How To Make Cold Brew In A French Press The Easy Way

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You don’t need any special equipment or contraptions to make epic cold brew coffee at home.

So before you start perusing the interwebs searching for the perfect vessel to cold brew coffee, let me walk you through how to make cold brew in a french press instead.

Using a french press to cold brew coffee is actually my favorite way to make cold brew because it’s so easy.

And the best part? You likely already have everything you need to make cold brew coffee at home.

If not, don’t fret. I’ll include a few basics that you may want to add to your collection that may be used for more than just cold brewing.

How to make cold brew in a french press:

Step 1: Gather What You’ll Need To Brew

  1. French press. (umm duh) We’re guessing you’ve got one if you clicked on this post but, if not, try this one.
  2. Filtered water. (yes, you should always use filtered water for coffee because it will make it taste better)
  3. Coffee beans. Pick your favorite or try this tasty variety.
  4. Coffee grinder. You’ll want a coarse grind for making cold brew.
  5. Paper filter. While not totally necessary, it’s good to have a filter on hand if any sediment passes through in your french press.
  6. Sealable container(s). to store your cold brew concentrate in the refrigerator. Mason jars are a good option and allow you to pre-portion your brew.
  7. Spoon.

Step 2: Measure Coffee

The cold brew ratio isn’t an exact science, unfortunately. We all have different tastes and preferences, but a great starting point is between 1:4 and 1:6 coffee to water ratio

When learning how to make cold brew in a french press try this ratio for cold brew first and adjust as necessary to get the strength to your preferred level.

I like to use ¾ cup coffee (working on a 1:5 cold brew ratio). 

Coffee bean density varies so the weight will be slightly different depending on which roast you’re using. Keep that in mind if using a scale.

Remember, the best cold brew ratio will result in a strong cold brew concentrate that’s diluted with milk or water (more on that later).

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Step 3: Grind Your Coffee

Now that you’ve selected your coffee beans, it’s time to grind them

To make cold brew in a french press, you’ll want to use a coarse grind that is slightly larger than what you’d normally use for hot french press coffee.

Grab your grinder and grind your coffee, then pour it into your french press.

Step 4: Add Filtered Water

Measure 3 ¾ cups of cool or room-temperature filtered water.

Slowly pour the water over the grounds in a slow, circular motion.

Do not stir.

Use the back of a metal spoon to gently press down any floating grounds near the top, ensuring all coffee is submerged.

Step 5: Steep Cold Brew

Ok, you guessed it. The secret to how to make cold brew in a french press is… patience. This is key for any cold brewing process.

One of the defining characteristics of cold brew coffee is that it is steeped slowly. This slow, cold extraction process ensures that all of the delicate, smooth, fruity goodness is extracted from the beans without any bitterness.

Cold brew steeping time isn’t an exact science, much like the cold brew ratio. A good rule of thumb is to steep for at least 12 hours.

We prefer to steep ours for 16 hours, but start with 12 then adjust as needed.

We recommend steeping at room temperature, provided you’ll be available after 12 hours to finish the process.

Steeping cold brew in the refrigerator slows the brewing process, so if you plan to be away longer than 12 hours it might be best to steep in the refrigerator for best results.

Step 6: Finish Your Brew And Store

Congratulations! You survived the long wait and it’s time for cold brew!

Plunge your french press as you normally would, but move very slowly with cold brew. Shoot for a full 30 seconds and don’t rush it.

Be careful not to press the plunger all the way down.

Place a secondary filter (any pour-over paper filter is fine) in the top of your sealable container(s) and, with the screen in place, pour your cold brew into the container(s).

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Step 7: Enjoy Your French Press Cold Brew

Now that you know how to make cold brew in a french press, you’re ready to enjoy it on the regular.

Just remember that cold brew is incredibly concentrated!

For best results, you’ll want to dilute your cold brew a bit. So pour it over ice and add water to taste

Remember that your ice will eventually melt and further dilute the cold brew (after all, something so smooth and refreshing should be savored, right?).

You can also use a ratio of roughly 1:1 cold brew concentrate and milk over ice if you prefer.

However you take it, it’ll be worth the wait. We promise.