How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In a French Press

By: | Updated: April 13, 2021

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Cold brew coffee has become immensely popular in recent years, particularly during the summer months. A drawback of some of the most popular coffee techniques is that you require specialized tools.

While professional cold brew equipment do a fantastic job, they are expensive, something not ideal for novices or occasional cold brewers.

An easy way to make cold brew coffee at home is by using a French Press coffee maker. It’s inexpensive and does a great job! Let’s go over the process of making delicious cold brew with a French Press.

Cold Brew: The Brewing Methods

Before we outline the steps to create a cold brew using a French Press coffee maker, it’s important to know the two different brewing strategies used in cold brewing: Slow Drip and Immersion.

Cold Brewing Via Slow Drip

Popular with cold brew connoisseurs, slow drip brewers are regarded as the ideal for this type of coffee drink due their faster process (compared to immersion cold brewing).

Slow drip brewers are preferred by commercial and professional users in the coffee world due their complex and large design, which allows them to brew larger quantities.

Due to the size and complexity, we think the immersion method is more suitable for beginners who are just starting cold brewing.

Cold Brewing Via Immersion

Since colder temperatures slow any process down, having all the coffee grounds submerged in the water is important in order to get the ideal extraction (and flavor) needed for your cold brew.

The French Press is ideal since it relies on immersion brewing to extract the coffee (both hot and cold). Since the plunger and mesh filters hold the coffee grounds in place, it makes it the ideal tool for cold brewing.

While there are other cold brew coffee makers that rely on the immersion process, the French Press has a lot of advantages, namely ease of use and price.

All in all, from both types of cold brewing, immersion is the one we recommend for home use.

In the rest of the article, we will explain in detail on how to make cold brew using your French Press coffee maker, as well as our handy tips to mastering the process.

How to Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press

Okay, time to make some cold brew! The process is very straightforward and very easy in comparison with other coffee brewing techniques.

Step #1: Grab Everything You Need

To make cold brew with a French Press, you will need a couple of things, here’s the list:

  • Coffee Beans
  • Coffee Grinder
  • Filtered Water
  • French Press (e.g. from Bodum)
  • Spoon or Chopstick

As you can see from the list above, making cold brew with a french press doesn’t require a lot of tools. If you’re a coffee lover, chances are you already have these items around.

Step #2: Measure Your Coffee

Now that we’ve collected all the items needed, it’s time to move on to the next step: measuring the coffee. Since cold brew is a slow extraction process, you will need to use more coffee than for hot brewing.

A good guideline is to use double the coffee you use when hot brewing. However, this depends on the size of your French Press. A good ratio we recommend is a 7:1 ratio, that’s 7 parts water to 1 part coffee.

As with all brewing methods, we always recommend to adjust the ratio according to your tastes.

With cold brewing, however, we recommend steeping the coffee for longer if it’s too weak (instead of adding more coffee).

Experimenting is part of the fun of making coffee, so try out different ratios to achieve a cold brew that you like.

Step #3: Grind Your Coffee Beans

Once you’ve picked a ratio you’re going with, grab your grinder and grind your coffee beans. We recommend a coarse ground for cold brew. Remember, the finer the grind, the stronger the coffee will be.

Step #4: Add Your Coffee and Water To Your French Press

Just like you would do with a normal hot brew in your French Press, add your coffee to the bottom of the chamber and then add your filtered water.

Unlike hot brewing, the temperature of the water doesn’t have to be precise, it can either be cold or at room temperature.

Just remember to use filtered water.

Step #5: Thoroughly Mix the Coffee and Water

Use a spoon (or a chopstick) to gently stir the coffee into the water. You want to make sure that every ground is in contact with the water for it to properly brew.

So keep stirring until the coffee and water are thoroughly combined.

Step #6: Let The Brew Steep

Cold brew coffee takes a very long time! Once you mix the coffee and water together, set it aside and let it steep for anything between 12 and 20 hours.

There is a debate on whether you should brew your coffee at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Since brewing at room temperature is much faster, that is what we recommend.

Making cold brew already takes a significant amount of time, by brewing in the refrigerator, you are increasing that time even further.

Step #7: End Your Brew & Enjoy Your Coffee

Similar to hot brewing with your french press, slowly press the plunger down to trap all the coffee ground. Don’t plunge too fast though. For best results we recommend a full 30 second plunge.

Once that is done, the best part (the one you’ve been waiting so long for) has come. Pour your brew in a mug and enjoy your cold brew.


How Long Is Cold Brew Good For?

Cold brew coffee can last for up to two weeks when refrigerated in an airtight container. Diluting the brew or adding other ingredients like milk, sugar, or sweeteners, will drastically reduce the shelf life of your cold brew.

We highly recommend that you create each batch of your cold brew fresh and refrigerate in a mason jar (or container) for when needed.

Does Cold Brew Coffee Have More Caffeine (Compared To Hot Brew)?

Definitely yes. Cold brew coffee has more caffeine than all other coffee beverages. The high level of caffeine is due to the long extraction and brewing process that is used for cold brew.

Brewing MethodsAcidityExtraction TimeTaste
Hot BrewVariousMore AcidicQuickVariable based on brewing methods
Cold BrewLimitedLess AcidicSlowVery Smooth

Ultimately, it comes down to preference and time. Hot brew can me made using multiple methods. It can also be done using manual and automatic equipment.

While cold brew offers a smooth tasting, less acidic coffee. The only downside in cold brew is the long extraction time, however, once you have the ideal ratio, it’s super easy to prepare.

Why Make Cold Brew Coffee?

Since there are various reasons to make cold brew coffee, let’s look at them. Here are why you should start making your own cold brew coffee at home:

  1. Cold brew coffee is great in the summer (or warm) months when temperatures are high. Cold brew is refreshing and its smooth flavor makes it perfect during this period.
  2.  Have some older coffee that you’re thinking of throwing away? While older coffee is not ideal for hot brew, it can be used for cold brew.
  3.  If you like to add dairy to your coffee, cold brew is perfect for you. Milk, cream, and even ice cream, make for an excellent combination with cold brew!
  4.  Although it has a longer brewing time, it is one of the simplest ways to make (excellent) coffee at home.

Final Thoughts

Even if you like your coffee hot, there are many reasons to at least try making cold brew coffee. Cold brew makes for an excellent summer coffee treat and the technique is easy to master.

If you’re a fan of cold coffee, then this is definitely the perfect way to enjoy it. By using a french press coffee maker (and enough time) you will be able to make delicious cold brew from your home.

Here at CoffeeScanner, we also recommend you to try and learn new techniques and expand the knowledge on new brewing methods. We are big fans of cold brew, it’s delicious and easy to make.

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by Brett