It always excites me to discover new ways to prepare my caffeine fix. This is why I was extra-thrilled when I learned I could make cold brew with a French press a while back.
I then spent the next few weeks perfecting this method and today, I’m sharing my winning recipe with you. After reading through this article, you’ll be able to make a delicious and simple cold-brewed French press coffee at home.
Let me show you what it takes to make this refreshing drink with ease.
What is French Press Cold Brew Coffee?
French press cold brew is a coffee drink produced through the process of cold brewing but with a French press, instead of the traditional jar and strainer.
There’s no clear answer as to when this exact technique of brewing was first used, but cold brew coffee, also known as Kyoto-style coffee, has been around in Japan since the 1600s. Meanwhile, the first French press was invented by Henri-Otto Mayer and Jacques-Victor Delforge in 1852.
What I love about this recipe is that it yields a smooth coffee with chocolatey notes. The long steeping time also results in a less acidic cup, which doesn’t upset the stomach.
Once complete, you’ll have a deliciously concentrated cold brew that is perfect for diluting with water, milk, or any other flavoring of your choice. And best of all, you can create this recipe anytime from the comfort of your own home.
Equipment & Ingredients Used to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press
Here are the things that you will need to make French Press Cold Brew:
- French press: the main equipment used in this recipe. It allows for easy coffee extraction and filtering
- Scale: used to measure both the coffee beans and water accurately, ensuring the perfect ratio for the recipe.
- Grinder (with a coarse setting): used to grind the coffee beans to a coarse consistency suitable for use with cold water.
- Hario V60 filter (optional): helps create an even cleaner drink or a more concentrated brew.
- 100g of coffee beans: used to make the coffee concentrate. I recommend that you buy good quality coffee beans that are fresh and fruity, such as Congo Coffee.
- 500g cold water: used to soak the coffee ground to create the cold brew coffee. Use filtered water for the best results.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making French Press Cold Brew
You need some patience given this brewing method’s long waiting time, but the steps are pretty simple.
1. Prepare your coffee beans.
- Using a scale, weigh 100 g of coffee beans.
- Accurately measuring your coffee is crucial to ensure the perfect balance between water and coffee.
2. Grind your beans.
- Using a coffee grinder that’s good for cold brew, turn your beans into coarsely ground coffee.
- The coarse grind size allows for better extraction and prevents over-extraction due to longer brewing time.
3. Add the ground coffee to the French press.
- Add the grounds to your French press.
- Remember to tare your scale to make way for the weighing of water.
4. Weigh the water and add to the French press.
- Pour 500g (around 2 cups) of water into the French press and gently stir to ensure all the grounds are in contact with the water.
- The 1:5 coffee-to-water ratio produces a strong concentrate suitable for dilution later on.
5. Close the French press and let steep.
- Place the plunger onto the top of your French press but do not push down yet.
- Leave the brewer on your kitchen counter to steep for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours if preferred. You can leave it overnight while sleeping or during work hours so it’s ready when you need it.
- You can also put it into your fridge, but I don’t.
6. After steeping, take out and plunge.
- Once steeping is complete, take out your French press from the fridge
- Slowly and gently plunge until all liquid has been extracted.
7. (Optional) Use a paper filter if preferred.
- Filter through regular or a Hario V60 filter paper into a jar or pitcher before serving.
- Using a filter removes any remaining solids ensuring an even smoother taste experience.
8. Pour into a glass & add water, milk, and ice.
- Pour the cold brew concentrate into a glass with ice.
- To further dilute the drink, you can add equal parts water for a milder flavor or mix it with milk and syrups for variety, and enjoy your homemade cold brew.
What kind of cup should you serve French press cold brew in?
Remember to transfer your cold brew to a jar or pitcher after steeping so you can properly clean your French press afterward. You can then serve it in any tall glass with ice to maintain its temperature.
Serving and Storing the Cold Brew
Serving the cold brew is easy. Once you’re happy with the strength of your coffee, pour it into a clear glass and add ice cubes if desired.
When serving iced coffee, garnishing with complementary flavors can make all the difference. My personal favorite is a slice of orange zest or even adding in vanilla syrup for an extra oomph.
You can also drink it undiluted as an espresso-style drink.
If you have any leftover cold brew, don’t worry. Undiluted cold brew concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks without losing its flavor profile or going bad. Simply pour it into an air-tight container and keep it refrigerated until ready to use again to make sure that the cold brew can last long.
By following these simple instructions and tips, you can craft your own refreshing cup of smooth-tasting cold brew right at home – straight from a French press.
Barista Tips for Making French Press Cold Brew
It’s pretty simple to make a cold brew with a French press coffee maker. But to make sure you get a great cup of coffee every time, here are more tips for making this cool beverage:
- Adjust steeping time according to your preference: Start at 16 hours as a ballpark figure then adjust according to taste – if you like it richer and more complex, add an extra hour or two; for milder tastes shorten by subtracting an hour down.
- Experiment with different types of coffee bean blends or origins: Each variety has unique characteristics worth trying out – either alone or mixed together in one pot.
- Make double cold brew: You can even take the potency a notch higher by making a double cold brew. After transferring your cold brew into a pitcher, add fresh grounds and give it another round of steeping.
- Reuse the coffee grounds: You might feel like with the amount of ground coffee you’ve used on your cold brew, too much go to waste. Cold brew grounds can be reusable. It’s far from the first brew but it’s more drinkable compared to when you reuse the grounds of other brewing methods.
- Add more flavors to your cold brew: There are a lot of ways to infuse more flavor into your cold brew besides milk. You can use syrups such as chocolate, vanilla, or caramel as well as spices and sweeteners like cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and whipped cream.
- Explore Nitro cold brew: After you’ve mastered this recipe, you might want to shake things up with Nitro cold brew, which has nitrogen gas added to the drink. Just remember that the nitrogen should be added after your cold brew is out of the French press.
With these tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master at creating delicious French Press Cold Brew. But if you want something faster to make, then check out my simple iced coffee recipe.
Comparison with the standard cold-brew method
Both the standard and French press methods can produce delicious cold brew coffee, but the French press offers a bit more convenience and simplicity, since it combines the brewing and filtration processes in one device. The trade-off is that the brew will be slightly murkier, since paper filters out all sediments, while some are let through the plunger mesh.
Here is a table comparing both methods:
|Aspect||Standard Cold Brew in a Jar||French Press Cold Brew|
|Equipment Needed||Jar, strainer, filter||French press|
|Brewing Time||12-24 hours||12-24 hours|
|Brewing Method||Steeping coffee grounds in water in a jar||Steeping coffee grounds in water in a French press|
|Filtration Process||Requires using a separate strainer, filter, or cheesecloth||Plunger filters the brew|
|Ease of Use||Requires additional filtering steps||Simpler|
|Cleanup||Straining grounds from the liquid can be messy||Plunging and cleaning the French press is easier|
Now, you can make a simple and delicious cold brew at home using a French press. With just a few ingredients and some patience for the steeping time, you can create your own smooth and refreshing cup of cold brew anytime.
But which method should you use to make cold brew? I personally tend to stick with the standard cold-brewing method, not this French press one.
Not only is this method easy to follow, but it also allows for endless customization options. Plus, since the concentrate can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, you’ll always have your caffeine fix within reach. Try making one today and let me know how the recipe went for you.