How to Make the Best French Press Cold Brew Coffee

The great thing about cold brew coffee is that much like other types of brewing methods you can make it at home. You don’t need to pack into a coffee shop and queue to pay for it when instead you can make it at home.

How to Make the Best French Press Cold Brew Coffee

Sometimes what puts people off making cold brew coffee is that it does take a long time to brew.  It’s not uncommon for it to take up to around 14 hours to create a good batch of the stuff.

I have actually written before about how to make cold brew coffee at home using my favourite method.

I do understand that sometimes equipment is a limiting factor, and a lot of people might assume that you have to use specialised equipment for cold brew coffee.

This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact if you have a French press then you can still make cold brew coffee.

Even though cold brew coffee does take a long time to brew the equipment and ingredients you need are very few in number, and this is what makes it such a brilliant simple brewing method. This is also true the French press cold brew coffee. For our purposes we will just need a French press, water, and fresh ground coffee.

As a side note you can buy pre ground coffee but personally I prefer to use whole bean and grind it myself using my burr grinder. However you might prefer the convenience and ease of using pre ground coffee, in which case this is fine.

French press brewers come in a variety of sizes with some only being big enough for one cup and some for as many as six or eight. With cold brew I would always recommend making as much as possible in batch so the larger the French press the better. Personally I use a 34 ounce coffee maker and for the purposes of this recipe that will work brilliantly.

When it comes to your chosen coffee it is completely up to you however I would recommend opting for medium dark roasts. These tend to be sweeter than lighter roasts, also medium dark or dark roast have more acidity to them which will help give our cold brew a more coffee-like flavour.

You will then need to grind your beans. For the sake of speed and convenience I understand that it might be tempting to buy pre ground coffee however I always recommend buying whole bean and then grinding at home.

If you don’t own a grinder, I strongly recommend getting one. They are not that expensive and will always ensure that your coffee tastes as fresh as possible. I strongly recommend getting a Burr grinder not a blade grinder. Coffee brewing is all about consistency and the same is also true with grind size. The big drawback with blade grinders is that they tend to smash your beans and pummel them, which can result in some very fine grounds and some very large. In contrast burr grinders insure a much more consistent grind.

I have a DeLonghi Burr grinder that I love if you would like to read a review of it then you can click here.

In regards to the amount of coffee that you need you can just use a coffee bean measuring scoop, however sometimes a good kitchen scale will help you maintain accuracy as best as possible. After all, consistency in accuracy of measurement is just as important as consistency of other variables, like grind size and temperature.

Another thing you will also need is a sealable container. It’s important to get one that isn’t any smaller than your French press because we’re going to need to be able to transfer the same volume of liquid between the two vessels.

Finally you will also need some form of fine filter. With a lot of other brewing methods we tend to use paper filters, but because cold brew requires a long brewing time the paper filters aren’t quite resilient or durable enough to withstand being submerged in water that long. So instead I recommend using any type of clean mesh filter. If you find this too difficult to get hold of than this is optional, however a filter will act as secondary screen that will double ensure that no coffee solids make it through your French press.

Let’s make this thing

Like with most brewing methods we start by preparing our beans. The ratio level of coffee to water that we want to try and achieve is 4 parts water to 1 part coffee. If you don’t like it as strong as I do then 5 parts water to 1 part coffee will also do.

For the purposes of this recipe we want to use 90 grams of coarsely ground coffee. Cold brew coffee is one of the coarsest grounds that you can use. If you make it to fine then it will over extract and be far too bitter.  This is why I strongly recommend using a Burr grinder.

Once you have ground your beans pour them into your French press.

Next we want to add the water. Fill you French press with 3 1/2 cups of filtered water. Try to pour it in slowly, and evenly cover the grounds in a circular motion.

Ensure that all of the grounds have been submerged. If any are floating at the top of the surface of the water use a spoon to push them under or stir in.

Next we are going to test your patience with the waiting game.

In stark contrast to other brewing methods that sometimes take a matter of minutes, cold brew coffee typically needs around 12 to 14 hours brewing time. This is because we are using time not heat as our key extraction variable. Leaving your grounds to soak for such a long period of time will help release coffee so levels needed to create a delicious cold brew.

Place your French press in your fridge and leave for 12 to 14 hours. Be sure not to leave it for any longer than this, so if you are leaving it overnight be sure that you are factoring in a reasonable time deadline to stop extraction. In other words: Not when you’ll be asleep!

Next it’s time for the fun part. Remove your French press from the fridge and then place on your kitchen counter.

Start slowly pressing the plunger down a few inches. Be sure not to push it all the way down because this will create agitation, which is another key variable for coffee extraction.This will make your resulting cough tastes are too bitter.

If you’re choosing to use a filter then this is where we deploy it. Personally I like to use my P60 as a filtering device so I put my paper filter in cv60 and then I pour the French press cold brew coffee into it which then in turn goes into the container.

Here you can either serve up straight away or you can put it back in the fridge for when you need it. Cold brew coffee tends to be extremely concentrated so I always recommend serving it was ice cubes just to help dilute it a little bit.

And that’s it! Cold brew coffee is nowhere near as popular as I think that it should be, largely owing to its very long during time, however I hope that this guide today has shown you how easy it really can be.

More on