The Comprehensive Guide: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In French Press

Cold brew coffee has become a popular alternative to hot coffee, especially during warmer months. Its smooth, mellow flavor and lower acidity make it a refreshing choice for coffee lovers. Making cold brew coffee at home is a straightforward process, and using a French press can simplify the method even further. In this guide, we will explore the history of the French press, why it is an excellent choice for crafting cold brew, necessary ingredients and equipment, and a step-by-step guide on how to make cold brew coffee in a French press.

Quick Answer: How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In French Press

To make cold brew coffee in a French press quickly, add coarsely ground coffee and cold water in a 1:4 ratio to the French press, then gently stir. Let it steep for 12-24 hours at room temperature or in the fridge. Once steeped, press down the plunger and pour the concentrate over ice, diluting with water and milk as desired.

History And Origins Of French Press

The French press, also known as a press pot or plunger pot, has a rich and fascinating history. Its origins can be traced back to the 19th century in France. The concept of steeping ground coffee and hot water together, then using a plunger to separate the grounds from the liquid, was invented in France. Over time, the design evolved, and in 1929, an Italian designer patented the first recognizable version of the modern French press.

Why Use A French Press For Cold Brew

The French press has gained popularity as a method for making cold brew coffee due to its simplicity and versatility. Unlike traditional heat-based brewing methods, the French press allows for a cold steeping process, resulting in a smooth and flavorful cold brew concentrate.

The French press also offers the convenience of a single container for both steeping and serving. Its sturdy build and fine mesh filter make it an ideal vessel for cold brewing, as it helps to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid without the need for additional filtration.

Necessary Ingredients And Equipment


  1. Coarsely Ground Coffee: Using coarsely ground coffee is essential for cold brew, as it prevents over-extraction and bitterness. Quality coffee beans with a medium to dark roast work well for cold brew.
  2. Cold Water: Use fresh, cold water, preferably filtered or spring water, for the best flavor.


  1. French Press: Opt for a French press with a larger capacity to accommodate the cold brew concentrate.
  2. Spoon or Stirrer: For gently stirring the coffee and water.
  3. Optional: Filtered Water, Milk, Ice, Sweeteners: To dilute and customize the cold brew concentrate.

Step-by-Step Guide To Making Cold Brew Coffee In French Press

Step 1: Measure Coffee And Water

Measure out the coarsely ground coffee and cold water. A general ratio is 1:4 coffee to water, but this can be adjusted based on personal preference.

Step 2: Combine Coffee And Water In French Press

Add the coarsely ground coffee to the French press. Slowly pour the cold water over the coffee, ensuring even saturation. Use a spoon or stirrer to gently mix the coffee and water together, making sure all the grounds are fully immersed.

Step 3: Steep The Mixture

Once the coffee and water are combined, place the plunger lid on the French press, but do not press down. Allow the mixture to steep either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours, depending on the desired strength of the cold brew.

Step 4: Press And Pour

After the steeping period, gently press down the plunger of the French press to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. The remaining liquid is the cold brew concentrate. Pour the concentrate over ice in a glass, diluting with water or milk to reach the desired strength.

Step 5: Serve And Enjoy

Serve the cold brew coffee immediately, and customize it with additional water, milk, ice, or sweeteners as preferred. The cold brew concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, allowing for multiple servings.

Making cold brew coffee in a French press is a simple and rewarding process that results in a flavorful and refreshing beverage. The rich history of the French press, combined with its practical design, makes it an ideal choice for crafting cold brew at home. By following the step-by-step guide and using quality ingredients, coffee enthusiasts can enjoy their own cold brew creations with ease. Experiment with different coffee blends, steeping times, and customizations to find the perfect cold brew combination for your palate.


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Tips For Selecting High-Quality Coffee Beans

The quality of the coffee beans you choose plays a significant role in the flavor profile of your cold brew. Here are some tips to help you select the best coffee beans for your cold brew:

  1. Choose Freshly Roasted Beans: Look for coffee beans that have been freshly roasted. Freshly roasted beans have a greater aromatic intensity and impart more flavor to your cold brew coffee.
  2. Opt for Single-Origin Beans: Single-origin coffee beans come from a specific region, allowing you to experience the unique flavors and nuances of that particular area. This can add complexity to your cold brew.
  3. Consider the Roast Level: Different roast levels offer different flavor profiles. Lighter roasts tend to have more floral and citrusy notes, while darker roasts have bolder and more robust flavors. Experiment with different roast levels to find the one that suits your taste preferences.
  4. Read Reviews and Recommendations: Before purchasing coffee beans, read reviews and recommendations from trusted sources or coffee enthusiasts. This can provide valuable insights into the flavor profile and overall quality of the beans.
  5. Buy Whole Beans and Grind Fresh: To maintain optimal freshness and flavor, it is recommended to purchase whole coffee beans and grind them just before brewing. This ensures that you extract the maximum flavor from the beans.

The Importance Of Water Temperature

The water temperature used for brewing cold brew coffee can significantly impact its taste. Timing and temperature are inversely related when it comes to cold brew, as colder water requires a longer steeping time to extract flavors. Here are some essential considerations regarding water temperature:

  1. Cold Water vs. Room Temperature Water: Cold brew coffee is typically made with either cold water or room temperature water. Cold water helps slow down the extraction process, resulting in a smoother and less bitter brew. Room temperature water may result in a slightly faster extraction and a slightly different flavor profile.
  2. Avoid Hot Water: Unlike traditional hot brewing methods, for cold brew coffee, hot water should be avoided. Hot water can lead to over-extraction, resulting in a bitter and unpleasant taste. Cold brew relies on the slow extraction process to achieve its unique flavor profile.
  3. Experiment with Water Temperature: While cold brew is traditionally made using cold or room temperature water, you can experiment with slightly different temperature ranges to find the optimal balance for your taste preferences. Keep in mind that hotter water will require a shorter steeping time to avoid excessive bitterness.

Measuring And Ratio Suggestions For Optimal Flavor

Achieving the perfect coffee-to-water ratio is vital for a well-balanced cold brew. Here are some basic guidelines to help you measure the right amount of coffee and water:

  1. Start with a 1:4 Ratio: A good starting point for cold brew is a ratio of 1 part coffee to 4 parts water. This means, for example, if you are using 100 grams of coffee, you will need 400 grams of water. Adjust this ratio according to your taste preferences, or experiment with different ratios to find the strength and flavor you desire.
  2. Consider Brew Concentration: The strength of your cold brew can be adjusted by varying the coffee-to-water ratio. A higher coffee-to-water ratio will result in a stronger and more concentrated brew, while a lower ratio will yield a milder brew. Experiment with different ratios until you achieve your desired flavor intensity.
  3. Adjust Steeping Time: Steeping time can also impact the flavor strength. Longer steeping times extract more flavor, resulting in a stronger brew. If you find your cold brew to be too strong or too weak, try adjusting the steeping time accordingly.
  4. Experiment and Refine: Making a perfect cold brew is a process of experimentation and refinement. Feel free to adjust the coffee-to-water ratio, water temperature, or steeping time to suit your taste preferences. Keep notes of your experiments to track your preferred recipes.

Making cold brew coffee in a French press is a simple and rewarding method to enjoy the smooth and rich flavors without the acidic bitterness of hot brewed coffee. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, selecting high-quality coffee beans, understanding water temperature, and measuring the perfect coffee-to-water ratio, you can create a delicious cold brew coffee that meets your taste preferences. Experiment with the variables and explore the world of cold brew coffee from the comfort of your own home.

The Role Of Steeping Time In Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee has gained popularity in recent years for its smooth and refreshing taste. Unlike traditional hot brewed coffee, cold brew is made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in cold water for an extended period of time. This slow brewing process results in a coffee concentrate that is less acidic and bitter, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a milder coffee flavor.

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One of the easiest and most accessible methods to make cold brew at home is by using a French press. Typically used for hot brewing, a French press can also be used to create a delicious batch of cold brew coffee.

The steeping time is a crucial factor in the cold brewing process, as it determines the strength and flavor profile of the final cold brew coffee. Unlike hot brewing methods that utilize heat to extract flavors quickly, cold brewing relies on time to slowly extract the coffee’s rich flavors and oils.

Typically, cold brew coffee is steeped for anywhere between 12 to 24 hours. The longer the steeping time, the stronger and more concentrated the coffee becomes. However, steeping coffee for too long can result in an over-extracted brew that tastes overly bitter and unpleasant.

Experimentation with different steeping times is key in finding the perfect balance of flavor and strength for your personal taste. Start with a 12-hour steeping time and adjust accordingly to your preference. Keep in mind that steeping for longer periods of time will yield a more potent brew, so if the coffee is too strong, you can dilute it with water or milk when serving.

Different Methods For Filtering Cold Brew In French Press

Filtering your cold brew coffee is an important step to remove the coffee grounds and sediments, resulting in a smooth and enjoyable cup of coffee. When using a French press for cold brew, there are a few different methods for filtering:

  1. The Plunger Method: This is the most straightforward method and involves using the plunger of the French press to separate the grounds from the liquid. After the steeping time is complete, slowly press down the plunger to separate the grounds at the bottom. Then, carefully pour the filtered cold brew into another container. While this method is simple, it may still leave behind some fine sediments, so it’s advisable to use an additional filtering step if a completely sediment-free brew is desired.
  2. Paper Filter Method: To achieve a cleaner and grit-free cold brew, you can use a paper filter in conjunction with the French press. Place a paper coffee filter on top of the plunger before pressing it down. The filter will trap all the fine coffee grounds, resulting in a sediment-free final product. This method requires additional supplies such as paper filters, but it ensures a smoother cup of cold brew.
  3. Strainer Method: If you don’t have a paper filter handy, you can use a fine-mesh strainer to filter the cold brew. Set the strainer over a container and slowly pour the cold brew through it, using a spoon or spatula to agitate the grounds and help the liquid pass through the strainer. This method may leave behind some sediment, but it is a convenient alternative if you don’t have a paper filter.
  4. Multiple Filtering Method: For those who prioritize a clean and grit-free cold brew, a combination of the above methods can be employed. Start by using the plunger method to remove the majority of the grounds, then follow up with a paper filter or a fine-mesh strainer to catch any remaining sediments. This thorough filtering process ensures a smooth and refined cold brew experience.

Choose the filtering method that suits your preference and the equipment you have on hand.

Serving And Storing Cold Brew Coffee

Once your cold brew coffee is filtered and ready, it can be served over ice or diluted with water or milk, depending on your taste preference. Cold brew concentrate can be extremely strong, so dilution is often necessary to achieve a balanced flavor.

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To serve cold brew coffee, fill a glass with ice and pour the desired amount of cold brew concentrate over it. Add water or milk to taste and stir gently. You can also experiment with adding sweeteners, flavored syrups, or spices like cinnamon or vanilla extract to enhance the flavor.

When it comes to storing cold brew, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Pour the cold brew into an airtight container, such as a glass bottle or jar, and keep it chilled. Alternatively, if you prefer a longer shelf life, you can freeze cold brew coffee in ice cube trays and store the frozen cubes in a freezer-safe bag for up to three months. This way, you can easily thaw and dilute the coffee as needed.

Variations And Flavor Enhancements For Homemade Cold Brew

While traditional cold brew coffee is delicious on its own, you can get creative and add various flavors and enhancements to make your homemade cold brew even more exciting. Here are a few ideas to experiment with:

  1. Flavored Syrups: Add a splash of flavored syrup to your cold brew for a burst of sweetness and unique taste. Popular options include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or even seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice.
  2. Spices: Sprinkle a pinch of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom into your cold brew for a warm and aromatic twist.
  3. Citrus Zest: Add a touch of citrus zest, such as orange or lemon, to your cold brew for a bright and refreshing flavor profile.
  4. Milk Alternatives: Try using different non-dairy milk alternatives, such as almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk, to create a creamy and plant-based cold brew experience.
  5. Alcoholic Additions: For a boozy twist, you can mix your cold brew with a splash of your favorite liquor, such as Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, or bourbon, to create a delightful coffee cocktail.

Remember, the possibilities for flavor variations are endless, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find combinations that suit your taste buds.


Making cold brew coffee in a French press is a simple and accessible way to enjoy this smooth and refreshing beverage at home. By understanding the role of steeping time, experimenting with different filtering methods, serving and storing appropriately, and exploring variations and flavor enhancements, you can create a personalized cold brew experience that meets your unique preferences. So go ahead, grab your French press, and start brewing your own delicious batch of cold brew coffee today!

FAQS On How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In French Press

What Is Cold Brew Coffee?

Cold brew coffee is a method of making coffee by steeping ground coffee in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time, typically 12-24 hours, instead of using hot water like traditional brewing methods.

What Type Of Coffee Should I Use For Cold Brew In A French Press?

Darker roasts are typically recommended for cold brew as they tend to have a smoother and less bitter taste compared to lighter roasts. However, you can use any type of coffee you prefer.

How Long Does It Take To Make Cold Brew In A French Press?

The process of making cold brew in a French press typically takes 12-24 hours, depending on your personal preference and the strength of the coffee you desire.

Can I Reuse The Coffee Grounds From My Cold Brew?

Yes, you can reuse the coffee grounds for a second batch of cold brew, but the flavor may be weaker. You can also use the grounds as fertilizer for plants after use.

How Should I Store My Cold Brew In A French Press?

After brewing, store your cold brew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. This will help preserve the flavor and freshness of the coffee.