French Press Cold Brew Coffee

An easy way to make coffee? French press cold brew! Here’s how to make cold brew in a French press and the ratio for the best smooth flavor.

French Press Cold Brew

Looking for an easy way to make cold brew coffee? Try French Press Cold Brew! This simple method uses a coffee tool you already have for a mess-free way to make your favorite cold coffee. We are huge fans of the smooth flavor of cold brew around here, but it can be a little messy. The French press contains the mess and makes for an easy brewing process. Here’s how it’s done!

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What is cold brew? Why use a French press?

What is cold brew? Cold brew coffee is coffee made by soaking the grounds in water at cool temperatures. It’s different from drip or brewed coffee that’s made by percolating hot water over coffee grounds in a filter. What makes it unique? It’s got a silky smooth flavor that’s perfect for iced coffee.

Why make cold brew coffee in a French Press? The advantage of this method is that it’s slightly cleaner and easier than a traditional cold brew coffee method. The French press makes the coffee easy to strain: just plunge and drink! You’ll need a slightly different ratio from the traditional method, so make sure to follow the recipe below.

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How to make cold brew in a French press

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Best coffee for cold brew

What’s the best coffee for French press cold brew? Dark roast coffee. Light and medium roast are great for pour over coffee, but cold brew tastes the best with dark roast coffee. It gives it just the right bitter, rich finish. Some brands recommend: Starbucks Espresso Roast or Intelligentsia Black Cat.

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Equipment you need

French press cold brew requires only a few tools, most of which you probably already have. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. French press coffee maker: The Bodum brand has been making this coffee tool since the 1940’s. We use this Bodum 34-ounce (1 liter) French Press.
  2. Coffee grinder or mill: You’ll need to grind the coffee to a medium coarse grind (or buy pre-ground coffee). We use this Bodum electric burr grinder. Cold brew is easiest with an electric grinder because it uses lots of coffee at once. This handheld coffee mill also does the trick, it just takes much longer.
  3. Filtered water: Filtered water has the best flavor; we use this water filter pitcher. Or skip if you don’t have a filter.
French Press Cold Brew

The cold brew French press ratio

Here’s the most important thing about French press cold brew, if you’re used to making cold brew with the standard method. The French press ratio is different from the standard cold brew ratio! You’ll need more coffee when you brew in a French press to get the same strength in cold brew concentrate. Here’s what to know:

  • Grounds to water ratio: 1:6 by weight. In grams, this is 140 grams coffee to 840 grams water. In cups, this means 2 cups coffee grounds and 3 ½ cups of water.
  • Cold brew concentrate to water ratio: 1:1. When you French press cold brew, you’ll end up a pitcher of concentrate. To drink the finished brew, use a ratio of 1:1. In other words, fill your glass with 1 part concentrate and 1 part water (or milk).
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How to make cold brew in a French press

Cold brew coffee is a very easy and forgiving method. The hardest part? Waiting the 24 hours you need for the coffee to brew. Here’s how to make cold brew in a French press (or jump to the recipe):

  • Grind the coffee: Grind 140 grams (2 cups) coffee beans to a medium coarse grind.
  • Mix coffee grounds and water: Add the coffee grounds and 3 ½ cups filtered water to the French press. Stir several times with a spoon.
  • Refrigerate 24 hours: Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate for 24 hours. (You can cover it with the top but the plunger must be up, making it difficult to fit in most refrigerators.)
  • Plunge and strain: Place the lid on the French press and slowly press the plunger all the way down. Pour the cold brew concentrate into a large glass jar or pitcher.
  • Serve: To serve, dilute ½ cup cold brew with ½ cup water or milk. If serving with ice, use the ice with ½ cup cold brew concentrate with ¼ cup water.
French press cold brew

More with a French press

There are lots of things you can make with a French press: coffee, tea, espresso, and more! Here are our top ways to use it:

  • Coffee: Make a perfect pot of French press coffee
  • Espresso: French press espresso is great for a strong shot, or espresso drinks
  • Tea: Who needs a tea pot? Try French press tea.
  • Iced coffee: Try deliciously simple French press iced coffee.
  • Frothed milk: You can use a French press to froth milk for lattes!
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