start experimenting with cold brew. There’s still so much to explore by tweaking fresh coffee bean types, grind sizes, water temperatures, steep times, and more. Try out different techniques and share your unique recipes with the cold brew community. Together we can elevate the entire cold brew experience.

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