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How To Make Cold Brew Coffee In A French Press

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Cold brew coffee has never been so popular, to be honest, I can’t remember a time when so many bearded, tattooed baristas were trying to upsell this rejuvenating elixir in their trendy coffee shops. Even the major coffee brands have jumped on the bandwagon and are now selling ready-to-drink cold brew sold by the carton or bottle. Many of the popular cafes are even churning out the stuff on tap!

But I’ve found that a lot of the store-bought cold brew coffee comes with a high price tag, and I’m perplexed as to why – maybe it’s the time it takes to brew? Surely it can’t be the quality of the coffee beans because old coffee can be used in cold brew that would otherwise taste stale if used in a regular brew.

Whatever the reason for the expensive cold brew the good news is that you can churn out some great tasting cold-brewed coffee at half the cost – I kid you not!

​No longer do you have to tackle the crowds at Starbucks or even max out your credit card on some crazy contraption with all the bells-and-whistles to enjoy a good cold-brewed coffee because today I’m going to show you how to make cold brew coffee with a French Press. Trust me this is super easy!

French Press Cold Brew At A Glance

What You Need

  • 140 grams of coffee. medium-dark or dark roast works well for cold brew.
  • 8-cup (1 liter) French Press. Here are my best French Press recommendations.
  • Coffee scale. Any regular kitchen scale will do the job.
  • Burr Grinder. Baratza makes an excellent home grinder you can find that here.
  • Wooden spoon.

End Result

  • Total brew time: 12:00 hours.
  • Yield: 8 cups (1L).
  • Cup Characteristics: Heavy and robust. More Flavor, Less Acidity.

Easy French Press Cold Brew Coffee

The good news is that you’ve most probably already got most of the coffee gear you need to make this happen. So, without further ado, here is my guide on how to make cold brew coffee with a French Press.

​This French Press cold brew coffee is so easy even my kid sister could knock one out!

Step 1: Weigh And Grind The Coffee

coffee beans on a scale

Most cold brew coffee recipes use a 7.1 water to coffee ratio. In laymen’s terms, for every liter of water, you need to add about 140 grams of water. You can find out more on coffee brewing ratios.

For this cold brew recipe I’m using a 1 liter French Press (8 cups) but if you are using a smaller French Press adjust your amount of coffee and water accordingly.

​Once you’ve weighed your coffee, you’ll want to set your grinder to a coarse grind as you would normally for regular French Press brewing. If you’re using the Baratza Virtuoso grinder, that would be the 35 setting on the dial. If you are still unsure, take a look at this coffee grind size chart.

Coarse Grind

Your grinder is one of the most important pieces of coffee brewing equipment you own. Good coffee can only be achieved with even extraction, which is only possible with even coffee particle size. To ensure you have even, uniform particle size, you need a good burr grinder. Trust me a Burr grinder is what you should be using, these are my recommended budget burr coffee grinders for under $100.

Step 2: Add Room Temperature Water

Pouring water into a French Press

Add your ground coffee to the French Press, give a gentle shake to flatten the grounds. Slowly pour over 1 liter of filtered water (roughly 4 cups). With all other coffee brewing, filtered water is recommended but if push comes to shove you could get away with tap water with cold brew.

Step 3: Stir The Coffee Grounds

Stirring coffee inside of a French Press

The trick to making sure your French Press cold brew is top-notch is to ensure that all of the grounds are fully submerged in the water. To do this take a spoon (wooden if you’re using a glass French Press) or as I have used the plastic AeroPress stirrer and gently move the coffee grounds around so that they are fully immersed.

Step 4: The Long Wait

French Press stood on a wooden table

Place your lid onto your French Press but don’t plunge it yet. Any good cold brew coffee takes time, and with this coarse grind, your cold brew French Press needs at least 12 hours to steep at room temperature.

Unlike other hot coffee brewing methods that require heat for extraction, the cold brew process replaces heat with time to achieve an adequate extraction of your coffee. The longer your coffee is steeped, the more oils and flavors will be released from inside of your beans.​

Step 5: Decant

French Press and a red V60 coffee dripper on top of a mason jar

After 12 hours it’s time to sample your creation, but hold on here’s where it can get a bit tricky. After 12 hours of steeping the coffee grounds become more volatile to any agitation so carefully push down the French Press plunger stopping just above the coffee grounds.

​Even though the French Press has a built-in filter screen the next step requires using a secondary filter to ensure that any unpleasant bits are left behind. For this, I like to use the Hario V60, but you can use whatever you have to hand, a regular paper filter over a cup would work too.

Pouring coffee from a French Press

Top view coffee filter

Step 6: Drink And Enjoy

Coffee in a Mason Jar with a green straw

You’ve been pacing up and down your kitchen for the past 12 hours wiping drool from your mouth; the wait is over – Now it’s time to enjoy some delicious French Press cold-brewed coffee.

This French Press cold brew recipe does produce a very concentrated coffee, so I recommend mixing 60/40 coffee to cold water or just add a couple of large chunks of ice, but I’ll leave that down to your personal taste.

Mark Morphew

Mark is a coffee addict. Also, he's the guy behind the coffee blog Bean Ground. You'll almost always find him in a caffeine-induced rant talking about everything to do with coffee! Mark has been active in the catering and hospitality industry for many years and is a proud member of the Speciality Coffee Association. Discover more about Mark here.

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