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Can You Make Cold Brew in a French Press

5 from 34 votes

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Cold brew is a smooth, sippable form of cold coffee that is beloved in cafes around the globe, but how do you bring that irresistible flavor home? Explore your deliciously chill options with this helpful guide to making cold brew in a French press!

If you love fresh, cold brewed coffee, you have probably wondered how to make it. This silky smooth yet boldly robust cold coffee is a cafe favorite, but it’s easier to make at home than one might believe! All you need is a slightly surprising tool: the French press. With this handy coffee brewer, the perfect cold coffee is easier to make than ever before!

What is Cold Brew?

Cold brew is exactly what the name implies. It is coffee that is brewed using cold water instead of warm. Cold water extraction takes longer than hot water coffee extraction, so cold brew is a slow brewing method with a smooth and delectable palatable result.

Cold brew is extracted with cool, filtered water over a period of six to twelve hours. To get the most delicious flavor from this brewing method, the coffee is ground into coarse chunks. When the process is done, the grounds are strained, and you are left with a low-acid, complex, and velvety cup of cold coffee.

This brew may look a lot like iced coffee, but it’s very different. Iced coffee is brewed hot and then chilled; that process can give the coffee a slightly sour or bitter twinge. A cold brew starts and stays cool, which produces a mildly sweet, low-acid, smooth cup of coffee.

Why Use a French Press for Cold Brew?

Cold brew is made with chunky coffee grounds that need to get strained out of the finished brew. That is what makes the French press such a perfect tool for brewing cold coffee!

The design of this classic brewer is perfect for steep-style brewing methods, like cold brew. Plus, the built-in strainer makes removing the coarse grounds easy and mess-free!

French presses also come in a wide range of sizes. This means you can make exactly the right amount of coffee for your household size every time!

French press filled with cold water and ground coffee next to a bowl of coffee beans - an easy way to make cold brew coffee!

Coffee Ratio for Cold Brew in a French Press

Cold brew is a ratio game. It’s a very simple process, but if you don’t nail the ratios, your coffee will not taste as smooth and delicious. For perfectly sippable cold brew use a coffee to water ratio of 1 to 6.

Looking at cold brew as a ratio allows you to make as much or as little coffee as you need. That way you can brew a batch of cold brew and store it to use over the next few days.

To help you keep the portions straight, use this handy cold brew chart!

Cold Brew Ratios

French Press SizeCoffeeWater
1 L140 g840 g
¾ L105 g630 g
½ L70 g420 g
¼ L35 g210 g

How to Make Cold Brew Coffee in a French Press

Follow this easy guide to perfectly balance and delicious cold brew in the French press every time!

What You Need

Cold brew only requires two ingredients: filtered water and coffee. Use the ratios above to determine how much of each ingredient you need for your batch.

Filtered water makes for the most natural and pure taste in the finished coffee, but you don’t need a fancy filter. Use a filtering pitcher, built-in sink filter, or bottled filtered water for flavor.

The size of the coffee grounds is essential to this recipe. For the best brew, use coarse-grind coffee beans. The grind size should be about the size of chunky ground peppercorns.

French Press Cold Brew Step-by-step

Fill the ground coffee into your French press.
Ground coffee
Pour in the cold water.
Cold water
Place the plunger on top.
Place the plunger on top.

How To Make Cold Brew in a French Press

  1. Grind the coffee beans to extra-coarse.
  2. Combine the ground coffee and filtered water in the pitcher of the French press. Place the plunger on, but do not press it.
  3. Refrigerate the French press for at least 7 hours, but ideally 12. Try setting the cold brew up to steep overnight, that way it’s ready for your morning pick-me-up!
  4. Press the plunger to strain the coffee and enjoy!

Variations

But there are also other ways to make cold brew coffee. Try a special Cold Brew coffee maker for this. The right recipe for the Cold Brew Jar will be coming soon!
If you don’t want to wait, you can of course always use a cold brew concentrate. But in my opinion, homemade is still the best!

Frequently Asked Questions About French Press Cold Brew

What Type of Coffee Beans Should I Use for Cold Brew?

Any! You can make cold brew with any brand and type of coffee beans you like, as long as they are ground extra coarsely.

How Long is Cold Brew Good For?

After freshly brewing cold brew with a French press, you can store the coffee in the fridge for up to one week. Keep it in a covered pitcher, or swap the press’s plunger for a refrigerator lid, to ensure the beverage stays fresh.

What Size French Press Do I Need?

French presses come in a variety of sizes; from as small as 12 ounces all the way to 51 ounces. With the ratios and directions above, you can make a cold brew in any size press.

More Recipes and Tips You Might Enjoy:

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French press filled with cold water and ground coffee next to a bowl of coffee beans - an easy way to make cold brew coffee!

French Press Cold Brew

Create your homemade cold brew with a simple French press coffee maker with ease! Two ingredients and a bit of waiting is required, that's it!
5 from 34 votes
Prep Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours
Course: Coffee, Cold Beverage
Cuisine: Global cuisine
Keyword: cold brew, french press
Servings: 4 Serving
Calories: 1kcal

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 29.6 oz Filtered water
  • 4.9 oz Ground coffee very coarse

Instructions 

  • Mix 4.9 oz Ground coffee with 29.6 oz Filtered water.
    29.6 oz Filtered water, 4.9 oz Ground coffee
  • Place the plunger on top.
  • Do not press through and leave in the refrigerator for at least seven hours (ideally twelve hours).
  • Once your cold brew is ready, serve it with cubed ice or mix it with syrup, caramel, or honey. You can also top it off with frothed milk!

Notes

Cold brew ratio: 1:6
The cold brew water-to-coffee ratio of 1:6 is different from the standard French press ratio of 1:15.
So when using a big, 1l French Press, you wanna use 140 g coffee to 840 g water and dial it down for smaller French press sizes. 
French Press Size
Coffee
Water
1 L
140 g
840 g 
¾ L
105 g
630 g
½ L
70 g
420 g
¼ L
35 g
210 g

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 1kcal | Sodium: 10mg | Calcium: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Food Safety

  • Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
  • Never leave cooking food and beverages unattended
  • Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove

See more guidelines at USDA.gov.

By on November 14th, 2023
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About Nora

Nora is a full-blown coffee addict, who loves to make and write about everything that is coffee related. She is currently training to be a barista and loves sharing her knowledge.

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